One of my favorite ways to celebrate the holiday season is to go out and view Christmas lights with my family and friends. Thankfully, there are so many opportunities to do this in Oregon, and today I want to share with you some of the best places around the state to go enjoy the holiday season.
Visiting the Oregon Zoo during Zoolights is a yearly tradition my family and I have. Granted, it is definitely cheaper to do if you have a Zoo Membership, otherwise entrance fees can run between $12.95-$17.95 a person. Zoolights runs between November 29th to January 5th, and boast 1.5 million lights. What I love about Zoolights is how family friendly it is, but I also love that they host an adult version on a few nights called Brewlights. During the holiday season at Zoolights you will find plenty of photo opportunities, whether it be with seasonal characters or along the displays, the tunnel of lights being the most popular selfie spot. Grab a cup of hot chocolate in a collectible Zoolights cup and take a ride on the zoo train to get an extra special experience at Zoolights. For more information, visit: https://www.oregonzoo.org/visit/zoolights
Beginning in 1954 with one ship, the Christmas Ship Parade on the Willamette and the Columbia Rivers has grown to include on average about 60 ships between the two. Each ship’s display is designed and built by its owner, which makes for a unique and spectacular parade. If you haven’t seen the Christmas Ship Parade before, I definitely recommend doing so! Running between December 5th and 22nd, you can find more information, including where meet and greets are occurring here: https://www.christmasships.org/
Festival of Lights at the Grotto
I’ll be honest. Even though I have taken my kids to the Festival of Lights at the Grotto in Portland, I prefer to go adults only, primarily because the nightly choral performances are beautiful and worth sitting down and staying for. However, if you do take your kids, definitely bring them by the petting zoo where they will have a blast! The lighted pathways and displays are breath-taking, reverant in a way. There are plenty of places to explore as well as food and beverage vendors along the way.
Christmas in the Garden
The Oregon Garden in Silverton’s Christmas in the Garden is on my must list for this year’s Christmas Lights. With over a million Christmas lights displayed, Christmas in the Garden features a 3500 square foot ice rink surrounded by Christmas trees, live reindeer on select weekends, roaming carolers, and a German village inspired holiday bazaar. With 80 acres to explore , this is one experience that is a must attend. There is also a resort for those who want to make it an overnight stay! For pricing and more information, visit: https://christmasinthegarden.com/things-to-do/santa/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI95i8-9GD5gIVmBitBh3XXwt9EAAYASAAEgIRqfD_BwE
Christmas Fantasy Trail at Wenzel Farms
If you love the Halloween Fantasy Trail that Wenzel Farms in Oregon City puts on during Halloween, then you will absolutely love their Christmas Fantasy Trail! With thousands of Christmas lights and lit displays, this is a perfect place to take the family! Be sure to check out the 40 foot castle with Christmas scenes inside as well as experience the tunnel, maze, suspension bridge, and more! Stay awhile for the nightly bonfire and available drinks! The Christmas Fantasy Trail runs December 2nd through December 28th. Cash only is a very important thing to know! For pricing, hours, and more, visit: http://www.fantasytrail.com/xmastrail.htm
Miracle of a Million Lights at the Victorian Belle
The Victorian Belle in Portland is gorgeous outside of the holidays, but it is even more so during them. With its 2.5 acres lit up in over a million lights, the house is especially fun to visit, boasting 10 uniquely decorated Christmas trees. Stay to enjoy homemade hot apple cider, live music performances, cookies, holiday movies, and more! Get all of the details here: https://www.victorianbelle.com/events-and-weddings/miracle-of-a-million-lights/
PIR Winter Wonderland
Why do I keep coming back again and again to Portland International Raceway’s Winter Wonderland? Well, it has been named the “Largest holiday light show west of the Mississippi” with over 250 lighted displays and I believe somewhere around 2 million nights. What else I love about it? It is drive through! I can stay warm! I don’t have to chase my kids! If those things don’t necessarily matter to you, here are some more benefits. The price is per car, unless you are participating in special events like the bike the lights or the lights and leashes dog walk night. This is such a beautiful display, especially if you put on some Christmas music in the car! For more information about Winter Wonderland and all the events, check out: http://winterwonderlandportland.com/general-info/