Portland’s holiday season is full swing and though there are an endless number of things to do running right up to New Year’s Day, families looking for activities around town on Christmas Day proper have far fewer options with most shops, restaurants, and venues closed. To help, we’ve put together a list (and checked it twice) of our favorite things to do on Christmas Day with the whole family. Read on the learn more.

photo: Chris Brooks via flickr

Light It Up on Peacock Lane

After your Christmas feast, take the family to this street filled with historic English-style cottages, which are all decked out in lights and decorations. A Portland tradition since the 1920s, there are two ways to see the houses: on foot and by car. If you’re staying in your car, visit at non-peak times, which are typically before 7 p.m. and after 10 p.m.

Cost: Free
Hours: 6 p.m.-11 p.m., Dec. 15-31
Pedestrian only nights: Dec. 15, 16 & 17
Peacock Lane is between SE Stark St. and SE Belmont St. and one block east of SE 39th
Online: peacocklane.org

Give Back by Volunteering

One great option is Potluck in the Park’s annual Christmas Day dinner, which feeds hundreds of in-need Portlanders at the Portland Art Museum. Register through Hands On Portland, where you’ll find details for volunteer opportunities for ages 12 and up. For more ideas, check out our list of volunteer opportunities for families.

Cost: Free
1219 SW Park Ave.
Portland, OR
Online: potluckinthepark.org

photo: Timberline Lodge

Mt. Hood Getaway

Give your family a white Christmas at Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge. The ski area, snowshoe trail, and terrain parks will all be open on Christmas Day, with night skiing until closing, weather permitting. (Be sure to check the conditions on Mt. Hood before heading for the powder.) Look for other activities like a snowy hike, or a snowshoe adventure and a festive, multi-course dinner. Reservations for dinner are highly recommended.

Cost: Varies
Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. (ski area and terrain park)
27500 E Timberline Rd.
Government Camp, OR
Online: timberlinelodge.com

Spread Some Christmas Cheer

Bundle up (don’t forget the scarves, gloves, and a thermos of hot cocoa!) for some good, old-fashioned caroling through the neighborhood. Want to bring joy to folks who may not have someone to spend the day with? Call your local nursing home, assisted living facility, or community center to find out who’s in need of some Christmas cheer.

Explore a Winter Wonderland

Home to one of the most impressive light shows in town, this show illuminates the Portland International Raceway track with 250+ colorful animated scenes and set light displays. And there’s no need to bundle up for this display as you can view it all from your car. Check the website for special events such as bike-only and pet-friendly nights. For more holiday light displays, go here.

Cost: $22/car, online tickets are $2 off.
Hours: Sun-Thurs, 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; Fri-Sat, 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Open Christmas Day 5:30 -9:30 p.m.
1940 N Victory Blvd.
Portland, OR
Online: winterwonderlandportland.com

photo: William Murphy via flickr

Pioneer Courthouse Square Christmas Tree

Visit the city’s holiday tree without the crowds. The 75-foot Douglas-fir tree – provided each year by Stimson Lumber Company – will be lit up over 14,000 colorful lights. Bring some hot chocolate and treats fro an extra magical experience.

Cost: Free
701 SW 6th Ave.
Portland, OR
Online: thesquarepdx.com

No-Cook Christmas Day Buffet

If a Christmas with no dishes to wash or meal to cook is on your wish list, head downtown to the newly remodeled Heathman Hotel for its annual Christmas Day buffet. Along with a selection of salads, you’ll find a seafood bar filled with sustainable choices, artisan cheeses, and roasted meats. For an even more festive experience, you and the kids can dress up in your holiday finery. Reservations are highly recommended.

Cost: Varies
1001 SW Broadway Blvd.
Portland, OR
Online: heathmanhotel.com

Downtown City Lights
If you’re still downtown and the weather isn’t too frightful, work off your repast with an evening stroll amidst the holiday lights and window displays, when peace replaces the usual hustle and bustle. For even more cheer, pop into the lobby of each hotel you walk by to view the holiday decorations and warm up.

—Annette Benedetti


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