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9+ Best Places to See Christmas Lights in Portland

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The City of Roses has no lack of dazzling displays this holiday season. This year you can go to the Zoo, run a 5K, walk your dog, or paddle a canoe under the glow of Portland’s best light shows! Here’s our list of the 9 best places to see Christmas lights in Portland. 

Portland's Iconic Welcome Sign glows in the cold winter night. The stag sports a red nose! Best places to see christmas lights in portland
Portland is lit! Photo by Steve Morgan / Wikimedia Commons.

Related post: 11 Best Christmas Lights in Salem Oregon

Enormous snowflakes stand at Hillsboro's Lightopia light display.
Lightopia is one of the 9 best places to see christmas lights in Portland.
Lightopia in Hillsboro, Oregon.

(If you’re looking for even more Christmas activities to do with your family, check out our family Christmas bucket list with FREE printable! And for non-Christmas ideas, here’s our list of 75+ Winter activities for teens and families.)

#1. ZooLights

Our daughter stands awestruck under a huge glowing boa constrictor at Zoo Lights. Zoo Lights is one of the 9 best places to see christmas lights in Portland.
Total astonishment at ZooLights.

Oregon Zoo’s ZooLights has been our long-time Christmas favorite. Each night the Zoo lights up with life-sized light displays of animals, tunnels of color, and even a lighted train. ZooLights can be enjoyed a variety of ways this year.

Here’s a quick run down of what’s offered, but be sure to check the calendar for specific dates, times, and schedule changes.

LED lights form life size shapes of wolves and deer at Zoo Lights. best places to see christmas lights in portland

2023 ZooLights Events:

  • ZooLights: November 19, 2023 to January 7, 2024
  • Zoo Member Preview Night: November 19, 2023
  • Sensory Night: November 20, 2023
  • Value Nights: Nov. 27, Dec. 4-7, Jan. 1, 5-7.
  • Brew & Lights (21+): November 17th & 18th
Zoolights train in motion. Best places to see Christmas lights in Portland
ZooLights Train

2023 ZooLights Tips:

  • Bring Enough Adults: ZooLights is a popular nighttime attraction that’s spread over several acres. Visit ZooLights with enough loving, responsible adults to keep your children safe.
  • Download a Map: A map makes for much less stress. Get your download before you go.
  • Be Sure to Bundle Up: Think zoo-day on a chilly winter night. You’ll be outside for several hours, so be sure to dress you and your little ones in layers. Base layers are a great way to keep warm.
  • Dress in Water Resistant Clothing: Choose synthetic over cotton, boots instead of sneakers, and pack an umbrella.
  • Expect Children to Forget: Pack extra hats, gloves, and handwarmers.
  • Plan to Buy Some Hot Sugar: You’ll get your steps in at the zoo. A hot snack will ward off Christmas crankiness.
Our young children enjoy Elephant Ears and Hot Cocoa at Zoo Lights. best places to see christmas lights in portland
Cold + Excitement + Walking = “I’m Hungry!”

#2. Pioneer Courthouse Square

“Portland’s Living Room” is a natural place to see holiday splendor. Pioneer Courthouse Square takes its name from the historic landmark that overshadows it, the Pioneer Courthouse. But every holiday season the formidable courthouse is dwarfed by a massive Christmas tree. 

A grand Christmas tree towers over Pioneer Courthouse Square. Pioneer Courthouse Square is one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Portland.
Portland’s Living Room, all decked out. Image by Visitor7 / Wikimedia Commons.

Pioneer Courthouse Square’s central location makes it a great place to grab some holiday joy when you’re on the go. The square is right on the MAX line and within walking distance of several of Portland’s main stores and attractions.

My wife and I smile for a selfie next to Portland's biggest Christmas tree.
A kinda-blurry selfy from Pioneer Square. It was COLD!

You can take a break from your Black Friday shopping to enjoy the lights, listen to live music, and grab some glorious food cart grub.

2022 Pioneer Courthouse Square Calendar (2023 Update coming soon)

“Portland’s Living Room” is practically brimming with goodies this year. Here’s the line-up:

Pioneer Courthouse Square Main Events

A uniformed composer directs the Oregon National Guard as the preform holiday music at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Pioneer Square often features holiday concerts. Image by Oregon National Guard.

Pioneer Courthouse Square Holiday Performances

Nov. 27th 11:30-12:30 PM: The Dickens Carolers

Nov. 27th 1:00-2:00 PM: Laryssa Birdseye

Dec. 1st 12:00-1:00 PM: The Fireside Carolers

Dec. 2nd 5:00-6:00 PM: MC Shoehorn

Dec. 6th 12:00-1:00 PM: AM (Acoustic Minds)

Dec. 6th 5:00 PM: Inspirational Sounds From Latin America

Dec. 8th 12:00-1:00 PM: The Jefferson Dancers

Dec. 9th 5:30-7:30 PM: The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition

Dec. 10th 1:30-3:00 PM: The 31st Annual Tuba Christmas Concert

Dec. 11th 12:00-1:00 PM: Power Pep Band

Dec. 11th 2:00-3:00 PM Dance Fusion Northwest

Dec. 11th 5:00-6:00 PM: Ockley Green Middle School Dancers & Band

Dec. 12th 12:00-1:00 PM: Ida B. Wells High School Jazz Band

Dec. 12th 5:00-6:00 PM: Solid Brass PDX

Dec. 13th 12:00-1:00 PM: Beaumont Middle School Jazz Band

Dec. 13th 5:00-6:00 PM: Pablo Rivarola

Dec. 13th 5:00-6:00 PM: The Fireside Carolers

Dec. 14th 12:00-1:00 PM: LaRhonda Steele

Dec. 14th 12:00-1:00 PM: Megan McGeorge

Dec. 14th 5:00-6:00 PM: Alameda School Choir

Dec. 15th 12:00-1:00 PM: Portland Raging Grannies

Dec. 15th 5:00-6:00 PM: The Dickens Carolers

Dec. 15th 5:00-6:00 PM: Mac Balladeers

Dec. 16th 12:00-1:00 PM: Pablo Rivarola

Dec. 16th 12:00-1:00 PM: Jennifer O’Leary

Dec. 16th 5:00-6:00 PM: Reynolds High School Choir

Dec. 16th 5:00-6:00 PM: The Blueprint Carolers

Dec. 17th 12:00-1:00 PM: Sasa Fox

Dec. 17th 12:00-1:00 PM: Peppermint Patties

Dec. 17th 5:00-6:00 PM: Bridge Town Sound

Holiday Performances on the Week Before Christmas

Dec. 18th 12:00-1:00 PM: Karyn Ann

Dec. 18th 12:00-1:00 PM: The Dickens Carolers

Dec. 18th 12:00-1:00 PM Megan McGeorge

Dec. 19th 5:00-6:00 PM Jordan Sings

Dec. 20th 12:00-1:00 PM: Sam Barlow High School

Dec. 20th 5:00-6:00 PM: Stumptown Saxes

Dec. 20th 5:00-6:00 PM: Fireside Carolers

Dec. 21st 12:00-1:00 PM: The Dickens Carolers

Dec. 21st 12:00-1:00 PM: The Beat Goes On Marching Band

Dec. 21st 5:00-6:00 PM: The Angelic Noise

Dec. 22nd 12:00-1:00 PM: Hayley Lynn

Dec. 22nd 12:00-1:00 PM: Jennifer O’Leary

Dec. 22nd 5:00-6:00 PM: The Fireside Carolers

Dec. 22nd 5:00-6:00 PM: Jordan Sings

Dec. 23rd 12:00-1:00 PM: The Blueprint Carolers

Dec. 23rd 12:00-1:00 PM: LaRhonda Steele

Dec. 23rd 5:00-6:00 PM: Over the Bridge Jazz

#3. Winter Wonderland: Portland International Raceway

Colorful race cars line are parked at Portland International Raceway. The raceway's Winter Wonderland is one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Portland.
Portland International Raceway. Image by Chadsci.

North Portland has an even grander lights show. In fact, the Portland International Raceway’s Winter Wonderland is the largest light show in the Pacific Northwest. The drive-through experience raises funds to support Portland families and individuals in need.

You don’t have to buckle your seat belt to see the Winter Wonderland lights. You could opt for an exercise suit, a bike, or a dog leash at one of their special events (below).

A bike is entirely wrapped with Christmas lights. There is no way to actually ride the bike because of all of bulbs and the places to see christmas lights in portland
Get that bike ready for Bike the Lights! Image by Alan Levine.

Winter Wonderland is one of the few light displays that’s open through the entire holiday season, including holidays. You’ll find Portland International Raceway in North Portland near the Washington border.

2023 Winter Wonderland Details

  • Winter Wonderland Runs from Nov. 24th to Dec. 31st.
  • Bike the Lights: Ride your bicycle on Nov. 28th
  • Lights and Leashes: Walk the Lights with your pet on Nov. 27th & Nov. 29th.
  • Winter Wonderland is open Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve from 4:30-11:00 PM.

2023 Winter Wonderland Tips:

  • Tire chains and studded tires are prohibited.

#4. Lightopia

Giant snow flakes dominate this photo of Lightopia in Hillsboro, Oregon.
A glance at Hillsboro’s Lightopia.

Portland’s west metro area has its own drive-through experience at Lightopia in Hillsboro. Lightopia was a bright spot in our pandemic Christmas season. The arrangement and drive was super easy and the decorations were impressive.

Last year Lightopia included a Holiday Hustle Event that allows you to walk, run, or bike through the lights. Lightopia is held at the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex, a stadium that is conveniently located next to Highway 26.

2023 Lightopia Details:

  • Season runs from Dec. 5th to Dec. 30th.
  • Reservations open: TBD
  • Monday to Thursday Hours: 5:00 to 8:00 PM
  • Friday and Sunday Hours: 5:00 to 9:00 PM
  • Closed on Christmas Day
A multicolored tunnel of Christmas lights welcome visitors into Hillsboro's Lightopia display. Lightopia is one of the 9 best places to see Christmas lights in Portland.
An entrance to Lightopia, one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Portland.

2023 Lightopia Tips:

  • RSVP: Lightopia is a free event, but it does require reservations.
  • Make a Day of It: Hillsboro offers a good selection of holiday events including

#5. Christmas Ship Parade

Brightly colored ships light up the Willamette River at Portland's Christmas Ship Parade. Best places to see Christmas lights in Portland, Oregon.
Bridgetown’s Christmas Ships. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

It’s only fitting that “Bridgetown” would have a nautical lights show. In fact, Portland’s location makes for a host of festive fleets. The Christmas Ship parade is made up of ships from across the Portland Metro area. 

Portland’s Christmas fleets can be seen at a number of locations along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. You can even catch them at Lake Oswego which is located in the Southeast Portland metro area.

A close up shows just how many light displays can fit on a boat at the Christmas Ship Parade. This event is one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Portland.
Santa’s gone fishing. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

If you plan to watch a Christmas Ships parade, then see if you can get a spot on one of Portland’s iconic suspension bridges. You can find the complete 2023 Christmas Ships Parade schedule here.

#6. Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights

Pink lights and a trumpeting angel decorate a chapel at the Grotto. The Grotto is one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Portland.
The Grotto is known for its Christmas Festival of Lights. Image by Jason Wilson.

Northeast Portland holds one of the city’s most appreciated light displays. The Grotto is a peaceful catholic shrine and garden not far from the 205 freeway. Every holiday season the Grotto transforms into a magical landscape.

The Grotto is even better known for its sounds than its sights. The Chapel of Mary hosts choral performances. Puppet shows, outdoor caroling, and other live entertainment can be found in the Grotto’s plaza area. The Grotto’s abundant, creative entertainment make it one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Portland.

2023 Christmas Festival of Lights Details:

  • Season runs from Nov. 24th to Dec. 30th
  • Value Nights: Nov. 27-30th & Dec. 4-7th
  • Closed on Christmas Day.

2023 Christmas Festival of Lights Tips:

  • The Grotto doesn’t accept cash payments.
Winter trees make strange, colorful forms in the Grotto's garden. It looks like a scene out of a Dr. Seuss book. Best places to see Christmas lights in Portland, Oregon
Step into a Dr. Seuss lightscape at the Grotto. Image by Jason Wilson.

#7. Peacock Lane

Lights and decor fill this picture of two homes on Portland's Peacock Lane. Peacock Lane is one of the 9 best places to see Christmas lights in Portland.
Peacock Lane is Portland’s OG holiday display. Image by Visitor7 / Wikimedia Commons.

“Portland’s Christmas street” may be the city’s oldest Christmas lights display. The Belmont Area street is a National Historic landmark, known for holiday festivity since 1929. You can enjoy live music and hot cocoa as you walk down Peacock Lane, located in East Central Portland.

2023 Peacock Lane Details:

  • Season runs from Dec. 15th-31st, 6:00-11:00 PM
  • Pedestrian Only Nights: Dec. 15th, 16th, & 17th
  • Dogs are permitted as long as they are leashed.

2023 Peacock Lane Tips:

  • Plan Your Commute: Parking is difficult around Peacock Lane. We recommend using the MAX line or carpooling if you plan to walk along Peacock Lane.
  • Enjoy a Hot Drink: Peacock Lane serves free Hot Cocoa & Hot Cider from Dec. 15-24th.
  • Arrive Early: Drinks run out quickly when the weather is good.
  • Consider Visiting After Christmas: Peacock Lane’s crowds drop after Christmas.
A decorated home sports a lighted holiday sign that says "Welcome to Peacock Lane, since 1929." Best places to see Christmas lights in Portland, Oregon
Visit the lights at a historic site. Image by Visitor7 / Wikimedia Commons.

#8. Pittock Mansion

Downtown lights illuminate Portland under the snowy peak of Mount Hood. This view makes the Pittock Mansion one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Portland.
Portland from the Pittock Mansion. Image by Jeff Hintzman.

Portland’s best-known mansion is another natural place to enjoy the holiday spirit. But don’t go looking for Christmas lights in the ordinary sense. The mansion is impressive, but it’s the building’s location that makes the Pittock famous. 

The Pittocks Mansion’s grounds provide a fantastic view of downtown Portland, the city’s Eastside neighborhoods, and iconic Mount Hood. In fact, clear days yield views of not only Mount Hood, but Mount St. Helen’s Mount Adams, Mount Rainer, and Mount Jefferson as well. This excursion offers a unique way to either begin or wrap up your Portland Christmas experience.

The Pittock Mansion stands handsomely on an early winter morning. Best places to see Christmas lights in Portland, Oregon
The Pittock Mansion. Image from Wikimedia.

#9. Wenzel Farm Christmas Fantasy Trail – CLOSED

Unfortunately, one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Portland will not be open this holiday season. Wenzel Farm’s Christmas Fantasy Trail is a forest walk with plenty of surprises. This adventure includes a tunnel, a suspension bridge, a maze, a crooked house, and even a 40 foot castle. 

Nightly bonfires and fire pits provide a warm way to get festive in spite of the cold. Wenzel Farms is located in Oregon City, but will not be open for the 2023 holiday season. We hope to see them open again in 2024.

Best Christmas Lights in Oregon

Our son looks at the holiday lights with joy and wonder. You can find great light shows all over Oregon. These shows are just as good as the best places to see Christmas lights in Portland.
Holiday wonder at Azalea Park.

Portland isn’t the only place that knows how to put on a good holiday light show. Here are ten great places to find Christmas lights in Oregon.

Azalea Park: Brookings, OR

Lights cover nearly every inch of Azalea Park, Brookings' incredible lightshow.
Azalea Park features acres of illuminated wonder.

Brookings boasts the best holiday light show on the Oregon Coast. We were intrigued so we decided to stop here on our Holiday National Parks Roadtrip. This place is truly exceptional. In fact, we’re not sure that we’ve ever been to a holiday display as immense and immersive as Azalea Park.

@dinkumtribe This incredible lights display is an annual event held at Azalea Park in Brookings on the Oregon Coast. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @travelsouthernoregon #christmaslights #christmaslightinstallation #christmaslightsaremyfavoritecolor #holidaylights #holidaylights2022 #southoregoncoast #southernoregon #southernoregoncoast #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids ♬ Jingle Bells – Christmas Background Music

Brookings’ Azalea Park is made up of no less than 3,000,000 lights that literally cover acres of parkland. Walking paths meander through illuminated lawns, glowing hillsides, and groves of color. All kinds of scenes, creatures, and creations inhabit this lightscape.

@dinkumtribe One section of the holiday lights display was these Christmas trees synced to music. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #naturescoastalholiday #christmaslights #holidaylights #holidaylights2022 #southoregoncoast #southernoregon #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids ♬ original sound – DinkumTribe ADHD family travel

Our family spent over an hour enjoying the wonders of Azalea Park. We’d arrived on a Tuesday night and found that crowds were few and lines were short. It was the sheer enormity and variety of Christmas lights that kept us occupied so long.

You would think that holiday lights would get redundant at a certain point. But that was not our experience. In fact, we were delighted at some of the creative and unique displays that we found here.

Brookings is one of the warmest places to visit on the Oregon coast and and excellent destination for an Oregon winter roadtrip.

Magical Christmas Murals: Grants Pass, OR

Our three boys watch a Christmas Mural perform the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas".
Grants Pass may have the most unique holiday display in all of Oregon.

Here’s a light show that surpasses even the best places to see Christmas lights in Portland. The city of Grants Pass sponsors a city-wide display of magical holiday murals. These beautiful murals actually change as you watch them!

@dinkumtribe These holiday themed lighted murals are all made by local artists. They are available to view around downtown Grant’s Pass from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @travelsouthernoregon #christmaslights #holidaylights #holidaylights2022 #southernoregon #christmaslightsaremyfavoritecolor #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids #youroregon #thatoregonlife #traveloregon #visitoregon #oregonisawesome #bestoforegon ♬ It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams

Twenty magical murals can be found throughout the city’s downtown area. The murals are made by local artists and are truly remarkable.

Our boys place their hands on the lighted holes of a Magical Christmas Mural in Grants Pass, Oregon.
This was one of the boy’s favorite murals. St. Nick winks with his right eye.

Clackamas County Winter Fair: Canby, OR

The Clackamas County Fairgrounds hosts a quality, drive-through lights show. You’ll find the Fairgounds in Canby, a little ways south of the Portland Metro area.

Purples, pinks, and greens light up the snow at Silverton's Christmas Market.
The Silverton Christmas Market.

Jacksonville Victorian Christmas: Jacksonville, OR

Jacksonville’s Victorian Christmas was my top Christmas experience of 2022! The frontier town of Jacksonville was once one of Oregon’s most promising and productive cities. Today, Jacksonville is one of the best kept secrets of Southern Oregon. 

Three children enjoy a ride in a horse drawn carriage in historic Jacksonville, Oregon.
Our children loved their carriage ride through Jacksonville’s Victorian Christmas.

Jacksonville has kept most of her 19th century buildings and every Christmas season she transforms into a Victorian Belle. You can step into a Charles Dickens novel and experience the beauty of a traditional Victorian Christmas

We’d heard about Jacksonville’s Victorian splendor, but we didn’t know about its outstanding parade. Jacksonville’s holiday parade was a superb series of marching bands, festive floats, horses and carriages, historic cars, dancing groups, and more. This top-notch parade lasted over an hour and went off without a hitch.

@dinkumtribe The Christmas Parade in Jacksonville was a festive way to start off the holiday season! @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #christmasparade #christmasparade2022 #victorianchristmas #christmasinoregon #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids #youroregon #thatoregonlife #traveloregon #visitoregon #oregonisawesome #bestoforegon ♬ Here Comes Santa Claus – Gene Autry

Our family loved Jacksonville. A group of us took a carriage ride around the town while the rest enjoyed snacks and explored the shops and boutiques that line Jacksonville’s historic downtown.

Jacksonville’s Victorian Christmas is another destination that rivals even the best places to see Christmas lights in Portland.

Our children explore Jacksonville's historic courthouse, which is now the city hall.

Pastega Christmas Light Display: Corvallis, OR

Here’s a grassroots community event right out of rural Oregon. The Pastega Family and the community of Corvallis have provided a free festive display for years. The display runs a canned food drive that usually brings in around 7,500 pounds of food for people in need.

The Benton County Fairground is decked out with all kinds of Christmas cutouts and lights and the Pastega Christmas Display.
Country charm at the Pastega Christma Display. Image by Pastega Christmas Display.

You can contribute food donations or even volunteer to help take down decorations. The Pastega Christmas Light Display is a drive-through experience. You’ll find it at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Corvallis, Oregon.

Note: Closures can take place due to severe, inclement weather. Be sure to check the Pastega Christmas Light website before making your visit.

Shore Acres State Park: Coos Bay Oregon

Image of Shore Acres State Park shows the parks historic mansion and grounds lit with beautiful holiday lights.
Shore Acres State Park. Image by OCVA.

Shore Acres State Park adds coastal glamour to Oregon’s holiday scene. The park encloses the large estate of Louis J. Simpson, one of Oregon’s timber barons. Simpson’s historic mansion and beautiful gardens are set aglow each holiday season.

Shore Acres State Park is also known for being one of the best places to watch winter storms. See massive waves crash against the Oregon Coastline at this secluded state park.

Image of Shore Acres State Park show the park's historic mansion and grounds lit with holiday lights.
Shore Acres State Park. Image by OCVA.

Silverton Christmas Market: Silverton, OR

@dinkumtribe Clip from the Silverton Christmas Market during a snowfall. #familytravelblogger #familytravelcreator #familytraveltiktoker #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #familytravelvlog #silvertonoregon #silvertonor #christmaslightsaremyfavoritecolor #oregongardenresort #oregonmoms #oregonfamilyouting #oregonfamily #christmaslightdisplay #familychristmas2021 #oregonchristmas #christmasmarket2021 #germanchristmasmarket #pnwchristmas ♬ Main Theme (From Walt Disney’s “A Christmas Carol”) – Dominik Hauser

Here’s another beloved Christmas destination. The Oregon Garden Resort provides an annual event that delights the senses and warms the heart. The resort borders the beautiful Oregon Garden and the city of Silverton, Oregon, putting you right next to Silver Falls State Park, The Cascades, and the beautiful Willamette Valley. 

@dinkumtribe Checking out Silverton’s murals: send a letter to Santa Claus here and get a real response! #silvertonoregon #santaclaus #santaclausiscomingtotown #ibelieveinsantaclaus #ibelieveinsanta #silvertonartwalk #christmastownusa #lettertosanta #letterstosanta #christmasfunforkids #christmasfunfortoddlers #christmastreelighting #artwalks #exploreoregonshistory #oregonexplored #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #familytraveltiktoker #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelblogger #familytravelvlogger #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids @dinkumtribe ♬ original sound – DinkumTribe ADHD family travel

Small Town Oregon

An enormous off/on switch stands beside a Christmas tree at Mt. Angel, Oregon.
Mt. Angel’s Tree is lit every Christmas by a lucky child every year.

I don’t know of a better way to experience Christmas than in small town Oregon. Most of Oregon is made up of rural communities with deep roots and old, cherished traditions. It’s a real treat to celebrate Christmas in a coastal fishing town, the Willamette Valley countryside, or a Cascade lumber hub.

Last year we rung-in the Christmas season at Mt. Angel, Oregon’s best-known German town. Mt. Angel is about as close to Europe as you can get here. A benedictine monastery stands tall on the top of Mt. Angel and a convent can be found nearby.

Mt. Angel is best known for its enormous Oktoberfest, but we were delighted to find that they also host a German Christmas Market.

@dinkumtribe Mt. Angel Christkindl Market was rainy, cold and perfectly festive! @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #christmasmarket #christmasmarkets #christmastreelighting #bavarianfood #christmasinoregon #christmasinthepnw #pnwchristmas #oregonchristmas #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids ♬ A Holly Jolly Christmas – Christmas Music

Mt. Angel’s Christmas market was heartwarming. Artisans sold hand-made Christmas gifts and local business, schools, and charities offered warm, delicious refreshments.

The festivities had their crowning moment when Saint Nick arrived on a Mt. Angel Firetruck. He drew a name out of hat to determine which child would turn on the Mt. Angel Christmas Tree. Everyone counted down and clapped for joy when the switch was flung and the christmas tree lit up. Moments like these make me proud to be an Oregonian.

Twilight Christmas Parade: Baker City, OR

A decorated tractor trailer wears and enormous, bright Christmas star was it works its way down the Baker City Twilight Christmas Parade.
Why fly by reindeer when you can drive a semi? Image by Baker County Tourism Travel Board.

You can experience a charming country Christmas in Baker City, Oregon. The city’s Twilight Christmas Parade sports a host of creative and fun floats and vehicles that you won’t find at your home town. At 3,442 feet above sea level, you have a good chance of enjoying snow with your light show!

Wolf Creek Inn State Heritage Site

Holiday lights welcome travelers to Wolf Creek Inn & Tavern.
Oregon’s historic Wolf Creek Inn & Tavern

A bright oasis of holiday cheer lies right along the Interstate 5. Wolf Creek Inn and Tavern is one of Oregon oldest business, serving weary travelers since 1887. This old stage-coach stop is located along Oregon historic Applegate Trail.

@dinkumtribe The Women’s Parlor at Wolf Creek was all decked out for Christmas! @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #victorianchristmas #christmasinoregon #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #familytravelblog #bestoforegon #stagecoachstop #applegatetrail #californiahistorictrail #historicoregontrail #oregonstateparks ♬ Carol of the Bells – Christmas Background Music

Wolf Creek has a reputation for good eats and that was certainly the case when we visited. But probably the best part of Wolf Creek was just how fun it was to be there. Our children were welcome here and they enjoyed looking around at their surroundings and the historic pictures of the Inn.

The place was completely decked out for the holidays, and the Women’s Parlor Room was entirely themed on The Christmas Story movie.

The infamous leg lamp of the movie A Christmas Story stands at the window  of the Wolf Creek Inn.
Wolf Creek Inn is a great place to find some Christmas lights and holiday humor.

Happy Holidays!

People admire the lights as they walk through an illumined tunnel at the Silverton Christmas Market.
Last year Jennifer experienced the Silverton Christmas Market.

That wraps up our list of 9+ best places to see Christmas lights in Portland. Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share the post so that others can benefit as well. We’d also welcome your questions and comments!

If you’re visiting Portland for the holidays, be sure to check out our list of 15 best family-friendly day trips from Portland. Happy Traveling and Merry Christmas!

© Copyright Brian A. Warren 2022. Updated: October 23, 2023

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About the author

Brian Warren is a native of California and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and several other countries. He's husband to Jennifer, Dad of six children, and taught middle school history for several years. His special interests include craft beers, the American Old West, and geology. Brian is also an online marketing specialist and cofounder of Dinkum Tribe, a website dedicated to healthy, happy families. Feel free to send Brian a message at [email protected].


  1. Wow this is so fun! I had no idea Portland got so festive. We were just there a few months ago. I’d love to visit the Zoo Lights especially with kids!

    1. It’s great with kids, and the elephant ears for snack are great too. Bring hand warmers though, it gets REALLY cold!

  2. Ooooh I love it when places put so much effort into amazing light displays! Christmas lights at the zoo is SUCH a great idea (I mean, as long as the lights don’t disturb the animals nap times!!)

    I’ve never seen anything like a Christmas ship display! I wish we had that in Vancouver too!

    1. The ZooLights are set up in the walking paths not too close to the animals sleeping areas. Also, since Portland is near the 45th parallel, it gets dark by about 5 pm at that time of year, so the light show is off no later than about 8 or 9 pm.

  3. Christmas is coming and it has a pretty view with lights. I would love to visit it this Christmas. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Seeing all of these holiday lights brings back fond memories of visiting Candy Cane Lane as a child! Looking forward to this holiday season and all of the light festivities.

  5. Lightopia looks divine! What a way to experience the Christmas season. I’m down here in Texas, so you’ve certainly done a spectacular job at making me want to visit Portland soon. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. Love this post, as it is very unique. The Pittock Mansion with its grounds and beautiful view sounds like an amazing place to enjoy the lights and Holiday decor. I would also love to take in a holiday concert and view the magnificent Cht=ritmas tree at Courthouse Square.

  7. Wow, such an amazing list of the Best Places to See Christmas Lights in Portland. Thank you for offering so much detail! We recently moved to the PNW and have been meaning to get to Portland. It looks beautiful during the holidays!! 🎄🎄🎄

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