Portland Things to Do

Portland in December – Events, Things to Do, and Weather

November 22, 2023

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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. 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. Jump to:

December in portland, winter tree wine country

Portland December Events

  • Christmas Tree Permits become available to cut your own tree from US Forest Service Mt Hood National Forest (through Dec 31).
  • Portland Trailblazers Season – lots of home games to choose from!
  • Holiday Ale Fest NEW for 2023: Portland Holiday Brew Fest – December 2-3, 2023. There’s a new Holiday Ale Fest in town! Same location as the Holiday Ale Fest at Pioneer Courthouse Square under the giant tree and heated tents. New event organizers, and just 2 days. This event will feature 25 winter beers.
  • Holiday Drink Week – Nov 27 – Dec 3, 2023. Get $8 holiday drink specials at 24 participating bars and restaurants. Another one of Portland Mercury’s fun food/drink events.
  • Portland Night Market – Nov 30 – Dec 3, 2023. This quarterly night market in the Central Eastside features all kinds of vendors, food, shopping, and more.
  • Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club Show – Nov weekends through Dec 3, 2023. This annual train show in NE Portland is pretty cool to see – both for train enthusiasts and families.
  • Holiday Half, 10k, 5k – December 10, 2023
  • Whale Watching on Oregon coast – mid-December to mid-January is the seasonal winter migration of grey whales southbound. Best viewing spots are on central coast or from capes like on the Three Capes Scenic Loop.
  • 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!
  • Christmas Events in Portland – beyond light displays, there are tons of Christmas events from performances, music, art, and holiday markets.
  • Portland Concerts – the best resources for live music listings is WWeek’s Music Calendar (they also have art/performance/show listings), and Portland Mercury’s Music Calendar now by EverOut (and if it’s too cluttered, tap the star “Recommended” to see fewer listings).

>>Read more about all the Portland Christmas Events for 2023 here.

giant christmas tree at Coava

Things to Do in Portland in December

We often forget that most of December is still technically fall, but it feels like winter! So 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, 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.

Trillium lake snowshoeing

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 in Portland. 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, December ranks 3rd for your highest chance of snow in Portland!

Source: Google & NOAA

Portland Historical Average December Weather by Day

Here are the High & Low Temperatures by average for December in Portland.

Portland average temperature in december
Source: Accuweather historical averages

And with that, I wish you a happy December and happy holidays!

Read more: Portland in November, Christmas in Portland, Best Time to Visit Portland, Portland in January