Holidays

Your Guide to 2021 Holiday Events in Portland

Peacock Lane, Stumptown SantaCon, Pittock Mansion Christmas, and More
December 2, 2021
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Nothing rings in the holidays quite like a performance of The Nutcracker. (James McGrew)
Clichés notwithstanding, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us. And because you're on our "nice" list, we’re here to make sure you don’t miss out on a single ounce of holiday fun, from longstanding traditions like Peacock Lane to the 30th Annual Tuba Christmas Concert and Stumptown SantaCon to Pittock Mansion Christmas. Oh, and if you’re scrambling to finish your holiday shopping, check out our guide to holiday markets and shopping events

HOLIDAY DISPLAYS

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-foot by eight-foot masterpiece is "Polar Express" and comes complete with a working toy train.
The Benson Hotel, Downtown (Dec 1-26)

Pittock Mansion Christmas: Critters Make Merry Add to a List
The historic mansion's annual Christmas display will turn to the whimsical creatures of the season this year, transforming its many rooms into havens for reindeer, polar bears, lions, and cute little mice. 
Pittock Mansion, Hillside (Nov 22-Jan 4)

Unicornimas 2021 Add to a List
Keeva the Unicorn Queen has partnered with the activation space Gallery Go Go for a unique holiday experience full of rainbows, sparkles, and joy. Actual children and your inner child alike will delight in an immersive beauty installation—don some glamorous duds, because you'll also be able to meet and get a photo with the Unicorn Queen herself. While you're there, shop one-of-a-kind gifts from independent artists.
Gallery Go Go, Downtown (Dec 4, 11, 18)

HOLIDAY LIGHTS

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 (Dec 3-21)

The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights 2021 Add to a List
Things are a bit scaled back at the outdoor sanctuary for public health reasons, but you can still expect over two million lights and nightly indoor concerts at the self-proclaimed "largest Christmas choral festival in the world." 
The Grotto, Sumner (Nov 26-Dec 30)

Laser Holiday Magic Add to a List
OMSI takes holiday lights to the next level with a laser show set to a mix of holiday music hits. 
Kendall Planetarium at OMSI, Central Eastside (Dec 1-31)

Lightopia 2021 - An Illuminated Journey Add to a List
Make sure to make a reservation if you want to experience this free "award-winning” drive-through light show. You and yours will traverse a half-mile passage of lights and seasonal vignettes. If you're able and in the giving spirit, bring an unwrapped toy for the Hillsboro Firefighters Toy & Joy Drive or a non-perishable, unexpired food item for Hillsboro School District's food pantry.
Gordon Faber Recreation Complex, Hillsboro (Dec 9-31)

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 (Dec 15-31)

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 (Nov 19-Jan 9)

Sugar Town Illuminated Add to a List
“I'm in shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo Sugar Town” ...Nancy Sinatra may not be in attendance at this festive candy-themed light display, but DJs Action Slacks and Tom Kay will be on hand spinning vintage vinyl on opening night with a rotating cast of DJs taking up musical duties throughout the rest of the week. Party in candy land on Kenton Club's patio while enjoying holiday treats and seasonal drinks. 
World Famous Kenton Club, Kenton (Dec 4-10)

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 conveniently open on Christmas Eve and Day and New Year's Eve and Day.
Portland International Raceway (Nov 26-Jan 1)

FESTIVALS

Clackamas County Winter Fair Add to a List
Escape from reality and into a brief quarter-mile wonderland in the form of a walk-through sparkly light tunnel. Visits from socially distanced Santa and a Christmas tree show will sweeten the deal.
Clackamas County Fairgrounds, Canby (Nov 26-Dec 24)

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 Resort, Silverton (Nov 26-Jan 9)

Plus, check out our holiday market guide Add to a List for details on the Crafty Wonderland Holiday Art + Craft Market Add to a List (Dec 10–12), ScanFair Reimagined 2021 Add to a List (Dec 3–5), and more.

COMMUNITY

Alberta Shul Hannukah Party & Parade Add to a List
The Alberta Shul will host its rollicking annual Hanukkah party outdoors this year, with latkes, potato leek soup, lemon cream curd sugfaniyot, warm drinks with or without booze, Manischewitz Jell-o Shots, klezmer music by Michelle Allany, songs with the Queertet, a neighborhood parade, lanterns, and a menorah lighting.
The Alberta Shul, Sabin (Fri Dec 3)

Multnomah Village Holiday Gala Add to a List
The already charming Multnomah Village will turn on the charm even more with their tree lighting and sing-along, an appearance from Santa, festive treats, and more special surprises and holiday promotions.
Multnomah Village (Fri Dec 3)

Portland’s Public Menorah Lighting Add to a List
Chabad of Oregon will have the honor of lighting the giant menorah in Pioneer Courthouse Square; a ceremony bolstered by live music, Hanukkah noshes, "dignitaries," and other family-friendly festivities.
Pioneer Courthouse Square, Downtown (Nov 28-Dec 5)

Stumptown SantaCon Add to a List
Delivering presents to every child in the world is no mean feat, and Santa deserves to take a load off. Don your best fur-trimmed red duds and join a stampede of fellow Santas as they take over downtown Portland in a boozy crawl between fine drinking establishments. 
Various locations (Sat Dec 18)

Safeway Providence Festival of Trees Add to a List
This year, Safeway Providence's Festival of Trees' Christmas special will take you behind the scenes to see all the work that goes into creating the fabulous festive displays. The TV fundraiser will support Providence Children's Health and include glitzy performances by America's Got Talent finalist Jimmie Herrod, Train, NuShooz, and the Portland Cello Project.
Watch on KATU (Wed Dec 8)

Trap Kitchen Christmas Tree 3.0 Giveaway Add to a List
The "underground culinary sensation" Trap Kitchen, a wildly popular Compton-based pop-up and catering company that counts Kendrick Lamar and SZA among its fans, will team up with Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard C.J. McCollum to give away free Christmas trees to those in need.
Trap Kitchen, Montavilla (Sat Dec 4)

KIDS & FAMILY

Beaverton Winterland Carnival Add to a List
Get down at a dance party in winterland square and get creative with your kids at an activity village. Plus, go down the story walk to meet and grab a photo with beloved characters like the Frog Princess, Moana, Merida, and Pyxis the Unicorn or wintery creatures like the Grinch and a yeti. The city of Beaverton will have a drop station at the event for their toy drive. 
Beaverton Hoop YMCA (Sat Dec 11)

The Cinnamon Bear Holiday Show Add to a List
Cinnamon Bear, Portland's Santa alternative of more than 80 years, will entertain audiences with a live musical production. The Cocklebur Cowboys and Chipper the Squirrel will also make appearances while you enjoy free hot chocolate (food and other beverages will be available for purchase).
Oaks Park Dance Pavilion, Sellwood (Dec 11-12, 18-19)

The Holiday Express Add to a List
Hop aboard this holiday express with Santa and his elves—a cheery steam locomotive and vintage rail cars will whisk you from Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge through to the heart of the city and back.
The Oaks Station, Sellwood (Nov 28-Dec 19)

Winter Wonderland Add to a List
Walk your kiddos to this winter wonderland where you all can create ornaments, snap photos with live animals, listen to storytime, and take part in holiday cheer. 
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, Hillsboro (Sat Dec 18)

MUSIC

30th Annual Tuba Christmas Concert Add to a List
Portland's living room will be filled with the big brass sounds of 150 tubas as they play Christmas tunes in unison during this free, annual holiday tradition.
Pioneer Courthouse Square, Downtown (Sat Dec 11)

Comfort and Joy: A Classical Christmas Add to a List
The Oregon Symphony will bring tidings of comfort and joy during this classy evening of Christmas classics performed in classical renditions. 
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Wed Dec 8)

Gospel Christmas with the Oregon Symphony Add to a List
Hark! The heavenly voices of the Northwest Community Gospel Chorus will unite with the Oregon Symphony for their 22nd annual performance. 
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Dec 10-12)

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 (Sat Dec 4)

Krampus Night! with Lucas Warford of Three For Silver & Jet Black Pearl Add to a List
Christmas isn't all mistletoe and good cheer... Meet Saint Nicholas's dark associate Krampus, who punishes children who land on Santa's naughty list. The evening will feature live music performances from Three for Silver, Jet Black Pearl, Lucky Tigers, and Lord Master, plus a "creative and fresh bistro menu" and a full bar.
The Victorian Belle Mansion, Kenton (Sat Dec 11)

Michael Allen Harrison’s Christmas at The Old Church Add to a List
Portland pianist Michael Allen Harrison will play the 31st season of Christmas at The Old Church, his show of "inspirational and innovative Christmas arrangements" featuring the vocal talents of gospel, blues, and jazz singer Julianne Johnson along with talented young musicians from the community. 
The Old Church, Downtown (Dec 10-27)

Portland Gay Men’s Chorus Presents: Gather Add to a List
The Portland Gay Men’s Chorus makes their return to the live stage with a program of harmonious holiday favorites and other wintery tunes. 
Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks (Dec 10-12)

Winter Wassail Add to a List
Local indie record label Mama Bird Recording Co. presents their fourth annual Winter Wassail; a celebration filled with "the warmth and fellowship needed to get through the grey days and long nights ahead." The jam-packed lineup will include performances and collaborations from Haley Heynderickx, Vetiver, Skyway Man, Matt Dorrien, Barna Howard, Johanna Samuels, Nick Delffs, Faustina Masigat, and Ryan Oxford. Aside from the musical merriment, you can also look forward to a free raffle, DJs, hot drinks (the promised wassail), and more surprises. 
Polaris Hall, Humboldt (Sat Dec 11)

PERFORMANCE

A Carol For Christmas Add to a List
Stumptown Stages has reimagined Charles Dickens' classic ghost story, but kept its core themes of greed and bigotry, "giving us a chance to shed the chains of our past and give hope for a better future." Featuring an original score of holiday songs written by Janet Mouser and James Campodonico, this adaptation is set in the Depression-era Midwest. 
Winningstad Theatre, South Park Blocks (Nov 27-Dec 19)

The Christmas Shorts Add to a List
This Christmas production consists of one-acts ranging from short scenes to monologues. Twilight Theater Company writes: "You’ll find everything here, from kids writing letters to Santa, to the big guy himself getting ready for Christmas, to a bunch of elves who accidentally rip Santa’s gift bag at the last minute. There’s a sports segment featuring the 845th annual Reindeer Games and a holiday quiz show featuring Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the Ghost of Christmas Future. A soap opera, As the North Pole Turns, a news segment from the North Pole News, and some Christmas-themed commercials round out this fun seasonal comedy." Whew!
Twilight Theater Company, Kenton (Dec 9-19) 

Elf - The Musical Add to a List
Lakewood Theatre Company brings Buddy the Elf to the stage with songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer) and Chad Beguelin (Disney's Aladdin on Broadway) in this tale of family and the true meaning of Christmas. 
Lakewood Center for the Arts, Lake Oswego (Nov 5-Dec 19)

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 (Dec 11-26)

Ginger Minj’s Winter Wonderland Add to a List
Drag Race star and self-described "glamour toad" Ginger Minj will enlist the help of their bestie Gidget Galore to sleigh/slay this non-denominational holiday musical spectacular.
Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn (Thurs Dec 9)

It’s A Tony Starlight Christmas Add to a List
Longtime local showman Tony Starlight has delighted audiences with his variety Christmas show for the past decade and a half, with a throwback style reminiscent of the golden age of television. With the help of his trusty band, Tony will play everything from Scrooge holiday special songs to swingin' standards between comedy routines and impressions of Jimmy Durante and Neil Diamond.  
Alberta Rose Theatre and Virtual (Sun Dec 12)

A Nutcracker Tea Add to a List
If the full version of the classic ballet has you stifling a yawn come the second act, prance towards the Northwest Dance Theatre's abridged, family-friendly adaptation instead.
Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks (Dec 18-19)

Queer Eye for the Magi, a Holiday Cabaret Add to a List
If you're of the opinion that the holidays are a drag, spice up the season with this cabaret starring Dru Rutledge and Jimmy Wilcox. The duo will run through "sublime standards to delicious duets to very uncensored surprises," putting the "X in Xmas" with their naughty hijinks. They'll be joined by pianist Stephanie Lynne Smith and special guest Nana Tuckit, who will be making her Portland debut. 
Alberta Rose Theatre, Alberta Arts District (Wed Dec 29)

A Very Liberace & Liza Holiday Add to a List
Classically trained pianist David Saffert and singer/actor Jillian Snow Harris channel two of the most flamboyant performers to have ever graced a stage: Liberace and Liza Minnelli. The pair will bring some glam to the holiday season with their tribute in which "high-voltage virtuosity meets comic chemistry."
Darcelle XV Showplace, Old Town-Chinatown (Sun Dec 5)

FILM

9th Annual Animated Christmas Add to a List
Curated by Portland archivist Greg Hamilton and Re-Run Theater's Phantom Hillbilly, this program of vintage cartoons will transport you to Christmases long, long ago. On the family-friendly bill are the silent film The Snowman, A Garfield Christmas Special, and shorts Holidayland and Max's Disappearing Bag. 
Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood District (Sun Dec 19)

Clinton Street Resistance Presents ELF Add to a List
Go on a journey with Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) as he ventures to New York City in pursuit of his biological father. This Clinton Street Resistance Series screening is free of charge, but you may choose to make a six dollar donation, which will go to social justice nonprofit Don’t Shoot PDX.
Clinton St. Theater, Hosford-Abernethy (Mon Dec 13)

FOOD & DRINK

Breakfast with Santa at Bob's Red Mill Add to a List
Enjoy a wholesome whole-grain breakfast buffet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will stop at tables for photo opportunities with family. You'll also receive 20% off any additional purchases at the restaurant or retail store, should you need to stock up on baking supplies.
Bob's Red Mill, Milwaukie (Sat Dec 11)

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 (through Dec 31)

Gingerbread House Party Add to a List
This festive DIY activity from Hip Chicks Do Wine brings new meaning to the term "house party." Decorate your very own tiny edible gingerbread abode with icing and candies while sipping your choice of wine, holiday sangria, beer, hot cider, or hot cocoa.
Hip Chicks Do Wine, Reed (Fri Dec 3 & Sun Dec 5)

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