When the leaves and apples are down, we always turn to November to provide us with the key to the holidays. From BMX bikes and girls with microscopes to tree lightings and sci-fi dance parties, the following activities will keep your family busy while you’re dreaming of turkeys and gifts. Here are 10 things you need to do this month in Portland.

Nitro Circus

photo: Nitro Circus by stickergiant via flickr creative commons

1. See Flying Bike Stunts at Nitro Circus 
Watch the best of the best BMX bike athletes and FMX (freestyle motocross) riders perform high flying, unbelievable stunts, jumps and routines at this circus themed show. Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m., $49-$89/person, All Ages. Event details.

2.DIY at Barnes & Noble’s Mini Maker Faire
As part of Barnes & Noble’s commitment to building literacy in children, they’ve partnered with Make: Magazine to present a Mini Maker Faire at every Barnes & Noble store across the nation for this weekend. Maker Faires are community-based learning events that inspire everyone to become a Maker and connect with people and projects in their local community. Guests ages five and up can experience hands-on learning and making opportunities in creative thinking, art, design, construction, programming, coding and 3D printing. Nov. 6-8, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Free, Ages 5 & Up. Event details.

GirlFest 2015

photo: Courtesy of GirlFest

 

3. Girl Power at GirlFest
Celebrate all the cool things about being a girl with the Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington, with activities and entertainment including tribal belly dancing, photography, creating origami cranes and how to wire a light. You don’t have to be a Girl Scout to participate. Nov. 7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $10-$15; Free for kids under 4, All Ages. Event details.

4. Honor Our Vets at Portland’s Veterans Day Parade 
Grab the kids and mini flags and share your love for veterans at Portland’s one and only Ross Hollywood Veterans Day Parade that’s been honoring the lives and service of veterans for over 40 years. The parade will be making its way through the Hollywood District, filled with veterans, marching bands, floats and community groups starting at NE Tillamook and 40th Ave., heading up Sandy, ending at NE 48th. Nov. 11, 9:45 a.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

Happy Carrot

photo: kyntharyn74 via flickr creative commons

5. Veggie Lovers Unite at VegFest
If you’re a vegetarian or looking to lessen your animal products consumption in general, the annual VegFest will have plenty of resources for you, with 100 vendors, chef demos, free samples and speakers focusing on subjects including proper nutrition as a vegan athlete and on raising vegan children. Nov. 14-15, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $5-$8/person; Free for kids 12 & Under, All Ages. Event details.

6. Get Wild About Art
Go wild with the Portland Audubon Society’s Wild Arts Festival, featuring nature-inspired art and books. Poets, artists and children’s author readings will take place throughout the weekend. Audubon’s education birds will be there, too, so kids can get up close to vultures, hawks and owls. Nest boxes and handcrafted items for gifting (or keeping) will also be available for purchase. Nov. 21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Nov. 22, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

Oregon Zoo Turkey Trot

photo: Oregon Zoo Turkey Trot by Dave Green

7. Trot With Your Tots
Before the big meal, put on those turkey costumes, pack up the jog stroller and head down to the zoo for the Turkey Trot, an annual 4-mile, untimed, multi-generational stroller-friendly walk/run that takes participants from the zoo to the International Rose Gardens. Three kid-only fun runs take place as well. Definitely stay after for the post-race pumpkin pie. $25,000 of race entry fees benefit the zoo animals. Nov. 26, 8 a.m., All Ages. Free, Event details.

8. Floats + Santa = Holiday Kickoff
Skip the early morning black Friday shopping 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. Nov. 27, 9 a.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

pioneer-square-christmas-treephoto: Glenn Williams via flickr creative commons

9. Get Festive at the Tree Lighting Ceremony
Gather with thousands of other Portlanders at the Square to celebrate the annual lighting of the 75-foot Douglas Fir, provided by Stimson Lumber Company, followed by live music and holiday sing-alongs. Rumor has it that the square is packed by as early as 4 p.m. the day of the lighting, so get there as early as you can. Nov. 27, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

10. Set Phasers to “Fun” for OryCon
Cos play wearing sci-fi lovers will flock to the convention center this weekend for gaming, art buying, trading collectibles and getting up close to meet sci-fi-influenced illustrators, authors and musicians. The OryKids programming for children includes gaming, crafts, music, science and writing-based activities, along with costuming workshops and a dance party. OryKids activities are best suited for kids 3 & up. Nov. 20-22, times vary (see website), $20-$35/adult per day; $10-$15/kids 6-12 per day; Free for kids 5 & Under, All Ages. Event details.

What do you love about November in Portland? Let us know in the comments below!

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—Suzie Ridgway