Christmas is nearly here and that means Santa Claus is coming to town. Visiting Santa can be much more fun than standing in a long line at the mall for a quick, low-quality snapshot. We’ve got the six best places to see Santa in Portland before he takes off on Christmas Eve.
#1. HGTV’s Santa HQ at Washington Square
Santa HQ, presented by HGTV, is the mall Santa experience—but better. If you’re looking for a quick visit to see Santa in Portland, this is an experience you don’t want to miss. Kids can see how they measure up on the Naughty-or-Nice O’ Meter, download the Elf-Ray Vision app to see what’s going on in Santa’s workshop, and of course, get their picture taken with Santa. Santa HQ has online registration here, which is super handy for cutting out long wait times. And of course, the decorations are gorgeous. (What else would you expect from HGTV?)
Where: Washington Square, 9585 SW Washington Square Rd
Hours: December 9–23: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; December 24: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
How to Give: The Sharing Tree by Santa HQ is decorated with ornaments labeled with specific gifts for children in the community. Choose an ornament, purchase the gift, and return it (unwrapped) by December 20.
More Information: Washington Square Events
#2. The Holiday Express
There’s something magical about trains at Christmastime. The Holiday Express at Oaks Park Station brings vintage Christmas to life and is a unique way to visit Santa in Portland. The Oregon Pacific Railway boards passengers on a steam locomotive and takes you on a ride through the forest along the Willamette River. The train cars are decked out in full Christmas décor. And no holiday train ride would be complete without cookies and hot chocolate! Tickets sell out fast, so don’t wait to plan your train ride.
Where: The Oaks Station, 7806 SE Oaks Park Way
Hours: Saturdays and Sundays in December. Ride times start at 10 a.m. and end at 8 p.m.
How to Give: Text “Rail” to 52000 to make a $10 donation the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation
More Information: The Holiday Express
#3. Christmas in Dairyville
Dairyville at Alpenrose Dairy has more than just a visit with Santa. Dairyville is a replica of an old-west town with storefronts that have window displays and porches, an opera house, and even a storybook lane. Choirs from local organizations bring Christmas cheer, and kids will love seeing the animals on display. The opera house also shows Christmas movies and is hosting a Ralph Radio Theatre performance this year. If you’re on the hunt for a fun family experience while you see Santa in Portland, Christmas in Dairyville is a must!
Where: Alpenrose Dairy, 6149 SW Shattuck Rd
Hours: December 1–3, 8–10, 15–17: 10 a.m. to 6 pm; December 22 and 23: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ways to Give: Pick up a tag at Dairyville and donate an unwrapped gift to help children in need.
More Information: Alpenrose Dairy
#4. Sensory Santa in Portland at the Lloyd Center
The Lloyd Center has brought an amazing service to the Portland community by offering a sensory Santa. Many children diagnosed with autism would love to see Santa, but a busy mall with loud music and distracting lights can make this a negative experience for them. The Lloyd Center offers an after-hours time for children to see Santa without large crowds. The music is soft, the lights are dim, and the elves are given instructions to make smaller movements. Sensory Santa is only open for one evening, usually in November (so make a note for next year). Santa is open to the rest of the public for the remainder of the holiday season. After visiting with Santa, you can skate around the indoor ice rink where indoor snow falls every afternoon.
Where: Lloyd Center, 2201 Lloyd Center
Hours: November 24–December 24, Hours Vary
Ways to Give: Make a donation to your local autism foundation. A Hope for Autism, located in Portland, is in need of tablets and laptops right now.
More Information: Lloyd Center
#5. The Miracle of a Million Lights at Victorian Belle
This historic home is a beautiful place to see Santa in Portland. The home and grounds are decked out in over a million lights. There are also over twenty decorated trees throughout the home. Crafts, chocolate-dipped bacon, and a mini petting zoo with bunnies and turtles make this outing fun! Pictures with Santa are done by a professional photographer, so make sure you dress in your Christmas best if you’re looking for a keepsake. You can end the night by making s’mores with Rudolph outside by the fire.
Where: Victorian Belle, 1441 N McClellan Street
Hours: December 9–23, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Ways to Give: Bring a non-perishable food item for $1 off admission
More Information: Victorian Belle
#6. Hipster Santa at Pioneer Place
If you’re looking for a truly Portland experience, you’ve got to see Hipster Santa. This Santa ditched the big red coat and hat for a Pendleton sweater and a man bun. While your kids might not recognize this Santa with his naughty and nice tattoos on both arms, you’re sure to have a good conversation about your Christmas menu (if it includes a free-range turkey dinner and vegan cupcakes for dessert). If Hipster Santa isn’t quite up your alley, Pioneer Place also has a traditional Santa. Both are ready to pose for photos and listen to Christmas wishes.
Where: Pioneer Place, 700 SW Fifth Ave
Hours: See hours here
Ways to Give: Support local artisans and shop local at Made in Oregon, located at Pioneer Place.
Our beautiful Oregon has so much to offer during the holidays! Pack the family in the car, go visit Santa in Portland, and tell him hello from all of us at Farrell Realty. Hopefully we’re still on the nice list and you are, too!