The stars aren’t the only thing twinkling at night in Portland through the months of November and December. Our city is bringing on the holiday cheer with incredible light displays that will leave your family in awe. It’s time to bundle up and celebrate the season of light! You’ll want to check out these long-running celebrations that make great family traditions! Grab the hot chocolate, and read on for more!

Note: Due to the recent state-wide COVID freeze, you will need to check with each site for hours and closures. 

Oregon Zoolights

A bigger than ever light display guides visitors on a glowing tour of the zoo with over a million and a half lights! Tunnels and moving displays are a bright attraction, and all your favorite animals are there, too. This year, there's a new way to illuminate the season. In addition to walking through a dazzling display of 1.5 million lights, visitors can explore the magic with a new drive-through experience.

Thurs-Mon: Walk-through ($18-$23/person ages 12+, $13-$18/person ages 2-11. Infants are free with paid adult admission but must be counted)
Tues and Wed: Drive-through ($30-40/car)

Nov. 23 – Jan. 10, 5-9 p.m.
4001 SW Canyon Rd.
Portland, OR
503-226-1561
Online: oregonzoo.org/

photo: via Christmas Ships

Christmas Ship Parade

The Christmas ships are coming! A fleet of ships have sailed down the Willamette and Columbia Rivers every year for 64 years. Grab a perch with a view (restaurants along the route book up quick!), pack your thermos and blankets, and watch the floating lights go by. This is a great parade, and the best part is, you can catch it almost every night in December! Be sure to check online for when they’ll be closest to you, as the route changes. Perfect for tiny boat enthusiasts!

Free
Dec. 4-22
Columbia and Willamette Rivers, check online schedule for details.
Online: christmasships.org

Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway

You want to be impressed? Maybe a little blown away, but also stay warm and cozy? Get the family to Winter Wonderland! The Northwest’s largest light show spans the track at the raceway, making a great drive on a chilly night. Over 250 giant set pieces are alight, many animated, all fun. Running since 1993, the Winter Wonderland is going cashless this year. All proceeds from the event benefit the Sunshine Division, which provides food and clothing to Portland families in need.


$20-22/car
Nov. 27-Jan. 2
Sun.-Thur. 5:30- 9:30 p.m., Fri.- Sat., 5- 11 p.m.
Portland International Raceway
1940 N Victory Blvd
Portland, OR
Online:  winterwonderlandportland.com

Portland Neighborhoods

With news of the recent "Freeze" throughout Oregon and the Portland area, many of the traditional light displays are shut down. That doesn't mean your family can't enjoy piling in the family vehicle and driving through some of the local neighborhoods to check out the light displays. Some of our favorite areas include the Pearl District, Downtown Portland, Alberta, and the Sellwood/Moreland area

Nearly anywhere you drive in Portland, you are likely to see stunning and creative light displays by local families. Holding true to our city's reputation for creativity, you are guaranteed a bright and magical holiday when you live in the city of roses. Don't forget to pack some hot chocolate and candy canes, to add to the seasonal magic.

—Annette Benedetti

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