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2017 Portland Holiday Event Guide | Over 40 Shows, Light Displays, Craft Fairs + More

  |  Local Happenings

NOTE: This includes events for 2017. For an updated list of 2018 holiday events, click here.

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!


10th Annual White Album Xmas

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!


Christmas in Dairyville

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.


It’s a Tony Starlight Christmas!

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!


Mercy Corps NW 4th Annual Holiday Night Market

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.


Gospel Christmas

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!


The Nutcracker Presented By the Friends of DanceWorks

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.


The Portland Bazaar

December 8–10 | The North Warehouse

Portland Bazaar

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.!


Handel’s Messiah With the Portland Baroque Orchestra

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.


2nd Annual DIY Gift-a-Thon

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.


Christmas at the Fort

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.


EastBurn Ciderfest

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.


Ugly Holiday Sweater Pub Crawl

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.


Home For the Holidays Concert

Saturday, December 9 | Central Lutheran Church

Home for the holidays concert

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.


Tuba Christmas Concert

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.


Beauty and the Beast

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!


Crafty Wonderland Holiday Art + Craft Market

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.


George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

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!


Nutcracker Tea

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.


The Holiday Express Train

December 9, 10, 16 + 17 | The Oaks Station

The Holiday Express Train

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!


Fake Radio Presents “It’s A Wonderful Life,” Featuring Kevin McDonald

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.


Chabad of Oregon Menorah Lighting

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!


Michael Allen Harris’ Christmas at the Old Church

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!


Columbia Dance’s The Nutcracker

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.


Winter Commerce Event at Magnetic North

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.!


Stumptown SantaCon 2017

Saturday, December 16 | Splash Bar

Portland Holiday Events

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.


Geek the Halls

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.


Comfort and Joy: A Classical Christmas

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.


Magenta Improv Theater’s Christmas Show

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

PDX Pop-Up Shops

November 16–December 24 | Downtown Portland

PDX Pop-Up Shops

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.


Gingerbread Adventures at OMSI

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.


A Very Portland Christmas at Pittock Mansion

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.


Winter Wonderland

November 24–December 26 | Portland International Raceway

Winter Wonderland Lights

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.


The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights

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.


A Christmas Memory Paired With Winter Song

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).


A Christmas Carol the Musical at Brunish Theatre

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.


Meier & Frank Santaland

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!


Christmas Ship Parade

December 1–21 | Columbia and Willamette Rivers

Portland Holiday Events

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!


A Christmas Carol With Portland Playhouse

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.


The Miracle of a Million Lights

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.


Peacock Lane Christmas Lights

December 15–31 | Peacock Lane

Portland Holiday Events

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.


Festival of the Last Minute

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.


Happy Holidays!

There are so many ways to celebrate the holiday season in Portland! Let us know your favorite holiday events in the comments below.

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About the Author

Courtney Itami

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