Sure you could pile the kids in the car and drive around various neighborhoods at 5mph trying to catch all the brightest holiday lights in town, or you could let the lights come to you while you enjoy them from the comfort of your restaurant booth, sipping on a glass of wine. Your choice. For those who prefer the latter option, head on over to the Red Lion Hotel on the River at Jantzen Beach for their annual Christmas Ships Dinner. That way, you can enjoy some of the most festive floating light displays and take the night off from the kitchen.  Plus, your kids will love the views from the restaurant–right on the edge of the Columbia River.

Jantzen Beach Bar & Grill
The restaurant is super kid-friendly, even with cloth napkins and a decent bar. The dining room is walled with windows facing the river on one side and huge pictures of the old and awesome Jantzen Beach Amusement Park on the other. There are two levels of seating, so even without a window seat, you still get a great view. And, if you want to get outside, there is a paved path along the river and a big deck just above the dock where the boats will be.


Kids Will Love

  • Climbing on the lions on the way in
  • Festive décor, sparkly chandeliers and mirrored ceilings
  • Dessert buffet
  • Tall hot chocolates
  • Christmas lights!!
  • Aircraft flying low in the sky overhead

Parents Will Love

  • If you have a restless kid at the table, there’s plenty of room to go take a walk inside or outside.
  • Delicious Hot Toddies, Ninkasi drafts on tap
  • Food is fantastic…not what you expect from a hotel, service is casual and friendly. 


Portlandia Factoid
“No Olympics,” Greg Louganis episode was filmed in the lobby and at the outdoor hot tub… which is open year round and looks out over the river.

The Bummer
The vintage Jantzen Beach Carousel is no longer standing at Jantzen Beach. On the up side, we hear it’s going to be re-assembled in Portland.

The 411
Christmas Ships float into view Tuesday – Thursday December 11, 12, 13 and Monday, Wednesday, Thursday December 17, 19, and 20 at about 8:15 p.m.

Reservations are required. Call 503-978-4554.

There is a special menu for this event. Adult price is $26 -$42 per person depending on choice of entrée. This includes salad and dessert. Children 7- 12 have access to same menu as adults for $12. Children 6 and under eat FREE from children’s menu.

Enjoy driving right up to the door… if you have a willing chauffer and ample free parking.

Red Lion Hotel on The River Jantzen Beach is just off of I5 North at the Hayden Island Exit. The restaurant is located straight to the back of the hotel from the main entrance doors in the lobby.

Where is your favorite spot to catch the Christmas Ships in Portland?

— Amber Dennis (thanks for the photos, Amber!)

Photos courtesy of Christmas Ships Inc., Jantzen Beach Bar and Grill facebook page, Christmas Ship Parade facebook page, & Amber Dennis