Holiday Activities in Portland, OR
A favorite anytime of year, the Oregon Zoo is also a hot spot during the holidays with their amazing lights display -- ZooLights! The entire zoo is decked out in over a million twinkling lights, making this the perfect place to spend a holiday season evening with your family or your sweetheart -- and you can even visit the animals while you're there (if they're still awake!). The train at the zoo is also operating during ZooLights and we certainly suggest splurging on the extra ticket to take a ride through the park. Want to beat the crowds? Visit the week between Christmas and New Years.
Are you sure that Santa's big belly is from milk and cookies? We're pretty sure it's full of beer from the Portland Holiday Ale Festival! Taking place over an entire weekend in the beginning of every December, this festival is a great way to kick off your holidays -- admission is $25, which gets you entrance to the festival for all five-days, plus a mug for your beer and tickets to do your sampling. In addition, there's a beer brunch for more tastings and pairings with food -- a truly unique experience for the beer-lover.
The Grotto is literally a santuary within Portland -- its formal name is The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother -- and it is truly a place to find peace, even during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Every year, from Thanksgiving weekend to the end of the year, The Grotto hosts a Christmas Festival of Lights where the entire place is filled with pretty lights and there are 170 different holiday concerts to attend -- including indoor and outdoor concerts. In fact, The Grotto's holiday concert line-up makes it the largest Christmas choral festival in the entire world.
This wouldn't be a holiday activities list without a good old fashioned tree lighting! The tree lighting ceremony in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square is just what you need to round out your holiday to-do list -- the tree is always lit the night after Thanksgiving and they usually bring in an amazing tree that gives the Rockefeller Center tree a run for its money. The lead up to the tree being lit includes lots of great holiday music and even a sing-a-long for the crowd!
Although Lloyd Center Ice Rink is available for ice skating all year round thanks to its indoor location, there's something about ice skating and the holidays that just goes hand in hand. Lloyd Center Ice Rink is a Portland favorite for families, couples, novices and expert skaters -- although it can get quite crowded at this ice skating rink, people are kind about giving other skaters space and the rental skates are quite nice. During the holidays, Lloyd Center Ice Rink extends its hours to make sure you can take your time and enjoy some skating in between shopping!