Best Christmas Light Displays In and Around Portland

The lighting of Lake Oswego’s storied Christmas tree this Friday kicks off a season of light throughout the Portland metro area. Lake Oswego neighborhoods are a good place to wander in search of festive displays, being sure to include Westlake and Cardinal Drive on your itinerary.

When you are ready to venture out a bit further and see things on even a grander scale, here’s a guide.

LIGHTING OF MADDAX WOODS. This is Portland’s first lighting display to get turned on so you can catch it now through December 31. Enjoy a wildlife-themed walk down a lighted, accessible path through the woods to a river viewing platform. Along the way search for creatures of the woods, explore the boat barn history exhibit and check out Dorothy’s Garden addition. Hours: 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. November 16 through December 31. Free admission. 5785 River Street, West Linn.

THE GROTTO FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS. Nestled in a beautiful setting in northeast Portland, this outdoor shrine and sanctuary is home to the largest Christmas choral festival in the world with over 160 indoor holiday concerts offered during the season. Twinkling lights throughout the space both indoors and out set the tone for Christmas magic. In addition to the five nightly concerts held at 5:15, 6, 7, 8 and 9, there are carolers, puppet shows, and a live petting zoo. Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. from November 29 through December 30. Tickets sold at the gate: $12.50/General admission, $11.50/Seniors and Military, $6.50/Children ages 3-12, Free/Children 2 and under. Please bring a donation of canned dry food to benefit the Snow-Cap food bank. 8840 NE Skidmore, Portland.

WINTER WONDERLAND. The Portland International Roadway is home to the largest light show in the Northwest with over 250 colorful light set pieces and many fully animated scenes that you can enjoy from the comfort and warmth of your own car. Special events include: Bike the Lights on opening night, November 29—no cars allowed; Dog Walk Night, December 2 and 3—you and your leashed pooch can walk the roadway free of any wheeled transports. Hours: Sunday through Thursday (as well as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday/Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. from November 29 through January 4. Best times to avoid crowds are in early December or a week night. Admission from November 29 through December 12 is $20/car online (plus a service fee) or $22/car at the gate. Afterwards the price increases $2/car. Saturday admission is $25/car.1940 N. Victory Blvd., Portland.

ZOOLIGHTS. The live animals take a back seat to their lit-up and sometimes animated counterparts inhabiting the zoo thanks to more than 1.5 million lights. Attendees can also ride the lighted train and carousel as well as take photos with Santa Clause and enjoy hot drinks and local food carts. Train lines are longest from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. so zoo-goers are encouraged to schedule your rides early and purchase tickets online. Special Events include Brewlights for those 21 and over on November 22 from 5:00 pm. to 10:00 p.m. Ticket price of $39.95 includes admission, souvenir glass and ten drink samples; and Zoolights Sensory Inclusive Night on January 6 from 5:00 p.m. go 6:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with muted lighting and sounds and cool down spaces provided. Ticket price: $12.95/Adult; $7.95/Child. Regular Zoolights Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. November 29 through January 5 (Closed Christmas Day). Regular admission: $17.95/Adults 12 and over; $12.95/Children 3-11; Free/Children 2 and under. Value Nights Hours are 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. December 2-5 and December 9-12. Value Night admission: $12.95/Adult; $7.95/Child. 4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland.

CHRISTMAS IN THE GARDEN. A drive to the garden will take you a little under an hour but if you’re looking for a festive holiday atmosphere, it will be well worth it. Enter this holiday wonderland through a Christmas light show tunnel where over a million lights make for a memorable display. Other activities include ice skating, a 100 foot snowless tubing, market vendors, international dining, concerts, and a wood-burning fire pit. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, head over on a Wednesday through Friday or else Saturday or Sunday after 7:00 p.m. Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. November 29 through January 5. Catch the Michael Allen Harrison Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 1 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tickets: $40/Adults; $30/Children 10 and under. Check online for ticket prices. Note there is a $5 fee for onsite parking. 895 W Main Street, Silverton.

WENZEL CHRISTMAS FANTASY TRAIL. Enter through a giant 40 foot castle to this 1,000 foot wooded walkway featuring thousands of lights, miniature castles, charming villages and Christmas scenes. Hours: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. December 2 through December 28 (Closed December 24 and 25). Admission: $7/Adults; $6/Children 2 and under. Cash only. 19754 South Ridge Road, Oregon City.

CHRISTMAS SHIPS PARADE. Catch up to 60 boats decked out in their holiday brightest on two different fleets parading both the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Check online for a complete schedule and best viewing spots including the seven nights the combined fleet sets out. Operates 15 nights from December 5 through December 22 (excluding December 8, 9, and 16). FREE.

THE MIRACLE OF A MILLION LIGHTS AT VICTORIAN BELLE MANSION. This 2.5 acre historic landmark is turned into a winter wonderland complete with beautiful twinkling lights and unique traditional touches. Check the website for special events. Hours: 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. from December 8 through December 28. 1441 N. McClellan Street, Portland.

PEACOCK LANE. Since 1932 these couple blocks of mostly Tudor homes have greeted visitors with their colorful lights, nativity scenes, rotating trees and life-like replicas of some of our favorite holiday characters. Hours: 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. from December 15 through December 31. Pedestrian only nights December 15-17. Southeast Peacock Lane between Stark and Belmont.

As a Realtor in Lake Oswego I not only enjoy selling homes but helping the people who live here enjoy what the community has to offer. So be sure to subscribe to my blog by clicking the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column and give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website if you’re ever in the market to move to Lake Oswego. 






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 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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