You better watch out! You better not cry…because Santa is in town along with a whole bunch cool weekend events. Navigate a sea of lights, catch a Christmas train, or craft a gingerbread house. Scroll down to find out where your weekend can take you and your tribe for some holiday fun.

photo: dawgfanjeff via flickr


Attend The Nutcracker presented by Columbia Dance
Now in its 20th season, Columbia Dance brings its most joyous holiday gift with its wonder-filled production of the “The Nutcracker.” Dancers from the School of Columbia Dance present the magical story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they battle the Mouse King and embark on a thrilling journey through the Land of Snow and into the Kingdom of Sweets. Fri., Sat., & Sun. Event Details.

Hood River

Catch the Train to Christmas Town
Take a 75-minute train ride along the Columbia River as you drink cocoa with cookies and hear music on the The Train to Christmas Town [formerly Polar Express], with a visit from Santa and his elves. Fri., Sat., & Sun. Event Details.


Navigate the Sea of Lights
Join the Aquarium this December for our annual Sea of Lights. Over half a million colorful lights and holiday decorations will surround visitors with the spirit of the season as they explore the Aquarium after hours. SCUBA Santa will be busy diving the Aquarium exhibits, posing for photos with visitors, and noting family Christmas wishes.This family-friendly event kicks off with a special celebration on December 1 and 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission to the first Friday and Saturday of Sea of Lights is $2 plus two cans of nonperishable food. Entry is $10 per person without donation. Admission is free for Aquarium members, but they are encouraged to bring an item to donate. People may also donate pet food or new, unwrapped children’s toys for the Newport Fire Department’s Holiday Toy Drive in place of a food donation. Fri., Sat., & Sun. Event Details.

SW Portland

Try Gingerbread House Crafting
Head to The Craft Factory for four Saturdays in December to make your very own gingerbread house. No frosting required, though they will provide an assortment of candy treats to decorate The Craft Factory way – with a glue gun! Your candy will be extra secure as you decorate your seasonal house for only $10. While you can’t eat your house, you can enjoy some delicious gingerbread treats. Sat. Event Details.

Visit Santa’s Headquarters at Washington Square
Santa will be available for photos and visits at his Headquarters presented by HGTV, located in Center Court between the escalators. Reservations available, but not required! Exciting features include elf-ray vision, naughty-or-nice o’ meter, and more! Fri., Sat., & Sun. Event Details.

See The Goonies
A band of pre-teen friends who live in the “Goon Docks” neighborhood in Astoria attempt to save their homes from demolition by real estate developers. They discover an old Spanish treasure map that leads them on an adventure to unearth the long-lost fortune of One-Eyed Willie, a legendary 17th-century pirate who sailed the Oregon coast. Unbeknownst to them, a trio of Italian criminals is also trying to find the gold. Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton, Josh Brolin, and Joe Pantoliano star in this much-loved adaptation of an adventure story by Steven Spielberg. Sat. Event Details.

Join Restore Riverplace December
Join Friends of RiverPlace and the International school in their efforts to clean and beautify the downtown area from south Naito to the River. This is the future Field of Dreams! Activities include: Invasive Plant Removal, Litter Cleanup, Native Planting, Maintenance & Monitoring. Sat. Event Details.

Check Out Paranorman
Eleven-year-old Norman can see and speak with the dead, including his beloved grandmother. Most days, he prefers their company to that of his flustered father, spacey mother, and deeply superficial older sister. Norman is unexpectedly contacted by his odd uncle Prenderghast, who floors him with the revelation that a centuries-old witch’s curse is about to come true, and that only Norman can stop it from harming the townspeople. Once a septet of zombies suddenly rises from their graves, Norman bravely summons up all that makes a hero—courage and compassion—as he finds his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits. Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Film. Sun. Event Details.

Lake Oswego

Attend the Holiday Concert Jingle & Swing
Jingle and Swing will transport audiences to the early days of 1930s jazz, when hep cat swing had its heyday, 78 rpm records were cut live on radio shows, and musicians like Nat King Cole, The Boswell Sisters, Duke Ellington, The Dorsey Brothers and Cab Calloway owned the day. A sparkling cast of local NW swing luminaries will lead the vintage holiday charge, including Pete Krebs, multi-instrumentalist Casey MacGill (from Seattle), members of The Stolen Sweets, cabaret sweetheart Pink Lady and light-as-air swing dancers Melissa Roane and Colin Livesay. Sat. Event Details.

SE Portland

The Amazing Bubble Man
Louis Pearl has been thrilling audiences around the world for nearly 30 years with the art, magic, science and fun of bubbles. He is a favorite at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where he has enjoyed eight years of sell-out success.

Louis explores the breath-taking dynamics of bubbles, combining comedy and artistry with audience participation and enough spellbinding bubble tricks to keep everyone mesmerized. From square bubbles, bubbles inside bubbles, fog-filled bubbles, giant bubbles, bubble volcanoes, tornados and trampolines to people inside bubbles, the Amazing Bubble Man conjures shrieks of laughter and gasps of amazement from all ages.

This show will also feature multi instrumentalist Jet Black Pearl accompanying Louis with bubbly music to double your pleasure. Sun. Event Details.

Do you have exciting plans for the weekend? Share them with us in the comments section below.

—Annette Benedetti