Happy Winter Solstice, Portland! Outdoor activities to mark the occasion include an evening hike at Tryon Creek and the heart-warming, annual bonfire, carols and Christmas ships on the Milwaukie Riverfront. If you’re feeling like staying indoors, go for a swim and see Santa at the Conestoga Winter Wonderland Holiday Festival or take in a show, like NOEL: A New Contemporary Ballet or The (Recycled) Gift of the Trashi puppet show. So wrap up, stay cozy and read on to find out our picks for this weekend.

Experience a "Winter Wonderland" at Conestoga

photo: Conestoga Winter Wonderland Holiday Festival by Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District

West Side

Swim+Santa: Conestoga Winter Wonderland Holiday Festival
Santa is making a special trip to spend the evening hanging out. Come enjoy holiday stories with Mrs. Claus, a candylane walk, the North Pole playground, making a holiday craft, and snapping a photo with Santa. Don’t forget your swimsuit for family swim to conclude your special evening. Fri., 6:30-8:30 p.m., $7/child, Ages 1-14. Event details.

Celebrate the Seasons with a Winter Solstice Evening Hike
Enjoy an evening guided nature hike with a trained naturalist, as well as treats from the Dutch oven and a winter craft to celebrate the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Sat., 4-6 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

Take Flight with NOEL: Ballet and Aerial Show
NOEL: A New Contemporary Ballet features a guest performance by the AWOL Aerial Dance Collective for an enchanted evening of imagination and dreams coming to life.  NOEL’s Tea Party after the show invites children of all ages to meet the cast of NOEL, with a appearance by Olaf. Sat. & Sun., 2-4 p.m., $8-$25, All Ages. Event details.

East Side

The (Recycled) Gift of the Trashi Puppet Show
Based on the story, “The Gift of the Magi,” by O. Henry, The (Recycled) Gift of the Trashi, is a new musical and interactive puppet performance focusing on friendship, sharing, and selflessness. This silly homage to the classic tale is full of interactive songs, lessons on friendship and sharing, and puppets made out of re-used and up-cycled items. Sat., 6-7 p.m., $8-$10/person, All Ages. Event details.

“Where’s Winter?” On Stage Performance
It’s time for Mother Nature to turn the magical season wheel and change the season from Fall to Winter, but the key that lets her turn the wheel is missing! Can Mother Nature and her forest friends find the key before it’s too late? Come see a heartwarming tale about friendship, honesty, and the importance of the seasons. Sat., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., $5-$8, All Ages. Event details.

Meet Elsa and Craft Olaf at the Frozen Party
Celebrate Winter with a Frozen party. Craft your own Olaf, meet and have your picture taken with Elsa, join a Frozen sing-a-long with musician Haley Johnsen and enjoy storytime with Sho, from Maggie Mae’s Kids Mobile Bookshop. Sweet treats will be given away from Nectar Frozen Yogurt Shop and Hattie’s Sweet Shop. No RSVP necessary. Sat., 9 a.m.-1 p.m., $12/child, All Ages. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Milwaukie Winter Solstice Celebration
Join the City of Milwaukie in celebrating the shortest day/longest night with its annual solstice celebration that includes a toasty bonfire, holiday carols, sweet holiday treats and Christmas ship viewing from the Riverfront Park. Sat., 4:30 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

How do you celebrate the shortest day of the year? Let us know in the Comments below!

–Suzie Ridgway