5 Not-to-Miss Holiday Light Shows in Portland Oregon


Every December, the City of Roses turns into the City of Lights as some of the best light shows and festivals of the Northwest light up the winter sky. We love traveling from our Southern Oregon home to Portland each holiday season to catch one or all of these beautiful light displays. Here are five not-to-miss Holiday Light Shows in Portland.

Stay at these Family Friendly Hotels in Portland

1. Festival of Lights at The Grotto

Festival of Lights at Grotto Portland, OR Holiday Light Shows in Portland

In December, 500,000 lights transform Portland’s Grotto during the Festival of Lights. Families can also hear 150 choral performances, listen to carolers, and even visit the on-site petting zoo. Admission is $11 for adults and $6 for kids, and parking is free. Visiting The Grotto is peaceful and relaxing for a family any time of year, and a visit during the holidays truly reminds you to slow down and enjoy the season. For the 2014 season, the Festival of Lights runs from the Friday after Thanksgiving through December 30th.

2. Winter Wonderland at the Portland International Speedway

Open seven days a week from November 25th through December 25th, Winter Wonderland is a sensational display of lights and animation that’s grown bigger every year. Families drive through this display, which means that even if the weather isn’t cooperating, you can still have a great time. The action spans the track at Portland International Raceway with displays ranging from the 12 Days of Christmas to the Nativity to the Peanuts gang. Our kids’ favorite is Santa jumping down an 84 foot ski slope. Tickets are cash (or check) only $$20 per car. (Note: closed on Tuesdays.)

Book your stay at these Family Friendly Hotels in Portland

3. ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo

Oregon Zoo ZooLights

Starting November 25th and going throughout December until January 1, stay late at the Portland Zoo for ZooLights, an amazing light display featured from 5 pm to 8 pm. Perfect for families with young kids who don’t want to stay out too late or deal with rowdy crowds, ZooLights takes kids on a magical train ride through the zoo to immerse themselves in holiday lights in an already magical place. Best of all, you can buy a regular zoo ticket, spend the day, then stay late to see ZooLights. (Otherwise, tickets are sold separately, $15 for adults and $10 for kids.)

4. Peacock Lane Light Display

Zoolights Oregon Zoo

For a free treat for the family at Christmas-time, head over to Portland’s quaint Peacock Lane, where every Tudor home is fully decorated for the holidays. Driving through is less magical than walking; dress for the weather and take your time strolling through. A tradition since the 1920’s, Peacock Lane will take you back in time! Note: in years past, there have been designated car-free nights. Whether this option will be offered for 2016 is TBD.

5. Wenzel Farm

Take a walk along  Wenzel Farm‘s Fantasy Trail, open from Halloween through Christmas with seasonal displays. In addition to holiday decor, there’s also a maze, a tunnel, and a crooked house. The trail will be winter-holiday oriented from December 2-30, 6 pm to 9 pm. Kids of all ages will love this fairytale escape, whether you have princesses or knights. Experience Christmas music, a bonfire at night, and a suspension bridge. Tickets are only $6 for adults and $5 for kids, cash only!

Bundle up, grab an umbrella, and head out into the Oregon outdoors to experience the holidays!

Stay at these Family Friendly Hotels in Portland

Pin this to bookmark all the holiday fun; we update it yearly:


Christmas & Holiday ActivitiesFind holiday activities and events in your neck of the woods.  We’ve got the inside scoop on cities across North America.

Featured photo by: Shutterstock

About the author

Amy Whitley is a travel writer and founder of family travel website Pit Stops for Kids, the mom of three boys, and an outdoor adventure writer for OutdoorsNW Magazine.
4 Responses
  1. Portland, Oregon has always appealed to me since I read this book about vampires. And I think your blog post have intensified my desire to visit the city. Gotta find the cheapest air tickets soon! Thank you very much!

  2. Chris

    Don’t forget The Oregon Garden’s Christmas in the Garden, with 400,000 lights – just an hour south of Portland!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.