Eastside, westside, all around the town holiday lights make the season bright

by: COURTESY OF OREGON ZOO - The Oregon Zoo's train is covered with lights as part of the annual Zoo Lights event.It’s the days before Christmas and all through the city lights adorn the landscape and to miss them would be a ... pity.

OK, for one last tour, try the following to stay in the festive mood:

Downtown — It’s the 58th year of the decorated boats of the Christmas Ship Parade — 55 to 60 of them — cruising up the Columbia and Willamette rivers. The final two nights of tours are Thursday and Friday, Dec. 20 and 21 on the Portland-area waterfront. For information, go to

And, take a minute to walk by and enjoy the 75-foot Christmas tree at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Eastside — The Peacock Lane homes in the Southeast Portland neighborhood will be in all their glory in the days leading up to Christmas and afterward — the tour starts at 6 p.m. each night through Dec. 31 just off Southeast 39th Avenue. For info:

Meanwhile, The Grotto, 8840 N.E. Skidmore St., continues to be one of the city’s main attractions, with Christmas carolers and lights galore making the 62-acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden shimmer during the season. It opens at 5 p.m. each day (closed Christmas), and it’s admission prices are $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and $4 for children. For info:

Westside — Free visits to the “Christmas in Dairyville”-themed street at Storybook Lane at Alpenrose Dairy feature 300-plus trees, live animals, Christmas movie screenings and carolers, choirs and dancers. The three final days are 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 22 and 23, at 6149 S.W. Shattuck Road. For info:

The well-decorated, 23-room Pittock Mansion, 3229 N.W. Pittock Drive, remains open, 11 a.m. each day through Jan. 1 (except Christmas), feeding off the theme of “Celebrating Christmas Carols,” as musicians play each night in the mansion’s Music Room. Admission is $9.50 for adults, $8.50 for seniors, $6.50 for youth. For info:

The Oregon Zoo, 4001 S.W. Canyon Road, recently welcomed baby Asian elephant Lily to the herd, and she’ll be forever known as the Christmas-time baby. About the same time she joined us, the Oregon Zoo put up its holiday decorations for the 25th year — life-size animal silhouettes, moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees and light-bedecked train among them. It opens at 5 p.m. each day through Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 24 and 25), with admission $12.50 for adults, $11 for seniors, $9.50 for children. For info:

North — What better way to stay warm while enjoying terrific lights than cruising through the 20th Jubitz Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway, 1940 N. Victory Blvd. This year’s highlights are “12 Days of Christmas,” Santa jumping down an 84-foot ski slope, reindeer flying over your car and a giant colorful poinsettia arch. Tours start at 5 p.m. each day through Dec. 31. Admission varies, including $16 per car. For info:

And, the lighted, 5,500-square foot Queen Anne Victorian Mansion, 1441 N. McClellan St., is always worth a tour, with a small admission. It’s open till Dec. 27, except Christmas, 6 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m Fridays and Saturdays. For info:

— Jason Vondersmith

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