Nightly through January 4
Portland International Raceway
If you’re a fan of popping some CBD edibles and cruising through the car wash with Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas turned up to 11 (and who isn’t?!), then Portland International Raceway has just the holiday event for you. Each year the venerable North Portland speedway goes all-in on a holiday lights extravaganza that attendees cruise through without jumping out of their car, which is an ideal event for curmudgeons who hate the idea of standing in the cold waiting in line for shit. You get to play your own music, too, but again, anything other than Mariah Carey is 100% wrong. Your call though.
Cost: $22-$25 per car
Now through December 29
The tightening of the IP protections surrounding the popular children’s Christmas book The Polar Express has led to a scenario in which most wintertime train rides are merely allowed to wink and nod at the idea, but that’s more than enough in the case of the Hood River “Train to Christmas Town.” The train departs from a historic depot in everyone’s favorite beers-and-adventures town an hour east of Portland proper, and snakes its way north through a scenic expanse of snow-covered fruit farms with Mt. Hood looming in the distance. It’s magic for the kiddos, and there’s plenty of beer available in town both before and after the ride to maintain interest amongst adults as well!
Saturday, December 21
Though it’s not nearly as maligned as its New York-based counterpart, the idea of Stumptown Santacon is roughly the same: Dress up like Santa Claus and run around town drinking at a whole bunch of bars. The upside is that ticket a portion of ticket sales go towards a handful of local non-profits like P:ear, Sunshine Division and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, so if someone gives you guff for acting like a doofus in the name of holiday cheer, you’ll at least have that in the pocket of your red velvet pants.
Cost: $15-$20 for regular wristbands, $50-$75 for VIP
Saturday, December 21
Portland Saturday Market
You won’t hear us complaining about the preponderance of local craft beer powerhouses, but it’s high time other corners of the burgeoning booze biz in Bridgetown get some love. A great place to start is the Portland Saturday Market Holiday Spirits Fest, which is a great opportunity to sample small-batch spirits from artisan brands like Vivacity Spirits, Bull Run Distilling and 503 Distilling, to name just a few that will be on hand for one of the final Portland Saturday Market events of the year.
Cost: Free to attend, but bring some cash to purchase a cocktail or two
Tuesday, December 31
McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
Why shell out over $50 to spend New Year’s Eve at a crowded club with a DJ whose breadth of interest is limited to trap remixes of Drake when you can immerse yourself in a universe of booty-shaking bass and freaked-out funk grooves? There’s never a dull moment when you’re in the presence of David Sugalski, aka the Polish Ambassador. The Oakland-based DJ and electronic musician has gained a huge following in Portland on the strength of his frequent visits to the Crystal Ballroom, all of which erupt into rawkus parties fueled by Sagulski’s impeccable taste and voracious appetite for soul-, R&B- and electro-based mixes that always aim to please.
Tuesday, Dec 31
There’s no such thing as a “typical” Of Montreal show, but you can probably count on the sacrifice of a throne-mounted animal-god covered in fake blood-filled balloons, an egregious amount of confetti, and wacky costumes galore at this special New Year’s Eve appearance from the legendary psych-pop rockers from the same Athens, Georgia-based scene that’s also given us acts like Elf Power and Neutral Milk Hotel. It might be best to leave the tuxedo at home for this one.