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Winter Events: A Wish List

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, many people are adding a number of events to their winter activities wish list. There are many holiday events to see and enjoy here in the Pacific Northwest. Some include millions of lights sparkling on every surface; others depict scenes of Christmas traditions.

Here are a few of the many things one can do over the holidays:

Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights is an event put on by the Oregon Zoo where it transforms at night into a winter wonderland full of over a million and a half lights. Along with the lights, there is a lighted train for a tour around the zoo, a carousel for children to ride, and Santa Claus will also make an appearance. Ride the Max to the zoo and get five dollars off your admission on the weekends. There are also value nights with discounted admission prices on the following dates.

  • Dates: November 24 through January 7; closed November 29, December 24-25; January 1-4
  • Value Nights: November 27-30; December 4-7; December 11-14
  • Times: 5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. (to 8:00 P.M. on Value Nights)
  • Where: Oregon Zoo
  • Normal Cost: Adults- $14.95; Kid $9.95
  • Value Night Cost: Adults- $9.95 Kid- $4.95
  • Website:

Golden Ticket Event

Every year some stores in downtown Camas put on the Golden Ticket Event. At the end of this event, one name will be chosen for a $150 shopping spree in downtown Camas. To enter your name, all you need to do is shop at any of the participating shops in downtown Camas in order to receive a golden ticket. Acquiring multiple tickets by shopping at more than one store is encouraged.  

The Grotto’s Festival of Lights

The gardens at The Grotto are decorated with strands of lights and other holiday decorations for the Festival of Lights. There are over 160 indoor performances, along with a puppeteer, food stands, and a petting zoo. Guests planning to attend are encouraged to bring canned food to support Snow-Cap, an East-county food bank.

Winter Wonderland at the Portland International Raceway (PIR)

With over 250 light show pieces including more than 1.5 million lights, Winter Wonderland is known as the largest light show in the Northwest. This is an annual drive-through light show that is fun for the whole family. Tickets online will receive a two dollar discount compared to tickets bought at the event. Check out PIR in Portland, Oregon for an unforgettable experience.

  • When: November 24 through December 26; Sundays through Thursdays: 5:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M.; Fridays and Saturdays: 5:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M.
  • Where: Portland International Raceway
  • Cost:
    • Car $20 (November 14-December 14)
    • Car $22 (December 15-December 26)
    • Passenger Van (8+ people) $25
  • Website:

Christmas Lighting Festival

In the Bavarian town of Leavenworth residents decorate the town every year with holiday ornaments and lights in preparation for the weekends in December. Over half a million lights are put up and ceremonially lit every Saturday and Sunday at 4:30 P.M. Christmas characters wander the streets along with carolers to add to the winter vibe.

Christmas in the Garden

From shopping in the traditional German market to ice skating with your family, Christmas in the Garden is a great way to get out of the house and celebrate the holidays. There is a 150-foot snowless tubing track for anyone to enjoy and fire pits to warm your hands in the cold winter breeze. Live music performances and carolers can also be enjoyed by anyone who decides to send their day at this spectacular event.

The Train to Christmas Town

A truly unique experience is the Polar Express Train Ride. Characters can be seen throughout the train ride singing songs and interacting with other characters. The ride teaches the value of friends and family, keeping tradition, and how the magic of Christmas is for all ages, not just children. As an added bonus, every kid gets a special gift from Santa and his elves.

Christmas Ships Parade

Every year various groups of ship owners parade the waters of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, their ships adorned with Christmas lights for all to enjoy. This can be seen for free various dates throughout the month of December.

  • When: December 1 through December 31 (check the website for specific times)
  • Where: All along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers
  • Cost: Free
  • Website:

Miracle of a Million Lights

This historic house in Portland is light up with over a million Christmas lights. Every room within the house is uniquely decorated and paired with the vintage heirlooms that already reside in the Victorian Belle. There are also crafts, music performances, and outdoor movies that can be seen every night.

Fantasy Trail at Wenzel Farm

The Fantasy Trail at Wenzel Farm is a thousand foot wooded trail with Christmas lights for all to admire. There is also a forty foot castle filled with various Christmas scenes and every night a bonfire can be seen and enjoyed by everyone at Wenzel Farm.

  • When: December 2 through December 30; 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.
  • Where: 19754 S Ridge Rd, Oregon City, OR 97045
  • Cost:
    • Adults- $6
    • Kids- $5
  • Website:

Peacock Lane

This historic downtown street in Portland, Oregon is decorated every year by the residents living there. It is free to the public to drive through and see the spectacular lights the houses adorn. Check the website for special pedestrian only nights and stay updated on frequent closures of the street for vehicular traffic.

  • When: December 15 through December 31; 6:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M.
  • Where: SE Peacock Ln, Portland, OR 97214
  • Cost: Free
  • Website:

Christmas Tree Farms

Here are some of the most popular Christmas tree farms in the area. Some of them sell other ornaments and decorations or even give out free candy canes and hot cocoa to customers. Santa Claus can also be seen on certain days at particular farms.

Farrell Farms LLC

  • When: November 24 through December 16
  • Where: 3000 SE 362nd Ave, Washougal, WA 98671
  • Cost: $5-6 per foot (depending on the type of tree)
  • Website:

Washougal River Christmas Trees

Larwick Christmas Tree Farm

  • When: November 24 through December; Monday through Friday: 11:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.; Saturday and Sunday: 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
  • Where: 12605 NE 132 Ave, Brush Prairie, WA
  • Cost: starting at $32
  • Website:


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