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  • Writer's picturePhil Evans

8 Fun Winter Experiences In Portland 2023

The chill may be in the air, but Portland heats up with holiday magic as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are cleared. From dazzling light displays to festive performances and traditions, Portlandians know how to chase away winter grays with bursts of seasonal joy.

We've rounded up the very best events and experiences to fill your cup with cheer this December. Bundle up as you enjoy treasured traditions like the Oregon Zoo's epic light show and Peacock Lane's storybook charm; belt out carols, and soak in the old-world charm of a European-style Christmas market.

If you're eager to deck even more holiday halls around Stumptown, read on for the ultimate guide to spreading holiday magic Portland style this winter!

winter in Portland

The Nutcracker At The Oregon Ballet Theatre December 8 – 24, 2023 | Keller Auditorium

Join Marie and her Prince as the Sugar Plum Fairy leads them on an unforgettable journey through the Land of Sweets where brave toy soldiers battle mischievous mice, snowflakes dance, candy canes leap, and flowers waltz. The irresistible holiday tradition of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker awaits.

The Nutcracker Ballet

In a Nutshell Tuesday, December 19 – 12:00 PM

In a Nutshell is a special one hour performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker created for families with tiny tots to enjoy their first ballet. This condensed, sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker is designed to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for people with sensory processing challenges and for those with young children to enjoy the shared experience of live ballet with their friends and family.

Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree is back to bring the magic of Christmas to audiences of all ages. Get ready for an unforgettable Christmas experience as we celebrate our 61st year! This 90-minute show is packed with excitement, featuring an immersive nativity, a special visit from Santa and his dancing elves, and a non-stop extravaganza of music, dance, and pageantry that will kickstart your holiday season with joy and wonder.

Christmas lights

The Peacock Lane Experience December 15th - December 31st

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and the residents of Peacock Lane are happy to share that they will be displaying their lights from December 15th - December 31st.

The Holiday Express November 24 - December 17th

Join Santa Claus and his elves for a magical ride behind the 1912 Polson #2 steam locomotive. Decorated in festive cheer, the heated vintage rail cars transport you along the Willamette River in the heart of the city.

Holiday Express

New Ice Skating Rink Opening at Downtown Portland December 16

Commissioner Carmen Rubio recently made the exciting announcement that there will be a fully-tented ice skating rink and ‘woodsy winter village’ at the west side of the Morrison Bridge this year. It can accommodate 120 skaters at a time and opens December 16. We hope it becomes a new tradition for the city!

Portland Symphony Orchestra December 8 – December 17

Enjoy this cherished holiday tradition (now in its 43rd year!) in person or online! Magic of Christmas will be led by Music Director Eckart Preu and feature special guests. Celebrate the season with Christmas classics new and old – including the beloved “Sleigh Ride”!

Symphony Orchestra

The 9th festival launches in February, and the PDXWLF crew is hard at work, carefully selecting artists and matching them to locations throughout the city. Watch for exclusive sneak peeks as we unveil all the exciting details! Make sure you’re in the loop by joining our mailing list and dust off your illuminated costumes; you’re going to need them. Save the date: February 2nd to 10th, 2024.

Whether you call Portland home already or find yourself charmed and ready to put down roots, we hope these ideas help you have a great time in our city this season! And if you're ready to find a home in Portland, contact our team at Timber and Rose Realty Group here. We can't wait to help make it happen!


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