Best Things To Do

The Top 26 Events in Portland This Week: Nov 29-Dec 5, 2021

The Christmas Ships Parade, Portland's Winter Ale Fest, and More Top Picks
November 28, 2021
The annual Christmas Ships Parade kicks off its 15-night twinkly procession along the Columbia and Willamette this Friday. (Christmas Ships Parade via Facebook)

The holidays are off and running this week with classic wintertime activities (like the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition Add to a List and Portland's Winter Ale Fest Add to a List ) and yuletide shopping events (like the Oregon Contemporary Holiday Art Market Add to a List ), but if you're not quite ready for all that, read on for other great happenings that are free of jingle-jangle (like a concert with Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker Add to a List ). 

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Fashion in Film—10 Things I Hate About You Add to a List
The revival of low-rise cargo pants, baby tees, and other such early-aughts fashion trends pervading our TikTok feeds are all over the 1999 rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You. Pin some butterfly clips in your hair and revisit the Seattle-set classic after gleaning some "insider info" from the film’s costume designer, Kim Tills. 
Hollywood Theatre (Hollywood District)



A Drag Queen Christmas Add to a List
Hosted by former RuPaul's Drag Race contestants Trinity the Tuck and Monét X Change, this holiday spectacular boasts performances by all your Drag Race favorites, like season 12 winner Jaida Essence Hall, season nine winner Sasha Velour, All Stars season five winner Shea Couleé, and more.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (South Park Blocks)

A John Waters Christmas - It’s a Yuletide Massacre Add to a List
The trash-auteur King of Filth, who can probably be considered a patron saint of Seattle at this point, will bring his particular brand of cheer, featuring "reindeer virgin births, the illegally squatting Christ-child and chubby-chasing Mrs. Claus."
Aladdin Theater (Brooklyn)



Queer Horror: I Know What You Did Last Summer Add to a List
The theater's bimonthly Queer Horror returns with a screening of the 1997 teen scream I Know What You Did Last Summer, preceded by a drag pre-funk sponsored by Double Mountain Brewery.
Hollywood Theatre (Hollywood District)


Benny Benassi Add to a List
Grammy-winning electro-house pioneer Benny Benassi is world-renowned for his production and remixes.
45 East (Buckman)


Serious Cupcakes Add to a List
Current and former members of Portland contemporary dance company BodyVox will showcase their original works.
BodyVox (Slabtown)



Thundercat Add to a List
The soundtrack to a good time, the funky bass slaps of Thundercat have been sought after for collaboration by the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, Erykah Badu, and other legends. His latest tour will include material from his Grammy-winning album It Is What It Is and support from the buzzworthy Channel Tres.
Crystal Ballroom (West End)



Nikki Glaser: One Night with Nikki Glaser Add to a List
Maybe you recall her memorable appearances at the roasts of Rob Lowe, Bruce Willis, and Alec Baldwin—Nikki Glaser is the tall, statuesque, bubbly blonde with the potty mouth and crass observations. She was active for a rather long time before finally enjoying a come-up in the past six years. She has a pretty long résumé that includes a short-lived sex-themed Comedy Central talk show, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, a stint on Dancing with the Stars (she was eliminated the first round in 2018), and her first full-length comedy special on Netflix, Bangin’. She opens the special with an extended bit about the horror and devastation of discovering, for the first time, what a blowjob was (“My mouth?! That’s where candy goes, I can’t believe you would put a dick there!”), accepting its inevitability (like death) and then discussing all the cultural shit that goes with it. She’s funny as fuck. RIYL: Amy Schumer. LEILANI POLK
Revolution Hall (Buckman)


Adrianne Lenker Add to a List
If you ever find yourself at a dinner table with a curmudgeon who claims Bob Dylan was the last great American folk lyricist, send them a link to any song by Adrianne Lenker, the frontwoman of Big Thief, and drop the damn mic.
Wonder Ballroom (Eliot)


Oregon Contemporary Holiday Art Market and Shop Ox Launch Add to a List
Shop original artworks on paper from over 40 regional artists, plus artist-made home goods, jewelry, prints, apparel, games, holiday decorations, and more at Oregon Contemporary’s newly launched store Shop Ox. Before or after you get your shopping done, take in performances and exhibitions from artists all over the world, which will be on view throughout the building. Festive holiday libations will be available from the neighboring taproom and bottle shop Mayfly along with snacks from the gallery’s cafe.
Oregon Center for Contemporary Art (Kenton)

The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition Add to a List
Former Mercury writer Ciara Dolan once wrote, "Caroling is a thankless sport—singing for heartless Grinches (like myself) while exposed to the elements must wear you down. Although I can’t support the intersection of pirate culture and Christmas, and although I would never be caught dead caroling myself, based on the impressive endurance and stamina required to partake in this yuletide activity, I’m giving it 10 out of 10 candy canes."
Pioneer Courthouse Square (Downtown)



C'mon C'mon Add to a List
An emotionally stunted radio journalist (Joaquin Phoenix) who makes a living interviewing kids about the world and their future is tasked with caring for his young nephew, who brings new meaning to the man's life as the pair travel together from state to state. A New York Times review calls Mike Mills's latest film "a story about love and the eternal tug of war between self-interest and caring for others."
Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District (Monday-Thursday)


Portland Winter Ale Fest Add to a List
Nearly 30 breweries will pour a variety of holiday-themed beers and ciders. 
Pine Street Market, Old Town-Chinatown (Thursday-Sunday)


Brentano String Quartet: A Tribute to Stravinsky Add to a List
Lauded by The New Yorker as "fiercely intelligent and expressively pristine," the Brentano String Quartet will weave a selection of Stravinsky's compositions with the 20th-century composer's poetry, plus some pieces by his contemporaries. 
The Studio Theatre in Lincoln Hall, Downtown (Friday-Saturday)

Handel's Messiah Add to a List
The Oregon Symphony, the PSU Chamber Choir, and four soloists will revive Handel's holiday masterpiece Messiah. 
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Saturday-Sunday)

Portland's Singing Christmas Tree Add to a List
In a state flush with forests, of course we would have a tradition called the Singing Christmas Tree. The ultimate Christmas carolers return with new show-stopping numbers, special guest artists Katie Harman and the Jefferson Dancers, and an appearance from Ol' Saint Nick himself. Performing traditional and contemporary holiday music, the youth and adult choirs will fill you with cheer. 
Sunset Presbyterian Church, Oak Hills (Saturday-Sunday)


Come On In Add to a List
In her dance works, New York-based choreographer Faye Driscoll has always aimed to "activate the dynamic space between artist, performers, and audience." The artist's first solo exhibition bifurcates the subjectivity of the performing arts by depicting the experience of both a performer on stage and an audience member. 
PICA, Eliot (Thursday-Saturday)

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-Sunday)

Die Hard the Musical Parody Add to a List
Andy Barrett and the musically-minded comedy crew at the Funhouse decide to set sights on a modern-day Christmas classic, with 15 original songs helping reinterpret the adventures of John McClane.
Funhouse Lounge, Hosford-Abernethy (Thursday-Sunday)

Last Podcast on the Left: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Tour Add to a List
Covering topics ranging from serial killers to UFO sightings to fan-submitted creepypastas, this long-running podcast features recurring characters voiced by hosts Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks, and Henry Zebrowski, and provides a comedic take on all things horrific be they real or imagined. Try not to squirm in your seat.
Revolution Hall, Buckman (Thursday-Sunday)


Portland Night Market Add to a List
Browse over 75 Portland vendors at this after-hours market in a hip warehouse with an outdoor bar and food trucks.
100 SE Alder, Central Eastside (Thursday-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 (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 (Friday-Sunday)

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 (all week)

ScanFair Reimagined 2021 Add to a List
Celebrate the holiday season with Nordic flair—it’s so chilly up there, they’re experts at making things merry and bright! Enjoy traditional foods, meet and take a photo with Joulupukki (Finnish Santa), and amble through the Fogelbo (Swedish for "bird nest") to admire a winter wonderland light display. You'll also be able to shop locally crafted wares, take in a holiday exhibit, and more.
Nordic Northwest, Garden Home (Friday-Sunday)

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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