The lists are made  and it’s time to bring your children’s wishes to Santa. Our city has so many Portlandy places to make the magic of Christmas come alive for your little believers you’ll have a hard time choosing. Go traditional with a visit downtown, head to a holiday festival, or get your Christmasy snap on a train! Here are the top ten places to see Santa around Portland this year. Read on for more!

photo: Kelly Sue DeConnick via flickr

Pioneer Place Mall

There’s no place quite as Portlandy as Pioneer place! Looking for that traditional pic with Santa? Have a furry family member who wants to ask the jolly guy for a new chew toy? How does being as unique as Portland with a visit Hipster Santa sound? Pioneer Place Mall offers all these awesome opportunities. Head online to reserve your spot, choose packages, and look at photos.  Get a jump on to get photos early. !

Pioneer Place
Nov. 15-24
700 SW 5th Ave.
Portland, OR

Lloyd Center

Santa’s Factory is gearing up for another fun season at Lloyd Center mall! Skate your worries away on the ice rink, then swing by for a very special Sensory Santa event for children with autism or other sensory-processing disorders. Low lights, soft music, and a less distracting environment without other shoppers is offered, and Mrs. Claus will be there too. To make the season extra Portlandy, bring your kiddos back to get their photos with the likes of Jovie and Buddy the Elf, Jack and Sally or the Grinch. For a full list of holiday photo event times and dates, visit the Lloyd Center Facebook page.

Sensory Santa
Nov 24, 9-11 a.m.
Please RSVP online:
2201 Lloyd Center
Portland, OR

Oregon Rail Heritage Center Holiday Express

From Nov. 29-Dec. 15,  you can join Santa Claus and his elves for a magical ride behind Portland’s famous steam locomotives. Vintage rail cars transport you along the Willamette River in the heart of the city. Trains travel on the Oregon Pacific Railroad along the Willamette River in SE Portland and he interiors of the passenger cars are decorated with garland, ornaments, and lights that will dazzle both little and big holiday lovers. Of course, the big treat is getting to share a ride with Santa on board! What a great opportunity to get lots of pics! Book your seat now!

2250 SE Water Ave.
Rates: $22/adult, $16/child

photo: marcusrg via flickr

Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees is a long-standing holiday event that benefits Providence Foundations of Oregon. Filled with fun, you can enjoy a magical holiday wonderland with more than 100 beautifully decorated themed trees, dance and music performances, face painting, cookie decorating. Attend Elf Academy where kids have a chance to learn what it’s like to be one of Santa’s elves! The whole family can explore the magical winter wonderland featuring amazing trees, crafts, Lego displays, a chance to get a photo with Santa and more. And once they complete the required coursework, studious kiddos will earn their elf ears!!

$10/adults, $8, kids 6-12, free for kids 2 and under
Dec. 6 10:30 a.m-8 p.m.; Dec. 7, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Oregon Convention Center, Hall A
777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd.
Portland, OR

Santaland at Oregon Historical Society

Macy’s Santaland closed it’s storied doors in downtown Portland a few years ago, but many of the magical items have found their way to the Oregon HIstorical Society. And Santa is still planning a visit! Head there to see Santa sit in his beautiful chair, see Rudolph, all the beautiful Christmas trees, and even animatronic elves!

Dec. 8,14 & 21 from 12 to 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 15 (also Family Day, and a free day!)
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Ave
Portland, OR

Washington Park and Zoo Railway Zoo Lights

While you can take this train ride all year long, it turns into something special during the holiday season! The holidays just wouldn’t be the holidays in Portland with out a spin on the Zoolights run. This ride gives you the best view of the dazzling display of more than 1.5 million lights in the zoo. In addition to visiting elephants, mountain goats and other wildlife, you can ride the popular lighted train and carousel, and enjoy hot drinks and local food carts. Photos with Santa will be available for the little ones every evening through Dec. 24 starting Nov. 29.

4001 Sw Canyon Rd.
Rates: general $4 and $3.50 for members

photo: robleto via yelp

The Train to Christmas Town

Book a very special Santa visit with this magical train ride on the Hood River Railroad! Join the cheery elves in singing festive songs, enjoy hot chocolate, and be whisked out to Christmas Town with a woo-woo whistle. Santa will give every child their very own special gift. Wear something fun like pjs or a fancy outfit to join in the fun!

Rates start at $47
Hood River Rail Station
110 Railroad Street
Hood River, OR

Santa’s Toy Factory at Clackamas Town Center

Santa’s Workshop is geared up for fun at Clackamas Town Center! The Toy Factory is an experience to behold– kids can test new toys and even help digitally design their own while they wait to see Santa! Special Events include PJ Day, Ugly Sweater Day, and lots of chances for Pet Nights! Reserve online to save some time, and go home with very special memories.

through Dec.24
12000 SE 82nd Ave.
Happy Valley, OR

Christmas in Dairyville

A standing tradition at Alpenrose Dairy farm since 1961, this carefully-curated event includes 300 trees, carolers and choirs, dance performances, live animals, movie screenings, train displays and more. Oh, and photos with Santa. Weekends beginning Dec. 1, enjoy hot cider and treats as you stroll the grounds. Admission is free, but you can bring an unwrapped toy to donate to local children in need. Proceeds from various sales throughout the event benefit local 4-H programs and Oregon-based charities.

Nov 25- Dec 23, Fri-Sun, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Alpenrose Dairy
6149 SW Shattuck Rd.
Portland, OR

Santa HQ at Washington Square

Santa’s traditional visit to Washington Square includes all sorts of fun. This year, the new Elf Academy will allow your sweet children to be transformed into elves in the Magic Mirror (with some magic Santa Dust/Augmented Reality). Oh, and there’s Elf-Ray Vision, and a Naughty or Nice Meter, Storytime with Mrs. Claus, and more! Spend less time in line by making a reservation before your visit, or just swing by for holiday cheer anytime!

Now -Dec.24
9585 SW Washington Square Rd.
Portland, OR

—Annette Benedetti



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