Portland Christmas Lights Guide - Holidays are a time of tradition, and each year in Portland the Christmas lights and Holiday light displays provide an opportunity to create and renew a sense of tradition once more with your family, friends, and loved ones. There are several popular Portland holiday lights displays throughout our city, from the Grotto, Zoo Lights, Portland Christmas Ships, Peacock Lane, and Portland International Raceway Christmas lights, to several other streets where Portlanders go to town with the Christmas lights on their homes and in their yards.
One of my favorite holiday movies is (National Lampoon's) Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase's character stapling row after row of holiday lights to his rooftop in hopes of creating the single best holiday light display EVER for his family. We do tend to build our hopes high during this season, and many people spend a lot of time and effort on their light displays for everyone to enjoy. Fortunately, if you don't want to spend time decorating your own house and yard, you won't have to search far to find Christmas lights in Portland.
The Christmas Grotto lights are one popular location to visit during the holidays. The Grotto is a beautiful 62-acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden located in Portland, Oregon. As a place of solitude and serenity, The Grotto draws over 200,000 people a year for peace and spiritual fulfillment. The Grotto offers regular Catholic mass services, as well as several popular annual events such as the Grotto Festival of Lights for Christmas. The Grotto is the popular name of The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother. It is a non-profit organization supported solely by the proceeds of its gift shop and by donations. It is administered by the Order of Friars Servants of Mary, USA Province. (Source: TheGrotto.org)
Visit our Portland Grotto page to learn more about the visiting times and information for the annual Grotto Festival of Lights and how you can enjoy this popular Portland Christmas lights display.
Portland Christmas Ships Parade
The Christmas ships give you an opportunity to see Portland Christmas lights in a unique way: on the river. Ships, yachts, and all manners of boats are decked out for the holidays with light displays, then they float up and down the Columbia and Willamette rivers. You can enjoy the Christmas Ships parade from several locations, and if you like, you can even be a part of the display by reserving a ride on the Portland Spirit. The Portland Spirit cruise lines participates in the Christmas Ships Parade when it comes through town.
2009 marks the 55th year for the Christmas Ship Parade on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in Portland, Oregon. The Christmas Ship Fleet averages about 55 to 60 boats between the two Columbia and Willamette River fleets.
Visit our Portland Spirit page for additional information on the Portland Spirit and how to book a tour to enjoy the Portland Christmas Ships from a unique vantage point for holiday lights--on the boat!
Visit the Christmas Ships Parade website for information on visiting this event.
Christmas Ships Videos
Portland Peacock Lane
No tour of Portland Christmas lights would be complete without a tour to Peacock Lane. Since the 1920s, this street in SE Portland has been decorating the tudor English cottage style homes with holiday lights. If you live on this street, you get to participate in this annual traditional holiday event. Portlanders flock from all over the city to come to this 4 block stretch to enjoy a little holiday nostalgia. You can drive by in your car, but it's recommended that you park several blocks away and walk or take public transportation (or your bike!) to this holiday event, because it gets packed and can become quite the traffic jam. Portland carriage rides and caroling are also popular to complete the old-time feel of this Portland holiday light display. If you'd like to read about the history of the building of Portland's Peacock Lane in the 1920's, check this article.
"Since the 1920s, each house in this quaint southeast neighborhood has been decorating for Christmas. Mostly Tudors, the houses are adorned with not only beautiful sparkling lights, but also nativity scenes, rotating Christmas trees and stunningly life-like replicas of Santa and Frosty. Be forewarned: this is a very popular Portland tradition and the crowds can get quite thick. It is wise to park several blocks away and walk, rather than drive through the area. Better yet, take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage." (PeacockLane.net)
Visit the Peacock Lane website to learn more and view the annual dates and times for viewing Portland Christmas lights on Peacock Lane.
Portland Peacock Lane Videos
Zoo Lights Portland
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