The holiday season is in full swing in Portland. We've been scouring the city to find the best events and activities and have put together this huge list.
Christmas in the Garden
You'll probably end up at Woodburn Premium Outlets some time this winter, so it's worth considering the extra few miles to the trip to check out the bucolic winter wonder of the Oregon Garden. With a vast array of yuletide activities like snowless tubing, ice skating and a santa impersonator on site, as well as a beer garden to make all that stuff fun, it's a great place to kill an afternoon with the family away from the outlet mall crowd.
A Very Portland Christmas at Pittock Mansion
With decorations featuring iconic themes like Powell's Books and Packy the Elephant, now's a great time to actually go inside the Pittock Mansion, rather than around it, for an in-depth exploration of the historic property.
Land lovers behold as two fleets of boats decked out in Christmas lights float up and down the Columbia and Willamette. Whether or not the drone-shooting, PBR-chugging hobo pirates who call our city's waterways home are participating is TBD.
Visit christmasships.org for fleet schedules and weather-related updates. Through Thursday, Dec 21.
Now's your chance to sit in the lap of a Santa look-alike with sleeves of tattoos, a manbun and a Big Lebowski sweater. Because Portland.
Always a fantastic place to be stoned, the Oregon Zoo gets lit every winter with one of the largest arrays of illumination in the city. Rhinos and elephants might not be your thing, but it's pretty cool seeing them made out of neon string lights in the dark!
Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition
The mention of figgy pudding in this annual holiday throwdown is a bit of a red herring, but it's still worth attending if you've ever wondered how competitive caroling functions in a live setting. Will there be choreographed dance fighting as well? Only one way to find out!
Pioneer Courthouse Square, Facebook event here.
With Holiday Ale Fest in the rearview, Occidental is playing counter to the sweet and malty flavors of the season by devoting two entire days to the easy-drinking glory of lagers and their many offshoots. Sometimes a beer-flavored beer is just what the doctor ordered.
Cooking the Dickens out of Christmas
Assemble the Scrooges in your life and head to this Woodlawn pub for a five-course meal of English favorites like duck liver pate, roasted duck breast and spiced rum cake.
Willamette Week Holiday Marketplace
Are you a chronic procrastinator who hates holiday shopping? Willamette Week has your back! Stop by District East for an evening of fine beer, cocktails and awesome last-minute gift ideas from local brands like Poler, Seisuke Knives, Fetch Eyewear, New Deal Distillery and many more.
District East, 2305 SE 9th Ave., 503-278-7349. districteastpdx.com. Thursday, December 14. 5-9pm. Free. All ages. Facebook event here.
Cheer the Fuck Up: An OK Chorale Sing-along
Founded as an informal effort to gather Bowie fans after his death for a giant sing-along, OK Chorale has exploded in popularity as a way for average Portlanders to convene in the name of chorale harmony. Everyone knows at least a few Christmas songs, so you might as well stop by and shout along to "Santa Got Run Over By a Reindeer" with a few cans of Rainier in your system, right?
Mark O'Connor & the O'Connor Band – An Appalachian Christmas
Though he was born in Seattle, the handful of finger-pickin' and fiddle-playin' awards under his belt speaks plenty towards Mark O'Connor's bluegrass cred, which will will offer Portlanders a window into the lively and lonesome sounds of an Appalachian Christmas.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 503-248-4335, portland5.com. Friday, Dec 22. 7:30pm. $18-105. All ages. Event page here.
Candi Pop Christmas Edition
They say there's no such thing as a guilty pleasure, but for those of us who enjoy Wham's "Last Christmas" a little more than we'd care to admit publicly, perhaps an evening of Candi Pop's curation of guilt-ridden Christmas cheese is the safest place to be.
Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., 503-239-7639, holocene.org. Saturday, Dec 23. 9pm. $5 before 10pm, $8 after. 21+. Event page here.
Christmas Eve at Departure
Tired of fruit cake and charades at grandma's house? Don your finest urban upscale fashions and take the family to Departure for an evening of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and an impressive view of Pioneer Square this Christmas Eve.
Departure, 525 SW Morrison St., 503-802-5370, departureportland.com. Open 10 am-10 pm. Facebook event here.
The Holiday Express
If sipping a peppermint mocha on the MAX isn't quite the Polar Express experience you've been pining for, head down to Oaks Park and hop aboard the closest facsimile to the classic Christmas book Portland has to offer.
Train departs from Oaks Park Station, 7805 SE Oaks Way, 503-233-5777, oakspark.com. Saturday, Dec 16 & Sunday, Dec 17 noon-8m. $8-$20.50. All ages. Sold Out.
Affiniti's A Celtic Christmas
If Enya's Christmas Secrets has finally lost its charm, this award-winning Irish trio will have Bing Crosby's nephew Howard in two to entertain with a mix of haunting Irish folk tunes, holiday classics and some cheeky Irish banter in between.
27th Annual Tuba Christmas Concert
Christmas Fantasy Trail
It may be a Halloween trail repurposed for Christmas, but where else can you take your inlaws with the hope of getting the lost in a maze for hours so you can finally have some peace and quiet?
The Miracle of a Million Lights
Whether you aspire to have a home this festive or are just interested in gawking, this mansion in the Kenton neighborhood may qualify as the most decked out Christmas display in Portland proper. Sorry, Peacock Lane.
Christmas at the Old Church
Join pianist Michael Allen Harrison and vocalist Julianne Johnson-Weiss for an evening of traditional Christmas music at the Old Church.
Train to Christmas Town
A train through Sellwood is nice, but this trip through the snow-dusted fields of Hood River County is as close as it gets to the North Pole in these parts. It departs from Hood River, which means a pit stop at pFriem for a growler or two before the trip is a must.
Christmas Festival of Lights
Enjoy local choirs run through the holiday hits at the Grotto with cathedral-quality sound and a dazzling array of Christmas lights throughout the facility. If you're jonesing to hear secular hits like "Frosty the Snowman," however, you might be SOL.
Winter Wonderland xmas Light Show
Here's your golden opportunity to take your tricked out Integra out on Portland International Raceway. But there's a catch- you'll be idling along the track while families gawk a massive spread of Christmas lights. May we suggest popping an edible or two and getting an Uber for the event instead?
Portland International Raceway, 1940 N Victory Blvd., 503-823-7223, winterwonderlandportland.com. Sunday- Thursday 5:30 pm-9:30 pm. Friday-Saturday 5 pm-11 pm. Through Dec 26. $20-$50. All ages.
Christmas Classics at the Mission Theater
Enjoy cheap-o screenings of Elf, Home Alone, A Christmas Story and more at McMenamin's historic Alphabet District property. If you've never tried your hand at the Love Actually drinking game, there's plenty of Hammerhead IPA on draft to keep things interesting!
McMenamin's Mission Theater and Pub, 1624 NW Glisan St., 503-223-4527, check mcmenamins.com/mission-theater for prices and showtimes.
Vespertine Winter Ball
Even the goths are dreaming of a white christmas, and this fancy and formal sister event to the Vampire's Masquerade Ball is guaranteed to give it to them.
Oregon Ballet Theater presents The Nutcracker
Savaged by critics and ignored by audiences upon its 1892 debut in St. Petersburg, this Christmas story of rats, toy soldiers and confectionary sprites was saved from the dustbin of history thanks to its Tchaikovsky score, and is now one of the world's best-loved Christmas traditions. Oregon Ballet Theatre's production us the new American standard version by choreographer George Balanchine, the one which introduced the show to the U.S. and which remains popular with children partly due to all the kids on stage. It's straightforward and
Crafty Wonderland Holiday Market
Choose from an endless selection of twee little Portland-themed doodads and Etsy chic come-to-life at this massive seasonal shopping event put on by Crafty Wonderland.
The Squirts Christmas Beach Party
Enjoy an evening of Christmas music, mischief and the fourth-wall smashing improv of Portland's own the Squirts.
East Portland Eagles Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne Blvd.. Thursday, Dec 14. 8pm. $10-$15. 21+. Facebook event here.
IKEA Christmas Julbord
There's more to the Swedish discount design giant's menu than meatballs, and this all-you-can-eat event is the perfect chance to see how our Scandinavian friends like to do it up for the holidays in case you missed the fancier Julbord feast that just happened at Broder.
The Christmas Revels Nordic Lights
Based on an amalgamation of Scandinavian solstice mythology, this is the premiere wintertime event for the godless pagans of the greater Portland area.
Holiday lights on Peacock Lane
Enjoy a leisurely stroll through this quaint offshoot of the Laurelhurst neighborhood that takes Christmas decorations very seriously before the lawless miscreants occupying nearby Laurelhurst Park migrate east and ruin everything!
SE Peacock Lane between Stark and Belmont. 6-11pm daily, Dec 15-31. Pedestrian-only nights Dec 15-17. Free. All ages. See site here.
Not nearly as popular as its infamous New York-based big brother event, Stumptown Santacon estimates near 3,000 adult children bandying about the Pearl and Chinatown dressed like Santa, which makes this a can't miss event if drinking too much and acting foolish in those neighborhoods is a thing you're predisposed to enjoy anyway.
Starts at Splash Lounge, 904 NW Couch St., 503-847-9177, santacon.info. Saturday, Dec 16. 1pm. $10. 21+.
Portland Playhouse Christmas Carol
If you're looking for the most traditional, pristinely produced version or Dickens' Yuletide tale, Portland Playhouse's show is the way to go. The annual production manages to use enough creative staging to satiate adventurous theater-goers without throwing off traditionalists.
Hampton Opera Center, 221 SE Caruthers St., portlandplayhouse.org. 7 pm Tuesday-Sunday, through Dec. 30. $34-$59.
Twist Your Dickens
Created by Second City, the semi-improvisational parody of A Christmas Carol returns to Portland Center Stage where it will be performed by some of the city's best comedic actors. Portland Center Stage, 128 NW 11th Ave., pcs.org. 7:30 pm Tuesday-Sunday, 2 pm Saturday-Sunday, through Dec. 31. $25-$75.
Every year, Passinart theatre produces Langston Hughe's gospel song retelling of the biblical story. Greater St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church, 3605 NE Mallory St., passinart.org. 7:30 pm Saturday, 3 pm Sunday, through Dec. 17. $7-$20.
Charles Dickens Writes A Christmas Carol
Bag and Baggage Theatre's A Christmas Carol fanfiction imagines Charles Dickens struggling to write his famous play, just in case you can't get enough Dickens during the holidays.
The Vault Theater, 350 E Main St., bagnbaggage.org. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, 2 pm Sunday, through Dec. 23. $32.
A Christmas Carol the Musical
If you like Dickens' story about a capitalist curmudgeon who learns the true meaning of Christmas with the help of some ghosts, but wish it had even more holiday cheer, the sing-song adaptation at Brunish Theatre is probably for you.
The Brunish Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, portland5.com. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, 2 pm Sunday, through Dec. 24. $45.
Re-Run Theater will screen a curated selection of 16mm, seasonal animated shorts that range from heart warming to bizarre. Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., hollywoodtheatre.org. 2 pm Saturday, Dec. 23. $6.
Something Christmas This Way Comes at The Ape Theater
Portland's newest comedy theater is producing their first holiday sketch show, co-created by the theater's three very funny founders. The Ape Theater, 126 NE Alberta, theapetheater.com. 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 2 pm Sunday, through Dec. 17. $10-$15.