One of the many great things about Portland is that there is always something to do. And not all the fun-filled events come with a cheap price tag. When you’re entertaining guests for the holidays and you’re on a holiday-season-budget that can be tricky! If you’re looking to have a great time with your loved ones without breaking the bank, we’ve got you covered!
Gingerbread Work of Art – Now through December 26th
The Benson Hotel is continuing its long-standing tradition of creating a gingerbread masterpiece for the holiday season. For the 50th year, the historic Portland hotel has made a special gingerbread creation the centerpiece of its lobby, so you can view the spectacle for FREE! The theme of this year’s gingerbread masterpiece is “Polar Express.” And the impressive sculpture was made entirely by hand, created with 100 pounds of gingerbread – WOW!
Neighborhood Light Displays
The Nextdoor Cheer Map is your guide to home holiday light displays in your neighborhood and throughout the city. This is a great free activity for your household to enjoy. Crank the Christmas music, pack a thermos of cocoa and bundle up in the car for a drive around your neighborhood of choice. You do need to have a free Nextdoor account to view and participate in the Cheer Map, so for more information, visit Nextdoor’s website.
Christmas Ship Parade – Select nights
The yearly tradition of Christmas Ships gathering in fleets to parade up and down the Willamette and Columbia Rivers is celebrating its 67th year in 2021. Up to 60 boats, 14 to 65 feet long, make up two fleets each brightly decorated in lights and displays for the holiday season. The privately owned vessels come from Portland, Vancouver, McMinnville, Salem and Hood River areas. These Christmas Ships aren’t just viewable from Portland. On select nights, the parade can be seen from Milwaukie, Lake Oswego, Scappoose, Vancouver, Camas, Washougal, and St. Helens. Grab some foldable chairs, rain gear, your favorite latte, and head out because the Christmas Ships Parade is free to attend from multiple outdoor viewing spots. The Christmas Ships will have 15 nights of viewing from December 3-21, 2021 on select nights. The fleets run their route for two to three hours. View the full schedule here.
Crafty Wonderland – December 10th-12th
Crafty Wonderland is the ultimate local handmade art and craft event of the season. The popular craft show is back in 2021 with all the things you loved over the past 15 years. Being held at the Oregon Convention Center, the fair features close to 250 local artists offering fun, creative and one-of-a-kind goods. For the past 15 years the event has been free. But to help adhere to safety protocols, you will need to purchase a ticket this year. Tickets range from $4 to $22.