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  • Writer's pictureWanderlust Mike

Experience the Festive Magic in Portland, Oregon during the Holidays

We've visited the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon, multiple times during the holiday season thanks to gracious invitations from our friends who reside there. Though it's cooler and wetter than our home in Los Angeles, the natural beauty, Fall colors, fresh air, food scene, and Bohemian vibe always captivate us.

We really enjoy the magnificent and iconic 620 feet tall Multnomah Falls, fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain. It is the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest with more than 2 million visitors a year! There's also a Visitor Center, snack bar, gift shop and restrooms at the lower level of Multnomah Falls Lodge.

The falls smaller cousin, 249 feet tall Latourell Falls, is 6 miles closer to Portland and just 2.5 miles away from Vista House with sweeping views of the Columbia River.

Designed in 1963, and encompassing 12 acres, the Portland Japanese Garden is the largest and most impressive we've ever seen! And nearby Hoyt Arboretum, at 190 acres with 12 miles of hiking trails, is a great place to stretch your legs and enjoy the forest. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden and Barn Owl Nursery & Lavender Farm are also worth exploring.

multnomah falls
Multnomah Falls
Our friend in the Japanese Garden

At night during the holiday season, The Grotto comes alive with a magnificent outdoor Christmas lights display, animal petting zoo, snacks, and live choral music in the chapel! And attending the Pioneer Square Christmas tree lighting event is also a popular way to ring in the Christmas season. The event is normally held at 6 pm the Friday following Thanksgiving Day.

A place we recently explored was the Silverton Christmas Market about 40 miles outside of Portland. Here we found colorful light displays among their walking paths, booths setup as a German Christmas market, and live music with traditional German foods in their Biergarten. They also have a snowless tube slide for the kids!

Completed in 1914, the Henry and Georgiana Pittock Mansion rests on a hill overlooking the Willamette River. In 1965, Pittock Mansion opened to the public as a historic house museum. Wandering the halls, especially when all decked for Christmas, at the Pittock Mansion has become a favorite holiday pastime for us!

pittock mansion holiday season decor
Inside the Pittock Mansion at Christmastime

The Portland Saturday Market, held on both Saturday and Sunday, has become a favorite of ours with it's handcrafted items such as jewelry, pottery, woodcarvings, textiles, craft brews, paintings, essential oils and soaps, and fresh local food. And since Portlanders prefer unique restaurants, you're sure to find local and eclectic menu items wherever you eat. The variety of local tea and coffee shops are also worth checking out. One that really stood out to us was the Sellwood Caboose Tea Shop, housed inside a real red caboose (...with a building attached to the back side).

Other places worth mentioning are Powell's City of Books, the largest bookstore we've ever encountered, and Voodoo Doughnuts, with their unique and eclectic offerings and their original location in Old Town at 22 SW 3rd Avenue.

We both love Portland and Oregon. Lush temperate forests, beautifully clean air, and peace and quiet are all reasons why. If you love green spaces, great food, warm people, and a laid-back attitude, you should definitely check it out for yourself!


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