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The Best Things To Do in Portland This Month: December 2023

Woodsy Winter Village and Ice Rink, Oregon Symphony Concerts, and More
December 1, 2023
Vocal powerhouse Kristin Chenoweth will join the Oregon Symphony for a melodious holiday concert. (Kristin Chenoweth via Facebook)
December is here, and with it comes twinkling lights, jingling sleigh bells, and all manner of seasonal delights. Even if the holiday season isn't your cup of eggnog, there's also the usual array of concerts, major author appearances, festivals, food & drink events, and tons more. As we do every month, we've compiled the biggest events you need to know about in every genre, from The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert with the Oregon Symphony to Hey Love's holiday makeover Sleigh Love and from Crafty Wonderland Holiday Market to the brand-new Woodsy Winter Village and Ice Rink. You can also check out our December events calendar to view events by date.

Jump to: Comedy | Film | Food & Drink | Live Music | Performance & Theater | Shopping | Visual Art | Winter Holidays


A John Waters Christmas Past Event List
John Waters, who shall henceforth be known as the "anti-Santa," will glide his perverse sleigh into Portland for some Christmas twistedness and holiday jeers. He might stomp on your perfectly wrapped presents, but this evening with the cult filmmaker seems promising for those on the holiday-averse end of the spectrum. If you've been naughty this year, Waters encourages you to lean into it—he'll pull "celebrity blow-up dolls," "yuletide diseases with booster shots that actually get you high," and "kindergarten detention drag shows in Florida" out of his big red sack. LC
Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn (Fri Dec 1)

Brett Goldstein: The Second Best Night of Your Life Past Event List
Score some brownie points with your Gen X friends by bringing them to this stand-up set by Emmy-winning Ted Lasso star Brett Goldstein, who has some thoughts on American football. LC
Keller Auditorium, Downtown (Dec 1–2)

Matteo Lane Past Event List
Well-fed funnyman Matteo Lane will drop by Portland to serve up his own recipe for success: quick-witted comedy inspired by his Italian upbringing, The Barefoot Contessa, and more. (Carbonara sadly not included.) "Fluent in five languages and with a singing range of six octaves, Matteo lived in Italy as an oil painter and opera singer before starting his comedy career," reads the promotional copy for this show. Cool brag, Matteo! LC
Revolution Hall, Buckman (Thurs Dec 7)

The Eric Andre Explosion Past Event List
The creator of The Eric Andre Show has described his Adult Swim series as "like poop and pee mixed together." While that undersells the program—a hyperbolic and absurdist parody of public-access talk shows—it underscores Andre's scatological sensibilities and knack for shocking and mocking decorum. Since 2012, Andre has hosted and cowritten The Eric Andre Show with fellow stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress. It's a mélange of pranks, physical humor, and celebrity interviews that veers 180 degrees from talk shows' ho-hum formulas. In his stand-up performances, Andre delivers similarly skewed observations with a gravel-voiced hysteria. Some subjects include his biracial status, the mentality behind homophobia, Wendy's Baconator, and the show MANswers, whose hyper-macho approach to television he hilariously dissects. STRANGER CONTRIBUTOR DAVE SEGAL
Crystal Ballroom, West End (Thurs Dec 14)


Black Christmas Past Event List
Black Christmas is an underrated holiday hunk of horror coal, and it's surprisingly freaky–just wait until you find out what's hidden in the attic. Decked out in twinkle lights, the '74 flick follows a group of sorority sisters who receive strange phone calls over winter break. (You guessed it, a serial killer is on the loose.) Black Christmas also spawned one of my favorite horror tropes: For the first time, the calls were coming from inside the house. LC
Tomorrow Theater, Richmond (Sat Dec 2)

Fungi Film Fest Past Event List
Perfect for the mycologically inclined, the world's only mushroom- and mold-centered film festival will head to Portland with 20 fungusy flicks from nine countries, including experimental cinema, documentaries, and fantasy narratives. (Opinel not included.) Each film on the roster sounds more intriguing than the last, but director Anaís Córdova Páez's experimental flick Hematic Cultures, in which she coated the film itself "with menstrual blood and silver for catching light," after which it started to decompose and grow microfauna, is something I think I've gotta see. LC
Cinema 21 (Sun Dec 3) and Virtual (Dec 1, 2023–Jan 3, 2024)

The Boy and The Heron Past Event List
Over the last 30 years, Studio Ghibli has become legendary for its lush visuals, emotional and affecting storytelling, and poetic, intelligent approach to nature and the more-than-human world. One of its central figures is (duh) cofounder Hayao Miyazaki, who has made some of the studio's most revered flicks (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service among them). He's also the most endearingly idiosyncratic director, like, maybe ever, and has announced, then broken, his retirement a total of four times. Never change, Miyazaki!! Anyway, if you're a Ghibli fan, you probably know all of this and are already jazzed for his first feature film in 10 years, The Boy and The Heron. It's a hand-drawn, semi-autobiographical fantasy that seems likely to fall in line with all of the reasons you love him already. Those who purchase tickets to OMSI's opening night screening will score free movie snacks, a beverage, and a pass for free museum admission on a future date. LC
OMSI, Central Eastside (Opens Dec 8)

Poor Things Past Event List
Real Lanthimos heads know that he doesn't direct anything without dystopic, black comedy underpinnings and plotlines that make audiences ponder why they're on the planet at all. He is weird, as directors should be, and you're either in or you're out. This time around, he's adapted a '92 Scottish novel for the screen, painting the picture of a young woman (played by Emma Stone, who is raven-haired and looks charmingly bananas) brought back to life by an unorthodox scientist (played by my famous dad, Willem Dafoe). Best part? Poor Things "saved" my other dad, Mark Ruffalo, from "depressed dad typecasting." Praise be. LC
Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District (Dec 14–21)

The Big Lebowski Past Event List
Although the Clinton Street Theater changed hands last year, the historic movie house's new owners will continue a longstanding tradition of screening The Big Lebowski in magical 35mm for the holidays. Nothing says Christmas in Portland like laughing alongside an audience of folks sipping sake-based White Russians—if you haven't made it a tradition yet, now's the time.
Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy (Dec 21–24)

FAM JAM // Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special Past Event List
This screening of history's best holiday special, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, honors the memory of Paul Reubens, everyone's favorite nasally, bow-tied, high-camp artiste who passed in July after a private cancer battle. (It's not all about him, though: Cher, Oprah, Grace Jones, Little Richard, and k.d. lang make appearances.) Pee-Wee's shiny postmodern sarcasm and half-toy, half-human, kitschy sincerity were far more influential than we gave him credit for. If you're in need of a little spiked-eggnog cheer, I recommend popping on an ugly sweater and taking this flick for a spin—it's even weirder, and better, than you remember. LC
Tomorrow Theater, Richmond (Sat Dec 23)


The Portland Mercury's Holiday Drink Week Past Event List
'Tis the season for warming wintry libations, from mulled wine to spiked cocoa. Ready to get your nog on? The Portland Mercury and EverOut have you covered with our Holiday Drink Week, a new annual tradition that debuted last year. And the best part? They’re only EIGHT BUCKS! For one week only, you'll find a variety of exclusive holiday-themed drink specials at participating bars and restaurants around town. Why not round up some friends, bundle up in your coziest attire, and head out on a self-guided booze tour? One thing's for certain: these won't be your ordinary cups of cheer. JB
Various locations (Dec 1–3)

Miracle at Deadshot Past Event List
In 2014, New York bar owner Greg Boehm temporarily transformed his space into a kitschy Christmas wonderland replete with gewgaws and tchotchkes galore. The pop-up phenomenon has expanded to more than 100 locations all over the world, including Portland's stylish cocktail bar Deadshot. Specialty cocktails are housed in tacky-tastic vessels and christened with names like the “Bad Santa,” the “Yippie Ki Yay Mother F**r,” and the “Jolly Koala.” JB
Deadshot, Hosford-Abernethy (Dec 1–30)

Sippin' on Sixth Past Event List
This holiday-tiki-themed cocktail bar pop-up (a spinoff of the hit Miracle pop-up, which takes place at Deadshot this year) invites you to "imagine Santa on a surfboard instead of a sleigh and palm trees instead of pine." Drinks range from the "Merry Spritzmas" (Prosecco, aperitif, tawny port, cognac, lemon, falernum, fig preserves, and cardamom bitters) to the "Jingle Bird" (bourbon, pineapple rum, Campari, lime, pineapple, and "jingle mix"). JB
Courtyard by Marriott Portland City Center, Downtown (Dec 1–31)

Sleigh Love Past Event List
Sleigh the day with a menu of delightfully tacky holiday-inspired drinks and other nostalgic treats at the cocktail bar and restaurant Hey Love. The vibe is described as "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation but more, and located in a cocktail-soaked indoor jungle." Sample offerings include "Noggy by Nature" (an eggnog slushie) to "Toboggan Time" (Hey Love's signature frozen spin on Irish coffee, made with a Rumplemintz float, whipped cream, and candy cane sprinkles). DJs will add to the chaotic merriment starting at 9 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. JB
Hey Love, Buckman (Dec 1, 2023–Jan 1, 2024)

Festivus For The Rest Of Us At Hey Love Past Event List
Celebrate the Seinfeldian holiday "for the rest of us" with Hey Love, which will include all the requisite traditions, including the airing of grievances (here written on custom sticky notes), feats of strength, and a Festivus pole. The restaurant will also serve cheeky themed Chinese-Jewish specials, such as the "Soup for You" (hot and sour duck broth soup with a matzo ball, shredded roast duck, and pickled purple cabbage) and the "I Was in the Pool! There Was Shrinkage" (Nathan's kosher hot dogs wrapped in an egg roll and fried until golden). A "smattering of DJs" will add to the festivities. JB
Hey Love, Buckman (Thurs Dec 21)


Portland's Singing Christmas Tree Past Event List
In a state flush with forests, it's only fitting that we would have a tradition called the Singing Christmas Tree. The ultimate Christmas carolers return with new showstopping numbers, special guest artists Georgene Rice, Timothy Greenidge, Erin Tamblyn, Courtney Temple, and an appearance from Ol' Saint Nick himself. Performing traditional and contemporary carols, the youth and adult choirs will fill you with an abundance of holiday cheer. AV
Sunset Church, Oak Hills (Dec 1–3)

Jenny Lewis Past Event List
Jenny Lewis’s latest album, Joy'All, is everything I hoped it would be. It's lyrically fun, danceable, and perfectly balances classic folk with glitzy R&B. She is the queen of a self-deprecating line, and this album has a bounty. Some of my favorite Jennyisms include "I'm not a psycho / I'm just tryna get laid" ("Psycho"), "My forties are kicking my ass and handing 'em to me in a margarita glass" ("Puppy and a Truck"), and "I fall in love too easy / too easy / with anyone who touches me / fucks with me" ("Cherry Baby"). She will support the album alongside Ishmael Butler's Afrofuturist rap project Shabazz Palaces and country troubadour Logan Ledger. AV
Roseland Theater, Old Town-Chinatown (Sun Dec 3)

alt-J: An Awesome Wave 10th Anniversary Show Past Event List
Despite the trends of 2013 feeling incredibly dated (galaxy print leggings, high-low hem skirts, men's v-neck shirts, overuse of the word "swag," etc), ten years wasn't that long ago. That's why, when I saw that British folktronica trio alt-J was hitting the road on a 10-year anniversary tour for their album, An Awesome Wave, I had to double-check what year it was. Perhaps this tour isn't about nostalgia, but rather capitalizing on their most beloved album while lead vocalist Joe Newman still has that signature warbly, whiny voice. Sing along to hits like "Breezeblocks" and "Tessellate" after an opening set from Berlin-based indie rockers Meagre Martin. AV
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Tues Dec 5)

The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition Past Event List
Much like the traditional Christmas treat known as figgy pudding, caroling is a whimsical old-time image of the holiday season that seems to fade little by little, year by year—and that's why I am declaring this December Little Women Winter. That's right, I'm talking bonnets, handwritten letters, Christmas trees lit with real candles (that's safe, right?), boiled puddings, communal singing, and helping your neighbors à la the 19th-century coming-of-age novel. Summon your inner March sister at the annual Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition, which unites thousands of carolers (and timid bystanders) to sing holiday ditties. The top caroling teams will end the night with a very festive "sing-off" on the Figgy Pudding main stage with the potential to win up to $1,000. Velvet capes, top hats, and fur muffs are highly encouraged (by me). AV
Pioneer Courthouse Square, Downtown (Fri Dec 8)

Portland Gay Men’s Chorus: Make the Yuletide Gay Past Event List
This year, the Portland Gay Men's Chorus will make the Yuletide gay—as in happy and homosexual. The vocal ensemble has set out to produce the "gayest holiday concert of all time" with a performance inspired by classic variety and sketch comedy shows like The Carol Burnett Show, The Muppet Show, and Saturday Night Live. Prepare your pipes for some deep, Santa-esque belly laughs—no laugh track necessary! AV
Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks (Dec 8–10)

Kristin Chenoweth with the Oregon Symphony Past Event List
Tony-, Grammy-, and Emmy-Award-winning Broadway sweetheart and recording artist Kristin Chenoweth has earned national treasure status with beloved roles like Glinda in Wicked, Sally in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Olive Snook in Pushing Daisies—just to name a few. She will be accompanied by the Oregon Symphony for a festive evening of holiday tunes from her 2021 Christmas album Happiness Is...Christmas! AV
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Thurs Dec 14)

The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert with the Oregon Symphony Past Event List
Christmas just isn't Christmas without the Muppets. Every year, I pop in my VHS copies of the Muppet Christmas Carol and the lesser-known TV special A Muppet Family Christmas to gawk at how fabulous Miss Piggy is—seriously, she's my #1 inspiration. Experience Piggy, Kermit, Gonzo, and the whole gang on the big screen as they retell Charles Dickens' classic holiday tale. The Oregon Symphony will accompany the film with a live performance of Miles Goodman's memorable score. It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights, it's time to meet the Muppets because, as Dickens himself once said, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” AV
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Dec 16–17)

Brown Branch Big Band’s Holiday Tribute to Count Basie Past Event List
Brown Branch is one of the Portland music scene’s finest treasures and certainly worth boasting about. Its band members include Portlander-turned-New Yorker drummer and composer Domo Branch as well as local jazz pianist and producer Charlie Brown. Brown, who sometimes goes by Charlie 3rown or Charlie Brown III, has worked with artists like Aminé, Reva DeVito, and Blossom, and of late has supported Memphis-based bass guitar prodigy MonoNeon on the international tour circuit, including a couple of spectacular sets at Pickathon in August. Just a week before Christmas, the duo will perform a holiday show in tribute to jazz legend Count Basie, offering a modern twist to the great musician’s catalog. Anyone who attended last year’s Brown Branch Presents: Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite is already looking for tickets. Branch on drums and Brown on the piano, the duo will play with the 17-piece Brown Branch Big Band, which includes acclaimed musicians like saxophonists Max Roark, Kevin Oliver, Mieke Bruggeman, Devin Phillips, and Hailey Niswanger; trombonists Kyle Molitor, James Powers, Adriana Wagner, Denzel Mendoza; trumpeters Noah Simpson, Abner Deltle, Cameron Formanczyk, Justin Copeland; Bassist Finn Jones, and guitarist Jack Radsliff. That’s a lot of names and a lot of talent, right there. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR JENNI MOORE
Portland Center Stage, Pearl District (Dec 18–19)

Pink Martini: Home(town) for the Holidays with the Oregon Symphony Past Event List
Portland's own "little orchestra" Pink Martini features over a dozen musicians who perform a multilingual repertoire of slinky jazz, theatrical classical, catchy pop, and vibrant global sounds. The band has a certain je ne sais quoi that puts everyone in a good mood—they don't just perform a show, they know how to throw a party. For this annual hometown concert, the ensemble will perform a mix of classic Christmas carols to get you in the holiday spirit. AV
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Dec 20–21)


Black Nativity Past Event List
Written by innovative playwright, poet, and social activist Langston Hughes, Black Nativity first premiered in 1961 and was one of the first off-Broadway plays composed by an African American person. This interpretation of the gospel play will be presented by PassinArt, an African American theater company that interpreted the bluesy, Pulitzer-nominated play Seven Guitars earlier this year. The production will blend nativity storytelling, dance, and traditional Christmas carols with brand-new songs, and it's directed by Jerry Foster, who has previously helped direct the Juneteenth and Kwanzaa Celebrations for the North Portland library and the Peace Festival for Black Women for Peace. LC
Brunish Hall, South Park Blocks (Dec 1–10)

Home for the Holidays Past Event List
In this cheery musical revue, a bus full of passengers headed home for the holidays find themselves stranded in Iowa, where they wrangle up some Yuletide spirit with stories and songs to ward off the snow storm. LC
Broadway Rose New Stage Theatre, Tigard (Dec 1–23)

Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really Past Event List
Look, I love Dracula as much as the next person, but he definitely has what I'd describe as a misogyny issue—I mean, who kidnaps women and sucks their blood?? Couldn't be me! Anywho, playwright Kate Hamill's adaptation of Bram Stoker's sanguinary novel "bounces between horror and humor," challenging gothic tropes and twisting the vampire tale on its gory head to create something cool and feminist, but still scary. After all, isn't it about time we drive a stake through the heart of the patriarchy? LC
Portland Center Stage, Pearl District (Dec 1–24)

Liberace & Liza Holiday at the Mansion (A Tribute) Past Event List
It's November, which means the holidays are in full swing, whether you like it or not!! Get into it with this sequined holiday tribute, in which classically trained pianist David Saffert and singer/actor Jillian Snow Harris will charm the crowd as showstoppers Liberace and Liza Minnelli. Liberace's real-life music director Bo Ayars will conduct the musical performance; expect foot-tapping piano medleys and jazzy tribute songs. LC
Portland Center Stage, Pearl District (Dec 1–24)

A Christmas Carol Past Event List
If the impending holiday season elicits your well-deserved "Bah, humbug," I recommend taking this dependable Yuletide delight for a spin. After all, what's more Christmassy than a bunch of intrusive ghosts and a notably grumpy old dude? Portland Playhouse's A Christmas Carol is a Dickensian feast of holiday theatrics that offers a contemporary interpretation of Ebenezer Scrooge's ghostly journey, adapted with original lyrics by award-winning playwright and director Rick Lombardo. LC
Portland Playhouse, King (Dec 1–30)

Poog: The Road to Christmas Past Event List
The hags are coming!!! POOG (GOOP backward) is the unhinged blend of hypochondria, consumerism, and millennial ennui that you might not have known you needed, served up on a platter covered in retinoids and permed lashes. Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak are on the road for the holidays, so prepare for some lymphatic drainage in the form of diatribes on skincare and microgreens. If you are exhausted by the endless, girlbossy guides to optimizing, glass skin, and supplements that occupy nearly every corner of Beyonce's internet, Berlant and Novak are here for you—not to debunk or fact-check these things, but to laugh along. ("The original batch of snake oil had to have had something in it," says Novak.) LC
Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn (Tues Dec 5)

You’re Wrong About and American Hysteria present A MASSIVE SÉANCE Holiday Spectacular for the Living and Dead Past Event List
Host Sarah Marshall's incisive hit podcast You're Wrong About challenges audience beliefs and illuminates forgotten history. (How much do you really know about the Tonya Harding scandal?) The podcast tackles everything from the Enron collapse to serial killers, and it was named the 2022 Podcast of the Year at the I Heart Radio Podcast Awards. Marshall will join forces with American Hysteria host Chelsey Weber-Smith for this live show, which will offer up comedy, "witchy rock and roll," and a massive séance to shake off the hexes of 2023. LC
Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn (Wed Dec 6)

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker Past Event List
It's The Nutcracker—you already know the premise, but it never really gets old, does it? Tchaikovsky’s magical score will spring to life again in this sugar plum-packed rendition of the longstanding holiday tradition, complete with mice, tin soldiers, and a timeless trip to the Land of Sweets. LC
Keller Auditorium, Downtown (Dec 8–24)

ZooZoo Past Event List
Imago's globe-trotting holiday tradition returns this year with a colorful array of "hippos with insomnia, arrogant anteaters, introverted frogs, paradoxical polar bears, acrobatic worms, self-touting accordions," and other tricky critters. They'll all come together on stage for an eye-popping family production before heading back into storage (aka Imago's warehouse, which probably looks pretty wild for the rest of the year). LC
Imago Theatre, Buckman (Dec 8, 2023–Jan 1, 2024)

Bear Grease Past Event List
Popping by Portland for one night only, the touring musical Bear Grease will lend an Indigenous twist to the '78 classic with a blend of hip-hop, parody, improv, and freestyling. The production promises "a new historical perspective," and this December edition will also be holiday-themed. That sounds like a lot to tackle at once, but I have the utmost confidence in the LA-based hip-hop duo LightningCloud, which includes MC RedCloud, a one-time Guinness World Record holder for longest freestyle rap. LC
Portland Art Museum, South Park Blocks (Tues Dec 12)

NOT-Cracker Past Event List
For those who are just a smidge too cool for The Nutcracker, this "unconventional" dance show fits the "holiday-themed, but make it edgy" bill. Choreographed by the cofounders of contemporary dance company Open Space and "renowned Tokyo Street artist" Uno, the production is set in Portland and stars the company's dance artists, NØIR, and dozens of kiddos from The School at Open Space. NOT-Cracker also includes an act by performance artist Charles Roy starring the city's gender-nonconforming ballroom legends House of Ada, who recently competed on HBO’s Legendary. LC
Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks (Dec 16–17)

The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show Past Event List
Jinkx Monsoon, the "internationally tolerated Jewish narcoleptic drag queen," and BenDeLaCreme, the sugary sweet RuPaul's Drag Race icon, will bring their unique blend of bubbly effervescence and quirky realness to the stage for this holiday dragstravaganza. The pair plan to show off their sleigh and share why they're the true queens of Christmas cheer, which already seems undebatable. The show will return to town after a wildly successful run last year; expect brand-new songs and a healthy dash of spectacle, plus "adult themes and language." LC
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Wed Dec 27)


My People's Market 13 Past Event List
Tuck into Himalayan dumplings and edible art while stocking up on salsa, hot sauce, and sambal at this holiday market that highlights BIPOC creators, makers, and culinary masters. There will be coffee and kombucha to keep your energy up as you shop from over 120 vendors and enjoy performances from live music to Mexican folk dance. The Numberz will also be broadcasting live from the market on Twitch and 96.7 FM if you can't make it out. Bring the kids for face painting, crafts, and a photo with Black Santa! SL
Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District (Dec 2–3)

Crafty Wonderland Holiday Art and Craft Market Past Event List
Find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list at Crafty Wonderland, one of Portland’s OG indie markets. This holiday shopping extravaganza features over 250 artists, designers, and crafters selling wares from ceramic dumplings to bow ties for cats. Grab tickets for Friday's preview night to get first dibs on the goods and a free drink at the bar, or save money on Saturday and Sunday timed-entry tickets (they're just $4, and you can stay as long as you like). SL
Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District (Dec 8–10)

Portland Bazaar Past Event List
A holiday market for procrastinators, the Portland Bazaar is open the two weekends right before Christmas. Even if you wait, you'll still be getting top-quality goods from over 160 local artists, makers, and small businesses whose wares range from organic undies to canned wine. And if you're really strapped for time, they have custom gift wrapping available, so this market has you covered even if gift-giving isn't your love language. SL
Premier Gear & Machine Works Building, Slabtown (Dec 9–17)


Converge 45 Contemporary Arts Biennial Past Event List
The free, citywide art exhibition Converge 45 is in full swing, with artists showcased across over 15 venues in Portland, including college campuses, the Portland Japanese Garden, and Pioneer Square. The biennial's theme, Social Forms: Art as Global Citizenship, takes on topics of Amazon deforestation, indigeneity, citizenship, and immigration, and aims to amplify the voices and experiences of people of color, so you're bound to find a cause you can get behind. I'm looking forward to local textile legend and Seneca Nation member Marie Watt's Chords to Other Chords (Relative) and Yishai Jusidman's history-driven cyanotypes in Prussian Blue. LC
Various locations (Dec 1–31)

Africa Fashion Past Event List
London's Victoria and Albert Museum curated this major exhibition, which will bring dozens of well-dressed mannequins to the Portland Art Museum this fall and winter for an exploration of African fashion culture and history from the mid-20th century to the present. Africa Fashion includes "garments, textiles, adornments, personal testimonies, photographs, film, and catwalk footage," with artifacts pulled straight from the archives of legendary African designers like Shade Thomas-Fahm, Chris Seydou, Kofi Ansah, Naïma Bennis, and Alphadi and contemporary creatives Imane Ayissi, IAMISIGO, Moshions, Thebe Magugu, and Maison Art. Not sold? The exhibition was featured in Vogue, Forbes, and CNN, which deemed the show "an archive of achievement." LC
Portland Art Museum, South Park Blocks (Dec 1, 2023–Feb 18, 2024)

Rick Bartow: What the Crow Knows Past Event List
Rick Bartow, an enrolled member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot Indians, Vietnam War veteran, and leading voice in the contemporary Native American art movement, passed in 2016. Those unfamiliar with his work shouldn't miss this exhibition of his printing collaborations with Mika Aono and master printer Seiichi Hiroshima of Moon and Dog Press. Bartow's expressive, gestural style comes to life in brilliant mark-making and naturalistic storytelling. LC
Froelick Gallery, Pearl District (Dec 5, 2023–Jan 27, 2024)


Christmas Ships Parade Past Event List
You'll have the chance to see more than three ships come sailing in during the 69th annual Christmas Ships Parade this year. During chilly evenings in the first half of December, decorated ships will head up and down the Columbia and Willamette rivers, bringing holiday joy to the crowds gathered onshore. Grab a thermos of hot cocoa and make sure to check the schedule; we're aiming for nights when both fleets make an appearance in the same spot for maximum sparkly ship sightings. SL
Various locations (Dec 1–17) 

The Holiday Express 2023 Past Event List
Join Santa and his elves aboard a vintage rail car on the historic 1912 Polson #2 steam locomotive for a festive trek along the Willamette River. Unlike the 2004 film about a Christmas train ride, the Holiday Express is very chill and does not dip into the uncanny valley. Daytime rides offer a chance to spot wildlife (reindeer, maybe?), and during evening rides you'll see the train and city aglow with holiday lights. Bring your Christmas wish list and Santa might just trade you a candy cane for it. SL
Oregon Rail Heritage Center, Hosford-Abernethy (Dec 1–17)

Christmas Festival of Lights 2023 Past Event List
Don your hat and gloves, gather your loved ones, and get excited for one of Portland's favorite holiday traditions. The Festival of Lights transforms the Grotto into a magical place where twinkling lights and joyful songs guide your way. The plaza tent will host puppet shows at the beginning of every hour, followed by the Grotto Carolers and their merry tunes. Don't miss the Chapel of Mary's "cathedral-like acoustics" with nightly performances from local choirs. SL
The Grotto, Sumner (Dec 1–30)

Winter Wonderland Past Event List
If you're the type of person who drives your family and friends around to different neighborhoods trying to find the best holiday light displays, this one's for you. Winter Wonderland once again takes over the racetrack with hundreds of lighted set pieces that you can view from the warmth of your car. And if cars are not your thing, you can "Bike the Lights" on November 28, or bring your four-legged friends to the "Lights and Leashes" dog walk nights on November 27 and 29. All proceeds from this year's event will benefit Sunshine Division, a local nonprofit that works year-round to provide food and clothing to families in need. SL
Portland International Raceway, North Portland (Dec 1–31)

Creatures of Christmas Past Event List
Mysterious creatures from Nordic lore will stop by Nordic Northwest this holiday season, including the 13 Icelandic Yule Lads (don't worry, they were banned from tormenting children in 1746), a Swedish Yule goat (cute and tied to ancient Pagan festivals), Danish and Norwegian nisse (gnome-like dudes with conical caps), and the Finnish Santa, Joulupukki, who looks a lot like the American one these days. While you're there, don't miss Ole Bolle, Thomas Dambo's own mythical creature (a giant troll made of recycled materials). LC
Nordic Northwest, Metzger (Dec 1, 2023–Jan 1, 2024)

Zoo Lights Past Event List
Lions, tigers, and bears will have you saying "oh my!" in childlike wonder at the Oregon Zoo's immersive holiday lights experience. Be mesmerized as you walk through tunnels of sparkling lights, take a ride on the zoo train, and enjoy treats like elephant ears and hot cocoa. SL
Oregon Zoo, Washington Park (Dec 1, 2023–Jan 7, 2024)

ScanFair Past Event List
The one good thing about winter in the PNW: it's prime hygge season. Fill your home with authentic Scandinavian coziness from the dozens of vendors at this market, while enjoying traditional food and drink like æbleskiver (Danish pancakes), kardemummaflätor (cardamom braids), and lefse wraps. There will be live entertainment from folk music and dances to meatball and pickled herring eating contests. You can even meet Joulupukki (the Finnish Santa Claus) and go on a scavenger hunt to find all the hidden gnomes. SL
Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District (Dec 9–10)

Peacock Lane Past Event List
Portland's very own "Christmas street" is back at it this year with its lane of charming Tudor homes decked out in lights and garland. The weekend of December 15 through 17 will be pedestrian-only, so bundle up and don't forget to stop by the free cocoa and cider booth for extra warmth. On other nights, you can enjoy the decorations from inside your car, just be sure to drive slowly to take it all in and make sure everyone (inside and outside of cars) is safe! Can you spot all the iconic characters? We heard the Grinch is on the loose. SL
Peacock Lane, Sunnyside (Dec 15–31)

Woodsy Winter Village and Ice Rink Past Event List
So far, info on this sparkly new holiday attraction is scant, but we do know that an ice skating rink and marketplace will pop up at the west end of the Morrison Bridge this holiday season. Ice skating will be open every day except Christmas, costing $20 for adults and $12 for kids under 12, including skate rental. If you need a little help on the ice, you can pay an extra $10 for an unreasonably cute skate aid named Bobby the Seal. The marketplace will feature shops, food, warm beverages, and a "cozy lounge." SL
Morrison Bridgehead, Downtown (Dec 16, 2023–Jan 28, 2024)

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