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How to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Portland and the Surrounding Area During a Pandemic

  |  Local Happenings, Neighborhood Insight, Portland

Believe it or not, it’s already time to say goodbye to this unusual, memorable year. While the normal fanfare and larger-than-life events may be on pause this time around, we’re still going to celebrate and remember all that happened this year — and welcome 2021 with wide open arms.

To help you spend New Year’s Eve safely, we’re sharing a few ways to celebrate in the Portland area, including both at-home activities and socially distanced outings in town. And as always, we’re incorporating as many local resources as possible to support some of our favorite businesses.

Whether you’re looking for ways to celebrate with your significant other (and a glass of champagne!) or with your entire family, we’ve got you covered.

Happy New Year!

For the Adults | For the Whole Family



Make Your New Year’s Resolutions

New Year's Eve in Portland, OR 2020

Each year, many of us create goals, intentions or resolutions for the year ahead. Take a few minutes to think about and write down your resolutions for 2021! You can create goals focused on improving your health, advancing your career, saving money or enhancing your overall well-being. Whatever it is, writing your goals down (and sharing them with someone else) is scientifically proven to help you achieve them. Add an extra dose of accountability and inspiration by joining a group related to your goal, like a neighborhood running club or a Facebook group related to a new hobby you’d like to pick up!


Attend a Virtual Event

While the city’s popular in-person New Year’s parties may be on pause this year, there are still several events carrying on virtually. Grab your significant other and sign up to play trivia, charades and more at the Vancouver Virtual Game Night. And if you’re still searching for that significant other, why not ring in the new year at a New Year’s Eve Bash / Virtual Speed Dating hosted by SpeedPortland? And no matter who you are, tune into the Worldwide 24-Hour Virtual Party, which is slated to be the largest worldwide virtual New Year’s Eve event, attracting more than 10,000 people. There will be 24 DJs and 10% of ticket proceeds go to charities!


Order Cocktail Mixers To-Go From Silver Julep

New Year's Eve in Portland, OR 2020

Photo Courtesy of Silver Julep

Our favorite mobile mixologist, Silver Julep, is serving up cocktail mixers to-go! Choose from the selection of incredible concoctions, including a Persimmon Sour, Ginger Apple Snap, Holiday Punch and Spiced Paloma. Each is designed to be mixed with different spirits or a sparkling wine! You can order a half-liter (which makes 5 cocktails) for $15 or a full liter (which makes 10 cocktails) for $25. Choose to pick it up curbside Tuesday–Saturday between 3–6 p.m. at Sellwood Community House. Click here to learn more about The Silver Julep, an award-winning bar caterer operating out of an adorable Airstream trailer.

Silver Julep is offering a NYE cocktail kit for pre-order than can be picked up on December 30 or 31! For $45, you’ll receive a half liter of Holiday Punch and a half bottle of a local Oregon sparkling wine, which go great together. It will come in a cute festive bag with sparklers and party poppers!


Book a Staycation at The Heathman

While your New Year’s travel plans may have changed, you can still “travel” to one of the city’s best hotels and enjoy a night or two in the heart of Portland. The Heathman Hotel has been a cultural fixture since the day it opened downtown in 1927, and since underwent an expansive renovation showcasing a one-of-a-kind library with more than 2,700 volumes signed by their authors in a grand bookcase spanning two stories. Plus, the hotel is steeped in history and is even said to be haunted! Book your stay at this stunning luxury hotel in the heart of the city to experience Portland up close and personal.


Order a Takeout Meal

New Year's Eve in Portland, OR 2020

Photo Courtesy of Central Kitchen

We’ve certainly said it before but we’ll say it again: our local restaurants need our support now more than ever before. One pandemic-proof way to do that is by ordering meals to-go to be picked up or delivered. If you’ve exhausted your list of takeout options, turn to Central Kitchen, an online food hall with six virtual restaurants and one shared kitchen in Portland. Learn more about this unique concept (and how you can order and pick up your food) here.




Go Ice Skating at Lloyd Center

Ice skating is one of our favorite socially distanced winter activities. And thankfully, the Lloyd Center Ice Rink is open through January 3! The rink is conveniently located in the center of Lloyd Center on the first level across from Macy’s. All skaters must be distanced and masked, and fill out a gear survey and waiver before skating. Click here for more details about skating at Lloyd Center and instructions and guidelines related to COVID-19.


Create a Feast of “Good Luck” Foods

New Year's Eve in Portland, OR 2020

Did you know that New Year’s Day has many good luck traditions associated with it? It’s customary in many cultures to indulge in foods that have been known to improve health, happiness and wealth. For example, black eyed peas, greens and cornbread are said to represent good financial fortune, pork is said to symbolize progress, and noodles are representative of longevity in life. Take a look at this list of good luck foods from Delish and create your very own lucky feast!


Watch the Ball Drop in NYC

Each New Year’s Eve, we love crowding around the TV to see the ball drop in Times Square. And while there won’t be any crowds in New York City this year, we can still witness this exciting event live on, Facebook Watch or the ABC News app. Tune in at midnight Eastern, which is just 9 p.m. for us — so you can put the kids to bed at a reasonable time (or call it early yourself!).


Admire Holiday Lights

New Year's Eve in Portland, OR 2020

Photo Courtesy of the Oregon Zoo

If you missed out on some of our city’s many light displays throughout the holiday season, don’t fret! Many are still up past Christmas Day. In fact, several extend a few days into January for an extra magical start to the new year. Make your way to one of the many light displays open on New Year’s Eve, including Oregon Zoo’s ZooLights, Winter Wonderland, Christmas on the Campground, and The Cinnamon Bear at Oaks Park. Check each website for more information about hours and tickets, plus any details related to COVID-19.


Make a New Year’s Craft

Spend the afternoon putting together a craft with household items, like noisemakers, confetti poppers and banners, which can be used to ring in the new year at midnight! Spaceships and Laser Beams put together a collection of New Year’s craft ideas, with options for kids of all ages. This is a fun and simple way to keep the whole family occupied — while working on something creative together!


Do an Act of Kindness

New Year's Eve in Portland, OR 2020

This time of year is a natural time to give back to those in need in our communities. There are several ways you can lend a helping hand, by getting involved with a local organization in the Portland area. But a simple act of kindness can go a long way, too. Pick up trash in your neighborhood, drop off cookies or flowers at a friend’s house, offer to run an errand for an elderly neighbor, send a handwritten card to a loved one, or pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru. Above all, this is perhaps the best way you could end this challenging year — while spreading some joy and positivity to those around you!


Happy New Year!

How do you plan to celebrate this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author

Melissa Peterson, Director of Agent Services and Technology

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