Thanksgiving celebrations mean family, food and a welcome break from daily routines. When the troops start getting restless, keep the post-Turkey Day party going with these surefire ways to pry your family (willingly) away from the leftovers and the sofa. From sparkling light displays to train rides to storybook day cruises read on for some of our favorite Thanksgiving weekend activities around Portland.
photo: Courtesy of The Amazing Bubble Show
The Amazing Bubble Show
From square bubbles, bubbles inside bubbles, fog-filled bubbles, giant bubbles, bubble volcanoes, tornadoes and trampolines to people inside bubbles, the Amazing Bubble Man will amaze all ages with his breathtaking feats. This entertaining show will also feature accordionist/singer Jet Black Pearl accompanying Louis with effervescent music. The show runs Nov. 27-29, 11 a.m.-noon and 2-3 p.m. Tickets are $6-$10/person and can be purchased online.
Clinton Street Theater
2522 SE Clinton St.
Macy’s Holiday Parade
Skip the early morning black Friday shopping rush and head to downtown Portland instead for this beloved annual parade of marching bands, 25 floats and 650 costumed characters and the arrival of Santa. After the parade, join Santa in Santaland, downstairs at Macy’s at 11 a.m. The free parade kicks off on Friday, Nov. 27 at 9 a.m.
Downtown Portland Macy’s
621 SW 5th Ave.
Your family will ooh and ahhh at the million and a half (!) lights of the Oregon Zoo’s annual ZooLights. Walk through brilliantly-lit paths featuring bright and dynamic displays of all kinds of animals. Babies to big kids love the lights. This year, the train ride will include a stop for an interactive display near the Family Farm. Plan for plenty of traffic and a full parking lot, especially on weekends and the week of Christmas. Discounts are available for those taking MAX,and it’s cheaper to go on less-popular nights. Save a little time by purchasing your add-on train tickets online before you go. Lights start Nov. 27. Free to members and children 2 & under; $4.95-9.95 youth, $9.95-14.95 adult.
4001 SW Canyon Rd.
Bridgeport Village Black Friday Extravaganza
If you’re going to head out for Black Friday, make sure it’s a totally fun adventure for the whole family. In addition to giveaways, prizes, free coffee, pastries and holiday tunes from K103, Bridgeport Village will also have Toy Soldiers, Elsa, Anna and Olaf, Buddy the Elf, Ralphie and the Candy Man making appearances throughout the day. 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Nov. 27.
Center Court Gazebo
7455 SW Bridgeport Rd.
Cinnamon Bear Cruise
It’s a beloved Portland holiday tradition—a two-hour cruise on the Portland Spirit with the Cinnamon Bear. As soon as you set foot on board, your family will be greeted by dashing pirates, friendly fairies and all kinds of magic. $30 tickets for adults and $22 per child (1 & under free) includes the cruise, a picture with the Cinnamon Bear, drinks and snacks. Landing fee and parking not included. Nov. 28 & 29 each have one sailing at 10 a.m., so book fast if you have a certain day you’d like to set sail.
Board at Salmon Street Springs
SW Naito Parkway at SW Salmon St.
photo: Ferrous Büller via flickr
Holiday Express Train
The Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation runs a train between their Center near OMSI and Oaks Park every Saturday. As the holidays roll around, things begin to look a lot like Christmas on that 45-minute ride. The historic trains are outfitted with lights outside, and garlands inside, and Santa hops aboard for a fun ride made festive. Get your tickets for the Holiday Express train online (popular trips sell out), and then be sure to arrive at least 20 minutes before departure. There’s a heated tent with hot chocolate and cookies to snack on while you wait for the train at Oaks Park Station. Nov. 27-Dec. 20. Rates depend on departure time. $16-$19 for adults, $9.50-$12.50 child, and family rates are available.
7805 SE Oaks Park Way
photo: Joshua Blount via flickr
Gratitude Month at Portland Children’s Museum
The Portland Children’s Museum is a fun stop for kids through elementary age any day of the year, but there’s a special reason to visit in November. All month, they’re talking about gratitude. What better time to teach your little gobblers to be thankful than during the holidays? Kids can sit in the Appreciation Chair and write a thank you note, or add some art to the Thankful Tree and watch it grow. Regular admission is $10.75 for ages 1-54, $9.75 for 55+ and free for wee babes.
4015 SW Canyon Rd.
photo: Christmas in the Garden by Becca J. via Yelp
Christmas in the Garden
Think twirling on ice, in the crisp and fresh air out-of-doors is only for the Rockefeller Center? Not this year! The Oregon Garden, in addition to its usual lights, holiday market and music, will offer up an outdoor ice skating rink. Chow down on hearty German fare for dinner, with meals like fondue with apples, bread and sausage, soft pretzels, sausage with sauerkraut, German potato salad and hot dogs available. To keep those hands and bellies warm, grab hot cocoa, peppermint hot cocoa, spiced cider and “adult” beverages available for mom and dad. Budget an at least hour to drive to the Garden. Last we checked, there were still rooms available at the Oregon Garden Resort for about $130, if you’d prefer not to high-tail it back to town when you’re done. Runs Nov. 27 through Jan. 3 (excluding Dec. 24 and Dec. 25).Admission is $6, free for those 4 & under. Ice skating costs an additional $12 plus $5 for skate rental.
879 W Main St.
What’s your favorite way to keep kids busy during the long Thanksgiving weekend? Let us know in the comments!