Things have been quiet around here at Homebased Portland. Meg and I are busy enjoying the holidays, traveling and our families – we hope you are too!!
I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s – it seems so low key compared to the busy weeks leading up to Christmas. It is a perfect time for some fun family activities.
Bowling always seems to be on our families To Do list for the holidays. There are lots of great bowling alleys in the Portland Metro area.
Check out this website for a list of Oregon bowling alleys or just google it!
If you have little ones with you be sure and ask for an alley with bumpers – makes for a much more enjoyable experience, even for some of us adults. Another great perk of bowling is you get to wear those cute, stylish shoes!!!
Not only is the bowling fun but many of the bowling alleys have food too – nothing better than bowling alley french fries!
On the westside of Portland you will find:
And on the eastside:
Need a break from the craziness of holiday preparations? Some time to just spend having fun as a family? How about ice skating?
You can take a break from your holiday shopping over at the Lloyd Center Ice Rink. Check out their website for hours of public skate and cost. Skate rental is also available.
If you are not an ice skater but want to learn they offer lessons or you could just rest your weary shopping feet and watch the skaters. I have to admit I also like watching that big zamboni clean off the ice!!
You can find Santa or one of his helpers hanging out in just about every mall in America this time of year waiting to greet you and hear what you want for Christmas.
If you want to visit the REAL Santa though, you’re in luck! You can find him right here in Portland!
For the last 25 years our family has been visiting Santa at Santaland in downtown Portland. Santaland is now located in the basement of Macy’s. Gone are the good old days when Santaland occupied the 10th floor of Meier & Frank and you could ride the monorail around the ceiling!
Although the monorail no longer circles the ceiling of the 10th floor you can visit the monorail museum downstairs in Macy’s.
That is also where you will find Santa! He is only there through 4 p.m. Christmas Eve, Dec. 24th. See their website for hours.
So if you haven’t given Santa your list yet hurry on downtown!
On Friday we gave you a list of places around Portland to view holiday light displays .
I have to admit that my favorite on that list is Peacock Lane, a Portland tradition since the 1920’s! Our family has been visiting Peacock Lane for 23 years. It use to be a quick trip, just a few blocks away, when we lived over in Southeast Portland. Now we have to drive a little farther and cross the river but it’s worth it.
We love that quaint little street full of Tudor style homes, each one elaborately decorated! I use to dream about how fun it would be to live in one of those cute little houses! Peacock Lane is nestled in between SE Belmont and Stark, right off of Laurelhurst Park.
You can drive down the street to view the lights but we always park in the Walgreen’s parking alot across the street and walk. There is also a horse drawn carriage you can hire for your ride too!
The lights on Peacock Lane are on and will continue to shine through Dec. 31st. Check out the Peacock Lane Neighborhood Association website for times, directions and a map.
Today’s FYI Friday list is full of places in Portland to check out holiday light displays. There are lots!
As we mentioned earlier in the week there is:
Shilo Inn – right off Hwy 26 on the way to the beach, near the Cedar Hills Blvd. exit. With over 100,000 lights it’s hard to miss! Light display through New Year’s Eve.
Queen Anne Victorian Mansion - located at 1441 N. McClellan St. is open daily from 6-10 p.m. and runs form Dec. 12-27th. The Queen Anne is a 5,500 square foot mansion built in the 1880’s with 2.5 million lights -that’s a lot of lights!! It is an amazing home and display of lights. The home is also open for tours.
Pittock Mansion - another beautiful Portland landmark located in the West Hills of Portland is 16,000 square feet! This year’s theme is “Tinsel, Trees & Traditions: 150 Years of Christmas.” The mansion is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Jan. 3 except for Christmas Day. This display is not so much lights as it is beautiful Christmas decor! Admission: $5-8.00. 503-823-3623
Peacock Lane- A personal favorite of our family as we use to live just a few blocks from there. Peacock Lane is located between Stark and Belmont in Southeast Portland, just a block east of 39th Ave. (Take the 39th street exit off of the Banfield Freeway and head south on 39th) Open from Dec. 14 through the 31st from 6 -11p.m. You can drive or stroll down the street or take a horse drawn carriage ride! Every Tudor style home on the street is decorated. Peacock Lane has been around since 1920 – don’t miss this one!
Christmas Ships – The Christmas Ships have been floating the Willamette and Columbia Rivers since the 1950’s. The schedule of the boats is different each night so be sure and check their schedule for where they will be when and the best place to view. It is a beautiful parade of holiday lights. Bundle up as it can be cold down by the river. The boats parade through Dec. 20th.
Winter Wonderland at the Portland International Raceway – stay nice and warm in your car to view this display of holiday lights. It is the largest animated light show in the Northwest – a drive through movie of holiday lights! The display is open through Dec. 27th opening at 5 p.m. Check out their website for more details. The Raceway is out near the Portland Expo Center at 1940 N. Victory Blvd. Admission is by the car so be sure your car is full of family and friends.
A visit to the Washington Park Zoo Lights is worth it though. Zoo lights runs from Nov. 27 through Jan. 3rd and is closed Dec. 24th and 25th. Be sure and check out their website for times and admission fees.
Visiting the zoo after dark with 200 animals made out of lights is a magical experience. You will see monkeys swing through trees, leaping frogs, flying bats, and diving penguins. Soime of the real animals will be available for viewing also.
Local musical groups perform nightly and you will be able to meet Rudolph, some of Santa’s elves and other animal characters. And don’t forget to take a ride on the train to view even more!!
Bundle up to enjoy the zoo transformed into a magical winter wonderland filled with millions of lights.
For a little preview of what you’ll see check this out.
Tinsel, Trees & Traditions at Pittock Mansion
Celebrating 150 years of festivities, the Pittock Mansion is all dressed up for the holidays. Browse rooms decorated for the season; displays of holiday music, food, and traditions. For more information on pricing and the free holiday shuttle, visit them here.
Christmas ships parade
A Portland tradition, hosted by boat captain volunteers along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Fifty plus boats decorated in festive lights, march down the river in a procession each night from December 9-20th. A magical event for the whole family! Make reservations early at any of the great restaurants along the waterfront, to ensure a cozy V.I.P. view of the spectacle! For more information on this family favorite, please visit them here.
The Grotto is a 62 acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden located at NE 85th and Sandy Boulevard in Portland and each year hosts an annual Christmas Festival of Lights. This will be their 22nd year.
The Festival of Lights runs from Nov.27 through Dec. 30th from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and the gates close at 10 p.m. There is an admission fee of $7.50 for adults, children ages 3-12 are $3 with children 2 and under free.
For more information or a group rate check out their website.
The Festival of Lights features over 1/2 a million lights as well as a petting zoo, puppet shows, Grotto Carolers and outdoor theatrical performances. They are also the host to the largest Choral festival in the Pacific Northwest with over 140 indoor holiday music concerts. Local choral groups perform nightly in the beautiful Chapel of Mary which has amazing acoustics!
We’ll be there Dec.10th when the Westvew High School choir will be singing at 9 p.m.!
If you have never visited the Grotto at the holidays it is definitely worth the trip and a great way to get in the holiday spirit!