Get ready to trip the light fantastic with cocoa in hand. Whether you decide to hit the traditional Peacock Lane, drive cozied up around Portland International Raceway or stroll down a fantasy trail, these lights will add a little more sparkle to your family’s holidays. Read on to find out which ones are waiting for your glowing review.
photo: Brittany Randolph via flickr
Aspen Meadow Celebration of Lights
For more than 20 years, the Aspen Meadow Celebration of Lights has been a holiday gathering place just 31 miles south of downtown Portland. And this year’s theme, “One Glorious Day,” will feature more than 150,000 lights, indoor and outdoor displays, a miniature train village, Christmas carolers, an interactive kids’ area and a variety of holiday refreshments. Be sure to check the full schedule for various special concerts, but don’t even think about paying admission—the only accepted donations are goods for the Oregon Food Bank.
Dec. 12-27, Mon.-Thurs. 5-10 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 5-11 p.m.
24323 S Upper Highland Rd.
Christmas Fantasy Trail
An Oregon City landmark for more than 23 years, the Christmas Fantasy Trail at the Wenzel family farm treats visitors to a 1,000-foot wooded walkway decorated with thousands of lights. And not only is there an enchanted castle full of Christmas scenes, children can also stroll through a tunnel, a crooked home, a maze and a suspension bridge, while enjoying nightly refreshments and bonfires.
Dec. 2-30 (closed Dec. 24 & 25), 6-9 p.m.
Admission: $6/adults; $5/kids 12 & under (cash only)
19754 S Ridge Rd.
Oregon City, Or
photo: the grotto
Christmas Festival of Lights at the Grotto
Billed as the largest Christmas choral festival in the world, the Christmas Festival of Lights at the Grotto will feature nearly 160 concerts by school, church and civic choirs. Begin your visit in the chapel, where five concerts are scheduled for each evening, before moving outside to enjoy light displays, caroling performances, puppet shows and a petting zoo. And don’t forget to bring a donation of canned or dried food to benefit SnowCap.
Nov. 27-Dec. 30 (closed Dec. 25), 5-9:30 p.m.
Admission: $10/adults; $9/seniors & military; $5/kids age 3-12; free for kids 2 & under
8840 NE Skidmore St.
Christmas in the Garden
With a traditional German Christmas market, a forest decorated with more than 400,000 lights, holiday music, fire pits, pony rides, live reindeer and visits from Santa Claus, it’s no wonder that Christmas in the Garden at the Oregon Garden in Silverton is already a beloved winter tradition. But in case you needed one more reason to make the 41-mile drive from downtown Portland, this year’s event is adding an outdoor ice skating rink for crisp winter nights. Just be sure to check the schedule before you go, as activities and hours vary by date.
Nov. 27-Jan. 3, hours and activities vary by date
Admission: $6/adults ($10 Dec. 10-13); $4/members (free Nov. 27-29); free for kids 4 & under
The Oregon Garden
879 W Main St.
photo: Sam Churchill via flickr
Christmas Ships Parade
An event that dates back to 1954, when one sailboat from the Portland Yacht Club paraded along the local rivers decorated with ribbons and bows, the Christmas Ships Parade has grown over to include an average of 55 to 60 illuminated boats on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Hoping to stake out a viewing spot for this nautical light display? Simply peruse the schedule (here for the Columbia River and here for the Willamette River) and follow @ChristmasShips on Twitter to track the parades’ progress.
This peaceful seven-acre park in West Linn is a favorite in all seasons for its wooded trails, access to the Willamette River, picnic areas and varied forms of wildlife. But winter transforms Maddax Woods into a beautiful display of holiday lights, where children can participate in a scavenger hunt for dozens of illuminated woodland creatures.
Nov. 14-Dec. 31, 4-9 p.m.
5785 River St.
West Linn, Or
photo: courtesy of the Victorian Belle
Miracle of a Million Lights at the Victorian Belle
Built by David Cole in 1885, the Victorian Belle is a historic home and landmark just six miles north of downtown Portland. And for much of the month of December, this 2.5-acre estate is decorated with more than one million lights, 10 Christmas trees and countless Victorian antiques and heirlooms. Visitors will also be treated to performances by local musicians and choirs, homemade apple cider and other holiday-themed refreshments.
Dec.12-23, 6-10 p.m.
Admission: $6/adults; $3 students & seniors; free for kids 3 & under
1441 N McClellan St.
SE Peacock Lane
It’s no wonder that each and every holiday season, Portland families flock to SE Peacock Lane. Ever since the 1920s, the residents of this (usually) quiet street have been decorating their Tudor homes for the season, a tradition that has grown to include magnificent light displays, nativity scenes, Christmas trees and replicas of beloved holiday characters. And although cars are technically allowed on the street for most of the season, the high-volume crowds are a good reason to use public transportation, to park elsewhere, or to visit on one of the pedestrian-only nights.
Dec. 15-31, 6-11 p.m. (open until midnight Dec. 24 & 31)
Dec. 18-20 pedestrian only
SE Peacock Lane, between SE Stark and Belmont Streets
photo: PIR jww
Sunshine Division Winter Wonderland at PIR
Now in its 23rd year, the Sunshine Division Winter Wonderland is celebrated as the largest holiday light show west of the Mississippi River. With more than 250 illuminated set pieces and animated scenes, this annual drive-through event at the Portland International Raceway has become a favorite for families who want to enjoy the season from the warmth and comfort of their car. But carless Portlanders need not miss out. Check the calendar for details regarding the “Lights and Leashes” Dog Walk Night on Dec. 2 and the “Bike the Lights” Night on Dec. 8.
Nov. 26-Dec. 27 (closed Dec. 1 & 7), Sun-Thurs. 5-9 p.m. Fri. & Sat. 5-11 p.m.
Portland International Raceway
1940 N Victory Blvd.
photo: Todd Kulesza via flickr
Little animal lovers will be thrilled by a visit to ZooLights, the annual holiday event that decorates the Oregon Zoo with a staggering 1.5 million lights. Not only will you and your family explore the zoo grounds after-hours, you’ll stroll through scenes of illuminated animals and concession stands stocked with hot cocoa, espresso and “lighted cotton candy.” Looking to avoid parking fees? Consider taking the MAX for an easy and budget-friendly family outing.
Nov. 27-Jan. 3, 5-9 p.m.
Admission: Prices vary by date
4001 SW Canyon Rd.
Where is your favorite holiday light display in Portland? Let us know in the comments below!