Magical Christmas Day & Weekend Activities for Families

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In Portland for the holidays? Live here year round? Whichever it may be, the holidays are always an excuse to grab your partner and the little ones and be a tourist, or act like one in your own city! Want to really sink into the Christmas spirit? Grab a hot chocolate, sit back, relax, and read on for this year’s best Christmas Day & weekend family activities in Portland!

via Pittock Mansion

Light It Up on Peacock Lane

After your Christmas feast, take the family to this street filled with historic English-style cottages, which are all decked out in lights and decorations. A Portland tradition since the 1920s, there are two ways to see the houses: on foot and by car. If you’re staying in your car, visit at non-peak times, which are typically before 7 p.m. and after 10 p.m.

Cost: Free
Hours: 6 p.m.-11 p.m., Dec. 15-31
Peacock Lane is between SE Stark St. and SE Belmont St. and one block east of SE 39th

Pittock Mansion

Head up into the northwest Portland hills for the enchanting Christmas scene at Pittock Mansion! This historic home has lit up each of its 16 beautiful rooms with dazzling trees and holiday decor, a sight that is sure to be merry and mesmerizing. Running until January 4th, 2022, Pittock will be decked out in its “Critters Make Merry” holiday theme, with all sorts of critter themed art. What child doesn’t want to see a lion wearing a Santa hat? And the adults can take a selfie! Be sure to stop by the view from the back lawn before you go for a beautiful photo opportunity. 

Cost: Adults $13, Youth $9, Senior $11, Free under 6
Hour: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Days: Closed on Christmas, but open on the weekend.
3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland OR 97210
(503) 823-3623

via Unsplashed

Holiday Express

Cosmic Tubing

Mt. Hood Skibowl is home to the world’s only Cosmic Tubing®. One thing we know for sure is that Cosmic Tubing is the best party on the mountain! Enjoy over 600,000 LED lights, laser light shows, black lights, colored lights, rocking music and more! It will be the most fun you’ve had all weekend. Don’t bother walking up the hill with that big tube, just jump on Mt. Hood’s only dual conveyor lifts dedicated to tubing, and relax all the way to the top! Great fun for the whole family!

Cost: starting at $25
Online: Event Details

Pioneer Courthouse Square Christmas Tree

Visit the city’s holiday tree without the crowds. The 75-foot Douglas-fir tree – provided each year by Stimson Lumber Company – will be lit up over 14,000 colorful lights. Bring some hot chocolate and treats for an extra magical experience.

Cost: Free
701 SW 6th Ave.
Portland, OR

ZooLights via Yelp

Zoo Lights

Want to know what the extra traffic on Highway 26 is about? Portlanders near and far are heading to the Oregon Zoo in the west Portland hills for the city’s most popular, and arguably best, Christmas tradition! The Oregon Zoo out does themselves each holiday season by creating an enchanting light show spread through almost their exhibits and open lawn spaces. Due to COVID-19, they’ve adapted the typical foot-traffic event to a drive-through adventure! Put on Mariah Carey, roll the windows down and crank the heat as you roll by over 1.5 million lights! 

Tickets are time-sensitive and must be purchased in advance, online. Head over to their website for additional price and scheduling details!

Cost: Varies
Days: Closed on Christmas, but open all other days.
4001 SW Canyon Rd, Portland OR 97221 
(503) 226-1561
Online: Event Details

The Grotto: Christmas Festival of Lights

The Christmas Festival of Lights at the Grotto is impressive in its own right! It is the largest Christmas choral festival in the world – and who doesn’t want to experience that? With a schedule armed with over 150 different holiday concerts, there is surely delight to be had and memories to be made. Whether your family takes a stroll around the grounds for light and sightseeing, or takes a seat inside the massive chapel to see the choir, the Christmas Festival of Lights is a holiday experience you won’t want to miss. Food and beverages are available for purchase, and why not getting a little holiday shopping done at the Grotto Gift Shop? Head online for the concert schedule and plan your visit now!

Cost: Adult $11, Child $6
Days: Closed on Christmas, but open on the weekend.
8840 NE Skidmore St, Portland OR 97220
(503) 254-7371
Online: Event Details

Chase M. via Yelp

Portland International Raceway Holiday Light Show

Drivers, start your engines! But don’t race, take your time driving along the Portland International Raceway on some December night to be awed by the 250 illuminated holiday set pieces, featuring everything from the 12 Days of Christmas to reindeer bounding over the track! Be sure to have the camera ready when you and your family drive through the tunnel of lights, or by the waving Santa! So bring a thermos full of cocoa, adding some marshmallows for good measure, turn on the Christmas tunes and meander through a winter wonderland that is sure to leave a sparkle in your eye!

Cost: Varies
1940 N Victory Blvd, Portland OR 97217
(503) 823-2329
Online: Event Details


—Hannah Judge


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