Portland holidays: ZooLights, The Grotto, others lighting up
Where to go to see beautiful holiday lights and decorations in the Portland area?
Check it out:
With "Music Makes the Season," Pittock Mansion, 3229 N.W. Pittock Drive, celebrates the holidays with decorations, Christmas trees and cheer with tours, presented Monday, Nov. 21 through Jan. 4.
For more: www.pittockmansion.org.
The Oregon Zoo presents one of the biggest and brightest lights displays — with 1.5 million lights, many of them animal-themed — with ZooLights, starting Wednesday, Nov. 23, and continuing through Jan. 5 (except Christmas Day).There'll be seasonal food offerings from elephant ears and dinners specials to Oregon beer and wine. You can walk through the grounds or drive through them on selected nights.
All the traditional favorites are returning: forests of lighted trees, dazzling life-size animal silhouettes and the light-bedecked zoo train. And new to ZooLights this year: a spectacular display on the central lawn celebrating the Oregon Coast and its unique wildlife, including otters, seals, sea lions, urchins, sea stars, crabs and more.
For more: www.oregonzoo.org.
Shop, shop, shop
Portland Saturday Market, a great place to buy gifts, continues Saturdays through Dec. 24; for more, visit www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com.
Stay in the warmth of your car and enjoy a long trip through the decorated Portland International Raceway for "Winter Wonderland," an annual part of the city's holiday fun since 1993. It's called "The Largest Holiday Light Show West of the Mississippi" with more than 250 light set pieces and animated scenes. It's open 5 p.m.-11 p.m. nightly Nov. 25-Dec. 31 at PIR, 1940 N. Victory Blvd.
The "Bike The Lights Night," when people can ride bicycles around the track, will be at 4:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28.
The next night, Tuesday, Nov. 29, from 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., it's "Lights & Leashes Dog Walk Night."
For more: www.winterwonderlandportland.com.
The Grotto, 8840 N.E. Skidmore St., with its "Christmas Festival of Lights," is the place to be for spirituality, puppet shows, choral performances and indoor concerts, Nov. 25-Dec. 30 (except Christmas Day).
For more: www.thegrotto.org.
Oh, Christmas tree!
The COVID-19 pandemic and government restrictions kept us from enjoying Portland's tree lighting, but it's back and you can attend in person when the tree's lights go on Friday, Nov. 25, at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Festivities start at 5:30 p.m. There'll be a sing-along with Thomas Lauderdale from Pink Martini, local musicians and choral singers. Santa Claus flips the switch for the LED lights on the 75-foot Douglas fir tree.
For more: www.thesquarepdx.org.
Ridin' with Santa
Who doesn't like going on a train ride during the holiday season — and meeting Santa Claus? He and his elves join you on a 45-minute roundtrip ride on the Oregon Rail Heritage's Holiday Express Train. From Nov. 25-Dec. 18, the train departs from the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, 2250 SE Water Ave., and runs along the Springwater Corridor through to the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.
For more: www.orhf.org.
It wouldn't be a Portland holiday without the Cinnamon Bear Breakfast Cruise aboard the Portland Spirit. It returns with cruises Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 26-27 and throughout December.
Cinnamon Bear and his friends from Maybeland are back. The reimagined cruise will operate at a reduced capacity, featuring reserved seating for each party, dedicated servers for each table and guests are served a hot breakfast; many beloved features of traditional Cinnamon Bear cruises will return, including a printed souvenir picture with Cinnamon Bear, an individually wrapped Cinnamon Bear cookie for children, story time with Queen Melissa, a magic show with Jack Frost, and many other photo opportunities with other characters on the cruise.
The history goes back to 1937 as a radio program written by Glanville and Elizabeth Heisch. The Cinnamon Bear took up residence at radio sponsor Lipman and Wolfe Stores in the 1940s-'80s, just like Santa Claus. In 2004, the Portland Spirit acquired the rights to produce a Cinnamon Bear cruise and bring back the Cinnamon Bear and characters from the original story.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.
Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!