Take a trip to downtown Portland to see The Nutcracker this holiday season. (Photo credit: Andy Batt / OBT)

When the holiday tree lights up in Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland’s festive spirit is officially unfurled. Cheerful decorations line the storefronts and seasonal parties spill out on the sidewalk. Throw yourself into the celebration with a trip to Oregon’s biggest city for shopping, dinner and a show.

For the special folks on your gift list, Portland has it all. Browse NW 23rd (named “one of America’s Best Shopping Streets” by US News Travel) for a bit of everything. Boutiques and galleries abound in the Pearl District, and so do outdoor apparel shops. Downtown has all the major department stores, and on the Eastside’s Mississippi, Hawthorne and Alberta streets, find eclectic, one-of-a-kind creations from local artists and crafters.

The season demands a special dinner out. How about a meal from 2012 James Beard Award winner Vitaly Paley? There’s Paley’s Place, the signature restaurant that helped start the farm-to-table movement, or Imperial, his new venture in the Hotel Lucia. On the eastside, consider Aviary, Ox and The Woodsman Tavern — all nominees for Eater PDX’s Best Restaurant of the Year. (Ox won.)

And a Show
At the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, the Singing Christmas Tree celebrates 50 years with a 300-voice choir, live orchestra and special guests at Keller Auditorium, and the Brunish Theater is staging It’s a Wonderful Life. Portland Center Stage showcases David Sedaris’ Santaland Diaries, and Pink Martini’s at The Schnitz on New Years Eve. The Nutcracker, The Most Wonderful Season with the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, Gospel Christmas with the Oregon Symphony, A Tuna Christmas — the list goes on…

Visit our calendar of events for more holiday happenings, or explore more to do in Portland.

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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