14 Awesome Things to Do at Christmas in Portland

Portland is one of the most upbeat cities in the country, and at Christmas, it’s especially buzzing and beautiful. I seriously love this time of year! Whether you live in Portland or are visiting the city during the holidays, there’s plenty of fun and awesome stuff that you can do here.

From sightseeing to Christmas tree decorations to theatrical performances, the city offers a wide range of activities to make your Christmas even more special. Here are my personal favorite things to do at Christmas in Portland, Oregon…

Top 3 Things to Do at Christmas in Portland
Pioneer Courthouse Square Christmas Tree l Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled
Best For Community Event
Christmas Tree Lighting, Pioneer Courthouse Square
  • 701 SW 6th Ave
Portland Winter Wonderland at PIR l Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled
Best For Light Display
Portland Winter Wonderland at PIR
  • 1940 N Victory Blvd
Christmas lights at Pittock Mansion l Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled
Best For Instagrammable Design
Christmas Lights at Pittock Mansion
  • 3229 NW Pittock Dr
Best For Community Event

Christmas Tree Lighting, Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pioneer Courthouse Square is a public venue referred to as the ‘living room of Portland.’ Pioneer Courthouse Square presents two months of family-friendly holiday events and Portland’s beloved traditions that start in November with the arrival of a 75-foot tall Douglas fir I love it here this time of year, the atmosphere is incredible! 

I’d recommend going to the annual tree lighting ceremony held at Pioneer Courthouse Square every  Christmas Eve. The ceremony showcases a musical journey that features local high school bands, regional artists, and choral groups that lead Portlanders in a live sing-along.

Pioneer Courthouse Square features 25 steps of seating where people sit and watch the annual Christmas tree lighting, although the event has been presented virtually for the last two years. 


Iconic holiday tree lighting ceremony

Vibrant live musical performances

Involves local high school bands and regional artists

Offers two months of family-friendly holiday events


Limited seating for the live event

Recent virtual presentations due to circumstances

Nearby Attractions

Pioneer Courthouse

The Meier & Frank Building

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Must Do Things

Experience the live music and sing-along

Explore two months of holiday events at Pioneer Courthouse Square


Various food stalls and vendors

Live performances and other entertainment

Best For Light Display

Portland Winter Wonderland at PIR

Portland Winter Wonderland at PIR

If you want to enjoy your Christmas while helping the local community of Portland, you must travel through Portland Winter Wonderland on Christmas. Portland Winter Wonderland is a drive-through light show that takes place at Portland International Raceway.

As you drive your vehicle through the track, you can view over 250 colorful light set pieces and fully animated scenes. You see every corner of the raceway sparkling as you drive through it.

It is one of the best ways to celebrate the spirit of Christmas with families and friends while extending support to the local community. The profit earned through the event goes to Sunshine Division, a food bank that provides emergency clothing and food to people in need. 


Fully animated scenes for a magical experience

Profits help the local food bank

Great for celebrating with family and friends

Spectacular holiday light display


Drive-through format limits interaction

May experience traffic while driving through

Nearby Attractions

Inn At The Meadows

Portland International Raceway

Portland Model Rocket Park

Must Do Things

Experience the enchanting light displays

Visit the nearby Portland Model Rocket Park for a fun day


Nearby dog park for your furry friend

Best For Instagrammable Design

Christmas Lights at Pittock Mansion

Christmas lights at Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion is one of the best destinations for Christmas celebrations in Portland. Every year, the chateau celebrates Christmas with unique themes, such as the animal world. 

Pittock Mansion features 23 well-appointed rooms, all of which get transformed into engrossing themed rooms featuring unique exhibits. Last year, the Christmas event at Pittock Mansion celebrated the wonderful world of animals with exhibits of polar bears, reindeer, and lions.

You can be a part of Pittock Mansion’s Christmas celebrations by volunteering as a decorator. Many people come to the Pittock Mansion every year to enjoy Christmas lights and colorful displays. 


Animal-themed exhibits offer a unique experience

Mesmerizing Christmas light displays

Opportunity to volunteer and become part of the festivities

A delightful array of festive decorations


Limited availability during the holiday season

Weather can impact the outdoor experience

Nearby Attractions

Pittock Mansion Park Viewpoint

Witch's Castle

Must Do Things

Stroll through Pittock Mansion's illuminated gardens

Visit the Pittock Mansion Park Viewpoint for a stunning view of the city


Offers active military discounts

The facility is Wheelchair accessible

Best For Live Performances

Christmas Festival of Lights, The Grotto

Christmas Festival of Lights - The Grotto

Christmas Festival of Lights is a walk-through event that features several entertainment areas, all of which are either indoor or tented. You can walk through these entertainment areas for 75 to 90 minutes. 

Whether you want to see local schools performing at the Chapel of Mary or get amused with a puppet show, the Festival of Lights will entertain you well.

You can also sing along your favorite Christmas songs with local artists in the plaza tent. Every year, the Festival of Lights takes place at The Grotto, an outdoor shrine located in the Madison South district of Portland. 


Indoor and tented spaces for comfort

A wide array of entertainment choices

Showcases local artist performances


Event duration is relatively short

Religious location may not appeal to all

Nearby Attractions

Namaste Indian Cuisine - Sandy Blvd

Rocky Butte Farmers Market

Must Do Things

Enjoy a puppet show in the festive atmosphere

Sing along with local artists in the plaza tent


Nearby restaurants for a bite after the festival

Volunteer opportunities for all

Best For Decorated Trees

Safeway Providence Festival of Trees

Safeway Providence Festival of Trees

Safeway Providence Festival of Trees is a Christmas event that takes place every year at Seaside Civic & Convention Center. The Providence Seaside Hospital Foundation hosts the event.

The event starts with a public viewing of beautifully embellished Christmas trees and concludes with a gala dinner. 

Safeway Providence Festival of Trees is one of the liveliest Christmas events in Portland. At the event, you can meet with different design teams and learn how to decorate Christmas trees. The event also features musical performances by both local and national recording artists. 


Gala dinner for a festive experience

Local and national musical performances

Stunning Christmas tree displays

Interactive tree decorating lessons


The festival is limited to three days

Potential crowd during the public viewing

Nearby Attractions

Inn At Seaside

Dundee's Bar & Grill

Quatat Park

Must Do Things

Enjoy live musical performances by talented artists

Attend the gala dinner for a festive experience


Various nearby hotels to stay for tourists

Offers opportunity to learn tree decorating from design teams

Best For Families

Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree

Portland's Singing Christmas Tree

Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree is an annual event that takes place at Sunset Church.

The two-hour musical production displays both traditional and contemporary musical performances by more than 350 artists that comprise both youngsters and adults. 

The event brings Christmas joy to all ages with an excellent line-up of Christmas songs. If you want to have an immersive experience of sound and light on Christmas, you must attend this event. 


Offers a wide range of Christmas songs

Appeals to both youngsters and adults

Provides a captivating audiovisual experience

A festive and magical Christmas ambiance


Limited hotels for tourists

The musical theme may not suit all

Nearby Attractions

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland

Oak Hills Recreation Center

Must Do Things

Immerse yourself in the festive sound and light show

Learn the history of the Sunset Church


Offers ample parking space

Various foods and refreshments

Best For Historic Tradition

Christmas Ship Parade

Christmas Ship Parade Portland

Christmas Ship Parade is an annual parade of ships across the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. It is a long-established tradition of Portland that first took place in 1954. It is an annual Christmas event that continues for two weeks. 

The event includes two fleets, namely the Columbia fleet and the Willamette fleet. The Willamette fleet parades from the downtown Riverplace area to Milwaukie Riverfront Park before heading back downtown.

The Columbia fleet proceeds from the Gleason boat ramp to Washington’s side before heading down to Hayden Bay.


Two fleets offer beautiful views

Long-standing holiday tradition since 1954

Unique and memorable Christmas celebration


Limited to the riverfront

Limited viewing areas

Nearby Attractions

Milwaukie Bay Park

South Hawthorne Waterfront Park

Must Do Things

Enjoy the festive atmosphere along the riverbanks

Join a riverfront gathering for festive holiday cheer


Various riverfront gatherings for a community feel

Best For Interactive Performances

Portland Revels

Christmas Ship Parade

Portland Revels is a theater production that can make Christmas celebrations even more delightful for you and your family. If you want to add music, dance, drama, and tradition to your Christmas celebrations, you must watch Portland Revels on Christmas.

From choral music to traditional dance to story-telling, Portland Revels adds luster to your Christmas celebration in many different ways.

The audience is also given the opportunity to sing and dance along with professional musicians, dancers, actors, and storytellers. You can also donate to help Portland Revels continue their support to the local community. 


Audience participation in singing and dancing

Offers a unique holiday experience

Diverse choral and dance performances

Professional musicians and dancers


It may not appeal to all tastes

Limited to Christmas season

Nearby Attractions

Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House

McMenamins Crystal Ballroom

Powell's City of Books

Must Do Things

Participate in singing and dancing with professional artists

Support the local community by making a donation


An on-site restaurant for dining

Offers free Wi-Fi and military discounts

Best For All ages

Peacock Lane Christmas Lights

Peacock Lane Christmas Lights

Portland’s Christmas Street is a holiday tradition that displays Christmas lights on Peacock Lane. The spectacle of lights extends across four residential blocks in Southeast Portland. 

These four residential blocks between Stark and Belmont Streets attract crowds from all over Portland to indulge in the striking display of Christmas lights hanging over the steep roofs of cottage-style houses.

You can relish these breathtaking holiday lights displayed from 15th December to 31st December daily between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. 


Spectacular Christmas lights display

Ideal family attraction for creating lasting memories

Free admission provides accessible holiday fun

A holiday tradition that captivates all ages


Crowded during peak hours

Limited parking availability in the area

Nearby Attractions

Laurelhurst Skate Park

El Salto PDX

Must Do Things

Walk along Peacock Lane at night

Take a picture with the various decorations


Various stands that offer refreshments

Best For Adult-only Experience

Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival

Christmas Celebrations at Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival

Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival celebrates Christmas beneath the largest decorated Christmas tree in the city. From delicious holiday-themed food to live music, Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival has everything to make your celebrations more joyful. 

At Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival, revelers can sample from over 50 featured beers that keep drinks warm on snowy winter nights. You get to create your beer-inspired carol under a majestic Christmas tree at this festival.

The venues of the festival vary every year.


Festive atmosphere with a giant Christmas tree

Live music enhances the celebration

Over 50 featured beers for beer enthusiasts

Delicious seasonal treats are available


Food options could be limited


so consider weather conditions

Nearby Attractions

Vary according to the venue

Must Do Things

Create your beer-inspired carol under a giant Christmas tree

Sample some of the holiday treats


Various live performances and seasonal treats

Offers multiple free sample beers

Best For Unique Experience

Drive-By Christmas on the Campground

Drive-By Christmas on the Campground

Drive-By Christmas on the Campground is a festival that invites Portlanders to stroll past the campground on Duke Street and revel in the divine Christmas lights display.

This drive-by festival features the tallest Christmas tree in Southeast Portland. 

The lights display begins on Thanksgiving weekends and continues through the end of the year. You can also listen to your favorite holiday songs in the evening. 


Tallest Christmas tree in Southeast Portland

Extended display through New Year

Festive holiday songs in the evening


Limited timeframe for enjoyment

The parking options are limited

Nearby Attractions

Hidden East Tavern

Mehri's Cafe and Bakery

Brentwood City Park

Must Do Things

Stop by a nearby cafe to enjoy a hot cup of coffee

Take a picture by the largest Christmas tree


Nativity Pageant is presented each evening by the Sunday school students.

Best For Live Music

Magic of Christmas, Portland Symphony Orchestra

Magic of Christmas - Portland Symphony Orchestra

Magic of Christmas is a Christmas tradition performed by the Portland Symphony Orchestra every year. The event features special guests like Laura Darrell, Ray Cornils, and James Kennerley. 

If you want to listen to old and new Christmas classics by your favorite artists, you must become a part of this magical music festival. 


A delightful blend of Christmas songs

Features world-renowned musical talents

A captivating annual holiday tradition

Nearby Attractions

Maine Historical Society and the Wadsworth

Friends of Fort Gorges

Maine House of Comedy

Must Do Things

Stop by Maine House of Comedy and have a fun night

Enjoy timeless carols and classics


Offers a variety of seating arrangements

A variety of events for all

Best For Fun Activity

Ice Skate at Oaks Park

Ice Skate at Oaks Park

Oaks Park is an amusement park that features a large roller skating rink. Oaks Park Roller Skating Rink is one of the largest and oldest skating rinks in the country.

Every year, the rink is fringed by Christmas decorations with a Christmas tree in the center. 

If you are looking for something thrilling to do indoors on Christmas, you can go ice skating at Oaks Amusement Park. 


Indoor ice skating during winter

One of the largest roller skating rinks

Festive atmosphere with Christmas decorations


Potential waits due to crowds

Only limited to indoors

Nearby Attractions

Portland Insectarium

Portland Puppet Museum

Sellwood Riverfront Park

Must Do Things

Enjoy the festive Christmas decorations and tree during the holidays

Go to the haunted house and have some spooky fun


Has a bar and restaurant on-site

Offers free Wi-Fi and a children’s playground

Best For Adventure

Go Christmas Hiking

Christmas hike Portland

If you want to start your Christmas morning with an exciting adventure, you should do an urban hike. It is an ideal time for hiking as the trails are deserted during the holiday season.

You can pack some Christmas embellishments in your bag and create your own Christmas tree on the hike. 

The best trail to hike on Christmas is the Lower Macleay Park trail, which passes through the Witch’s Castle and ends at the Pittock Mansion. Once you are done with the hike, you can spend some time sightseeing at the Pittock Mansion. 


Unique Christmas morning adventure

Peaceful trails during the holiday

Lower Macleay Park trail's beautiful route


Some may find the hike strenuous

Limited facilities on the trail

Nearby Attractions

Pittock Mansion Park Viewpoint

Witch's Castle

Pittock Mansion

Must Do Things

Hike to Pittock Mansion to enjoy the Christmas lights at the Mansion

Bring Christmas decorations and decorate a trailside tree


Various kid-friendly hikes

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