Even though Portland, Oregon is known for having many activities open to the whole family, it can still sometimes be tricky to find things to do during the holiday season that will appeal to everyone from grandma and grandpa, to mom and dad, to the sullen teenager, to toddler, to newborn. Sure, you could scour the internet, ask your friends, watch the news or read the paper, but this requires time and effort. Look no further! Here are some of my family’s favorite holiday activities:
Alpenrose Dairy: For over a century, Alpenrose Dairy has been providing quality dairy products to Portland area residents. Each year, they host an annual Christmas Village with activities that will amuse everyone. Enjoy a carriage ride, admire the adorable farm animals, drink hot cocoa or eat freshly made fudge and brownies. And when that’s done, check out the model train station and the opera house turned cartoon den.
Peacock Lane: Portland’s annual holiday light celebration. Free and fun for all. Since before the Depression, Peacock Lane has lit up southeast Portland with lights, displays, carriages and cocoa. Can be walked or driven… making it an option for everyone.
Christmas Caroling: Christmas Caroling is not dead. In fact, Portland, Oregon is one of the friendliest and most festive and creative cities around. Your neighbors will delight if you knock on their door and begin smothering them with Christmas cheer using your voice. They’ll be even more impressed if you all wear matching sweaters.
Taking a picture with Santa: Everyone knows that Santa resides in the North Pole and, this time of year especially, he’s a very busy man. As such, he sends out some of his employees to pose as him, to relay messages and to remind children to be nice (not naughty). Some children are on to this scheme while others are still believers. In any respect, getting your picture with Santa is a BIG deal and it can be done with relative ease at any mall in the Portland/metropolitan area… and a few other locations as well. With malls in Tigard (Washington Square), Portland (Lloyd Center), Clackamas (Clackamas Town Center), and many more sprinkled around the Portland Metropolitan area, this is a convenient and fun experience for all.
Hood River Holidays: Hood River, Oregon, just a hop, skip and a jump from Portland, has the yearly “Hood River Holidays” event. This year, from Dec 6-23, Hood River lights up the town with more lights than you can count, unique shopping, visits with Santa Claus and, for the adults, festive wine. You may even encounter a caroler or two. Hood River is certainly “Christmastown” USA.
Tuba concert: for something a little unusual, visit “Portland’s Living Room” (Pioneer Courthouse Square), on December 14th for a holiday Tuba Concert. Hear your favorite Christmas Carols as you’ve never heard them before and, afterwards, enjoy a stroll through festive downtown Portland and get ready for the big day. If you missed this years’ event, don’t worry. It’ll be on again next year.
However you choose to celebrate this year, we hope you have a safe and happy holiday filled with love, tradition and unique experiences.