15 Ideas for Things to Do When School’s Out for Winter Break

There are several places to check out Christmas light displays in the Portland metro area during winter break.

School’s out for two weeks starting next Monday so in addition to shopping, wrapping, cooking and baking, you might want to plan some activities for your family to enjoy.

Take a look at what’s going on during Christmas break both right here in Lake Oswego and just nearby in the greater Portland area.

Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Winter Break Camps. If you need a place for your kids to hang out when not in school or you’re wanting a little more time to get ready for the big day, check out the offerings with our Parks and Rec. Week-long camps are designed to appeal to the budding engineers, musicians, singers and fencers in your family. Check online for dates and fees. 503.675.2549.

Craft Workshops at Nic and Figs. In the week before Christmas, kids can learn how to make clay bowls and beads, snowman macaroons, peppermint marshmallows, doggie treats, Santa pillows and edible gifts. Check online for dates and fees. 425 2nd St., 503.479.8596.

Breakfast with Santa. Enjoy a french toast breakfast, carolers and a visit with Santa. Tuesday, December 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Palisades, 1500 Greentree Road. $14/Adults; $10/Youth; Kids under 3 are free. Pre-registration required.

Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Watch what happens when a teacher casts the worst kids in school to star in the Christmas play. Performances at 7:30 p.m. on December 14-17 and 19-23 and at 2:00 p.m. on December 16,17, and 23. Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street. Purchase tickets online, at the box office or by calling: 503.635.3901. Fee: $15/adults; $12/youth 18 and under.

Winter Village at Jerry Willey Plaza at Orenco Station. Bundle up and enjoy open-air ice skating while taking in the sounds of carolers and Christmas lights. Rink is open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday with 90 minute sessions followed by a 30 minute break to resurface the ice. Tickets go on sale 15 minutes prior to the start of each session—no pre-sale or online sales. Cost is $12 which includes a $2 skate rental ($10 if you bring your own skates. Kids 9 and under are $9; 3 and under are free. 943 NE Orenco Station Loop, Hissboro. 503.615.3410.

Pittock Mansion. Visit this popular spot all decked out for the holidays. It’s open through December 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Closed on Christmas day). Prices: $10/General; $7/ages 6-18; $9/Seniors 65 and older. Children under 6 are free. 3229 NW Pittock Drive. 503.823.3623.

The Grotto’s Festival of Light. With nearly 160 indoor holiday concerts, this is the largest Christmas choral festival in the world. In addition to the five indoor concerts each night in the 600 seat chapel, you can enjoy outdoor caroling, puppet shows and a live petting zoo. Open through December 30 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission: $11/General; $10/Senior; $6/Youth 3-12. 8840 NE Skidmore Street, Portland. 503.254.7371.

Lighting of Madax Woods. The kids will enjoy spotting representations of the 45 creatures known to inhabit these woods. A lighted accessible path takes you through the woods to a viewing platform on the Willamette River. Open through December 31 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 5785 River Street, West Linn. 503.722.2137

Christmas in the Garden. There’s lots to entertain the kids at Silverton’s Oregon Garden. Over 600,000 lights put on quite a show with the likes of a 100 foot candy cane tunnel and 22 foot tall flowers. Other activities include live music, artisan vendors, ice skating, snowless tubing, carolers and Santa visits. Open through December 31 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Activities and pricing vary by night so check the website. 879 W. Main Street, 503.74.8100.

The Amazing Bubble Man. Louis Pearl knows his bubbles and delights audiences with the art, magic, science and fun of this phenomenon. What kid (let along his/her parent) wouldn’t be wowed by square bubbles, bubbles inside of bubbles, bubble volcanoes and people inside bubbles?! December 17-24 and 26 at 11:00 a.m. with an additional 2:00 show on December 23. Tickets: $10/General; $6/Children. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St., Portland, 503.238.5588.

Nutcracker. There’s a good chance this is already part of your holiday tradition, but if not, there are plenty of opportunities during the break to see the Oregon Ballet’s rendition at Keller Auditorium. Performances at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on December 17, 20-23 and at 12:00 p.m. on December 24. Check online for ticket prices. 222 W. Clay St., Portland, 503.222.5538.

Peacock Lane. Crowds flock to this short street in Portland where peer pressure gets everyone to light up. There are two ways to see it—by foot and by car—just expect crowds either way. On display through December 31 from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Located between SE Stark and SE Belmont.

Winter Wonderland at the Portland International Raceway. Baby, it’s cold outside so load up the kids in the car and head out to the “largest holiday light show west of the Mississippi.” Open through December 26 (including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Sunday through Thursday: 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday through Saturday: 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. $22/car. 1940 N. Victory Blvd.

Oregon Zoo Lights. More than a million and a half lights are sure to dazzle you as you visit your favorite animals after dark. Santa will be on hand and the train will be all lit up. On display through January 7 with closures December 24-25 and January 1-4. Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Admission: $14.95/Adult; $9.95/Youth 3-11; $12.95/Senior. Train rides are $4.00. 4001 SW Canyon Road, 503.226.1571.

OMSI Gingerbread Adventures. See what five local architectural firms and bakeries came up with in this second annual OMSI tradition and vote for your favorite for the “People’s Choice Award.” In addition to the designer gingerbread houses, you’ll find DIY gingerbread building activities, holiday-themed illusions, brain teasers and more. Admission is included with general admission tickets: $14.50/Adult; $11.25/Senior; $9.75/Youth. Parking is $5. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Open MOndays when the Portland Public Schools are closed. Closed Christmas day. 1945 SE Water Avenue, 503.797.4000.

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About lovelakeoswego

I feel pretty lucky—I live where I work and I love where I live. As a Realtor in Lake Oswego, I get to share that enthusiasm with clients every day. Through this blog, with the help of my freelance writer wife, Genita, I’d like to share that enthusiasm with you. The quality of life you’ll find in Lake Oswego belies its size—there is so much to experience here from a fireworks show over the lake on the 4th of July to the Festival of the Arts--one of the premier arts events in the region. So please check in each week for another reason why I love Lake Oswego and who knows—maybe you’ll fall in love too! If you’re interested in experiencing Lake Oswego personally, please feel free to contact me either on my cell at (503) 939-9801, via email at kevin.costello@cascadehassonsir.com or check my website by clicking the link in the "Contact me" section in the right-hand column. I would love to show you around.
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