2014 Portland Oregon holiday events

If you love the winter holidays and decorations, entertainment, food and spirits as much as I do, here are some ideas to help you and yours celebrate this year…

24th Annual Tuba Christmas Concert presented by SmartPark

Tuba concert

 If you’re downtown holiday shopping on Saturday December 13th, why not take a break and stop in at Pioneer Courthouse Square to listen to 250 tuba players in concert. The group will perform from 1:30 – 3pm, so why not go out and support our local talent.

Christmas ship parades on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers
Christmas ships

 If you’ve never seen the Christmas ship parade on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, you’ve missed something magical. For 60 years now, local boat owners decorate their vessels (from small fishing boats to yachts) all for your viewing pleasure. There are actually 2 fleets of ships; the Willamette fleet and the Columbia fleet, so there will lots of opportunities to get in on the festivities.

The parades are held almost every night beginning Friday, December 5th and run through Sunday December 21st. Be sure to check the schedules on the above links to see where the boats will be launching and traveling every night. You can even follow their progress on the rivers on Twitter. Ships generally depart at 6-7pm nightly.

If you want to get up close and personal with the Christmas Ship Skippers & Crew, on Saturday Dec. 20th, 3:00-4:30pm, they will be at the public dock in front of the Riverplace Hotel.  Santa will be there too! Bring your cameras and take pictures to create memories of a lifetime.  Since safety is always their primary concern, life jackets for those 12 and under will be available before entering the breakwater dock.

Oregon Zoo Zoolights

Oregon zoo lights

Bundle up and head out to the zoo for an amazing light show with more than one million LED lights illuminating all the paths and trails throughout the Portland zoo. The lights transform the Oregon Zoo into a winter wonderland filled with moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees and animal silhouettes. Prefer to ride? The ZooLights train returns this year, taking visitors on a ride through the light experience.

Zoolights opened Thursday December 4th and runs through January 4th. Be sure to check the website for hours, rates, and even special discounts some evenings.

The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition is being resurrected this year (last held in 1995) by hosts Pioneer Courthouse Square and Portland Mall Management, Inc. on Friday, December 12th from 5:30-7:30pm.

If you love Christmas caroling, head out to selected corners of SW Yamhill and Morrison Streets to hear the caroling groups competing throughout the downtown area. All competition will run from 6pm – 7pm before the finalists groups head to Pioneer Courthouse Square for their final performances. The winning group will take home a $1,000 prize, so join the holiday fun and root for your favorite carolers.

Is it raining or freezing cold outside?
You can still take in some light displays at places like the Drive through Winter Wonderland at the Portland International RacewayOR – looking for a cultural experience? Why not go to the Scandinavian Fair and Get ready to celebrate the sights, sounds, tastes and traditions of a Nordic Christmas! Lots of live entertainment and great food, and it’s all indoors Saturday December 6: 10am-5pm and Sunday December 7: 10am-4pm at the Portland Veterans Memorial Coliseum – Exhibit Hall.

For lots more holiday events in and around the PDX metro area, check out the full calendar of holiday events open to the public. You’re sure to find crafts fairs, parades, dining experiences, and a whole lot more to round out your holidays this year.

It’s that most wonderful time of the year, so please take some time to get out with family and friends and enjoy some of the unique holiday events we’re privileged to have available to us here in the Portland metro area.

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