There are so many options for Portland-area family fun in December that it can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry! We’ve done all the research for you. Simply scan this list and choose what will make your family merry this month, whether that’s one special activity or a dozen.

Winter Wonderland, courtesy Portland International Raceway

Get a tree. Visiting a u-cut tree farm is a festive way to start the season, and often includes a Santa sighting, live music, warm drinks and delicious treats. Be sure to reserve tickets in advance if necessary, as many farms require them. Find our full list of farms here.

See the lights. Our comprehensive list of light displays includes free displays like Peacock Lane or Lightopia, and paid experiences like ZooLights or Winter Wonderland. Another fun option is attending a free community tree lighting ceremony, or — if you missed the lighting event — go on a tree scavenger hunt and see them sparkle all season long. We’ve listed 21 Tree Lighting Ceremonies on our roundup; find one near you.

Chat with Santa. Have a classic experience at a mall like Washington Square, find the big guy in red at a u-cut tree farm, or choose a Santa experience from our Santa Sightings post. We’ve tracked down all the Santas, including local favorite Black Santa, so finding him is a breeze.

Watch The Nutcracker. Whether you stream it from your couch or watch professional dancers live, we’ve found all the options for Nutcracker fun.

Go on a holiday outing. You can book an adventure on a holiday train or ship, browse our Holiday Calendar, or find an event on our list of Free Things to Do in December.

Shop local. The dreaded task of holiday shopping actually becomes a fun experience when you attend a festive holiday market or shop at one of these beloved toy shops or local retailers.

Bake. Is it really Christmas without a little baking? Make your favorite family recipe or try these easy holiday treats your kids will actually want to make and eat.

Remember it’s about having fun, so do only as much as makes you and your loved ones happy. We list the options, but they are optional.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, from our PDX Parent family to yours!

Meg Asby
Latest posts by Meg Asby (see all)
Scroll to Top