It’s the holiday season which means time for shopping, Santa Clause, snow, and Christmas lights. There’s something about looking at the lights that put anyone in the holiday spirit and bring a smile to people of all ages. Check out this list of where to see the best light displays in Portland this holiday season!
Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo
With a display of over 1.5 million lights throughout the Oregon Zoo, ZooLights is a whole new way to experience the zoo. The lights are displayed throughout the entirety of the zoo and its exhibits. There is something magical about going to see the penguins or elephants with the twinkling of beautiful Christmas lights surrounding you. It is not a trip to ZooLights without riding the lighted train which takes you throughout the zoo and is a great way to see all of the displays. There are food carts and hot drinks available. ZooLights runs from November 29-January 5 and the light hours are 5-9 pm, and 5-8 pm on value days. Tickets are $19.95, and $14.95 on value nights. Purchasing your tickets online can save you $2.
Christmas Festival of Lights at The Grotto
Photo Credit: Waz-Mix Pix
Held each year at the Portland Grotto, this light festival is unlike any other. With 5 indoor concerts each night in the Grotto’s 500 seat chapel, caroling, puppet shows, a petting zoo, and a walkthrough of lights, this event has a little bit of everything for everyone. All events are indoors or tented, but they do suggest still dressing for the weather. The Festival of Lights is a great family event and an opportunity to hear beautiful local school, church, and civic choirs. The event runs November 29 through December 30 from 5-9:30 pm and tickets can be purchased at the gate. Tickets are $12.50, seniors (65+) are $11.50, children (3-12) are $6.50, and children 2 and under are free.
Portland International Raceway Winter Wonderland
Photo Credit: Sunshine Division Winter Wonderland
Recognized as “The Largest Holiday Light Show West of the Mississippi”, this Winter Wonderland has been a holiday tradition since 1993. Guests can view over 250 colorful lights and scenes without leaving the comfort of their car. Since its start, there have been over two million spectators. All proceeds benefit the Sunshine Division and through this partnership, there have been over 43 tons of food donated. The event runs from November 30-December 29. November 30-December 12th tickets are $20 per car if purchased online and $22 at the gate. December 13-29 tickets are $22 a car if purchased online, and $24 at the gate. Every Saturday, cars are $25 online or at the gate. To beat the rush, avoid going on the weekend or go in early December.
Photo Credit: Peacock Lane
Peacock Lane is a fun and casual way to see Christmas lights, and completely free! Peacock lane is located in Southeast Portland and has been going all out with he Christmas decorations for decades. The houses are mostly unique looking Tudor styles and decorated with lights, nativity scenes, Santa’s, and you may even see a few Grinche’s and Snoopy’s! You can drive the street or walk. We recommend walking as you will better see the lights, and there is something fun about bundling up, getting a hot chocolate, and walking down a magically Christmas themed street. Peacock Lane runs December 15-31 from 6-11 pm, with pedestrian-only nights December 15-17.
S.E. Peacock Lane
Portland, OR 97214
The Christmas Ships
A different way to see the lights is as they parade by you on ships! The Christmas Ships will parade the Columbia and Willamette rivers for 15 nights December 5-December 22nd. The ships are fully decorated, and have been parading Portland since 1954! There will be two Meet and Greet Nights where guests can say hi and see the boats up close. The first is 8-10 pm on December 21st in Lake Oswego, the second is 2-4:30 pm December 22nd at Cathedral Park. If you attend a meet and greet, bring new warm coats in any size to donate to the William Temple House serving people in need. This is a family fun event! Find the full schedule of where and when the Christmas Ships will be parading on their website!