1. Volunteer & Donate:
Donate gifts, food and your valuable time to others in need through numerous non-profits.
2. Zoo Lights:
Every year the Oregon Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland from November 29th to January 5th. Boasting more than a million LED lights, walk through Zoo Lights as glowing forests, rainbow-lit tunnels and animal sculptures are brought to life.
3. Peacock Lane:
Searching for that good, old-fashioned holiday spirit? Look no further than the lights on Peacock Lane --located between SE Stark St and Belmont St. Walk, drive or even take a horse-drawn carriage through the neighborhood December 15-31, and enjoy each delightfully decorated home.
4. The Christmas Ship Parade:
Watch over 50 ships parade on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers December 6-21. The fleets will light up the waters each night for a dazzling holiday performance. The free event is on its 59th year, and supported by donations from the restaurants and hotels situated along the waterfront. Columbia River Schedule Willamette River Schedule
5. Festival of Lights at The Grotto:
500,000 lights, 160 choral performances, carolers, a petting zoo, puppet shows and hot chocolate are waiting for you at The Grotto's Festival of Lights. One of the largest Christmas choral festivals in the world, explore the brilliant walk-through event November 29th to December 30th. This year's theme, "Angels on High", offers a blend of traditional celebration and serene reflection, featuring five indoor concerts each evening in the 600-seat chapel, known for its cathedral quality acoustics.
6. Winter Wonderland at the Portland International Raceway:
Enjoy the largest holiday light show west of the Mississippi from the comfort of your own vehicle! The 21st annual Winter Wonderland lights up from November 28th to December 25th on the Portland International Raceway, with over 250 colorful light set pieces and fully animated scenes to enjoy.
7. Holiday Exercise:
Feeling a bit bloated this holiday season? Want to shed some winter weight? Looking to donate to a good cause or volunteer? The Portland area offers a wonderful variety of marathons and fun runs that will keep you in shape and motivated. Be sure to sign up early because registration fills up fast... if you miss a race this year, mark your calendars for next year!
December 7: Reindeer Run
December 8: Portland Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis
December 8: Ho Ho 5K
December 14: Ugly Holiday Sweater Dash
December 15: Holiday Half Marathon & 5K
January 1: Commitment Day 5K
8. Santa House on the Bricks:
Visit Santa Tom and Santa Phil at the "Santa House" on Pioneer Courthouse Square December 12-24. The 27 year old Portland tradition features the highest rated natural bearded santas, along with chestnuts on the fire, fresh roasted almonds and hot cocoa.
9. The Theatre:
In the mood for some sweet holiday tunes or delightful theatrical tales? These events are sure to please any avid theatre-goer. If you miss any this year, there is always next year!
Tuba Christmas --Listen to more than 225 tuba and euphonium players perform holiday music at Pioneer Courthouse Square on December 14th. Free.
The Nutcracker --Enjoy this classic tale, performed by the Oregon Ballet Theatre at the Keller Auditorium.
Twist Your Dickens -- Scrooge, Tiny Tim and those know-it-all ghosts find themselves hopelessly mixed up in zany holiday sketches with anachronistic characters, uproarious improv and an ever-changing stable of drop-in local celebrity guests.
Handel's Messiah --Portland Baroque Orchestra and Cappella Romana perform Handel's masterpiece oratorio at First Baptist Church.
A PLU Christmas --Pacific Lutheran University's Choir of the West, the University Chorale and members of the University Symphony Orchestra perform awe inspiring holiday music at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
The Christmas Revels --Experience winter time in Old Europe at the Scottish Rite Center Theater. The performance is complete with gorgeous costumes and set, fabulous choral music and instrumental music from the Portland Brass Quintet.
Christmas Unplugged at Artists Repertory Theatre --Spend an outrageous Christmas Eve with a churlish Santa, a kidnapped elf and a handful of hapless souls in need of some holiday spirit. Amid the shrapnel of yuletide yearning, broken dreams and poignant revelations, can the magic of the season spark hope in their hearts? A holiday debauchery double-bill for mature audiences.
10. New Year's Eve Festivities:
Pa'Lante & Jujuba Jam for the Philippines: A New Years Eve Dance Party Join in the fun at the Red Rose Ballroom on NE Alberta for a New Year's Eve Dance Party! Hosted by Laurie Sonnenfeld, this benefit for the Philippines is sponsored by Mercy Corps. Featuring the musical groups Jujuba and Pa'Lante, boogie down to afro-beat, salsa, latin jazz and afro-cuban inspired tunes. Purchase tickets here.
Karaoke From Hell at Uptown Billiards Become a karaoke superstar with the backing of a full live band, while enjoying delicious food and beverages at Uptown Billiards on NW 23rd. A fun, down-to-earth atmosphere and elegant decor are the perfect combination to ring in the New Year!