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Portland 2012 Holiday Event Calendar

Where to go and what to do in Portland during the holidays


Portland 2012 Holiday Event Calendar

Holidays in Portland. Photo via flickr by emilylh28

Photo via flickr by emilylh28
Updated November 27, 2012

Santa on the Bricks

Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square
December 7 - 24
Have you been nice this year? Visit Santa and make your case. Portland Santa is also high tech -- you can enter the line virtually via text message or online and receive an estimated go-time from Santa rather than wasting your day standing around.
More Info:

Christmas Ships

Where: Willamette and Columbia rivers
When: December 1 - 21
The Christmas Ship Parade will take over the Willamette and Columbia rivers for the 58th straight year. As many as 60 decorated boats between the two river fleets will illuminate the night and bring holiday cheer cruise Portland's waters. Festivities kick off in nearby Camas, Washington, on Saturday, December 1 as the combined fleet will amass and sail to Portland, and events run through Friday, December 21. The full schedule and a map of viewing locations is on the Christmas Ships website.


Where: Oregon Zoo
When: November 23 - December 31 (off on December 24 and 25).
One million LED lights illuminate the night for the holidays, and a nocturnal show of light animals and decorated trees accompany the real animals. Walk the grounds or board the zoo train to take in the whole spectacle.
More Info: OregonZoo.com

The Grotto's Festival of Lights and Nightly Concerts

Where: The Grotto, NE 85th and Sandy Boulevard
November 23 - December 30 (closed December 25), 5:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
The Catholic shrine in Northeast Portland dubbed The Grotto has been at the center of the city's Christmas festivities for decades, with choral performances throughout December and a renowned light display. The event has gotten so big that there are as many as five concerts per night and a total of 179 performances slated.
More Info: thegrotto.org/christmas

Holiday Light Displays

Portland has a slew of holiday light shows -- from ZooLights, mentioned above, to the Portland International Raceway display through which you drive your own car, to the famous Peacock Lane neighborhood.
More Info on Portlandor.about.com

Tuba Christmas

Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square
When: December 8, 1:30 p.m.
Portland's a musical town, and of course likes do do things with a twist. So why not a melange of 225 tubas performing Christmas tunes in harmony?
More Info: TubaChristmas.com

Portland Holiday Ale Festival

Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square
When: November 28 - December 2
Portland is deservedly designated Beer Town USA, and the Holiday Ale Festival is a rare treat. Sip seasonal ales, barley wines and various winter welcomers. Offerings range from creative to downright crazy. Make sure to get there early as 17,000 of your fellow beer aficionadi will be there too.
More Info: holidayale.com

Fiesta Navidad with Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano and the Oregon Symphony

Where: Arlene Schitnzer Concert Hall
When: Saturday, December 15
The Oregon Symphony Orchestra backs Nati Cano's mariachi band as they cover traditional Mexican and American Christmas songs. Cano was born in 1933, and this marks the 50th anniversary of his band's tour -- so come out and add some zest to your holiday season. Tickets are $25 and up.
More Info: orsymphony.org/fiesta

Chanukah Menorah Lighting, Director Park

Where: Director Park
When: Saturday, December 8, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.; December 9 - 13, 5:30 p.m.-5:45 p.m.; December 14, 3:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m.; December 15, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights with the lighting of the menorah on each of the eight nights of Chunkah at Portland's Director Park.
More Info: portlandoregon.gov

Providence Festival of Trees

Where: Oregon Convention Center, Hall A, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
When: December 1 - 2
The Oregon Convention Center is filled with the sights and sounds of Christmas -- from the namesake trees to wreaths and holiday treats. Proceeds benefit the Providence Cancer Center, among others. Over 30 trees will be decorated with upwards of 80,000 lights, an array of gingerbread houses will vie for the best vote, and Mrs. Claus will be sharing secret cookie-decorating tips. Santa's there for photo-ops with the kids, and Friday night's "Dancing in the Trees" is a fundraiser mixed with revelers getting their respective grooves on.
More Info: Providence Festival of Trees website

Christmas Fantasy Trail

Where: Wenzel Farm
When: December 1 - 29. Wenzel Farm in nearby Oregon City transforms the Fantasy Trail with a Christmas theme, Holiday lights and a 40-foot castle December 1-29. A nightly bonfire will help to keep Jack Frost at bay, too.
More Info: fantasytrail.com

Pittock Mansion: Celebrating Christmas Carols

The Pittock Mansion dresses up nicely for the holidays; all 23 rooms will be adorned with all of the characters from your favorite holiday carols. Of course the halls will ring with the music of various performing groups throughout the festivities, and there are plenty of holiday gifts available in the museum store for last-minute shoppers. The event runs from November 19 - January 1, but is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days.
More Info: pittockmansion.org

Holiday Tree Lighting in Pioneer Square

Where: Pioneer Square
Portland lights its biggest Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving every year -- Friday, November 23, 2012 this holiday season. Activities begin at 5:30 p.m., and throngs of people come out to kick off the holidays as 14,000 lights illuminate the square. Prefer more intimate time with the tree? Come any night between Thanksgiving and Christmas and have it (relatively) to yourself.
More Info: bemerrydowntown.org

Gingerbread Cities at the Benson Hotel

Where: The Benson Hotel
When: Unveiling and refreshments November 29 at 4 p.m.
Pastry chef David Differdorfer has taken over the mantel of Gingerbread City creator for the past 13 years -- it's a tradition with over 30 years of history. The lobby will once again house a fantastic cityscape composed of more than 100 pounds of gingerbread, and past renditions have made use of 22 pounds of chocolcate and 25 pounds of marzipan. Get up close and see the details in each building -- from textured surfaces to carved doorknobs.
More Info: GingerbreadCities.com

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