We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

December in Portland?

Which Portland hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
brooklyn nyc
Level Contributor
33 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
December in Portland?

We are very likely going to visit for about 4 days in early to mid December. (it's the only time that will seem to work for us). I understand the weather will probably not be wonderful,but again this is when we it seems we can come. We plan to see the Art Museum, would like to see Pittock Mansion, and a few other things like Powell Books and so on... Is there anything at the outdoor gardens or parks that time of year? (in case the weather is actually nice?) What other things coudl you suggest besides eating which we know is great to do in portland!

also, is the tram still free within the downtown?thank you

Oregon
Level Contributor
1,708 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: December in Portland?

Trimet has made changes and there is no longer a free zone.

Be sure to visit Pioneer Square. It will have a decorative Christmas tree in the center of the square.

Also Portland Saturday Market is open on the weekends.

Oregon Zoo has Zoo lights during the holidays starting at 5pm. It is a nice evening walk(although can be a bit chilly). There is a train that you can take at the zoo to see the ligh ts as well. I usually try to go to the train first since the line can get quite long.

Oregon
Level Contributor
1,092 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: December in Portland?

You express an interest in the gardens. The Japanese garden is not seasonal, so it would be good to visit unless in pouring rain. The Chinese garden as well. Both are easily accessible. Be sure to bring warm clothes and rain gear. If the weather is clear, which is unlikely, you might get some nice views from the rose garden. I'm not certain of the dates, or yours, but the winter brewer's festival may be going on in Pioneer Square. It's a good stop if you like hearty seasonal micro brews. It is held in a tented area, out of the weather.http://holidayale.com/

Edited: 22 October 2012, 15:07
Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Portland
Level Contributor
1,572 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: December in Portland?

The Holiday Ale Fest that scappoose refers to is on Nov 28 - Dec 2 this year - maybe early for your visit but definitely worth a recommendation (I LOVE this fest). And I'm of the opinion that pub crawling is among the best things to do when the weather turns nasty - Hair of the Dog, Deschutes, Laurelwood, Hopworks and Breakside are all good breweries to visit (add Bailey's Taproom downtown). :)

The 'tram' downtown is our light rail (i.e. 'MAX') or the Portland Streetcar; none are free any more (as of Labor Day weekend). MAX (and bus are $2.50 for a 2 hour fare or $5 for an All Day pass. Streetcar is $1 for 2 hours. There is also the Aerial Tram at South Waterfront that offers a $4 round-trip ride up Marquam Hill to the OHSU campus and back - worth it on a pretty day.

If weather breaks, I highly suggest a day trip to either the Oregon Coast (places such as Cannon Beach or Manzanita, for example) or the Columbia River Gorge (beautiful waterfalls and scenic views of the river) and an extension to the town of Hood River.

brooklyn nyc
Level Contributor
33 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: December in Portland?

Thank you - (and yes keep the info coming). It will likely be somewhere between 12/6 and 12/14 (for 3 or 4 days) so I guess we are out of luck for the brew thing.

I know Pioneer Square is lovely and will be even more so with the lights, just trying to think of other things to do. The fact the gardens are worth it as long as not torrential rain or snow is a good thing. (Even if its for just a small part of a day)... $5 all day sounds reasonable enough. It just was such a treat to not have to pay and or think about having a ticket but thats easy enough.

Please please feel free to suggest other things to do. We are coming to visit our daughter who lives here, but would like to have at least one or two destinations for most of the days since they will only be part of the day.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,795 posts
1,037 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: December in Portland?

You might be interested in the Grotto. It's lovely and a bit different with some good choirs (no, you don't have to be Catholic!). http://www.thegrotto.org/christmas/

If the weather isn't too bad you could go to Multnomah Falls and a bit farther up the Gorge for a half day. OMSI is fun as well :-)

Oregon
Level Contributor
1,092 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: December in Portland?

O.K., you will miss the Holiday Ale Fest, as will I, but you can still visit several of our world class micro breweries such as msbulldog has indicated above. I second the recommendation of Deschutes Brewery in particular.

Maui, Hawaii
Level Contributor
1,549 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: December in Portland?

When I lived in MA and came out to Portland for winter vacation, I thought it was balmy and wonderful. Now that I have been here in Oregon for 30+ years I have seen many types of Decembers. It is on average the coolest and wettest month, but you might get lucky. Its nice to walk around certain neighborhoods, like Hawthorne and The Pearl and just sightsee or go into little shops. It sounds like Powells, the Pittock Mansion, and The Museum are good ideas. The Science Museum OMSI is also fun to visit. Going to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport would allow you to see the Oregon Coast and do something inside as well. Have fun!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
696 posts
90 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: December in Portland?

A nice winter-time activity is a visit to the Kennedy school, a renovated school that's now a hotel, part of the McMenamins "empire". The site is interesting in itself -- lots of artwork -- it's fun just walking around the property. There are also a couple of bars on-site, a restaurant, movie theater and a nice soaking pool that is kept hot so you can go even in winter if its not raining -- so relaxing. The pool is open to non-hotel guests, you just pay a small fee (5 dollars I think) but remember your ID, which they also hold. Even if we don't stay overnight there, we can easily spend an afternoon here.

Oregon
Level Contributor
415 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: December in Portland?

It looks like Tuba Christmas is scheduled for the afternoon of December 11 at Pioneer Square -- 200-ish tubas playing holiday music. That is pretty fun and will put a smile on your face for sure. It's outdoors so bundle up.

Another option is to drive up the Columbia River Gorge -- take the historic highway and ooh and aah at waterfalls; views; get hot chocolate at Multnomah Falls [where without a lot of physical effort you can get amazing views of the falls]. Maybe grab a lunch at Hood Driver, then zip back to Portland on the interstate. Let your imagination run wild when you realize you are on the Oregon Trail and/or where Lewis and Clark roamed around.

If the weather cooperates, a jaunt to Timberline Lodge is nice -- beautiful rustic lodge with places to eat and drink; throw a snowball or two; rub elbows with skiers. This could be dicy if it's snowing or chains are required for a road report look would be a advised.

Troutdale, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
11,587 posts
129 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: December in Portland?

Hello,

THe Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a great idea. At least to Multnomah Falls. Unfortunately the HIstoric Highway is closed for the duration because the aquifer is undergoing construction under the Vista House. So from Latourell Falls to Vista House is closed. Also, the snow gate is closed due to seasonal snow.

I-84 is open and if you get off at the Bridal Veil exit, you can park in the Multnomah Falls Lodge Restaurant parking lot. (that way you will see Wahkeena Falls too) Go into the Visitor information Center and the volunteers can help you with your trip. They are very knowledgeable about the area.

If you want to travel further in, I would go as far as Hood River. Here's where I usually suggest going over the bridge at Cascade Locks or Hood River but we sat next to a gentleman at the winemaker's dinner last night and he traveled to the dinner that way. He said it was not worth it because of "all the construction work on (SR14) the road."

You will enjoy the area, rain, snow, sleet or whatever you get just because you will. LOL

Mrs O