Holiday Activity Ideas


Holiday Activity Ideas

One of the best parts of the holiday season is getting out with friends and family to enjoy the lights, music and cheer all around us.  Our very own CBC Sugarplum Fairy has assembled some ideas for you and yours to add to your calendar this season. If you attend any of these events or visit these places, make sure you post about it on social media using the hashtag #cbcchristmas.

Close to Home:

The following events are right in our backyard and some are coming up pretty quick. Check them out.

Vancouver Christmas at the Park

Esther Short Park
301 N. 8th Street, Vancouver
Friday, 12/1/17, 6:00-7:30pm

Giving away 200 free Christmas trees, ornament making tent, cookie making tent, free hot chocolate and photos with Santa. Perfect for the whole family.

Price: FREE

Christmas at Fort Vancouver

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
612 E. Reserve St. Vancouver, WA
Saturday, 12/9 10am – 3pm

Come and celebrate the holidays 1840s style.  Event features 19th Century crafts, caroling, dancing and history.

Price: Age 15+ $5,  <15 Free

Camas Hometown Holidays

Downtown Camas
Friday, 12/1 5-9pm

Tree lighting, photos with Santa, hay rides, hot cocoa, shopping and fireworks. The tree lighting is at 6:30

Price: FREE

The Christmas Ships

Various locations on Willamette and Columbia Rivers

This year marks the 63rd anniversary of this wonderful tradition. The ships will be parading 15 nights in December, starting on the 1st and concluding on the 21st. There are 55-60 ships ranging in size from 14-65 feet each individually decorated and “decked” out by their individual owners.

Sugarplum Tip! If you’re wondering where to get the best view, we would suggest you plan to attend either Saturday 12/16 or Sunday 12/17 at Riverplace Marina in downtown Portland. The combined fleet will be sailing from here. On Saturday, they’ll leave Riverplace Marina at 4:30 and head up river to Lake Oswego. They are due back around 8pm and will host a meet and greet where you can get up close and ask the skippers questions about their boats.  On Sunday, the meet and greet starts at 2pm and then the ships leave at 5pm. You can access the public dock by Three Degrees Restaurant.  Being water level with all the ships as they organize their flotilla is lots of fun!

Price: FREE

Christmas at the Grotto

NE 85th Ave and Sandy Blvd
Now through 12/30,  nightly  5:00-9:30 pm (closed Christmas Day)

Touted as the largest Christmas choral festival in the world, the festival features over 160 indoor concerts over the course of the month.  (see website for the concert schedule) You’ll also enjoy a gorgeous outdoor garden setting strung with more than 500,000 twinkling lights, a roving band of carolers singing Christmas carols and a life-size display of the nativity.  This event is guaranteed to be both visually and spiritually inspiring!

Price: $ (varies, see website)


Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR
Now through January 7 (see website for closure dates)

Spend an evening winding your way through the Portland Zoo strung with an incredible 1.5 million (yes MILLION) lights. You can visit the animals, ride the train completely covered in lights and get your photo taken with Santa.  With or without little ones in tow, the ZooLights are a real holiday treat!

Visit the website for complete details, including “value night” and discounts for riding MAX to the Zoo.

Tickets: $$  (varies, see website for details)

Pittock Mansion

3229 NW Pittock Drive, Portland, OR
11/20 – 12/31 10am – 4pm

Built in 1914 for one of Portland’s most influential families, the mansion’s owner, Henry Pittock grew through the ranks to become the owner and publisher of The Weekly Oregonian and later went on to build a business empire including real estate, banking, railroads, steamboats, ranching, silver mining and the paper industry. Rescued from ruin after the Columbus Day storm in 1962, Pittock Mansion is now a beautiful window back into Portland’s history.  Local designers individually decorate each of its 23 rooms and local musicians regularly play holiday music in the mansion’s music room.

Price: $$

Cinnamon Bear Cruise

Portland Spirit, 110 SE Caruthers St. Portland

This two-hour cruise aboard the Portland Spirit combines holiday cheer with a river cruise. A full cast of characters will entertain the whole family with stories, music and magic…and of course each child gets a photo with the Cinnamon Bear.

There are day and evening cruises available, including a light snack buffet and photo.

Price $$$ (varies, see website for details)

Ideas A little Farther Out:

If you’re interested in venturing a little further out of town, here are a couple of noteworthy ideas.

Christmas in the Garden

The Oregon Garden, 879 W. Main St. Silverton, OR
11/29 – 12/31 Times Vary

This is certainly a bit of a drive, but it also includes fun for everyone in the family. Enjoy 600,000 lights, holiday music, warm fires, a Christmas market, ice skating, snowless tubing and Santa at the Oregon Garden in Silverton. The events vary slightly each day, be sure to check the online calendar so you find your best day to go.

Fee: Varies,  (see website for details) There are single day passes, season passes and an all inclusive “fun pass”

Children under 4 are FREE. All ages may ice skate, however, children under 4 may be too small for snowless tubing.

Price: $$

Mt Hood Railroad: The Train to Christmas Town

110 Railroad Street, Hood River

This is certainly on the pricier end of Christmas adventures, however, if a little extravagance is in your budget this year, the whole family will enjoy this step into Santa’s world on rails.  The adventure lasts approximately 70 minutes and includes cocoa, cookies and lots of on-board fun.

There are three classes of service ranging in price from $45-$85 per person.

Price: $$$$ (Varies, see website)

And don’t forget, post about your fun using #cbcchristmas.