What to do during winter break

Winter break is 17 days long this year and though the long break is nice, it is still possible to become bored. Here are eight unique activities to fight boredom this winter.

A Whale of a Time:

On Dec. 27-31, whale-watching experts will help you catch of a glimpse of whales (a magnificent sight) at 24 different sites along the Oregon coast during whale watching week.

Fiesta Navideña:

A holiday party hosted by Portland Mercado. At 7238 S.E. Foster Rd. there is a free event with food, drinks, music, and more festivities to be announced. It is open from Dec. 17-18.

All aboard the Polar Express!:

Board the 75-minute train ride from Hood River to Parkdale. Activities include hot cocoa, cookies, and meeting Santa and his elves, all while listening to the music from the Polar Express. Fun for all ages, but you might want to bring a younger sibling or friend. At the end of the ride every kid will get a personal silver sleigh bell, hopefully you can hear it.

Dash, dance and prance:

The Nutcracker ballet is a classic winter activity for the whole family. It will be open until Dec.  26. It is being performed by the Oregon Ballet Theatre at Keller Auditorium.


Skating and shopping:

The Lloyd Center ice rink recently reopened following renovation and currently features a large Christmas tree centerpiece and faux snowfall. Additionally, Lloyd center has upgraded its rental skates. Admission costs $13-15 and skate rental is $4.


Monday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; 6:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; 7:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; 6:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m.

Thursday 10 a.m.- 9:30 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m.- 10 p.m.

Saturday 10 a.m.- 10 p.m.

Sunday 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.

The Christmas Revels:

The Christmas Revels present Commedia Italiana, featuring the beautiful music and dress of the Italian Renaissance. It also includes Revels classics such as comedy, sword dances and clowns. The show is conveniently located at Saint Mary’s Academy in downtown Portland, 1615 SW 5th Ave. and runs from Dec. 16-21. Tickets start at $15 for students and $21 for adults.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze:

Cirque Dreams Holidaze features an international cast of more than 30 costumed circus artists. Under the direction of renowned director Neil Goldberg, the show is fun for the whole family with traditional holiday characters such as gingerbread men, toy soldiers, penguins, snowmen, reindeer, and more. The show takes place Dec. 22-24 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway. Tickets start at $25.

Deck the halls (with lights):

Portland has no shortage of Christmas light displays.

Peacock Lane, located in Southeast Portland, features four blocks of fully decorated houses and has been a holiday tradition since the 1920s. It is open to pedestrians Dec. 15-31 and to vehicles Dec. 18-31 from 6 to 11 p.m. This is a particularly crowded event, therefore it is recommended to observe the lights on foot. Horse drawn carriage rides are also available. Peacock Lane is between Southeast Stark and and Belmont, one block east of Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

The Oregon Zoo hosts it annual holiday event, ZooLights, which features animal-themed light displays and uses over 1.5 million LED lights. It opened Nov. 25 and will remain so through Jan. 1 from 5 to 9 pm. It is closed Dec. 24 and 25. Admission is $14.95 for adults. As always, the Oregon Zoo offers a discount with proof of TriMet fare.

Winter Wonderland, advertised as the largest holiday light show west of the Mississippi, is back for its 24th consecutive year. Located at Portland International Raceway, Winter Wonderland is the only exclusively drive-thru light show on this list. It costs $20 per car and is open through Dec. 25.
Sunday-Thursday: 5:30-9:30 pm
Friday and Saturday: 5-11 pm

In addition to more than  500,000 lights, the Grotto also features choirs and carolers, a petting zoo and hot chocolate. The Christmas Festival of Lights is open through Dec. 30, though it is closed on Christmas. General admission is $11. The Grotto is at 8840 NE Skidmore St.

Colorful lights line an accessible trail alongside the Willamette River in West Linn. The Lighting of Maddax Woods is open until Dec. 31.