Winter events happening in and around Portland

Check out winter and holiday-themed events happening in and around Portland in this seasonal guide.

A classic train covered in holiday lights in movement along railroad tracks at night.

ZooLights returns with past family favorites, as well as a new coastal-themed installation.

Photo by Oregon Zoo

Table of Contents

Get your fuzzy socks and hot cocoa ready Portland. From light displays to holiday performances and festive parties, winter is where Rose City thrives.

Gather the family and friends and celebrate what makes the holiday season special with this guide featuring 24 winter events happening between December and February.

Children walk through a geometric-shaped light installation lit with cool green-blue tones.

This year marks the eighth annual Portland Winter Light Festival.

Photo by Amy Sakurai

Winter festivals

Christmas Festival of Lights | Friday, Nov. 25-Friday, Dec. 30 (closed on Christmas) | 5-9:30 p.m. (Nov. 25-Dec. 16); 4:30-9:30 p.m. (Dec. 17-Dec. 30) | The Grotto, 8840 NE Skidmore St. | $0-$14 | The peaceful wooded sanctuary transforms into a glowing winter wonderland with lights, outdoor carolers, and dozens of chorale performances inside the Chapel of Mary with its cathedral-like acoustics.

Portland Winter Light Festival | Friday, Feb. 3-Saturday, Feb. 11 | Times vary | Locations across the metro area | Free | Illuminated sculptures, video projections, pop-up performances, food carts, and more turn the City of Roses into a magical electric wonderland.

Volksfest | Friday, Feb. 3-Sunday, Feb. 5 | Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. | Mt. Angel Community Festhalle, 500 Wilco Hwy. NE, Mt. Angel | $0-$10 | This celebration of German sausage will feature live music, local beer and wine, craft vendors, balloon art, and more.

A historic steam locomotive painted black, orange, and red puffs clouds of steam into the air as it moves along the tracks.

The historic SP 4449 locomotive takes Holiday Express passengers along the Oregon Pacific Railroad for the 2021 holiday season in Southeast Portland.

Holiday events

Pittock Mansion Christmas | Sunday, Nov. 20-Wednesday, Jan. 4 | 10 a.m.-3 p.m. | Pittock Mansion, 3229 NW Pittock Dr. | $0-$15.50 | Ring in the holidays with this year’s “Music Makes the Season” exhibit, complete with festive, music-themed displays created by volunteer decorators.

Omiyage Holiday Store | Friday, Nov. 25-Friday, Dec. 23 | Thursday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. | Japanese American Museum of Oregon, 411 NW Flanders St. Ste. 100 | Free | This holiday pop-up shop features unique Japanese-inspired gifts and crafts by local artists, designers, and authors.

The Holiday Express | Friday, Nov. 25-Sunday, Dec. 18 | Times vary | Oregon Rail Heritage Center, 2250 SE Water Ave. | $23-$92 | Join Santa and his elves for a magical ride along the Willamette River in vintage rail cars pulled by a historic steam locomotive.

The SymbiOp Winter Market | Saturday, Nov. 26-Friday, Dec. 23 | Times vary | The Carson, 2121 NW Savier St. | Local artists, makers, local businesses, and community leaders will gather to offer sustainable holiday shopping options.

Festival of Trees Gala | Thursday, Dec. 1 | 5:30 p.m. | Oregon Convention Center | $250+ | Kick off the season in style at the event’s 40th anniversary and support Providence Children’s Health.

Portland Night Market | Thursday, Dec. 1-Sunday, Dec. 4 | Thursday, 6-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 4-11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. | 100 SE Alder St. | $0-$25 | Peruse 175+ of Portland’s best food, culture, music, drinks, and retail vendors.

Elf Academy Public Show | Friday, Dec. 2 + Saturday, Dec. 3 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. | Oregon Convention Center | $12 | Kids will learn what it’s like to be one of Santa’s elves by joining a scavenger hunt through a holiday tree forest, meeting Santa or one of several magical Christmas characters roaming the festival, and getting into the giving spirit.

Unique Markets: Portland Holiday 2022 Market | Saturday, Dec. 3-Sunday, Dec. 4 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Veterans Memorial Coliseum | $10-$40 | Get your shopping done early and discover 160 emerging brands and designers, plus free gift wrapping, photo booths, and drinks.

Laurelhurst Winter Bazaar | Sunday, Dec. 4 | 9 a.m.-4 p.m. | Laurelhurst School, 840 NE 41st Ave. | Free | Local craft vendors will sell their creations to support Laurelhurst School.

Crafty Wonderland Holiday Art + Craft Market | Friday, Dec. 9-Sunday, Dec. 11 | Friday, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. | Oregon Convention Center | $0-$20 | Shop from over 225 booths of handmade goods, with everything from cross stitch kits to greeting cards.

A crowded room of people partying and dancing with New Year's Eve decorations and confetti.

The 30th annual Champagne Ball will feature Hit Machine, DJ Doc Rock, DJ Eric Wright, and local camelid celebrities.

NYE celebrations

Champagne Ball | Saturday, Dec. 31 | 8 p.m. | Portland Art Museum | $109-$516 | Ring in the new year with a ball drop, champagne toast, hors d’oeuvres, dancing, and more.

DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid’s New Year‘s Eve Dance Party | Saturday, Dec. 31 | 9 p.m.-1 a.m. | Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St. | $35-$45 | This duo has been rocking Portland’s club scene on New Year’s Eve since 2000.

New Years Eve Cruise | Saturday, Dec. 31 | 10 p.m.-1 a.m. | Salmon Springs Dock, 1010 SW Naito Pkwy. | $115 | Watch 2022 slip out with the tide while Portland Spirit helps you sail into 2023 with dancing, live music, drinks, appetizers, and a champagne toast while floating along the Willamette River.

A home outlined with holiday lights and The Grinch yard decorations.

Some say Peacock Lane’s Christmas tradition dates back to the mid-1920s.

Photo by Visitor7

Light displays

ZooLights | Wednesday, Nov. 23-Thursday, Jan. 5 | Times vary | Oregon Zoo | $21-$65 | Walk or drive through dazzling light displays while the zoo’s living residents rest for the night.

Winter Wonderland | Friday, Nov. 25-Saturday, Dec. 31 | Monday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 4:30-11 p.m. | Portland International Raceway, 1940 N. Victory Blvd. | $48-$155 | Drive through the “largest light show west of the Mississippi” and support the Sunshine Division‘s year-round hunger relief efforts.

Christmas Ships Parade | Friday, Dec. 2-Wednesday, Dec. 21 | Times vary | Various locations on the Columbia and Willamette rivers | Free | Brightly lit, colorful flotillas will set sail for the 68th year, drawing thousands of onlookers to the river banks.

Peacock Lane | Thursday, Dec. 15-Saturday, Dec. 31 | 6-11 p.m. | Southeast Peacock Lane | Free | “Portland’s Christmas Street” is back in full force this year, with a cocoa booth, pedestrian-only nights, and four residential blocks of homes decked out in holiday lights.

Dozens of tuba players gather in an outdoor space for a holiday performance.

Approx. 200 tuba players will perform in unison at the 31st annual TUBACHRISTMAS concert.

Photo by @thesquarepdx

Holiday performances

“Elf The Musical” | Wednesday, Nov. 16-Sunday, Dec. 18 | Times vary | Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St., Lake Oswego | $25-$42 | It’s the story you know about Buddy the Elf searching for his birth father in New York City — but with a lot more singing.

George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” | Friday, Dec. 9-Saturday, Dec. 24 | Times vary | Keller Auditorium | $15+ | The Oregon Ballet Theatre will carry you away to a land of toy soldiers, dancing snowflakes, and sugarplum fairies set to Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score.

Handel’s “Messiah” | Dec. 9-Dec. 11 | Times vary | First Baptist Church, 909 SW 11th Ave. | $38-$78 | Experience all three hours of one of the most-performed works in musical history.

Gospel Christmas with the Oregon Symphony | Saturday, Dec. 10-Sunday, Dec. 11 | Times vary | Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall | $25-$115 | The symphony and the Northwest Community Gospel Chorus will lift their music and their voices to add joy to the season at this 23rd annual concert.

TUBACHRISTMAS | Saturday, Dec. 10 | 1:30 p.m. | Pioneer Courthouse Square | Free | Celebrate the lowest-pitched musical instrument in the brass family by spectating or adding your skills to the concert.

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