There’s nothing quite like the holiday season in Portland, Oregon. It’s the time of year when the barren trees lining downtown are reborn with blue, white, red, and green lights. It’s the time when neighborhoods come together and decorate their lawns and houses with manger scenes, menorahs, Christmas trees, twinkling lights, Frosty, Rudolph, Santa Claus, and brown paper packages tied up with string. These are just a few of my favorite things ♫
The people are especially kind. This is really the only time of the year that you hear the words “Merry”, and “tis” and it seems like everyone—even in an already friendly and open city like Portland, Oregon—is even more interested in saying hello, in letting you cross the street at your leisure, in helping you with your bags, or in simply offering a friendly smile.
The coffee shops serve eggnog and peppermint flavored coffee drinks, and everything smells like pine needles. Poinsettias, candy canes, fudge and cookies seem especially prevalent, and you may even see a few cars and dogs dressed for the occasion.
Yes, certainly, the holiday season that stretches from Thanksgiving until the New Year is truly the most wonderful time of the year in Portland, Oregon. There are so many community-wide activities to attend that sometimes the sheer number can be overwhelming. The following is a brief list of some of our favorites.
ZOO LIGHTS: Every year, after the already fabulous Oregon Zoo shuts down for the day and the animals sleep, the grounds awaken with all manner of Christmas decorations and celebrations. It’s free to zoo members and pretty reasonably priced for everyone else.
PEACOCK LANE: Peacock Lane, an actual street in Northeast Portland, is known for its holiday light show. This street and its old-timey cottages illuminates with lights, candles, Grinches, snowmen, and polar bears. Thousands of Portlanders and tourists enjoy the show by foot, by car, and even by horse and carriage annually. It’s free and comes equipped with a hot chocolate and coffee booth.
ALPENROSE DAIRY CHRISTMAS IN DAIRYVILLE: Alpenrose Dairy, a staple for fresh Oregon foods for over a century, opens its annual holiday village. Come and enjoy some cartoons in the old opera house, or relish riding in a horse and buggy. Check out the miniature train station, delight in some fresh baked goods, and pet some adorable farm animals. This has been a family tradition for years… make it one for yours as well.
SINGING CHRISTMAS TREE: The singing Christmas tree is an annual holiday choir performance where the participants actually sing in a giant Christmas tree. This Portland, Oregon tradition has been going for decades and is a fabulous night of music and lights.
DIRECTOR PARK PUBLIC MENNORAH: Director Park, located at 815 SW Park Avenue in Downtown, Portland, hosts this annual event during each night of Hanukah. Come and enjoy the beauty and tradition as the menorah is lit. Dances and other activities take place in honor of one of the holiest of the Jewish holidays.
CHRISTMAS BOATS: From Thanksgiving through the New Year, sit along the river and watch boats decorated for the holiday season float by. Many restaurants, including the Old Spaghetti factory, offer riverside seating to help patrons enjoy this fun tradition.
UNION GOSPEL MISSION: Show your children the true meaning of the holiday season by serving those less fortunate at the Union Gospel Mission. Each holiday season, the Union Gospel Mission feeds hundreds of homeless and poor in downtown Portland, Oregon and they are always looking for volunteers to help. Remember those who have fallen on hard times by serving them a hot meal and a smile.
However you choose to celebrate this holiday season, we hope it’s safe and memorable. Portland, Oregon will help you get into the holiday spirit with a season that is unrivaled anywhere else.