Every year, Portlanders flock to Peacock Lane (pun intended!) to view the magnificent display of lighted Tudor homes and lawns that line the street. A local favorite for decades, Peacock Lane is a resident-ran event that families can experience by taking a leisurely stroll or drive through. Some nights are pedestrian-only, so be sure to check the website for exact dates and any updates.
Enjoy sparkling lights, nativity scenes, life-size Frosty the Snowmen, and more, as you sip on a free cup of hot cocoa or cider and listen to the songs of carolers and musicians. Peacock Lane is a non-commercial event, so families don't have to worry about being bombarded with promoters or vendors. They can experience the magic of the holidays without spending money or worrying about being solicited.
Bring the kids, bring the grandparents- you can even bring the dog- and make your way through the bustling lane this year! Lights are on from December 15th – 31st from 6-11pm every night. For viewing on foot, it is best to take public transportation or come early and park a few blocks away. For viewing by car, just be sure to give yourself enough time, as crowds of vehicles can get thick. Bikes are welcome, but cyclists are asked to walk bikes along the path due to public safety.
(Located between SE Stark and SE Belmont, one block east of SE 39th)
ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo
Another holiday favorite for Portlanders is ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo. With a brilliant display of over a million and a half lights, the zoo comes to life in a whole new way. In addition to seeing all your favorite animals and lighted displays, you can hop aboard the lighted train, enjoy a bite to eat at one of the food carts, get your picture taken with Santa, or take the kids for a ride on the carousel.
This year ZooLights runs from November 24th, 2017 to January 7th, 2018. They are closed November 29th (for BrewLights), December 24th – 25th, and January 1st – 4th. The zoo opens each day at 9:30 a.m., and ZooLights tickets are valid after 4 p.m. ZooLights hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., 8 p.m. on Value Nights. Oregon Zoo members get free admission to ZooLights, as well as access to a preview of the lights before the event opens to the public. Check the website for Value Night dates, ticket prices, special offers, and more information.
Winter festivities just wouldn't be complete without strolling through the dazzling pathways of the 64-acre zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Oregon Zoo is located at 4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland. Limited paid parking is available, but the zoo is very accessible by Trimet public transportation. You can even get a discount to ZooLights by showing proof of your Trimet fare!
The Grotto – Christmas Festival of Lights
With around 150 holiday concerts every year, The Grotto's Christmas Festival of Lights is the largest Christmas choral festival in the nation. Enter the magnificent, 600-seat chapel by first walking the grounds and taking in the beautiful lighted pathway and displays. Take the kids for a stop at the petting zoo, or for a puppet show! Food and drinks are also available for purchase, and the gift shop is open if visitors would like to buy a rosary or inspirational book to support The Grotto and its ministries.
Visitors can check the concert schedule to find their favorite school, church, or civic singing group. Arrive early for the best chance at finding a great seat. Parking is available (and FREE!) and a new lot has opened this year with a shuttle service to take you straight to the entrance.
Every year, the festival begins the Friday after Thanksgiving and runs until December 30th; closed on December 25th. You can enjoy the serene grounds and enchanting holiday acoustics from 5-9:30pm, with concerts at 5:15, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00p.m every night. The Grotto is located at 8840 NE Skidmore Street, Portland. Please note that the path is dark on purpose, as to showcase the lights around it, so it is not recommended for the elderly or frail.
Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway
From November 24th – December 26th this year, Portland International Raceway offers visitors a chance to drive the track, surrounded by over 250 colorfully lighted displays and animated holiday scenes. Delight in the dazzling spectacle from the comfort of your car, or visit on Bike the Lights Night or Lights and Leashes Dog Walk Night for a whole new experience!
A Portland favorite since 1993, Winter Wonderland has drawn in over two million visitors in its time. It is known as the "Largest Holiday Light Show West of the Mississippi." (Tip: Beat the crowds by going on a weeknight in early December!)
Winter Wonderland operates Sunday – Thursday, 5:30-9:30pm, and Friday – Saturday 5-11pm. Check the website for ticket prices, dates of special events, and other information. The Portland International Raceway is located at 1940 N Victory Blvd in Portland.
Wenzel Farm - Fantasy Trail
Just a short drive south of Portland in Oregon City, Wenzel Farm's Christmas Fantasy Trail (they also have a Halloween Fantasy Trail!) is another fun, family favorite for viewing spectacular holiday lights. Featuring a 40-foot lighted castle with delightful Christmas scenes, a tunnel, maze, suspension bridge, and crooked house, the trail of thousands of lights is a great way to spend time with the whole family.
Walk through the all-ages lighted, wooded pathway, and then enjoy refreshments by the nightly bonfire! Open daily from 6-9pm, December 2nd – 30th, closed the 24th and 25th. Wenzel Farm is located at 19754 South Ridge Road, Oregon City. Visit Wenzel Farm's website for more information and directions.
Whatever your Portland Christmas lights viewing tradition (or soon-to-be tradition!), please be safe- and bundle up with warm layers and comfortable shoes for those walking outdoor events! Happy Holidays!
Besides going for a drive to check out the best Christmas lights in the city, there are a ton of other family friendly events to check out in Portland during the holiday season.
Check out our local events page for some great indoor and outdoor activities to do with your kids.
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