Looking at Christmas lights has always been one of my favorite ways to enjoy the holiday season. I love driving through neighborhoods at night to see the decorated houses, and it has always been a tradition to check out at least one of the places on the list below each year. Each of the places below offers a different experience, from a leisurely drive to an adventurous walk among the animals. Whichever sort of Christmas light experience you are looking for, Portland has you covered!
Zoo lights at the Oregon Zoo has been my favorite light event since I was little. It is the perfect family event to see lights, with the train the perfect way to take youngsters through. You will even be able to check out the animals at night, a special experience for everyone!
Zoo lights run until January 3rd, from 5 to 9pm.
Ask any Portlander where to go to see Christmas lights, and they will always say Peacock Lane. Ever since the 1920's, residents of Peacock Lane in SE Portland have been going all out with the holiday lights, and the street is a popular spot to drive by and enjoy the views.
Peacock Lane is open 6-11pm until December 31st. December 18, 19 and 20 are pedestrian only nights.
Christmas Ship Parade
The Columbia and Willamette Rivers are landmarks in Portland, so it only makes sense that they get into the Christmas spirit as well! This year over 60 ships will be participating for 15 nights. Be ready to brave the weather for this one!
For a full schedule of events visit their website.
The lights at the Grotto during Christmas are amazing, but equally as beautiful are the concerts performed nightly. The Grotto is the only religious light display on the list, but anyone can enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds.
Visit the Grotto nightly until December 30.
Portland International Raceway
Touted as the "Largest Holiday Light Show West of the Mississippi", the Winter Wonderland at PIR is sure to impress. I suggest taking a thermos of hot cocoa for the drive around the track, and avoid the rain of the Pacific Northwest!
Visit every evening until December 27.