Who doesn’t love November? Sure, the brisk weather and short days can catch us off guard. But once we get past that, our holiday spirit begins to surface as we come together for food, family and festivals.
Here are 10 upcoming celebrations to get you started:
Macy’s Holiday Parade
Friday, Nov. 27 at 9 a.m.
Shake off your post-stuffing stupor with a morning of grand floats, costumed characters (nearly 500 of them!) and local marching bands parading through Downtown.
Tree Lighting Ceremony
Friday, Nov. 27 at 5:30 p.m.
Pioneer Courthouse Square
There’s a 75-foot tree in the middle of Pioneer Courthouse Square — you may have seen it — waiting to be lit for the holidays. As part of the ceremony, Thomas Lauderdale will lead members of Pink Martini, the Pacific Youth Choir, The von Trapps, and thousands of onlookers in a holiday sing-a-long. Come prepared: Download a copy of the songbook here.
Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Jan. 3
5–8 p.m. on Value Nights
There are 1.5 million lights on display at the Oregon Zoo’s annual winter festival, but that’s only one reason it’s so popular. This year, think “train” when you go to ZooLights — there’s a special Zoo Railway loop you won’t want to miss, plus big savings for anyone who takes MAX to the event.
Tip: The Sunset Transit Center Park & Ride often fills up on Blazers game nights — consider using a different lot if you’re planning to visit those evenings.
Holiday Ale Festival
Wednesday, Dec. 2–Sunday, Dec. 6
11 a.m.–10 p.m. most nights
Pioneer Courthouse Square
What would an events guide be without a beer festival? Keep warm by sampling more than 50 exclusive and rare brews, from Belgians to barleywines to porters and stouts. Keep your phone handy when you’re there, because the mobile version of the festival’s site will have up-to-the-second updates on beer tappings and locations.
Friday, Dec. 4–Sunday, Dec. 20
Parade on the Willamette and Columbia rivers, starting most nights at RiverPlace Marina
The first Christmas Ship sailed solo from the Portland Yacht Club back in 1954; now, nearly 60 boats light up the Willamette and Columbia rivers in what’s become a grand Portland tradition. If you’re taking in the spectacle this year, be sure to track the fleet on Twitter. And if you’re looking for a new vantage point, may we suggest Tilikum Crossing?
First Night at Director Park
Sunday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m.
This year’s celebration of the first night of Chanukah features a special ice menorah (ice menorah!), music, latkes and activities for kids. It’s a community collaboration between Chabad of Oregon, the American Red Cross and Portland Fire & Rescue — pitch in by bringing travel-size toiletries to be given to VA Hospitals and Stand Downs, events providing supplies and services to homeless veterans.
Super Colossal Holiday Sale
Saturday, Dec. 12–Sunday, Dec. 13
11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Oregon Convention Center
Need to get gifts for your sister, grandfather, boss, best friend, neighbor, et cetera?
Try Crafty Wonderland’s Super Colossal Holiday Sale — you won’t be disappointed. With 60,000 square feet of handmade gifts, goodies, art and crafts from Northwest artisans (and beyond!), this is your one-stop holiday shop.
Portland Posada & Holiday Bazaar
Posada: Saturday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m.
Holiday Bazaar: Saturday Dec. 12–Sunday, Dec. 20
Looking for something a little smaller than the Super Colossal sale, and with great food? Head to the Portland Mercado for the inaugural Portland Posada, an all-day craft fair with specialty food and drinks, a gift drive and musical performances.
What makes Posada even more special is that it’s tied to Latin American holiday traditions, and that it celebrates philanthropy and creative entrepreneurship. Plus, it marks the kickoff of the Holiday Bazaar, a nine-day pop-up gift shop in the heart of the Mercado.
Friday, Dec. 18–Sunday, Jan. 3
10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Orenco Station Plaza
Be the first to take the ice at the Winter Village, an open-air ice skating experience making its debut at the Orenco Station Plaza. Hop on MAX and you’ll be at the rink in no time — this one’s right across from the Orenco/NW 231st Ave Station!
Portland Winter Light Festival
Wednesday, Feb. 3–Sunday, Feb. 7
In the bleak midwinter, a light! Or, actually, large-scale light sculptures, projections, performances, installations, from a dozen world-class artists. Taking cues from light festivals around the globe, the inaugural Portland Winter Light Festival aims to bring people together during a time of year typically reserved for the indoors.
Who couldn’t use an inspiring spectacle to celebrate light, life and warmth in February? Bundle up!