Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Thanksgiving Weekend: Nov 23-27, 2022

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Mike Bennett's Snow Day, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
November 23, 2022
Grab a cup of cheer and head to the 38th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Pioneer Courthouse Square. (Pioneer Courthouse Square)
This long weekend, there's a veritable cornucopia of cheap and easy events to check out, from the 38th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony to the 75th Anniversary Model Railroad Show and from Mike Bennett's Snow Day to Spectrum Holigay Art Market. For more ideas, check out our guide to this week's top events, and for suggestions on where shop local this Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, check out our full guide to holiday markets. 

Venues may have health guidelines in place—we advise directly checking the specific protocols for an event before heading out.

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Local Comic Shop Day Add to a List
In celebration of Local Comic Shop Day, which honors the role of locally owned, independent comic shops as "fire-starters of pop culture," Cosmic Monkey will offer a special selection of premium titles, listed here.
(Cosmic Monkey Comics, Rose City Park, free)



Thanksgiving Karaoke Add to a List
Sneak away from the family chaos to sing your heart out at this annual Thanksgiving karaoke night with MCs Gini and Rockin' Raymond. We're willing to bet that at least one person will attempt Adam Sandler's infamous "The Thanksgiving Song."
(The Spare Room, Cully, free)



Hops & Honey at Leikam Brewing! Add to a List
Enjoy free tunes from Hops & Honey Goodtime Band and sip beers from the community-minded kosher brewery Leikam Brewing. A portion of proceeds from every pint will benefit Planned Parenthood.
(Leikam Brewing, Mount Tabor, free)


Björk Friday 5 Add to a List
Forsake Thanksgiving and give thanks to Icelandic treasure Björk instead at this annual revue and dance party hosted by PhanTomX and Sonnei Verbena. DJ Johnny Demonic will get the experimental tunes flowing with performances from an "army of" drag queens including Tula Petals, Kiel, K'herry Okay, Link, Papa Stardust, Jenna Saisqoiux, Mx.Marchandt, Violet Hex, Nelson & Jocelyn Knobs, Ripper Simmóre Flesh, Aras Arcadia, Dahlia Hearts, and Aziza Holiday.
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $12)


SNAP! - Missy Elliott Black Friday Party Add to a List
This nostalgia-ridden Black Friday dance party encourages you to get ur freak on, work it, and lose control on the dance floor with over two decades of bangers from the one-and-only Missy Elliott, courtesy of DJ BNick.
(Holocene, Buckman, $10)


38th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Add to a List
Join in on a Portland tradition at the 38th annual tree lighting ceremony, where Santa himself will do the honor and flip the switch, illuminating Pioneer Courthouse Square in the twinkly glow of over 14,000 lights adorning a massive Douglas fir. Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini will lead a sing-along—we dare ya not to feel a faint glimmer of holiday spirit.
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, Downtown, free)



Nosferatu Add to a List
Halloween might be over, but this one's for the goths—F.W. Murnau's eerie 1922 classic Nosferatu, which Werner Herzog once described as "the greatest German film," will screen in all its batty, unsettling glory in celebration of its centennial. Dean Lemire will perform the bone-tingling flick's original score on the Hollywood's Mighty Wurlitzer organ.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $10-$12)


McMenamins 8th Annual Boones Ferry Autumn Ale Fest Add to a List
The eighth edition of this annual festival brings a selection of 14 big, hearty McMenamins beers and ciders to warm you up this season. Enjoy live music and football on the big screen in the Old Church as you sip. One lucky brewer will be crowned the winner in the "War for the Oar."
(McMenamins Old Church & Pub, Wilsonville, $15)

pFriem Beer Tasting Add to a List
Sample some barrel-aged beers from the Hood River-based brewery pFriem Family Brewers.
(23rd Avenue Bottle Shop - McMenamins, Nob Hill)


Wolfchild, The Weather Machine, and Isabeau Waia'u Walker Add to a List
Seattle's Wolfchild will bring you a night of cinematic folk-rock with lush acoustic tunes inspired by indie heavies like Gregory Alan Isakov, Lord Huron, Bon Iver, and Fleet Foxes. Arrive in time to catch sets from local Americana ensemble The Weather Machine and acoustic pop artist Isabeau Waia'u Walker.
(Mississippi Studios, Boise, $15)


NIGHTLIFE Presents: Remy Torres Add to a List
Queer poet and performer Remy Autumn Torres will share this showcase of surreal spoken word and sardonic maximalism at CoHo NIGHTLIFE, a late-night live-streaming program. This isn't your typical coffee shop poetry set—featuring puppeteer Kiani Fiona, the show promises to have a punk rock sensibility.
(Virtual via CoHo Productions, free)


The Makers Fair Holiday Market Add to a List
Hammer & Stitch Brewing Co. and ASSEMBLAGE (formerly Makers Union PDX) are teaming up for three shopping events that will showcase 10 different local artisans over three Saturdays leading up to Christmas. After crossing names off your shopping list, reward yourself with the brewery's pub fare and craft beer.
(Hammer & Stitch Brewing Co., Northwest Portland, free)

Pomarius & Friends 6th Annual Holiday Bazaar Add to a List
If you're an avid flora fan, Pomarius' plein air bazaar among plants aplenty is the holiday gift destination pour vous. Stroll through the nursery's open-air green space and enjoy fare from Newberg's Ruddick/Wood. DJ Passports will bring the tunes, and 100% of admission from the event will go to the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA). Don't forget to make a timed-entry reservation.
(Pomarius Nursery, Slabtown, $6)

Spectrum Holigay Art Market Add to a List
Show off your pride and grab holiday gifts crafted by local LGBTQ2SIA+ artists at this wintry pop-up market, where visitors will find sparkly ceramics, textiles, jewelry, accessories, housewares, and more at the Art Design Xchange (ADX) creative space.
(ADX, Buckman, free)



Les Blank Celebration Add to a List
Returning for the ninth time, this year's Les Blank Celebration will herald the late documentarian's 86th birthday with a funky "musical explosion" that promises to shake off the Thanksgiving leftovers. Hosted by film curator Greg Hamilton, the shindig will include a screening of Blank's '74 doc A Poem is A Naked Person, a feature-length flick that captures the kaleidoscopic grooviness of multi-instrumentalist Leon Russell's Oklahoma recording studio. 
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10)


Big Horn Brass Christmas Concert: Welcome Christmas! Add to a List
Portland's own Big Horn Brass will link up with St. Matthew's Exaltation Handbells for their annual Christmas concert, with dozens of performers bringing your favorite holiday classics to life, such as "The Grinch" and “The Little Drummer Boy,” for a wallet- and family-friendly performance.
(Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, Beaverton, $6-$10)


Portland Bazaar Pop-Up at Pioneer Square Add to a List
Think of this pop-up as an appetizer to the Bazaar's main event Add to a List in December—40+ vendors will be dotted around the square's magnificent tree for a holiday shopping event like no other.
(Pioneer Courthouse Square, Downtown, free)



Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project Add to a List
Created to serve underprivileged communities in southern and eastern Oregon, the award-winning grassroots initiative Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project (OCDP) is celebrated in this pop-up exhibition. Blending public education, archaeological research, and local partnerships, OCDP does invaluable work to help preserve rural Chinese American history—learn more about it at the exhibit, which includes videos, project artifacts, and more.
(Portland Chinatown Museum, Old Town-Chinatown, $0-$8, Friday-Sunday; closing)


The Beyond: The Composer's Cut Add to a List
If Thanksgiving with your family isn't spooky enough, this fresh 4K restoration of Lucio Fulci's malevolent meltdown should put some fear in your heart. The Beyond, which features a brand-new score by chilly composer Fabio Frizzi, peers into the abyss of hell's seven gateways, complete with flesh-munching tarantulas, zombies, and demonic dogs. Don't say we didn't warn you!
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Saturday-Sunday)

Bones and All Add to a List
Road trip!! Directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), this cannibalistic thriller stars Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet as blood-thirsty lovers traveling 3,000 miles through the backroads of the United States. IndieWire reports that the film "would have Chekhov himself weeping," so prepare to feel at least mildly devastated.
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $8-$11, Wednesday-Sunday)

Decision to Leave Add to a List
Park Chan-wook, the visionary director behind Oldboy and The Handmaiden, won Best Director at Cannes this year for this stylish thriller. Decision to Leave begins with a man falling to his death from a Korean mountain peak, and unravels into a sensual noir with subtle nods to Vertigo.
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $8-$11, Wednesday-Sunday)

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio in 35mm Add to a List
If anything can be said of Guillermo del Toro, it's that he knows his way around a weird puppet, so his interpretation of Pinocchio just makes sense. Predictably, del Toro's alchemical twist on the classic tale is a dark cabinet of curiosities—see for yourself at this magical 35mm screening.
(Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District, $8-$10, Wednesday-Sunday)

Tár Add to a List
Some have described the journey Tár takes us on as one about cancel culture: a phrase that can mean whatever one wants it to mean at this point, though this easy categorization feels far too neat and Internet-brained. A more apt comparison would be to 2014’s Whiplash, a film that explores ambition and power—though Tár contains more humor and a willingness to poke fun at its central subject. Without tipping off exactly what happens, those who stick out the two and a half hour film are treated to a final, fraught, and unexpected punchline. It cements. Field's tragicomedy uncovers the full picture of a unique figure in all her grim glory. PORTLAND MERCURY WRITER CHASE HUTCHINSON
(Cinema 21, Nob Hill, $8-$11, Thursday-Sunday)


75th Anniversary Model Railroad Show Add to a List
For a weekend activity that Joe Pera would love, chugga-chugga over to the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club to witness their 75th annual model railroad show in all its tiny train glory. The club sets up the largest model train layouts in the Pacific Northwest, complete with teensy, detailed Columbia River Gorge sights like Multnomah Falls and Portland's Union Station.
(Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club, Eliot, $0-$10, Saturday-Sunday)


Geek the Halls 2022 Add to a List
The long-running craft fair presented by PDX Guild of Geeks is back with 80+ local artists hawking gifts for each and every nerd in your life. Find wares from Flame and Fable Candle Co, GeekKraft, DokiBunny, and more on Small Business Saturday (and Sunday)!
(Doubletree Hotel, Lloyd District, free, Saturday-Sunday)

Mike Bennett's Snow Day Add to a List
Starting on Black Friday, professional joy bringer Mike Bennett will set up shop at The Cleaners with a snowy wonderland of seasonal goodies—think wrapping paper and tree ornaments, plus lawn decorations, greeting cards, and other brand-new holiday merch. (Does this dude ever sleep?)
(The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel, West End, free, Friday-Sunday)


Emily Counts: Field Studies Add to a List
Emily Counts's ceramic style is always a little mystical, reflecting on nature and the fragility of life through curious sculptural busts and wall pieces that are sometimes lit from within. In Field Studies, Counts casts her gaze toward growth, decomposition, and transformation, exploring aging through flowers, matriarchs, insects, fruit, and other sensory oddities.
(Nationale, Buckman, free, Thursday-Sunday; closing)

Emma Gerigscott: For The Love of Duck Add to a List
Emma Gerigscott, whose previous paintings often focused on four-legged friends, takes a dip into a duck pond for this solo exhibition. For The Love of Duck also includes playful textile works made from hand-dyed linen and fabric paint.
(Froelick Gallery, Pearl District, free, Wednesday-Saturday; closing)

Laurie Danial: I'm This, I'm That Add to a List
Laurie Danial describes her bright abstractions as "unscripted and process-driven," inspired by a stream-of-consciousness practice she's employed since childhood. I'm This, I'm That reflects on her "hopscotch" approach, embodying a multitude of styles, palettes, and inspirations (including this Moondog song). 
(Froelick Gallery, Pearl District, free, Wednesday-Saturday; closing)

Like Liquid, Cut Loose Add to a List
In Like Liquid, Cut Loose, a new exhibition at Well Well Projects featuring works by Morgan Rosskopf and a sound installation by Ashlin Aronin, the art is submerged in a simulated grotto of undulating ultraviolet light and swirling, trippy sounds. For anybody prone to sensory overload, spending a long period of time in the space could be exhausting, but if you're up for it, the reward is a labyrinth of hidden treasures, appropriated images, and glowing interstices that feels like a theme park for inhabitants of a warming ocean. MARTHA DAGHLIAN
(Well Well, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday; closing)

Smolder: Carolyn Hopkins and M Acuff Add to a List
Carolyn Hopkins and M Acuff's Smolder looks closely at the simmering anxieties of the current zeitgeist through video and sculpture. Hopkins zeroes in on the climate crisis in Slow Burn, a video piece that also examines the patriarchy of the American West; Acuff's A Thing Burnt in its Entirety contains nods to sacrifice, alchemy, and the concept of nigredo, a Latin term referencing material that was burned in order to initiate transformation.
(Carnation Contemporary, Kenton, free, Saturday-Sunday; closing)

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