Best Christmas Lights in Portland, Oregon | 5 Not-to-Miss Holiday Light Shows

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Every December, the City of Roses turns into the City of Lights as some of the best light shows and festivals of the Pacific 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 displays of Portland Christmas lights.

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Where to see the Best Portland Christmas Lights

1. Christmas Festival of Lights at The Grotto

Photo Courtesy of The Grotto

It’s time to see Christmas lights, Portland style. In December, half a million lights transform Portland’s Grotto during the Christmas Festival of Lights. Families can also hear 150 choral performances, listen to carolers, and even visit the on-site petting zoo. Admission is $12.50 for adults and $6.50 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. The Festival of Lights runs from the Friday after Thanksgiving through December 30th.

2. Winter Wonderland at the Portland International Speedway

Photo Courtesy of Sunshine Subdivision Inc.

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. It’s the largest holiday light show in the area. 

The action spans the track at Portland International Raceway with fully animated scenes. Displays range 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.

Come check out one of the best displays of Christmas lights, Oregon! 

Book your stay at these family-friendly hotels in Portland.

3. ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo

Photo by flickr/Sam Churchill

Stay late at the Oregon 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. 

Check out this amazing Portland Christmas lights display from the last weekend in November through the first weekend in January. 

4. Peacock Lane Light Display

Photo by wikipedia/visitor7

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!

Trekaroo tip: Check their Facebook page for designated car-free nights.

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 for December, and open 6 pm to 9 pm.

Kids of all ages will love this fairy-tale escape, whether you have princesses or knights. Experience Christmas music, a bonfire at night, and a suspension bridge. Don’t forget: tickets are cash only!

Check for amazing deals on family-friendly hotels in Portland.

Bonus: Take a day trip to Silverton

Christmas Lights
Photo by: Flickr/timparkinson

Christmas in the Garden is a hit for families. With a million lights, walking market, and lots of tasty treats, this event hosted on the Oregon Garden’s gorgeous property, is sure to win over any Grinch.

Open from the last weekend in November through the first week in January, guests enjoy ice skating and sipping hot cocoa or cider by the fire. Families of little ones will appreciate the care in the creation of the family privacy lounge to make changing and feeding easier as well as a fun area where babies and toddlers can safely roam. 

Trekaroo tip: Prepare to take a shuttle (provided by Oregon Garden) from offsite parking or walk 1/4 mile to the entrance. 

Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.

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Featured photo by: Shutterstock


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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.