Your Guide to a Rockin’ Winter Break in Portland

By Viraj Shankar

Are you stuck at home during winter break this year, and don’t want to spend your entire vacation endlessly studying for upcoming finals? Here are a few great activities to do over break that are well worth your time!


Oregon Zoo Lights:

This one is a classic, and probably the most popular item on this list. Every year, the Oregon Zoo assembles over a million and a half lights to create a truly amazing spectacle during nighttime. Local food carts, a fun train ride, and live music make the experience all the more festive and entertaining. The zoo lights run until January 5th, 2019, and, if you wish, you can purchase tickets using the link below:


Pittock Mansion Hobbies and Pastimes:

During the holiday season, Portland’s ever-so-famous mansion gets a jovial twist. Many rooms are vibrantly decorated, as the Mansion highlights both usual and unusual pastimes, with everything from beekeeping to operas! The Mansion’s holiday extravaganza remains open until December 31st, and more info is available in the link below:


Cinnamon Bear Cruise:

Hosted on none other than the Portland Spirit Boat, the Cinnamon Bear Cruise was inspired by a radio show that dates back to 1937. The 2-hour cruise sails along the Willamette River, making it a perfect event for the whole family. Treats, storytelling, and music make this one of the best holiday events around. The cruise operates until the day after Christmas, and the link to learn more and buy tickets is below:


Peacock Lane:

One of the busiest streets in Portland during the holidays, Peacock Lane hosts some of the most elegantly decorated houses in the Portland area. Houses are not just adorned with lights, but also with nativity scenes, replicas of Frosty the Snowman and Santa, and rotating Christmas trees! Be sure to park a few blocks away to escape the parking chaos, and enjoy the stunning scenery from sunset until 11PM. House lights will be displayed starting December 15th. Use the link to get more information, including the address and FAQ’s:


Lots and Lots of Trains:

A classic for many, there is something about trains that put everyone in the holiday spirit. Luckily for us Portlanders, there are many options around here! Some of the best choices include the Holiday Express Train, which is powered by a steam locomotive, and the Candy Cane Express, a fun-filled ride complete with lights, cookies, and hot cocoa. The Candy Cane Express is located on the coast, while the Holiday Express train is right here in Portland. Learn more about dates and prices using the links below:

Holiday Express Train:

Candy Cane Express:


Ice Skating:

Portland is full of ice skating rinks, and during the holiday season, there is nothing like skating out on the ice while listening to holiday music! Go with your friends, family, or both! Regardless of who you take, there are plenty of options, including the Winterhawks Skating Center (Portland), the Lloyd Center Ice Rink (Portland), the Sherwood Ice Arena, and the Hillsboro Winter Village – Open Ice Skating Plaza:


And, of course, Service:

(Donating to Whitford families by Monday, December 17th!)

In this season of giving, nothing can be as fulfilling as helping others who are less fortunate. Here are a few ways to get involved during the winter break:

Oregon Food Bank:

Toy N’ Joy Makers:

Portland Animal Welfare:

Doernbechers Children Hospital:


Happy Holidays, everyone! Make this winter break the best one yet!


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