Best Things To Do

The Top 17 Events in Portland This Week: Dec 20-26, 2021

Jenny Don't and the Spurs, Wyrd Winter Solstice Night, and More Top Picks
December 19, 2021
Giddyup over to the KEX Hotel for Thursday's Western-style Christmas concert with Jenny Don't and the Spurs.
Christmas is finally here, and Portland's roster of events this week is sure to distract you from any general or omicron-related wintry sadness you might be carrying around. (Speaking of which, it's a lovely week to get your booster!) Scroll down for things to do through Sunday, from a mead-filled Wyrd Winter Solstice Night to the final days of OBT's The Nutcracker to Numz Bodega at the Portland Art Museum's AUX/MUTE Gallery.
Editor's note: due to the spread of the omicron variant, we advise checking directly with venues for the latest updates—including health guidelines, postponements, and cancellations—before heading out.

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Brown Branch Presents: Big Band Holiday Jazz Showcase Add to a List
Led by Domo Branch and Charlie Brown III (you read that right), Portland jazz group Brown Branch is more than equipped to get you in the holiday spirit. Don't miss their night of seasonally appropriate classics honoring big-band jazz pioneers Thad Jones and Mel Lewis—complete with a 15-piece orchestra.
Portland Center Stage (Pearl District)



MAE.SUN Add to a List
Did you hear the flute on Beyoncé’s "Black Parade" and think to yourself, "Who is that woodwind master?!" It's BMAE.SUN, a multi-instrumentalist with jazz roots who has branched out to the pop world. Her solo work draws from inspiration from mediation and aims to blur genres, so get ready to be surprised at her Portland tour stop with Noah Simpson.
Mississippi Studios (Boise)


Wyrd Winter Solstice Night Add to a List
Hark back to an era where imbibing mead was the only way to get drunk at this solstice party with board games and fireside tales. (And mead, of course.)
Wyrd Leather and Mead (Creston-Kenilworth)



Jenny Don't and the Spurs Add to a List
Jenny Don't and the Spurs are known for their energetic live sets and flashy Western getups handmade by Jenny herself. Drawing inspiration from classic country greats like Patsy Cline and Hank Williams, they follow suit by performing with rawness and sincerity. Join the band for a special evening of holiday tunes from their 2017 album A Western Holiday.
KEX (Kerns)



Underground Holiday Spectacular Add to a List
Leave the young and impressionable members of your family at home and spend Christmas evening ensuring a spot on next year's naughty list with Critical Hit Burlesque.
Jack London Revue (Downtown)



Miracle at Deadshot Add to a 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. The specialty cocktails are no ordinary cups of cheer: Beverages 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.” 
Deadshot, Hosford-Abernethy (Monday-Friday)


YOB Add to a List
Formed in Eugene, Oregon in 1996, YOB has become a front-runner in modern doom metal along with their peers Neurosis, Sleep, and Electric Wizard. YOB will be joined by Dommengang on night one and Witch Mountain on night two.
Doug Fir Lounge, Buckman (Tuesday-Wednesday)


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Add to a List
The Tony-gobbling play based on the novel by Mark Haddon follows Christopher, an autistic 15-year-old boy who, seven minutes after midnight, comes under wrongful suspicion of killing his neighbor's dog with a garden fork. Determined to find the real killer, Christopher diligently records the events of the crime and finds himself on a deeply personal quest. 
Portland Center Stage, Pearl District (Wednesday-Friday)

George Balanchine's 'The Nutcracker' Add to a List
Follow Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they journey to the magical Land of Sweets and meet the Sugar Plum Fairy. Mice, tin soldiers, and fairies will prance across the stage in Oregon Ballet Theatre's production of George Balanchine’s timeless classic The Nutcracker, set to Tchaikovsky's famous score.
Keller Auditorium, Downtown (Wednesday-Friday & Sunday)


Silverton Christmas Market Add to a List
Head south to Silverton for the Oregon Garden's annual holiday celebration where you'll find a dazzling display of over a million lights, an authentic German Christmas market, roving carolers and live bands, Santa and his creepy counterpart Krampus, and snowless tubing.
Oregon Garden, Silverton (Monday-Thursday & Sunday)


Numz Bodega Add to a List
Highlighting local artists and underrepresented global communities, this market is a partnership between the museum and The Numberz FM's AUX/MUTE Gallery, featuring work by Zero8one5, RootsNRooftops, Mister OK's Essentials, and many others.
Portland Art Museum, Downtown (Wednesday-Friday & Sunday)


The Benson Hotel's 50th Annual Gingerbread Display Add to a List
For 50 years running, the historic hotel has baked and constructed a gingerbread showstopper that could earn a handshake from Paul Hollywood. The theme for this year's four- by eight-foot masterpiece is "Polar Express" and comes complete with a working toy train.
The Benson Hotel, Downtown (all week)

Christmas Ships Parade 2021 Add to a List
Since 1954, heavily decorated and lit boats and ships have been trucking up and down the Willamette in a nightly Christmas Ship Parade during most of December (weather permitting). Bundle up, head to the river, and check ’em out—and to find their exact location, you can even follow them on Twitter (@ChristmasShips). WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Various locations (Monday-Tuesday)

Holidays at the Belle! Add to a List
Wander through this newly restored and garland-strewn Victorian mansion like you're the ghost of Christmas past, then step outside to take in festive light displays around the grounds. Santa will make a special appearance on Wednesday before his Christmas Eve rounds, so bring your tiny tots around for photos. 
Victorian Belle Mansion, Kenton (Monday-Thursday)

Oregon ZooLights Add to a List
The Oregon Zoo's annual display of over half a million lights is a beloved activity for any and all who love exotic animals and holiday spirit, and this year they're continuing the tradition in COVID-safe fashion with a drive-through pathway.
Oregon Zoo, Washington Park (Monday-Friday & Sunday)

Peacock Lane Add to a List
A beloved tradition since 1926, Portland’s “Christmas street” returns after last year’s hiatus. Take a leisurely car ride down the lane (there won't be any pedestrian-only nights this year) to marvel at Tudor houses bedecked with lights and lawns taken over by nativity scenes and life-sized replicas of Santa, Frosty, The Grinch, and more. 
Peacock Lane, Belmont (all week)

Safeway Winter Wonderland Add to a List
Boasting itself as the largest light show in the Northwest, this drive-through affair spans the track at Portland International Raceway. It's also open on Christmas Eve and Day and New Year's Eve and Day.
Portland International Raceway, North Portland (all week)

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