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Holidays in the Heart of Portland

Downtown PDX hosts a slew of holiday events and out of the ordinary shops you don’t want to miss

Presented by Portland Business Alliance November 7, 2019

In classic “keep Portland weird” style, PDX is embracing another year of the traditionally untraditional holidays. (You expected nothing different, right?!)

First of all, get ready for this (extremely pleasant) curveball: Sundays you can park in Downtown Portland for free! Simply find a spot at one of downtown’s SmartPark garages and bring your ticket to the PDX Pop-Up Shops in Pioneer Place or Boys Fort on SW Morrison. You’ll get a $5 voucher—that’s enough for a gourmet treat at newly opened 1927 S’mores! 

If you’re hoping for more than an artisanal s’mores kit under the tree, head to Pioneer Place and ask the Big Guy himself. Santa listens to Portlanders’ wishes every day from now until Christmas Eve, when of course he’ll be making his worldwide rounds. If the traditional fur-trimmed Santa gear isn’t your thing and a PDX carpet-inspired sofa is more your style, then tell all to Hipster Santa. He makes an appearance December 7, 8, 9 and 19 and is one of the Portlandiest icons for the Rose City holidays. Plus, he’ll pose with your pet the evening of December 9! 

Another traditionally untraditional standby, the Annual Tuba Concert, turns familiar holiday tunes into oom-pah-pah-ing as roughly 300 tubas (and the occasional euphonium) belt out carols. Everyone from symphony musicians to middle school band members gets in the spirit during this free performance held at Pioneer Square. The open-air concert sends the sound of an enormous brass band echoing throughout Downtown—a uniquely Portland soundtrack for your holiday outings.

While you’re in Pioneer Place, don’t miss the PDX Pop-Up Shops. In fact, this is the tenth and final year this Portland tradition will set up in unused storefronts, so get your fill before this seasonal standby closes for good on December 31.

The Pop-Up Shops serve as a temporary home for more than 20 local artists, designers and business owners, all with a uniquely Portland POV. The goods at this year’s Pop-Up Shop Alshiref and Friends, from blown glass cups and handmade soap to handcrafted jewelry and prints of all 12 of Portland’s bridges, will give you plenty of gift ideas. And since you’re shopping locally, you know that much more of your holiday budget stays right in your community.

After all, even if you don’t have big ambitions on gift-giving (and gift-getting) this year, it feels good to support your hometown. So to make this holiday truly special, head downtown to the heart of Portland.

For more information on downtown events and happenings this season, please visit downtownportland.org

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