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11 Portland Holiday Events to Keep You Occupied Through December


Heads UP! Thanksgiving has come and gone in a flash and now the Holiday season is truly in full swing. Maybe you’re still recovering from the heaps of food, or your head’s still spinning from all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, but there’s no time to waste! If you live in Portland and you’re looking for ways to celebrate the season, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of Portland Holiday Events to keep you occupied well through December, and the folks at Osprey Apartments have the inside scoop on Some of Portland’s most magical Holiday celebrations. Some are short-lived, much like the Holiday’s themselves, while others last the entire month, giving you plenty of time to take part. Take advantage while you can! You’ll miss the holidays once they’re gone!

1. Holiday Ale Festival

Holiday Ale Festival Portland OR

The 21st Annual Portland Holiday Ale Festival has returned. Running from 11/30-12/4, at the Pioneer Courthouse Square in Downtown PDX, this Portland Holiday Event features over 50 bold and potent winter ales, specially brewed just for the festival, to bring warmth and cheer to the holiday season. From Belgians and Barleywines to Stouts and Sours, and everything in between, you won’t find these beers in the Supermarket, and there’s no shortage of deep, complex flavors to try. There is an entry fee, but re-entry is free during the fest is free! Find out more about the Holiday Ale Fest, here.

2. Kwanzaa Feast and Celebration

Kwanzaa Feast and Celebration Portland OR

If you celebrate Kwanzaa, here’s a delightful Portland Holiday Event for you have a chance to celebrate your community and culture with others at the Portland Community College. On Saturday, December 3rd, The Portland Community College, The Black Student Union, and Please Don’t Die Black Men, a Portland Organization dedicated to aiding and uplifting Black men, are back this year with a celebration of Kwanzaa and Karamu, the traditional Kwanzaa Feast. To find out more about PDDBM and the Kwanzaa celebration, please visit their site and follow them on Facebook.

3. Christmas Ships

Christmas Ships Portland OR

Here’s a Portland Holiday Event for you Swarthy seafarers out there. Beginning on Friday, Dec 2nd, the 2016 Christmas Ships parade will be embarking on it’s 15-day voyage on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers,  dazzling onlookers with impressive displays of light that dance on top of the water. This year they have over 60 boats entered, with 7 entries that are brand new to 2016. If you’re anywhere near the water in the next few weeks, make sure to stop and take in the beauty of Portland’s famous Christmas Ships. For more information and fleet scheduling, make sure to follow Christmas Ships on Facebook and Twitter.

4. Big Lebowski Pinball Release Party

Big Lebowski Pinball Release Party Portland OR

Hey, the Holidays aren’t for everybody! If you’re looking for something fun to do in the month of December that’s not tied to a specific Portland Holiday Event, the Big Lebowski PinBall Release Party on December 7th might be right up your alley. Hosted by Quarter World, perhaps the most beloved old school arcade/bar in all of Portland, this release party will celebrate the only Big Lebowski pinball machine in all of Oregon. Come on down, listen to some CCR, have a White Russian, and try your hand at laying down a high score! For more info, check out the Facebook event here, and make sure to follow Quarter World.

5. Tuba Christmas

Tuba Christmas Portland OR

Back to the Pioneer Courthouse Square on December 10th, this time for TUBA CHRISTMAS. Tuba Christmas is exactly what it sounds like: hundreds of tuba enthusiasts gather in one spot in downtown Portland to run through tuba-driven versions popular Christmas songs. Sound like a blast? It is… literally! This year marks the 46th year of worldwide Tuba Christmas events, and the event was originally created by Harvey Phillips to honor his teacher and mentor William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day, 1902.  Today, the event still honors the values of disciplined pedagogy and personal integrity that Phillips saw in his mentor. Find out more here.

6. Holiday Express Train

Holiday Express Train Portland OR

The Holiday Express Train is wonderful Portland Holiday Event that gives adults the chance to experience some Christmas nostalgia while giving youngins an opportunity to create new memories of Christmas wonder. The train starts out at the Oaks Park and takes on a 45-minute journey along the Willamette river by way of the Oregon Pacific RailRoad. Each train car is heated but you should still plan on wearing some warm clothing. Plus, Santa makes an appearance on each and every train ride to add to festivities. The trains take off three times a day all through the month of December. For more info and a list of train times, go here.

7. Winter Wonderland Portland

Winter Wonderland Portland OR

Winter Wonderland in Portland is currently recognized throughout the Pac-Northwest as the “Largest Holiday Light Show West of the Mississippi”! Wonderland is open 11/25-12/25 every night of the week! This year marks 24 years of Winter Wonderland Portland! Since 1993, a this Portland Holiday Event has become a tradition for many families and friends celebrating the season. Spectators will enjoy the most spectacular drive-through light show in the region, with more 250 colorful light set pieces and many fully animated scenes from the comfort of their own vehicle. Since it began, over two million visitors have taken the Winter Wonderland journey, and  this year, all proceeds from the event will benefit the Sunshine Division. For more info, follow Winter Wonderland Portland on Facebook and Twitter.

8. Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights Portland OR

You can never have enough lights! It wouldn’t be a Portland Holiday Event list without at least three light celebrations! If choirs and car rides aren’t your thing but you still want to revel in the Holiday spirit, while also enjoying one of Portland’s greatest treasures, then you should head on down to the Oregon Zoo’s annual winter festival, ZooLights. Taking place from 11/25/17-1/1/17, ZooLights provides an entire month of Holiday Cheer perfectly suited for all ages. As you travel through the zoo, you’ll bear witness (pun INTENDED) to a dazzling display of a more than million and a half lights! There’s plenty of food and drink available, and the staff works incredibly hard to make sure you enjoy yourself, just check out their 5 pro tips for a luminous Zoolights experience. For a full list of dates, and for more info, go here.

9. Peacock Lane

Peacock Lane Portland OR

We simply couldn’t avoid mentioning this beloved Portland Holiday Event. Affectionately known as “Portland’s Christmas Street,” Peacock Lane is a collection of charming English Style cottages in SE Portland that are adorned with Christmas decorations each year since 1920! From December 15th-31st, from 6-11pm each night, tons of Portlanders stroll and cruise down Peacock Lane to enjoy the lights and the plethora of unique displays, including nativity scenes, life-like replicas of Santa and Frosty, the peanuts gang, the Grinch, OSU Beavers, and more! Because Peacock Lane has become a longstanding tradition among many Portlanders, it can get a little crowded – the 15th, 16th, and 17th are pedestrian only nights, so if you’re going with little ones, aim for one of these nights.

10. Downtown Menorah Lighting

Downtown Menorah Lighting Portland OR

If you celebrate Hanukkah, you make take interest in the public Menorah Lighting at Director Park from Saturday the 24th to the following Saturday, the 31st! Chabad of Oregon will lead the lighting each Hanukkah night this year. The second night of lighting, on December 25th will feature a larger celebration with activities for children, including the Dreidel Man! For more information visit Chabad of Oregon’s site, or follow them on facebook!

11. Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities Portland OR

Sometimes the best Portland Holiday Event is no event at all. The Holidays are about more than just celebrating and enjoying oneself. Sure those things are important, but it’s equally, if not more important to give back to those less fortunate than you in any way you can. The Holidays can be a pretty rough time for some folks, which makes it the perfect time to volunteer with some worthwhile organizations. Here are just a few of our suggestions:

For a complete calendar of volunteering opportunities, check out Hands On Portland.

At Osprey Apartments, we know how important the Holidays are. With these Portland holiday events, we hope to provide you with some (mostly) wholesome opportunities for you to celebrate this magical time in whatever way you see fit. However you celebrate this Holiday season, we strongly urge you to give back in whatever way you can. Volunteering is an important part of the Holiday season and one that’s often overlooked. Luckily, Portlanders are quite generous, which means you have plenty of opportunities to easily give back.

These Portland Holiday events are exemplary of the kind of life you’ll lead in the Rose City. If you’re interested in taking full advantage of life in Portland, in one of the city’s most promising neighborhoods, check out Osprey Apartments on the South Waterfront, you won’t regret it!

Contact us today to schedule a tour!

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