Is the holiday season flying by too fast? Have you been so busy that you haven’t made time to simply enjoy the season and take in some of the many holiday sights and sounds in and around the Portland area?
You can find the holiday spirit in Bridgeport Village with events like Bridgeport Express Train, Holiday Magic Light Show and Breakfast with Santa! Visit www. bridgeport-village.com for details on all these.
If you want to take a short drive into Portland, be sure to check out some of these popular local holiday attractions. Just like Christmas, they only happen once a year, so don’t miss out!
Big thanks goes to Travel Portland for putting this helpful list together!
1. Holiday Express Train through Dec. 15, 2013
Join Santa Claus and his elves for a magical ride on Portland’s famous steam locomotives. Vintage rail cars transport you through wilderness in the heart of the city. Meet Santa in the fully decorated and steam-heated trains. www.orhf.org/about-orhf/holiday-express
2. The Grotto Christmas Festival of Lights through Dec. 30, 2013
The Grotto’s most popular event, The Christmas Festival of Lights features more than 500,000 lights, 150 choral performances, a petting zoo, carolers, puppet shows and hot chocolate. www.thegrotto.org/events
3. ZooLights through Jan. 5, 2014
More than one million LED lights transform the Oregon Zoo into a luminous winter wonderland filled with moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees and animal silhouettes. www.oregonzoo.org/events/zoolights
4. Portland Revels’ The Christmas Revels 2013 through Dec. 15, 2013
Combining instrumental and choral music, children’s songs and games, ritual and folk dance traditions, drama, poetry and audience participation, this event springs from an age-old tradition of winter solstice celebration. www.portlandrevels.org
5. Portland Christmas Ships Portland Christmas Ships Parader through Dec. 21, 2013
Each year since 1955, Portlanders have gathered along the water to view more than 50 boats decked out in lights and wintery designs. The parade traverses the Columbia and Willamette rivers every night of the two-week celebration. www.christmasships.org
6. The Nutcracker at Oregon Ballet Theatre through Dec. 21, 2013
The enduring magic of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker sets the season a-sparkle, creating memories your family will cherish. Oregon Ballet Theatre is the only company west of the Mississippi licensed to perform Balanchine’s version. www.obt.org/season_nutcracker.html
7. Winter Wonderland through Dec.21, 2013
The Portland International Raceway transforms into a Winter Wonderland each year, welcoming nearly 100,000 people to view spectacular displays of lights and animation from the comfort of personal vehicles and tour buses. www.winterwonderlandportland.com
8. A Locally Crafted Christmas at Pittock Mansion through Jan. 2, 2014
From professional artisans to do-it-yourselfers, more than 80 volunteers contributed to this exhibit. Festive decorations, lights and Christmas trees fill the 16,000-square-foot mansion, and unique décor and gifts await in the Museum Store. www.pittockmansion.org
9. Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale Dec. 14-15, 2013
Once a monthly art and craft sale, now operates a successful downtown store, Crafty Wonderland highlights its favorite local and handmade goods in this mega-sale at the Oregon Convention Center. www.craftywonderland.com/events
10. The Makery Winter Market Dec. 14-15, 2013
Shop the Makery studio collective designers plus other Oregon makers while sipping craft beverages and grooving to
unconventional holiday music. Or hang out outside at the mobile hot tub with snacks from a few local food carts. www.makerypdx.com/events
Starting December 15th:
The Lights on Peacock Lane Dec. 15—-31, 2013
Since the 1920s, each house in this quaint southeast neighborhood has been decorating for the season. The houses, mostly Tudors, are adorned with not only beautiful sparkling lights, but also thematic scenes, rotating Christmas trees and more. www.peacocklane.net
Want to take a grand tour of Portland without breaking the bank? Lucky for you, there are many ways to enjoy our city on the cheap! Here are 5 of our favorite ideas from the article, Portland on a Dime on Travel Portland.
You can even get to many of these attractions for free when you ride on The Free Rail Zone which includes most of downtown Portland (within the boundaries of the Willamette River, NW Irving and I-405), as well as MAX stations from the Rose Quarter to Lloyd Center.
1) Visit Powell’s City of Books: You will find a book lover’s heaven in the heart of downtown Portland. Powell’s City of Books is the largest used and new bookstore in the world. You can spend an entire day browsing their estimated 1 million titles. You are even allowed to bring up to 3 books into the coffee shop for perusing). Location: 1005 W. Burnside St. 503.228.4651 www.powells.com
2) The Grotto: This serene and beautiful sanctuary and gardens located on Northeast Sandy Boulevard at 85th Avenue is filled with surprises and attracts over 175,000 visitors each year. There is no charge to see the lower-level gardens and structures. To access the upper gardens, each visitor must purchase an elevator token. Tokens are $4.00 for ages 12-64, ages 6-11 $2.50, and seniors over 65 $3.00. Children under 6 are free. 503.254.7371
3) Pioneer Courthouse Square: Located in the heart of Downtown Portland, this is a public space hosting more than 300 programmed events each year. With more than 26,000 people visiting the Square each day, it is the single most visited site in Oregon’s most visited city. Location: Bordered by Southwest Sixth Avenue, Broadway, and Yamhill and Morrison streets.
4) Visit the 24 Hour Church of Elvis: 3 words: Elvis, Quirky and Free. Need we say more? Location: 408 N.W. Couch St.
5) Portland Farmers Market & Saturday Market- Features locally grown and prepared foods, live music, handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, artwork and more!
The Portland Farmers Market is held on Saturdays in the South Park Blocks at Portland State University, March-December. On Mondays, the market comes to Pioneer Courthouse Square (June-October), and Wednesday’s market is held in the South Park Blocks of the Cultural District (May-October).
Portland Saturday Market: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., March through December 24. Location: Southwest Ankeny Street & Naito Parkway (in Waterfront Park, Skidmore Fountain MAX station) 503.222.6072