As winter blankets the city of Portland, a magical transformation takes place. The air is filled with a palpable sense of wonder, and the streets come alive with the twinkle of holiday lights. In this guide, we embark on a week-long journey through the heart of downtown Portland, exploring enchanting displays that captivate both residents and visitors alike. Each day brings a new destination, from drive-through wonders to historic mansions adorned with volunteer creativity. Join us as we navigate the winter splendor of Portland, uncovering the city’s most dazzling holiday light spectacles.

Day 1: PIR Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway Winter is a magical time in Portland, and what better way to kick off the week than with a unique experience at the Portland International Raceway’s Winter Wonderland? Supported by Safeway and the Sunshine Division, this drive-through event allows you to cruise along a real racetrack surrounded by dazzling light displays. The spectacle lasts 30 to 45 minutes, providing a magical journey through a winter wonderland—all from the comfort of your car.

Tickets: $48 for a car (

Day 2: Peacock Lane’s Festive Homes On day two, venture to the iconic Peacock Lane, a must-visit for anyone familiar with Portland. This charming lane transforms into a mesmerizing winter spectacle, with each house adorned in festive lights. The Peacock lane is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in an effort to preserve the tradition. While you can drive through, I recommend walking to truly savor the intricate details of the displays. Be prepared to park a few blocks away and embark on a delightful stroll through this winter paradise.

Tickets: Free (

Day 3: Oregon Zoo Lights For a family-friendly adventure on day three, head to the Oregon Zoo for their enchanting Zoo Lights. As the zoo transforms into a magical realm, you can marvel at beautifully illuminated animal displays and even hop on the lit-up train. The brew nights add an adult touch, featuring selected breweries in the area. Lights illuminate the evenings from 4:30 to 9 PM, creating a captivating experience for all.

Tickets: $26 for adults, member discounts (

Day 4: Grotto’s Winter Wonderland On day four, immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of the Grotto. Besides the dazzling lights, the Grotto offers various activities such as puppet shows, school choir performances, and musical events. The shuttle buses, free parking, and assisted parking make the journey convenient. It’s a different kind of winter experience that engages all your senses.

Tickets: $14 for adults (

Day 5: Pittock Mansion’s Volunteer-Decorated Splendor Visit the Pittock Mansion on day five, where volunteers transform this historical site into a winter wonderland. With daily musical performances featuring piano, violin, and guitar, the mansion provides a delightful blend of history and holiday spirit. It’s a must-visit location offering a unique festive atmosphere.

Tickets: $16.50 for adults (

Day 6: Parade of Ships For a memorable sixth day, witness the Parade of Ships adorned in winter lights on both the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Check the website for specific nights, as this captivating event adds a maritime touch to the holiday season. Whether viewing from the riverbanks or a tall building, the parade is a spectacular sight.

Tickets: Free (

Day 7: Downtown Portland’s Illuminated Splendor Conclude your week with a leisurely stroll through downtown Portland on day seven. Admire the beautifully lit trees and roads, celebrating Hanukkah with the menorah at the Pioneer Courthouse and the towering Christmas tree on display until January 2. Downtown transforms into a mesmerizing spectacle during winter nights, making the walk well worth it.

Tickets: Free

In the heart of Portland’s winter wonderland, the city lights up with a kaleidoscope of colors and festive cheer. From the drive-through magic of PIR’s Winter Wonderland to the historical grandeur of Pittock Mansion, each day of our week-long journey reveals a new facet of the city’s holiday spirit. As we conclude our exploration, remember that these destinations are not just about the lights—they represent the shared joy and community spirit that make the holiday season truly special in Portland. So, bundle up, embark on this luminous adventure, and immerse yourself in the brilliance of Portland’s holiday lights extravaganza.