Trees adorned with twinkling lights add a magical feel to downtown Portland during the holidays. You can’t help but get into the spirit with the cool temperatures, festive decorations and many opportunities to celebrate. Here are some of the things at the top of our December to-do list.
Stay in style
Settle into Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hotel deLuxe, a perfect home base for all the seasonal festivities in the city. And, if you book the popular Just Shop package this season, you will receive a $50 Visa gift card and a $10 Uber credit to go take advantage of great shopping at the boutiques in the West End neighborhood or the nearby Pearl District. You’re sure to find gifts for loved ones and, likely, something for yourself, too! When you come back to relax in your room, you’ll appreciate the tall ceilings, large windows that let natural light in and the luxurious touches that make you feel the glamour of old Hollywood. Snuggle up in your plush robe and order room service before (or after) heading out to explore the city at its holiday best.
Have holiday tea
Make a reservation right away to enjoy one of Portland’s favorite holiday pastimes, Holiday Tea (through January 3) at Four-Star The Heathman Hotel. With a floor-to-ceiling Christmas tree, joyous table settings and decorations, and delightful nibbles and Fonté tea, it’s an experience for the entire family. Consider making it a whole afternoon by walking over to see The Nutcracker at the nearby Keller Auditorium.
Gawk at a gingerbread house
Take one evening to visit Forbes Travel Guide Recommended The Benson Hotel for drinks and dinner at its stylish lobby eatery, The Palm Court. Beyond a delightful menu of steak frites, grilled salmon and all sorts of specialty drinks, you’ll also notice a handcrafted gingerbread masterpiece. The Benson Hotel has been creating these lifelike miniatures for 44 years, each made from hundreds of pounds of house-made gingerbread, white and dark chocolate and buckets of icing. One visit and your definition of a gingerbread house will be forever altered.
Visit a museum
Built in 1914 for one of Portland’s first and most influential families, the Pittock Mansion, one of the city’s grandest homes, is located in the hills above downtown. Now a museum, the Pittock Mansion offers sweeping views of the city and Mt. Hood behind it. The place transforms into a winter wonderland every holiday season with decorations inspired by skiing, sledding in newly fallen snow, curling up in front of warm fireplaces and celebrating with family and friends. Take a morning to tour the three floors’ 20-plus rooms where you’ll not only learn more about Portland history but get into the holiday spirit with all of the tinsel and trinkets as well. After that look around, wander around the gardens and savor the exceptional views of Portland from almost 1,000 feet up.
Take in the decorations
Pick one evening to drive to the most festive neighborhood in Portland and walk down Peacock Lane. The largely Tudor-style homes nestled on this four-block Southeast Portland street are adorned with sparkling lights, nativity scenes, Santas and more holiday decorations. It’s a popular Portland tradition, and for good reason – seasonal excitement is all in the air. Once you’ve taken a slew of pictures, stop by downtown’s Pioneer Courthouse Square to admire the 75-foot Christmas tree sitting in the middle of all the merriment. With your hands wrapped around a warm beverage, watch as happy shoppers whisk by with their purchases, carolers sing traditional tunes and the lights twinkle away in the holiday spirit.