Light It Up!

Ready or not, the holidays are just around the corner! Wonderful holiday lights are proliferating around our city, and we know all the right places to get our dose of capitalis— uh, I mean, holiday cheer!

Peacock Lane
Southeast Portland
Dec. 15–31
6-11 p.m.
Can’t get enough of Portland traffic? Does the left lane move “just too fast” for you at around 5:30 p.m.? Well then, Christmas came early for you! Peacock Lane is just about to open.

Located between SE Stark Street and Belmont Street one block east of 39th Avenue, Peacock’s spectacular holiday lights beckon us back every year to share some neighborly cheer. Beginning on Dec. 15, lights will be on from 6–11 p.m.

The first three days are designated for pedestrians only, but don’t you worry! Inhaling carbon monoxide with your loved ones has been a classic Portland tradition dating back to the 1940s. Come Dec. 18, you can sit comfortably in your car to observe the lights, music and repetitive, red brake lights of the car directly in front of you.

While organizers do not require payment for admission (or the free hot cocoa?!), donations of cash and canned goods are accepted. Portions of the proceeds will be donated to Make-A-Wish Oregon. In all fairness, the street’s decor is pretty amazing. Portland wouldn’t be the same without the wonderful community members who dedicate their time to making us smile. If you couldn’t guess already, my favorite annual display is here and features my homeboy, the Grinch!

Christmas Festival of Lights
The Grotto
8840 NE Skidmore St.
Nov. 24–Dec. 30
5–9:30 p.m.
Some people love Christmas music, and those people scare the shit out of me. They also happen to congregate at a particular event hosted at The Grotto. The Christmas Festival of Lights is self-promoted as “the largest Christmas choir festival in the world.” Featuring a quarter-mile walk in the freezing-wet cold, this event would be a mistake to miss! Caroling, puppets, live animals and 160 indoor holiday concerts performed by church and civic choirs!
Admission costs $11 per person, or $6 for children ages 3–12.

Winter Wonderland
Portland International Raceway
1940 N. Victory Blvd.
Nov. 25–Dec. 25
Sunday–Thursday 5:30–9:30 p.m.
Friday–Saturday 5–11 p.m.
Winter Wonderland is “the largest light show in the Northwest” according to their website. If you’re not feeling up to walking outside, this light event is perfect for you! Admission costs $20 per vehicle, with event proceeds benefiting local charity. If you plan on drinking as much as me, you should consider taking a Lyft to the event! Winter Wonderland’s website offers a promotion to new Lyft users for their event!

Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo
Nov. 25–Jan. 1
5–9 p.m.

Twinkling lights, frozen tears.
Dads who gave up and are growing a beard.
Strollers, toddlers, breastmilk and whines.
I waited two hours for a five-minute train ride.

Monday through Thursday are best if you’re broke.
I came for the bears, but I’d given up hope.

A zoo is for animals, held captive for glee,
watching us wait for a moment to feed.
It’s Christmas within bars, and it might as well be
as close as we come to true unity.