9 Dazzling Tree Lightings to Kick Start Your Holidays


photo credit: glenwilliams pdx via creative commons flickr

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and what better way to usher in the season than with a mug of steaming cocoa, thousands of twinkling lights and a visit from the big guy himself? Below we’ve rounded up the best Christmas tree lighting celebrations Portland has to offer.

Pioneer Courthouse Square (pictured above)
Nov 29 at 5:30 pm
Held in Portland’s Living Room, Pioneer Square, this is the big daddy of Christmas tree lightings and signals the beginning of the holiday season in downtown Portland. The 75 foot tree will be lit to the delight of thousands of Portlanders; and continue with a community sing-a-long featuring Pink Martini, members of the Oregon Symphony and the Pacific Youth Choir. If you go, ensure you go early. Rumors are the square is packed by as early as 4:00 pm the day of the lighting. Event details. 

Lake Oswego Annual Holiday Tree Lighting
Nov 29 at 5:30 pm-9pm
Ready for not one, but two tree lightings this year? Head to Lake Oswego for caroling, refreshments and of course the lighting of the tree! The first lighting will be at Bigelow Plaza at the corner of 5th Street and A Avenue. But the celebration doesn’t stop there! Afterward march in the parade to Millennium Plaza Park for the lighting of the Millennium Tree. Two lightings in one night; now that is something to put in your letter to Santa. Event details. 

Mississippi Avenue Tree Lighting
Nov 30 at 4:30 pm-6pm
Gather along Mississippi Avenue for a festive tree lighting event featuring performances from the illustrious Mr. Ben and the debut of the Portland Youth Ukelele Orchestra. The entire neighborhood will be coming out to this event–all are welcome! Event details.

West Linn Community Tree Lighting
Dec. 6 at 6 pm
The Community Tree Lighting and celebration returns to City Hall this year with a kids’ bounce house, Starbucks’ treats, carolers, a holiday movie and the arrival of Santa in an antique fire engine with the crew from Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue. Little ones can warm up inside City Hall with cookie decorating, face painting and photos with Santa. Donations of non-perishable food and new unwrapped toys will be accepted on behalf of the West Linn Food Pantry to benefit local families. Event details. 

Sherwood Winter Festival
Dec 7 at 4 pm (plan on a 3:30 pm arrival to be in parade)
Gather up your little reindeer, snowmen and Robin Hoods and join in the parade as it winds its way through downtown Sherwood ending in a majestic tree lighting in the middle of Old Town. Stay after the parade to enjoy free hot dogs and steaming mugs of cocoa.  Finally, top the special night off with a visit from Santa! Event details. 

Oregon City Tree Lighting
Dec 7 at 4:30 pm
Start off the night with Dickens-era carolers who will be singing the classic tunes of the season. Then get ready for Santa’s arrival at 5:00 pm sharp! In addition to the live entertainment, there will be treats for the kids and lots of Christmas spirit. Event details. 

Milwaukie Umbrella Parade and Tree Lighting
Dec 7 at 3:30 p.m. parade sign-up; 4 p.m. parade begins at 5:30 p.m.
Finally! A reason to love the Oregon rain! Decorate your umbrellas and head to Milwaukie to join other revelers as they march their way down Main Street behind Santa Claus in a horse drawn carriage! The grand parade culminates with the lighting of the Christmas tree in front of Milwaukie City Hall. Following the lighting, young elves can snap pictures of Santa and enjoy free horse-drawn carriage rides. Event details. 

Happy Valley Tree Lighting Ceremony
Dec 8 at 4pm-6pm
Cookies and cocoa, horse drawn carriage rides, musical entertainment and a tree lighting ceremony at Happy Valley City Hall ensure a great start to Christmas for Happy Valley residents. Event details. 

Beaverton Tree Lighting and Holiday Open House
Dec 6 at 5pm-9pm
This year marks the 10th annual holiday open house and tree lighting in Beaverton City Park. With over three hours of celebrations planned, including a children’s holiday workshop, special holiday music and visits with Mr. and Mrs. Saint Nick, your sugarplums should be more than ready for Christmas by the finale.

Where does your family go to see the most impressive tree lighting displays of the season? If you know of one that we missed, share it with us in the comments below. 

– Laurie Halter