Downtown Portland is pulling out all the stops for a truly spectacular—but uniquely PDX—season. From shopping events showcasing local makers to drinking beer for a good cause beneath a giant Christmas tree, the seven-days-a-week festivities make for a one-of-a-kind holiday.
Start by sampling some liquid cheer at the Holiday Ale Festival in Pioneer Courthouse Square (Nov. 29 through Dec. 3). You can find your favorite brew among the 50 ales on tap and rest easy knowing your quest supports a good cause: The festival, which takes place in the shadow of the square's enormous, lighted tree, supports the Children's Cancer Association.
Then bop over to the PDX Pop-Up Shops, the temporary homes to indie makers and artists. Setting up shops in vacant storefronts in the Pioneer Place mall and the Standard Insurance Center, small retailers offer their unique goods—perfect for satisfying your loved ones' wish lists with local flair. Don't miss Portland Saturday Market Indoors (where you can browse handmade soaps and dreamcatchers without the umbrella typically necessary for the open-air landmark) and The Chic Coop, which semi-ironically displays its signature jewelry and handbags in a setup resembling a henhouse. We're especially excited about Animal. Plant. Mineral., an innovative retailer that minimally processes raw materials like cashmere and brass into statement pieces, and dfrntpigeon, an urban lifestyle brand that creates edgy t-shirts and totes designed by at-risk youth.
There's still time for your kids (and, possibly, you—no judgment!) to tell the Big Man himself what they want for Christmas. Santa is posting up at the Pioneer Place mall every day until Dec. 24, and he'll even pose with your pets on Monday evenings. Visit Hipster Santa on Thursdays if you're hoping your stocking will hold beard wax, artisan salt or a gift certificate to a tattoo parlor. And make sure to spring for the photo to get a perfectly Instagram-worthy shot.
Finally, when you head downtown on Sundays, leave your car at a SmartPark garage: Shoppers can validate their ticket for free parking between noon and 5 p.m. at the PDX Pop-Up Shop in Pioneer Place (SW 5th and Morrison) or Boys Fort (902 SW Morrison). You can use the $5 kickback for a mini gift—or pay it forward to next weekend, when you'll definitely want to head downtown again!