December in Portland is the coldest, wettest, and darkest month of the whole year. It’s a good thing we have the holiday season and outings to distract us. But of course, you will find some bluebird days in December. Proof is that I took this picture in December at a winery in the Willamette Valley. So here’s more information about visiting Portland in December – events, weather and the best things to do in Portland, Oregon at the start of winter.
Portland December Events
- Christmas Tree Permits become available to cut your own tree from US Forest Service
- Holiday Ale Fest – first weekend of December (probably canceled 2020). The next weekend after Thanksgiving is the Portland Holiday Ale Fest. It’s pretty cool to drink seasonal beers under the giant Christmas tree at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
- Holiday Half, 10k, 5k – December 13 (virtual for 2020)
- Christmas Lights in Portland – There are quite a few annual Christmas light events in Portland. Our favorites are Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo, and the Festival of Lights at The Grotto. And there’s Peacock Lane, a drive-through lights called Winter Wonderland at PIR, and even a Christmas Ship Parade! Both Winter Wonderland and the Christmas ships are a go for 2020.
>>Read more about all the Portland Christmas Events for 2020 here.
Things to Do in Portland in December
We often forget that most of December is still technically fall. But if you’ve moved on to winter activities, that’s ok too. December is a busy time because of the holidays. Each year I try to do a Portland advent calendar with experiences and adventures around the city. Some of those things usually include seasonal ales and holiday events. Our favorite things to do in Portland, Oregon in December are Blazers games, Christmas shopping at all the popup markets (probably not this year for 2020), eating donuts (not strictly a December outing), picking out a Christmas tree, shopping for books at Powell’s Books and seeing all the downtown lights, and doing at least one Christmas tree lights outing (Peacock lane, Grotto, Zoolights etc). And if we get enough snow, a visit to Mt Hood National forest for some snowshoeing or just playing in the snow.
Portland Weather in December
Note: If you want to know about the weather you can visit a weather website. But one of the most frequent texts I get from friends about to visit Portland is about the weather. So that’s why I include this weather section. It’s how to interpret Portland weather forecasts by a local. :)
The weather in Portland [Oregon] in December is the coldest and wettest of the whole year! It’s also the darkest month of the year (along with January) with only 9 hours of total daylight per day and averaging a 4:30pm sunset. Sunrise moves from about 7:30am to 8am. So it’s dark when you leave for work and dark when you leave work. And they say “it’s the most wonderful time of the year?” Hmm… merry Christmas!?
The average December temperatures are highs in the mid 40s and lows in the mid 30s. Combined with the rainiest month of the year, and sometimes a surprise snow, December is definitely hello to winter. December averages 15 days of rain and 6.8″ of rainfall, with an occasional dusting of snow for a total of .8″ on average for the month.
Portland Historical Average December Weather by Day
Here are the High & Low Temperatures by average for December in Portland.
And with that, I wish you a happy December and happy holidays!