The holiday season is filled with wonder, magic, love and cheer — celebrated a number of ways throughout the city. Explore the many shows, concerts, light displays, Santa visits, craft shows, and other festivities in Portland this year. Attend a one-time event or skip ahead to the many ongoing holiday events — some of which are taking place every day through the end of 2017.
Whatever you do, spend ample time with family and friends, enjoy lots of holiday treats, and become immersed in the magic of the season!
December 1–3 + 6–9 | Alberta Rose Theatre
This annual tradition is both a holiday circus spectacular and tribute to The Beatles. The Nowhere Band, a 15-piece orchestra, will perform the Fab Four’s entire classic “White Album” while the Portland Circus Allstars perform amazing, high-flying feats. Purchase your tickets in advance before this popular show sells out!
December 1–3, 8–10 + 15–17 | Alpenrose Dairy
Photo courtesy of Alpenrose Dairy
On the weekends leading up to Christmas, the western frontier replica town of Dairyville transforms into a winter wonderland. Animals are on display on nostalgic Storybook Lane, where you will discover vintage storefronts, local choirs singing, holiday movies in the opera house, and of course, a visit from Santa. Check Dairyville’s event calendar before your visit as hours vary throughout the season.
December 1, 7, 8, 10, 13–17 + 19–23 | Tony Starlight Showroom
Reminiscent of the classic holiday TV shows of years past featuring entertainers like Bing Crosby or Dean Martin, “It’s a Tony Starlight Christmas!” is sure to spread holiday cheer and make you laugh. Tony has joined forces with Bo Ayars for a Vegas-style Christmas program like nothing else. The show is both silly and sweet, and appears well-rehearsed yet still spontaneous. Get your tickets to this memorable show for any of the several performances throughout December!
December 8 + 9 | Mercy Corps Northwest
Mercy Corps Northwest gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to successfully start or grow their businesses. Their 4th Annual Holiday Night Market is just one way they support local small business owners. Shop from a variety of vendors at this festive market from 3–8 p.m. on Friday or 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on Saturday.
December 8–10 | Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Be a part of this splendid 19-year tradition! The region’s premier gospel singers and the Oregon Symphony orchestra join together for an exhilarating and uplifting concert experience embodying the true spirit of the season. Purchase tickets starting at $35 for the performance on Friday, Saturday or Sunday!
December 8–10 | Prairie High School, Vancouver
Experience a lavish performance of “The Nutcracker” with the largest dance studio in Vancouver. As with years past, Friends of DanceWorks will dazzle audiences with aerial dancing, leaping ballerinas, and other impressive acrobatics. Purchase your tickets for the performances on December 8 at 7 p.m., December 9 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., or December 10 at 2 p.m.
December 8–10 | The North Warehouse
Photo courtesy of The Portland Bazaar
For the seventh year, the Portland Bazaar is putting on a party with local food trucks, wintery cocktails, and holiday shopping from over 50 Portland makers. Purchase tickets for the exclusive preview party on Friday from 6–9 p.m., featuring happy hour, raffle prizes, and photos in the Wildfang Santa Photo Booth. Or attend the bazaar on Saturday and Sunday for free from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.!
December 8–10 | First Baptist Church
Experience an awe-inspiring performance from the Portland Baroque Orchestra as they play one of the most-performed and well-regarded works in all of musical history. Enjoy a Complete Oratorio, lasting about three hours, on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, or the Messiah Highlights at the Monday performance. Tickets for the concert start at $33.
December 16 | Perks of Art, Hillsboro
After a successful event last year, Assembly: gather+create is hosting their 2nd Annual DIY Gift-a-Thon! During this festive, hands-on event, you will create three unique handmade gifts, including an etching custom glassware, hand-dyed silk scarf, and custom-scented hand lotion bars. Enjoy special holiday treats while you create your masterpieces! Register for the DIY Gift-a-Thon in Hillsboro on December 16 from 1–4 p.m.
December 9 | Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Vancouver
Step back in time to experience the sights and sounds of the holiday season in the 1840s at Christmas at the Fort. Visitors to this Fort Vancouver holiday event will be able to witness and participate in vintage traditions, enjoy wreath making, sip on holiday beverages, hear caroling, and more! Christmas at the Fort is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and admission is $5 for those 16 and over and free for those under the age of 15.
Saturday, December 9 | Eastburn Public House
Sample some of the region’s finest ciders at the EastBurn Ciderfest from 4–10 p.m. The event benefits Toys for Tots, so consider bringing an unwrapped toy to donate to help local children in need this holiday season. Every toy donated will get you five free tickets! As CiderFest winds down at 10 p.m., stick around for live music, late-night food and drink specials at EastBurn.
December 9 | Uptown Vancouver
Don’t miss Uptown Village’s Ugly Holiday Sweater Pub Crawl in Uptown Vancouver. Receive drink specials at participating businesses simply by wearing your favorite ugly holiday sweater! The event is free to attend and requires no registration. Simply show up at one of the participating locations listed here, receive your free map, and choose your route. All locations are within walking distance and you can win prizes along the journey. The Ugly Holiday Sweater Pub Crawl is from 4–9 p.m.
Saturday, December 9 | Central Lutheran Church
Photo courtesy of Home For the Holidays Concert
The Home For the Holidays Concert is a festive family-friendly event featuring local Portland musicians and a diverse collection of holiday traditions from around the world. To celebrate its 21st year, they are returning to their roots and the simple wish to share the joy of song and the awe of experiencing the holidays with childlike wonder. 20 percent of all concert proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East to aid their efforts in building and repairing homes in the Portland area for people in need. Get your tickets for either the 1:30 or 7 p.m. performance on Saturday.
Saturday, December 9 | Pioneer Courthouse Square
Head to the heart of downtown for an exciting performance from a collection of talented tuba players. The area will pulse with the melodic sounds of big brass as nearly 300 tubas play in unison. This seasonal performance will take place at 1:30 and 3 p.m., and is free and open to the public.
December 9–24 | Newmark Theatre
Watch one of the most beautiful love stories come to life with “Beauty and the Beast,” presented by Pixie Dust Productions. Hasson is proud to sponsor this community tradition for the third consecutive year, as we are passionate about supporting the arts and local theater productions. Embark on a journey filled with adventure, cheer and love alongside the Beast, Belle, Gaston, La Fou, Lumiere, and other favorite characters from this classic tale. Tickets for this unforgettable performance are on sale now!
December 8–10 | Oregon Convention Center
Shop from 250+ artists and crafters selling amazing handmade goods at the expansive Oregon Convention Center. Get tickets for the exclusive pre-show ticketed shopping event on Friday or enjoy free admission on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
December 9, 10, 14–17 + 20–24 | Keller Auditorium
Embark on a journey to a familiar place filled with warmth, tradition, and new memories waiting to be made. Oregon Ballet Theatre’s annual performance of George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” has been a holiday staple for 14 years. Become immersed in this classic story with magnificent scenery and elaborate costumes. The OBT Orchestra will perform live at 10 of the 19 performances throughout the month of December. Get your tickets for this magical performance!
December 9, 10 + 15–17 | Portland Community College
Enjoy a family-friendly abridged version of Marius Petipa’s Nutcracker Ballet, featuring music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. This classic story is presented by Northwest Dance Theatre with elaborate sets, stunning costumes, and sparkling choreography. Complimentary tea will be served to complete the experience! Tickets range from $27–35.
December 9, 10, 16 + 17 | The Oaks Station
Photos courtesy of The Holiday Express Train
Ride in vintage rail cars behind Portland’s historic steam locomotives and get the opportunity to visit with Santa Claus on board the Holiday Express Train. This festive train ride is one of the city’s most beloved traditions. Proceeds benefit the Oregon Heritage Foundation whose mission is to provide for the preservation, operation, and public enjoyment of Portland’s historic locomotives, railroad equipment, artifacts and to educate the public about Oregon’s rich and diverse railroad history. Take a look at the train’s availability and book your tickets to embark on this magical journey!
December 11 + 12 | Alberta Rose Theatre
Experience a unique live-radio-show-style comic production of the holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The show stars Kevin McDonald from “Kids in the Hall” and features special musical guests The Libertine Belles. Tickets for the performance on either Monday or Tuesday are $15 in advance or $20 at the door, or $25 for preferred seating.
December 12–19 | Director Park
Celebrate Chanukah with a nightly public menorah lighting at the lower terrace of Director Park in the heart of downtown. Don’t miss this 34-year tradition happening each night at 5:30 p.m., presented by the Chabad of Oregon!
December 13–24 + 26 | The Old Church Concert Hall
Relish the warmth and magic of the holiday season with Michael Allen Harris’ Christmas at the Old Church — a local tradition dating back 25 years, highlighting the best of talent in the Northwest. Enjoy classic holiday favorites from Michael and his musical family in addition to the fabulous vocals of Julianne Johnson and many spectacular special guests. Purchase tickets for any of the 20 shows throughout the holiday season!
December 15–18 | Vancouver School of Art and Academics
Columbia Dance brings a wonder-filled production of “The Nutcracker” to the Royal Durst Theatre at the Vancouver School of Art and Academics. A cast of over 90 local dancers present the enchanting story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they battle the Mouse King and embark on a thrilling journey accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s powerful score. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, and $10 for children ages 12 and under for any of the many performances throughout the weekend.
Saturday, December 16 | Magnetic North
Shop from 20 vendors — from illustrators to leather workers, and everything in between — at the Winter Commerce Event at Magnetic North. Enjoy snacks, sweets, coffee and cocoa available for purchase, and partake in the raffle, which directly benefits Portland Youth Builders. Be a part of this festive shopping experience from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.!
Saturday, December 16 | Splash Bar
Photo courtesy of Stumptown Events
Dress up in your holiday costume to be a part of the holiday mayhem at the fifth annual Stumptown SantaCon! This isn’t your average SantaCon; in fact, it is more like a moving dance party. The theme this year is “Island of Misfit Toys,” and the festivities will start at Splash Bar, featuring fire pits, DJs, and lots of fun. This fun charity event will benefit the Portland Police Sunshine Division. Get all of the details of this jampacked evening and purchase your tickets for $10 in advance.
December 16 + 17 | DoubleTree Hotel
The PDX Browncoats are hosting their 8th annual craft fair, Geek the Halls, “where you can find the perfect holiday gift for your geeky and nerdy family and friends” (their words, not ours!). This fun craft fair will feature a variety of unique vendors and is free and open to the public.
Sunday, December 17 | Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Enjoy light holiday classics, seasonal favorites, and a very merry sing-along at this jubilant evening at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Led by Conductor Norman Huynh, The Oregon Chorale will enchant the audience with classical holiday music. Tickets for “Comfort and Joy: A Classical Christmas” start at $20.
December 23 | Magenta Theater, Vancouver
The talented cast of Magenta Theater’s Improv Team has a special show in store to entertain and lighten things up during a hectic time of year. This family-friendly show is an improvised performance with a holiday twist. Purchase your tickets for just $10 in advance or $12 at the door! Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m., but come early to enjoy beer, wine and treats from the concession area.
Ongoing Holiday Events
November 16–December 24 | Downtown Portland
Photo courtesy of the Portland Business Alliance
Through Christmas Eve, you have the opportunity to shop from an array of temporary pop-up shops in downtown Portland. Peruse the work of local designers and artists setting up shop in vacant storefronts, inside Pioneer Place mall and the Standard Insurance Center. Take a look at the shops gracing the city this holiday season.
November 18–January 1 | Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Put a special holiday touch on your visit to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry with “Gingerbread Adventures.” This special exhibit takes a sweet and smart look at the science behind a favorite holiday activity — building gingerbread houses! With giant sculptures on display and fun activities to participate in, Gingerbread Adventures is a treat for the whole family. The exhibit is included with general admission to the museum.
November 21–December 31 (Closed on November 23 + December 25) | Pittock Mansion
Explore the breathtaking holiday decor at the historic Pittock Mansion through New Year’s Eve, a local tradition for over 50 years. This year, experience the iconic places, people and events of Portland — like Powell’s Books, Packy the elephant and Peacock Lane — incorporated into the decorative stylings of the mansion. Local musicians will play holiday music regularly in the music room during the exhibit. There will be a free holiday shuttle available from Trimet Bus Stop from December 16–31. Admission is free for members, $11 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for ages 6–18, and free for children under 6. The mansion is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
November 24–December 26 | Portland International Raceway
Photos courtesy of Winter Wonderland
Considered the largest holiday light show west of the Mississippi, the 25th Annual Winter Wonderland will grab your attention with glimmers and glows around every corner. Spectators enjoy a spectacular drive-through light show with over 250 colorful light set pieces and fully animated scenes. Admission costs $20 per car from November 24–December 14 or $22 per car from December 15–26. You may get $2 off if you purchase your ticket in advance! All proceeds from the event benefit the Sunshine Division. Take a look at the event website for additional pricing details and the various special events happening at Winter Wonderland throughout the season.
November 24–December 30 (Closed on December 25) | The Grotto
Considered the largest Christmas choral festival in the world, the Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights features nearly 160 indoor holiday concerts performed by many of the region’s finest school, church and civic choirs. There are five indoor concerts scheduled each evening in The Grotto’s 600-seat chapel known for its cathedral-quality acoustics. Enjoy family entertainment in the plaza area, including caroling, puppet shows, a live petting zoo, holiday food and beverages, and seasonal shopping in the gift shop. Tickets may be purchased at the gate from 5–9:30 p.m.; admission is $11 for adults, $10 for seniors/military, $6 for children, and free for children 2 and under.
November 24–December 31 | Portland Center Stage at the Armory
Experience the endearing marriage of “A Christmas Memory” with “Winter Song” at The Armory. A Christmas Memory is an autobiographical recollection of Truman Capote’s rural Alabama boyhood, recalling cherished memories of beloved holiday rituals. Winter Song is brilliant singer Merideth Kaye Clark’s original presentation of songs celebrating winter and all it represents, such as love, loss, family, solitude, renewal and friendship. Enjoy both experiences side-by-side throughout the holiday season! There are several performances lasting through the end of the year.
November 24–January 7 (Closed December 24–25 + January 1–4) | Oregon Zoo
An annual tradition for many in Portland, the Oregon Zoo’s annual ZooLights is an enchanting event featuring more than 1.5 million dazzling lights. You will see the zoo in a whole new light, as you visit with animals, ride the popular lighted train, and enjoy dinner from a number of food trucks. Plus, Santa will be on site for photos each night! Take a look at the calendar to see pricing for ZooLights (keeping an eye on the special Value Nights).
November 30–December 24 | Brunish Theatre
Broadway stars Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens breathe new life into a classic tale with “Christmas Carol the Musical” at Brunish Theatre. Take a journey through the past, present and future with grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge, as he recognizes his faults and eventually shares the holiday with those who mean the most to him. Enjoy this spectacular performance each Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Christmas Eve. Tickets cost $45 for adults and $26 for students, seniors and groups of eight or more.
November 30–December 31 | Oregon Historical Society Museum
You may remember Santaland at the Meier & Frank department store in downtown Portland with its iconic monorail and a chance to sit on Santa’s lap. Following the closure of Macy’s downtown store, which purchased Meier & Frank in 2005, items from Santaland were donated to the Oregon Historical Society and the Portland Business Alliance. See these nostalgic pieces on display at the OHS — including Santa’s chair, Rudolph, animatronic elves, and a decorated Christmas tree!
December 1–21 | Columbia and Willamette Rivers
Photo courtesy of Christmas Ship Parade
For 15 nights in December, take in the wonder of the Christmas Ship Parade along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Take a look at the Columbia River Schedule and the Willamette River Schedule for the dates and times of parades as well as the best viewing locations — from shoreline parks to cozy riverfront restaurants. Watch decorated boats pass by with vibrant colors reflecting off the water’s surface and experience the joys of this annual Portland tradition!
December 2–30 | Portland Opera’s Hampton Opera Center
Enjoy a special performance of “A Christmas Carol” at Portland Opera’s Hampton Opera Center throughout the month of December. This production from Portland Playhouse has won three awards, including Best Play, Best Ensemble, and Best Director. Talented actors, musicians and directors come together for an evening celebrating Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale.
December 9–23 | Victorian Belle
During the month of December, Victorian Belle transforms into a Christmas wonderland for “The Miracle of a Million Lights.” Explore this historic landmark with over a million twinkling lights, 20+ decorated Christmas trees and elaborate decor. View rooms filled with period antiques and vintage heirlooms displaying majestic themes. In addition to the tour, enjoy homemade apple cider and holiday cookies, while you listen to live musical performances. Roast marshmallows for s’mores by the fire with Rudolph, make a craft with Mrs. Claus, and admire the impressive model railroads. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students, $4 for seniors, and free for children under 3.
December 15–31 | Peacock Lane
Photo courtesy of Peacock Lane
Nicknamed “Portland’s Christmas Street,” traveling through Peacock Lane to see dazzling holiday lights is considered one of the city’s most popular traditions. Each home in this quaint southeast neighborhood has been decorating for Christmas for decades. Mostly comprised of Tudors, the neighborhood features beautiful sparkling lights, nativity scenes, rotating Christmas trees, and life-like replicas of your favorite holiday characters. Because the streets can become crowded, it is wise to park several blocks away and walk to the street. Peacock Lane will be decorated and ready for visitors from 6–11 p.m. December 15–31. The street will be pedestrian-only and closed to cars on December 14, 16 and 17.
December 16–24 | Portland Saturday Market
This is the perfect solution for last-minute shoppers! Open daily from December 16 through Christmas Eve, this marketplace will feature one-of-a-kind handcrafted items, exotic foods and a festive atmosphere. In addition to shopping, enjoy daily festivities, including Santa’s booth, warming stations, holiday treats, and the delightful sounds of roving carolers. Take a look at the varying hours and other details about the event.
There are so many ways to celebrate the holiday season in Portland! Let us know your favorite holiday events in the comments below.