Need More Winter Activity Ideas? Here Is a Roundup of Events Scheduled From December Through March.

Portland Winter Light Festival 2019 Portland Winter Light Festival. Photo by Outer Elements Photography. (Aaron rogosin)


Silverton Christmas Market

Why go to Europe this December when you can just head to the Silverton Christmas Market? The Oregon Garden Resort attraction—an homage to authentic German Christmas markets—this year has added displays and vendors and features a longer, wider walking path. While there’s no longer an ice skating rink, we’d argue that the collectable mugs, traditional lebkuchen (gingerbread hearts), glühwein, handcrafted German nutcrackers, biergarten and snowless tubing hill more than make up for that loss. And the 1 million Christmas lights (yes, literally). Oh, and the dedication to Krampus, St. Nicholas’ “wicked German counterpart.” You can also book an overnight stay to get your Christmas fix—if they don’t sell out, that is. Oregon Garden Resort, 895 W Main St., Silverton, 503-874-2539, Various times starting at 5 pm daily, through Dec. 31. Closed Nov. 22-23 and Dec. 24-25. $8-$20. Children younger than 5 get in free.

Shore Acres Holiday Lights

If you’re one of those people who starts playing Christmas music before you’ve even finished Thanksgiving dinner, this event is for you. The annual Shore Acres Holiday Lights debuted on Thanksgiving and continue shining through New Year’s Eve. The Southern Oregon Coast state park’s beautiful 7-acre botanical garden completely transforms into a winter wonderland for the holiday season with a little help from about 325,000 LED lights. It’s absolutely gorgeous and it only costs $5 (for parking). Just be sure to book your timed entry online in advance. Happy light-seeing! Shore Acres State Park, 89526 Cape Arago Highway, Coos Bay, 800-551-6949, 4:30-9 pm daily, through Dec. 31. $5 parking fee.

Portland Night Market

Specialty handcrafted cocktails served in light bulb jars. An enormous, photo-op-worthy marquee that reads “Sleigh All Day.” Elaborate homemade holiday décor as far as the eye can see. Heart-shaped pizzas. Oh, and roaming celebrity therapy alpacas…arguably the best part. All of these things—and literally so much more—can be found at the Portland Night Market. A handful of times a year, an airplane hangar-sized warehouse in the Central Eastside Industrial District completely transforms to host an almost overwhelming slew of 175-plus vendors. And this year, we get two of ‘em in winter alone. Talk about sleigh. Portland Night Market, 100 SE Alder St., 503-974-6717, 4-11 pm Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 30-Dec. 3, and Friday-Saturday, Feb. 9-10. Free admission, $10 for a fast pass to skip the line.

Christmas Ships Parade

The Christmas Ships Parade begins its 69th season this Dec. 1, which you may already know if you’ve been watching the event website’s countdown clock. The parade comprises about 60 different boats ranging in length from 14 to 65 feet that hold brightly lit passengers such as the (inflatable) Grinch and a fishing Santa. Two fleets take to the Willamette and Columbia almost nightly, and they’re free to watch (though you may prefer to take in the procession from the comfort of a waterfront restaurant). Willamette and Columbia rivers, Times vary daily, through Dec. 17. No parade Dec. 7 and 11-12. Free.

Xmas Ship Parade_Photo by Christmas Ships Parade (Maria A.Swearingen)


Portland’s Folk Festival

Portland’s Folk Festival began as a one-day event or, as local folk legends and festival hosts Fox and Bones describe it, “a 12-hour love fest,” at McMenamins White Eagle in 2018. Since then, the event has expanded into a three-day community-centered celebration of modern folk, Americana and roots music at the Crystal Ballroom. At the 2024 festival, folk fans can look forward to a lineup of 15 different artists—including co-headliner Alo, Thunderstorm Artis, Glitterfox, Rainbow Girls, and The Talbott Brothers. The festival will donate all proceeds to All Good Northwest—a nonprofit that operates low-barrier shelters for those experiencing homelessness. McMenamins Crystal Ballroom, 503-225-0047, 6 pm Friday-Saturday and 2 pm Sunday, Jan. 12-14. $35 for a day pass, $90 for a three-day pass.

Rose City Classic Dog Show

Dogs from all over the world travel to Portland each January to compete in the Rose City Classic, one of the largest and most popular dog shows in the country. And if you weren’t already picturing an airplane filled with adorable pups bound for PDX while reading the previous sentence, well now you are. The 2024 event spans five days and includes several events, like Competition for Beginner Puppies (omg) and an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Event (no idea what that could possibly entail, but it does sound adorable). Portland Expo Center, 2060 Marine Drive W, 503-736-5200, 8 am-6 pm Wednesday-Sunday, Jan. 17-21. $15-$40.

Rose City Classic Dog Show (Aidan Barbar)


Portland Winter Lights Festival

The iconic Portland Winter Lights Festival returns for its ninth year this February. Presented by Portland General Electric, this free multiday event illuminates Portland’s neighborhoods with interactive art and, you guessed it, lights. This year’s theme? “What Glows Under Pressure,” a deep sea expedition where bioluminescent creatures reign supreme. Think Avatar: The Way of Water, but…in central Portland. The festival will take place across the city, but the main locations—including Pioneer Courthouse Square, the World Trade Center, and The Electric Blocks—will be adorned with large-scale digital art installations, sculptures, live performances and more. So, borrow anything that glitters and glows from your raver friend, grab your bike (for the Illuminated Bike Ride, of course), put on your dancing shoes (Silent Disco, duh) and get lit (sorry). Various locations, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 2-10. Free.

Portland Winter Lights Festival (Mick Hangland-Skill)

Newport Seafood and Wine Festival

What better place for a seafood and wine festival than Newport, aka the “Dungeness crab capital of the world.” This event started in 1977 in order to boost the local economy during the slowest time of year for tourism. And with a little help from people like Mo Niemi (yes, the Mo of Mo’s Restaurant), the seafood and wine fest just kept growing. Today, it now lasts four days and features more than 125 vendors selling everything from fresh fish to art to wine, drawing more than 15,000 visitors. The 2024 festival will include a beer garden, talks with winemakers, live entertainment, and a chowder competition with a $5,000 prize. South Beach, 2320 OSU Drive, Newport, 541-265-8801, 5-9 pm Thursday, noon-8 pm Friday, 10 am-6 pm Saturday, 10 am-4 pm Sunday, Feb. 22-25. $20-$150. 21+.

Biamp Portland Jazz Festival

Ya like jazz? Of course you do. And if you don’t, the Biamp Portland Jazz Festival is bound to help change your tune. The festival, organized by PDX Jazz, is dedicated to expanding access to the evolving art of American jazz music by featuring everyone from “recognized jazz masters,” to “rising jazz stars.” It’s also a celebration of Black History Month and has hosted legendary performers like award-winning jazz fusion bassist Stanley Clarke. The festival’s performances, many of which are free, are held at various venues throughout Portland. Various locations, Various times Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 22-March 2. Check the website for updated ticket pricing.


Oregon Chocolate Festival

The 20th Oregon Chocolate Festival might just be the chocolate-related event of the winter. Of course, that’s debatable, depending entirely on how you feel about the upcoming release of Wonka—and the even more debatable casting of Timotheé Chalamet. But I digress… Mere days after the 2023 Oregon Chocolate Festival concluded, the event’s organizers said on Instagram: “We are partially recovered from eating huge amounts of amazing chocolate creations and ready to welcome you back.” Perhaps the chocolate made them stronger. But then again, who wouldn’t want to experience classes like “How to Pair Chocolate with [Wine/Beer/Kombucha/Fresh Fruit],” all over again as soon as humanly possible? This year’s festival will feature the traditional Chocolate Maker’s Wine Dinner, a Chocolate Brunch and more. You can even book the Chocolate Escape Package: an overnight stay at the festival venue. Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites and Convention Center, 2525 Ashland St., Ashland, 541-631-2004, 5 pm Friday, 9 am Saturday-Sunday, March 1-3. $20 per person per day, $30 for a two-day pass. Overnight packages start at $169.

SheBrew PDX

Finally, a beer-centered event where you don’t have to worry about some dude mansplaining IPA to you. Because on March 3, beer is for the girlies only (read: and anyone who supports them). SheBrew PDX, an event highlighting womxn in the craft beer and cider world, kicks off Women’s History Month with a competition and festival. Last year, more than 40 professional female beer and cider producers from across the Pacific Northwest participated. Ten amateur brewers also entered a People’s Choice contest, showcasing creations like the incredibly named “Blonde Bitches Brew.” The family-friendly festival also boasts womxn-owned food carts, vendors, games, a photo booth, a raffle and more. Plus, all proceeds from SheBrew go to the Human Rights Campaign. Redd East Event Space, 831 SE Salmon St., 503-227-6225, Sunday, March 10. Check the website for hours and ticket pricing.

Winter PrideFest

If you find yourself skiing on Mount Bachelor in early March, there’s a good chance you’ll see a rainbow tutu or two—or, erm, 1,400—barreling down the mountain. Or attending Sunday drag brunch. Or taking a guided snowshoe tour to Todd Lake. Or having a dance party. Or ice skating. That’s right, the gays take over Bend during OUT Central Oregon’s 2024 Winter PrideFest, and we’re so here for it. From the Welcoming Snocial to the Ski OUT on the Mountain to the Wigs Icebreaker, this event celebrates “pride, inclusivity, and a love of the outdoors.” Various locations, Bend, Thursday-Sunday, March 7-10. Check the website for hours and ticket pricing.

Paddy’s 2024 St. Patrick’s Day Festival

Paddy’s Bar & Grill has some major leprechaun shoes—you know, the ones with the buckles—to fill at its 2024 St. Patrick’s Day Festival. Yes, those shoes may be their own, but still. ICYMI: Paddy’s broke the Guinness World Record in 2023 for creating the world’s largest Irish coffee—a super-sized cocktail measuring in at a whopping 254 gallons. And that was on top of the pub’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival’s usual traditions, including a raffle with a trip to Ireland and tour of the Guinness brewery as the grand prize. Needless to say, we cannot wait to see what Portland’s oldest Irish bar has in store for 2024. Paddy’s Bar & Grill, 65 SW Yamhill St., 503-224-5626, 4 pm-midnight Saturday, 9 am-midnight Sunday, March 16-17.


Shamrock Run Portland

The biggest St. Patrick’s Day party in the Northwest will celebrate 46 years running in 2024. The Shamrock Run, Portland’s oldest St. Paddy’s Day tradition, features a variety of race lengths, from a 5k to a half-marathon to a walking Shamrock Stride, for those of us whose ideal St. Patrick’s Day morning does not include running 13.1 miles. But hey, more power to ya if that’s more your speed. The Shamrock finisher medal, live music and complimentary beer at the Finish Line Festival await regardless of your pace…thank God. Starting line is at Southwest Naito Parkway and Pine Street, 8 am Sunday, March 17. $20-$70.

Shamrock Fun Run 2022 (Chris Nesseth)

Oregon Winter is Willamette Week’s annual winter activity magazine. It is free and can be found all over Portland beginning Wednesday, December 6, 2023. Find your free copy at one of the locations noted here, before they all get picked up!

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