Best time to go to Portland

Christmas Lights in Portland 2021-2022

Immerse yourself in holiday magic during long winter nights


Last updated:
reason default image
See all

Portland always sparkles and shimmers with colorful lights during the holiday season. The beautiful illumination is turned on usually after Thanksgiving. The giant Christmas Tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square is a magnet for kids in downtown Portland. Historic Pittock Mansion, towering above the city, is also worth a closer look thanks to beautiful decorations and garlands. It's also a good idea to stop by such Portland neighborhoods as Laurelhurst, Irvington, and Westmoreland, famous for their breathtaking light displays. More lights can be viewed in Greater Portland area, featuring a few drive-through displays.

Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway (November 26, 2021–January 1, 2022)

The largest Holiday Light Show West of the Mississippi, Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway attracts thousands of visitors with its massive light displays. A Portland holiday tradition since 1993, Winter Wonderland has become a must-see during the holiday season. A spectacular drive-through light show features over 250 colorful light set pieces. There are many fully animated Christmas-themed scenes and characters. Proceeds from the display benefit the Sunshine Division, which provides food and shelter to Portland families in need.

Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo (late November–early January)

The Oregon Zoo boasts an impressive walk-through light extravaganza, featuring more than 1.6 million colored LEDs. In addition to seeing mountain goats, elephants, and other animals, visitors can see the zoo in an entirely new light. Kids love to ride the zoo train, decorated with lights, and an old-fashioned carousel, enjoy hot chocolate and snacks. Zoo Lights received over a million visitors over recent years, with school vacations being the busiest time. Zoo Lights runs from 5 pm to 9 pm.

Christmas Ship Parade in Portland (December 3-21, 2021)

Ships illuminated with thousands of lights and incredible decorations parade on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers for fifteen nights every December. The annual Christmas Ships Parade is one of the most awaited holiday events in Portland. This iconic event started in 1954 by the Portland Yacht Club. Now it has grown to about 60 brightly lit boats that can be well seen from both rivers' banks. New ships join the parade every year, bringing new holiday-themed light exhibits. A popular way to see the parade is to book a table at a restaurant along either river, but you can enjoy the display for free from several popular locations.

The Grotto Festival of Lights (November 26, 2021–January 2, 2022)

The biggest Christmas choral festival in the country, The Grotto Festival of Lights features 150 indoor concerts, living history, and Biblical performances. Not to mention over 500,000 bulbs, illuminated Christmas trees, and a life-sized nativity scene. Family entertainment and Christmas-themed puppet shows run each night continuously. The festival runs from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Oregon's best school, church, and civic choirs perform five scheduled concerts every night that takes place in a 500-seat chapel that boasts cathedral acoustics. After each concert, there is more fun at the Grotto’s plaza, which includes outdoor Christmas caroling, puppet shows, and a children's petting zoo. Try delicious holiday foods and beverages and explore seasonal shopping in The Grotto Gift Shop.

Wenzel Farm Christmas Fantasy Trail (postponed till 2022)

Wenzel Farm Christmas Fantasy Trail in Oregon City is a fun family adventure featuring a 1000-feet (305-m) wooden walkway decorated in a Christmas theme. The Fantasy Trail features thousands of lights to boost your Christmas spirit. The main attraction of the trail is the 40-feet (12-m) castle with holiday scenes. You can also enjoy a walk-through tunnel, a maze, a crooked house, a suspension bridge, and more. Bonfires and refreshments are available to warm up and recharge for new adventures