Portland is one of the most upbeat cities in the country and at Christmas, it’s especially buzzing and beautiful. 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 the best things to do at Christmas in Portland, Oregon…
1. Christmas Tree Lighting, Pioneer Courthouse Square – a must-see Christmas event in Portland
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-feet tall douglas fir.
Every year, the annual tree lighting ceremony is held at Pioneer Courthouse Square on 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.
Address: 701 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States
2. Portland Winter Wonderland at PIR – the most popular and largest light show in the Northwest
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.
Address: 1940 N Victory Blvd, Portland, OR 97217, United States
3. Christmas lights at Pittock Mansion – one of the best and much loved Christmas events in Portland
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, reindeers, 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.
Address: 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 97210, United States
4. Christmas Festival of Lights, The Grotto – one of the most well-known Christmas events in the city
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.
Address: 8840 NE Skidmore St, Portland, OR 97220, United States
5. Safeway Providence Festival of Trees – a wonderful three-day Chrismtas event
Safeway Providence Festival of Trees is a Christmas event that takes place every year at Seaside Civic & Convention Center. The event is hosted by Providence Seaside Hospital Foundation.
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.
Address: 415 1st Ave, Seaside, OR 97138, United States
6. Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree – bringing the sights and sounds of Christmas
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.
Address: 14986 NW Cornell Rd, Portland, OR 97229, United States
7. Christmas Ship Parade – a spectacular Portland Christmas event which started in 1954
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 side before heading down to Hayden Bay.
8. Portland Revels – celebrates the seasons through song, dance, story and ritual of the past and present
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 make a donation to help Portland Revels continue their support to the local community.
Address: The Armory, 128 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, United States
9. Peacock Lane Christmas Lights – one of the best things to do in Portland at Christmas
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.
Address: SE Peacock Ln, Portland, OR 97214, United States
10. Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival – a fun adult Christmas celebration
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 own beer-inspired carol under a majestic Christmas tree at this festival.
The venues of the festival vary every year.
11. Drive-By Christmas on the Campground – brings a traditional light display to Portland every year
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.
12. Magic of Christmas, Portland Symphony Orchestra – an elegant Christmas must-see event
Magic of Christmas is a Christmas tradition performed in 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.
Address: 50 Monument Sq #2, Portland, ME 04101, United States
13. Ice Skate at Oaks Park – one of the best things to do in Portland
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.
Address: 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR 97202, United States
14. Go Christmas Hiking – a wonderful family-friendly Christmas activity
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.
We also have posts on…
- Best Festivals and Events in Portland
- Best Things to do near Portland
- Things to do in the Fall in Oregon
- Most Instagrammable places in Portland
Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children’s theatre troop, lived as an au-pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa danced in Cuba and road tripped down America’s west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. In between adventures she resides peacefully with her family, cats and ukulele.