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.

1. Visit the polar bears Nora & Amelia and other inhabitants of the Oregon Zoo, Enjoy the elephant ears, ride the carousel and the train

2. Stroll through the International Rose Garden, smell the flowers and take in the view, on a clear day you can see the mountains

3. Keller fountain, Lovejoy fountain, the little chimney fountain, the city is filled with fountains, take a walk around downtown and see how many fountains you can visit

4. Aptly named the ‘Living room’ there is always something happening at the Pioneer Square, visit the square and take a photo with the guy with the umbrella and the sign board

5. Tour the submarine, watch a show at the planetarium, catch a movie on the max all the while taking in a whole lot of science at OMSI

6. The hike to and view from the Council Crest Park are best seen than read about, go there and you will not be dissatisfied

7. Enjoy the Portland Saturday Market, eat a snack from the food stalls and shop from one of the various artistic goods and trinkets at the market

8. Enjoy a stroll through the Farmers Market – at the PSU on Saturday (not to be confused with the Saturday Market) or at the Park Blocks on Wednesday, fresh produce and farm goods

9. Take in a 360 view of the city from the Portland arial tram, better yet, celebrate a special occasion with a Sunrise brunch trip

10. Ride the Portland Streetcar across the Broadway bridge, enjoy a roundtrip

11. Enjoy the spring blossom of Rhododendron at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

12. Watch the ducks at the Waterfront park and/or the Laurelhurst

13. Explore an extinct volcano at Mount Tabor, there are tons of activities to do around here

14. Hike or bike through the acres of forest right in the middle of the city at Forest Park

15. Ride the roller coaster, skate and play arcade games at the Oaks Park

16. Watch a show at the Keller Auditorium

17. Support the soccer team, experience an exciting atmosphere at the Timbers/ Thorns Game at Providence park (ride the max to the game)

18. Watch a NBA game at Moda Center, home of the Trail Blazers (take the max to the game)

19. Ride a bike at the waterfront esplanade, don’t have a bike? Rent one at the shop near Salmon Springs

20. Visit the library and participate in a story time session, if you are old enough, volunteer at the library during the summer reading program

21. Grab a chair, take a snack and watch the annual spectacle of Swifts migrating at the chimneys of Chapman Elementary School

22. Sip some tea and enjoy a relaxing stroll at the Chinese Garden

23. Take in the spring blossom or the fall colors at the Japanese Garden

24. Visit the world’s smallest park at the Mills End park, spot the tiny garden gnome if you can

25. Take a class or swim lessons at the one of many Community Centers across the city

26. Ride the Max, street car and the bus across the trillium bridge

27. Take a bite of or buy a box full of donut awesomeness at Voodoo donuts

28. Taste the wonderful flavors of ice cream at Salt and straw and Savor a cupcake at Saint Cupcakes

29. Visit the monorail that is on display every holiday season at Pioneer Place Mall

30. Take a stroll down Hawthorne blvd, visit a few shops and catch a movie at Baghdad theater

31. Participate in the Rose Festival – visit the city fair, watch the starlight parade and participate in the Children’s parade

32. Watch a play at one of Portland’s famed children’s theaters

33. Watch the fireworks on the waterfront – once during the rose festival and other during the blues festival

34. Take in the holiday lights as the city transforms into a winter wonderland – Peacock lane, PIR, Pioneer square tree

35. Watch the Christmas Ships on the Columbia and Willamette rivers

36. Visit Pittock Mansion a 1914 building that stand testament to portland’s transformation from a pioneer town to what it is today

37. Get lost in the array of books at Powells city of books

38. Take a self guided tour across the various bridges that connect the 2 sides of the city – you can stroll across most of the bridges

39. The Forestry Center and Discovery Museum takes you on a journey trough the enthralling world of nature

40. Walk through or drive into the museum of living trees at the Hoyt Arboretum

41. Check out the various art and statues installations in and around the pioneer square

42. View the penny that decided the city’s name (& other Oregon artifacts) at the Oregon Historical Society

43. Ride the willamette to Columbia rivers on the Portland Spirit or Jetboat

44. Spend an afternoon spending in nickels at the Wunderland nickel games

45. Any cuisine, any time – check out the various food carts in and around the city

46. Summer in the city is highlighted by Concerts in various city parks – they are free, check them out

47. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure – shop at Scrap PDX and indulge in arts and crafts

48. Take a skating lesson at the Lloyd center ice rink (or the downtown ice rink in the winter)

49. Visit the newly renovated Gabriel Park, plan a picnic if possible and check out the SW community center while you are there

50. Visit the Portland night market – won’t say more, take in the awesome experience

51. Take a walk through the Peninsula park rose garden, with the awesome water fountain and the air smelling like roses its a tranquil serenity

52. Take a selfie at the SW Waterfront park as it transforms into a fantasy land with the Cherry Blossom Blooms in early spring