Portland Christmas Lights Displays and other things to do in Portland this holiday season

Use up your remaining time offs and cram in one more vacation before the year ends. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation or an adults-only getaway, Portland is the perfect destination this holiday season. The city has many festive events and activities for everyone to enjoy, from tree lighting and parades to concerts, holiday shows, and more! Here are our top picks on the best things to do in Portland this holiday season:

Christmas Events in Portland

Winter Wonderland Portland

When: November 25 – December 31, every Monday to Thursday from 5pm to 10pm and Friday to Sunday from 4:30pm to 11pm. From December 16th to the 25th, they’ll be open from 4:30pm to 11pm. 

Where: Portland International Raceway, 1940 N Victory Blvd, Portland, OR 97217

This shining, shimmering, splendid spectacle is recognized as the largest show of Christmas lights in Portland. Thirty years in running, the Sunshine Division Winter Wonderland is one of Portland’s favorite holiday family traditions. Hop in your car and drive through over 250 decorated light displays and two light tunnels. You’ll feel all Christmas-y and ready for the holiday rush. 

The display will be open until December 31st, so you have plenty of time to plan ahead, but beat the rush and visit in early December or on weeknights. Saturday nights are their busiest. If you’re not up for queues and want a quicker trip, you can buy their Toyota VIP Lane tickets. Visit Winter Wonderland Portland’s website for tickets and more information. 


2022 Christmas Festival of Lights

2022 Christmas Festival of Lights

When: November 25 – December 26 from 5pm to 9:30pm |  December 17 – December 30 from 4:30pm to 9:30pm  

Where: The Grotto, 10001 NE Sandy Blvd. Portland, OR 97217


The Grottos’ Christmas Festival of Lights is another incredible display of Christmas lights in Portland. Walk through over 2 million lights lighting up the grounds… intertwined in trees… shaped in different holiday forms… while listening to Carolers singing your favorite Christmas songs. Enjoy puppet shows and storytimes at the plaza tent or watch local choirs perform at the Chapel of Mary. It’s not just a festival of lights. It’s also a celebration of music, holiday cheers and everything that screams Christmas. 

If you want to watch the choir, come at least 30 minutes in advance. You can check the choir show schedule here. The general admission price at the door is $18, but you can get discounts if you buy online. There’s a free parking lot on-site and a free shuttle that runs every night.

Portland Christmas Ship Parade

Portland Christmas Ship Parade

When: December 2 to December 21, 2022, times vary but usually at 7pm

Where: Willamette & Columbia Rivers


Find your spot along the Willamette and Columbia riverbanks and marvel at the beautifully decorated boats participating in the annual Portland Christmas Ship Parade. Now in its 68th year, the show will run for two weeks from December 2 to December 21, with each fleet running their route for 2-3 hours, usually at 7pm. You can check out the parade’s full schedule and best viewing areas on their website. 

The parade is one of the most highly anticipated Portland Christmas lights shows. It features around 55 to 60 boats at 14 to 65 feet long, all lit up and bringing holiday cheer to thousands of locals and tourists alike each year. This Portland holiday tradition has been running since 1954. 

Peacock Lane

When: December 15 to December 31 from 6pm-11pm each night

Where: 805 SE Peacock Lane, Portland, OR 97214


Brought to you by the good hearts and generosity in spirit of the residents of Peacock Lane, here’s another free display of Christmas lights in Portland that you shouldn’t miss. From nativity scenes to huge Frosty the Snowman light figures, the entire street will be all aglow in the holiday season with creative light displays. From December 15 to 17, the lane will be open for pedestrians only. From December 18-31, cars will be allowed on the lane, so you can just drive through if you’re out of time. 


When: Nov. 23, 2022, to Jan. 5, 2023, excluding Dec. 25 

Where: Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221


Your trip to Portland during the holidays won’t be complete without stopping by to see the ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo. See the zoo in a different light as over 1.5 million sparkling lights light it up. You won’t be able to view the live animals, but there will be animal-themed lights plus light tunnels, Christmas scenes, train and carousel rides, and more to bring you holiday cheer. There will also be local food carts and beer and wine stalls to keep your bellies full and warm. Explore it all on foot or by car on select nights. 

Holiday Express

Holiday Express

When: November 25, 26, 27 | December 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 2022

Where: Oregon Rail Heritage Center, 2250 SE Water Ave. Portland, OR 97214


Hop on the Holiday Express in Portland and embark on a magical train ride along the Willamette River with Santa and his elves aboard a vintage railway car — the historic Polson #2 1912 steam locomotive. The train will be decorated inside and out for added holiday spirit. Concessions are available onboard too. Click here to learn more.

Holiday Shows and Concerts

Portland is teeming with shows and concerts to catch this holiday season. From holiday traditions to touring concerts, you won’t be running out of things to do in Portland in December that are sure to get you in a festive mood. Here are some of Portland’s Christmas events, concerts, and shows that we’re very much looking forward to this year: 

Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story 

Adapted by Jerry R. Montoy, it’s a retelling of the cautionary tale of Scrooge. 

When: December 2 to 18, 2022

Where: Twilight Theater Company is at 7515 Brandon, Portland, OR, 97217. 


The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition 

A caroling competition hosted by KGW’s Drew Carney.

When: December 9, 2022, from 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th Ave., Portland, OR 97204


The Nutcracker

Oregon Ballet Theatre’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. 

When: December 10 to 24, 2022 

Where: Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St, Portland, OR 97201


Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree

Celebrating its 60th season, it’s 90 minutes of dancing, singing, and pageantry. 

When: November 26 and 27 | December 2, 3, and 4 at 2PM and 6pm

Where: Sunset Church in 2022, 14986 NW Cornell Rd, Portland, OR 97229


White Album Xmas

A holiday circus performance by the Rose City Circus with The Nowhere Brand playing The Beatles’ White Xmas album.

When: November 30 to December 10, 2022; times vary depending on the day, but they have 3pm and 8pm shows

Where: Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211


31st Annual Tuba Christmas Concert

A free Christmas concert with over 150 tubas playing in unison. 

When: Saturday, December 10, 2022, at 1:30pm

Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th Ave., Portland, OR 97204


Gospel Christmas

Now in its 23rd year, hear some of the best gospel singers in the Northwest performing with the Oregon Symphony.

When: Saturday, December 10, 2022, 7:30pm and Sunday, December 11, 2022, 4:00pm

Where: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97204


Comfort & Joy

It’s the Oregon Symphony playing your favorite holiday tunes, and you can sing along!

When: Wednesday, December 7, 2022, at 7:30pm

Where: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall 




Take a break from all the hustle and bustle of the city and stay with us at Ponderosa Inn during your visit. Just 15 miles from downtown Portland, you’ll find Gresham the best place to stay and rest after a long day of marveling at Christmas lights in Portland and watching holiday shows. Wake up each morning with nature at your doorstep, and enjoy our many great amenities, including a hot tub, pool, free parking, free wifi, a coffee bar, and more — all at an affordable price. We are a budget-friendly hotel in Gresham offering warm and friendly service. For bookings, book directly at our website or call us at 971-220-1002. 

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