Getting Festive in Portland

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If you’re looking to stay in comfort and style this holiday season, with convenient proximity to all of the Thanksgiving and Christmas activities in Portland, Hotel Eastlund is the place for you! With a chill in the air and the last leaves falling from the city’s tree-lined streets, PDX is preparing for the holidays with light festivals and community celebrations. Thanksgiving in Portland is definitely a feast for the eyes AND the stomach, and there’s no better place to kick off the season! From turkey trots and turkey feasts, to zoo lights and Christmas ships, let’s get celebrating!

  1. Take a Turkey Trot – On the morning of Nov. 28, your chance to burn those pre-turkey calories comes in a beloved Portland tradition: The Columbia Bank / ORRC Turkey Trot at the Oregon Zoo. This multi-generational family event sends runners and walkers of all abilities around an untimed, 4-mile out-and-back course between the Oregon Zoo and the International Rose Gardens. There’s also a diaper dash and a tot trot for the little ones! Entry fees benefit the Oregon Zoo. Online-register by Nov. 26 here.Tip: The Zoo is on a MAX line, so consider taking the MAX at the Convention Center station, just across from Hotel Eastlund (note the Sunday/holiday schedule).
  2. Feast Like a Champion – Dining out in Portland for Thanksgiving? You’re in luck! OpenTable has made it easy to find a table for Thanksgiving brunch or dinner in PDX with its Thanksgiving feature. Search by format, style or time period to book, and lock in a reservation in minutes! For a Modern European Thanksgiving dinner, try Blue Hour; for a classic Thanksgiving brunch, Salty’s is a Northwest favorite. Hotel Eastlund’s Citizen Baker will be open Thanksgiving morning from 7-10:30 a.m. to start your day off right with coffee, breakfast items and pastries, and then it’s on to the big feast!
  3. Enjoy the Lights Three Ways –
    • Christmas Festival of Lights at The Grotto – Starting evenings from Nov. 29 (the day after Thanksgiving) through Dec. 30, the Christmas Festival of Lights sparkles! Self-touted as the “largest choral Christmas festival in the world,” it features more than 160 indoor holiday concerts and offers a blend of traditional celebration. Five indoor concerts are scheduled each evening in The Grotto’s 500-seat chapel, along with family fun in the plaza area which includes outdoor caroling, colorfully lit gardens, puppet shows and a live petting zoo. This walk-around excursion takes about 90 minutes, so bundle up! Learn more and get tickets here.
    • ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo – Stroll through the zoo grounds on evenings starting Nov. 29 to take in a dazzling display of more than 1.5 million lights, and visit elephants, mountain goats and other wildlife in a fun new way! Ride the popular lighted train and carousel, sip hot drinks and nosh from local food carts. Families: Santa photos are taken every evening through Dec. 24. ZooLights will run daily, 5- 9 p.m. (closed only on Dec. 25), through Jan. 5, 2020. Travel tip: With Hotel Eastlund conveniently located along the MAX line (Convention Center stop), ride it to the Portland Zoo and eliminate the parking hassle! Learn more and get tickets here.
    • Christmas Ships – Starting Dec. 5, the riverfront comes alive each evening during the Christmas Ship Parade, showing a dazzling flotilla of 60 festively decorated boats gliding through the area’s Columbia and Willamette River waterways. This volunteer-run event began in 1954 and has brought holiday magic to generations ever since. Dinner cruises are available on the Willamette runs. Check out the cruise schedule and get tickets here.

There’s more festive cheer to come, but this start to the holidays should make for merriment during your next Portland visit and stay at Hotel Eastlund! Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, a stay at our downtown Portland hotel means you’ll be close to the best destinations, restaurants, and things to do in Portland. The team at Hotel Eastlund looks forward to helping you discover our beautiful city.