Zoo Lights Portland


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The holiday season is the best time to be joyful and hopeful. To make it more special, you can visit Zoo Lights Portland. Whether you travel alone, with your friends, special someone, or family, the light festival can make your Christmas season livelier and more exciting.

Zoo Lights Portland is a yearly event and tradition for celebrating holidays in Portland. You can witness the zoo transformed into a winter wonderland featuring a million twinkle lights. It features animated animals swinging through the trees, hiding in bushes, jumping across lawns, and showing up unexpectedly.

Zoo Lights Portland
Festival highlights

About Portland Zoo Lights

The festival of lights features a display of leaping frogs, swinging monkeys, diving penguins, flying bats, and a light sculpture that features a dozen animals. It is among the most anticipated events of the year by people of all ages, especially children. You can be delighted by the animated displays, blinking Christmas lights, and zoo trains.

The event also offers live entertainment. There are choirs, youth groups, and bands performing during the fairy lights festival. You can’t feel boredom with lots of activities at Zoo Lights Portland. The light show will make your holidays more colorful and happier. The gorgeous lights can give you hope and will make you feel relaxed. If you wish to reduce tension and stress, participating in the event is a good decision.

The zoo lights Dates

Zoo Lights Portland is celebrated from November to January, which is the holiday season in the area. For 2023, the specific dates are yet to be announced, but rest assured that the festival will definitely take place this year so stay tuned for more details.

The zoo lights is closed on Christmas Day, December 25. So, you can have more fun and exciting holidays at the festival. 

Portland oregon zoo lights Location and How to Get There

The zoo lights display is located at 4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland, Oregon, 97221. The TriMet MAX Light Rail to Washington Park Station will get you to the zoo lights. There are also available trains to get to your destination. When driving, go about HWY 26 West of Downtown Portland, Oregon. 

This zoo is located 5 minutes west of downtown Portland on Highway 26. The Zoo Lights Portland is the first exit from this highway. Getting there is easy because of the accessible transportation. The friendly locals will also guide you to get into the zoo lights. 

Other zoo lights you can visit this holiday season are:

Stone Zoo Lights

Hogle Zoo Lights

Denver Zoo Lights

The Zoo lights Festival Hours of Operation  

You can explore the light exhibition from 5 pm to 9 pm. Usually, they will let you stay one hour after the gate closes. You have lots of time to roam around the zoo while admiring the beautiful display of lights. 

portland oregon zoo lights

Portland zoo lights tickets cost

The Christmas light show is free for the zoo members. You can purchase tickets online. Last year, the cost for walk-through nights started from $21 to $29 for adults, and for children ages 2 to 11, the ticket price was from $16 to $24. For the 2023 Portland zoo lights, details on ticket prices are yet to be announced so it’s best to stay tuned for the latest updates.

The tickets can be more expensive during weekends and weeks closest to Christmas. If you want to save, you can visit the twinkle lights trees early on the holidays. 

The ticket price for drive-through nights in the previous year was around $65 for each car. You should also prepare a budget for additional expenses. 

Weather and What to Wear

The Zoo Lights Portland is celebrated during the holidays, which is the winter season in the area. The daily average high temperature is 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and the daily average low temperature is 36 degrees Fahrenheit. 

You should bring jackets and layered clothing to keep you warm while enjoying the light displays at the zoo lights. With this, you will not catch a cold in the cold weather. 

Hotels nearby the Zoo Lights Portland

As you visit the LED curtain lights at the Portland zoo, you need a convenient place to sleep. Here is a list of the best hotels near the lights festival. 

The Bidwell Marriott Portland 

It is a 4-star hotel close to Pioneer Place. You can stay comfortably at the hotel because they have complete amenities. It is pet-friendly and has free WiFi to get you to stay updated while on travel. 

The Bidwell Marriott Portland features a 24-hour health club, bar/lounge and restaurant, daily housekeeping, and free use of bicycles. It also has a private bathroom, 8 meeting rooms, a conference center, and 24-hour room service. You can also access their refrigerator, free cribs, and infant beds. The hotel has 258 rooms with premium bedding. They also provide smart TVs with premium channels and Netflix. 

The Porter Portland, Curio Collection by Hilton

This hotel is close to Oregon Convention Center. It has 24-hour room service, 2 bars/ lounges, and 2 restaurants. A beach is also nearby, so you can enjoy its beautiful view. The property also features a computer station, 7 meeting rooms, and a 24-hour business center. It has a multilingual staff that will accommodate your needs. You can also access their laundry/ dry cleaning services and luggage storage. 

Hyatt House Portland/ Downtown

Hyatt House Portland/ Downtown is a riverfront hotel with an indoor pool. It is close to the Oregon Convention Center. The hotel staff will serve you with the best accommodation you deserve. It also has useful amenities to give you a luxurious stay. 

The hotel will offer complimentary breakfast, free WiFi, and daily housekeeping. It also features a rooftop terrace, valet parking, 24-hour fitness center, snack bar/deli, 3 meeting rooms, restaurant, and bar/ lounge. In addition to their helpful amenities, you can be impressed by their dedicated and welcoming staff. 

What to Eat restaurants nearby

After a tiring day at the festival of lights at Oregon Zoo, you should eat delicious foods to delight yourself. You can choose from the following top restaurants to have the best food trip during your travel. 

Screen Door Eastside

Screen Door Eastside can be your favorite restaurant whenever you visit Zoo Lights Portland. Some of its top dishes include Praline Bacon, Fried Chicken, Eggs Benedict, Fried Catfish, Chicken Sandwich, Huevos Rancheros, and more! If you want delicious comfort foods, the restaurant is perfect for you. 

The restaurant was established way back in 2006. It shows a revival of regional American cuisine, French preparations in New Orleans, Cajun one-pot cooking, etc. The eating spot celebrates Southern cuisines that they gather fresh from their garden. The restaurant staff will serve meats that are organic and locally-produced. 

Cheryl’s on 12th

The restaurant offers meals for brunch and breakfast, American cuisine, and sandwiches. Some top recipes are Portuguese Fried Rice, Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Croque Monsieur, Salmon Benedict, Migas, Veggie Scramble, Eggs Sardou, etc. 

Cheryl’s on 12th will serve you local artisan foods, gourmet imports, charcuterie, wine, cheese, and custom gift baskets. They prepare quality foods for take-out, dining in, and catering events. The food spot also has a relaxing ambiance allowing you to eat comfortably. Their friendly team will assist you with respect and professionalism. 

Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House 

Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House can serve you tasty foods that can delight you. You can try their Dungeness Crab Roll, Elk Burger, Quinoa Burger, Tomato Soup, Fried Chicken, Chicken Wings, Pub Burger, etc. It features a relaxing urban atmosphere. The restaurant is led by its Executive Chef, Jill Ramseier. Their talented culinary team cooks classic pub food with quality and top local ingredients. 

Verde Cocina 

If you want a fine dining experience, choosing Verde Cocina is the best decision. Among their famous cuisines are Seafood Medley, Chile Relleno, Carne Asada Salad, Chicken Enchiladas, Verde Bowl, Steak Fajitas, Ceviche, Chips, and Guacamole, Tortilla Chips, and more. It can be the best restaurant if you want tasty foods as you visit the lights festival. Their staff will accommodate your needs. 

Goose Hollow Inn

Your adventure at Zoo Lights Portland will not be complete without a food trip. Goose Hollow Inn is one of the best restaurants where you can enjoy the quality and delightful foods. Try their Veggie Burger, Hot Turkey, Classic Reuben, and more. 

More Things to Do in the Area

After exploring the Zoo Lights Portland, you can still try other activities. 

Washington Park 

Do you want to relax and attain peace of mind? If yes, you should take a walk in Washington Park. It provides a rose garden, miles of trails, a zoo, and a huge Japanese garden. The park will remind you about nature’s beauty, allowing you to experience tranquility and relaxation. 

World Forestry Center -Discovery Museum

The museum allows you to examine forests and how they impact human life. The 20,000-square-foot wooden building has been an icon in Portland since 1971. You can have a bird’s eye view of the northwest forest. 

Wildwood Trail 

Wildwood Trail is a 10-mile running trail. If you love hiking, it can be the best spot for you. You can also breathe fresh air and admire the beautiful nature. Whether you want to walk, run or hike, this trail will never fail you. 

International Rose Test Garden  The garden features over 8000 roses. You can be amazed by the beautiful flowers you can explore in the garden. Walking in the garden will also make you feel relaxed.

We recommend you also go to:
LA Zoo lights
Paso Robles Lights (Light At Sensorio)


1. What are the parking options during Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo?

Answer: The Oregon Zoo has its own parking lot, but spots can fill up quickly during the Zoo Lights event. It’s recommended to use public transportation, like the MAX Light Rail, which has a stop directly at the zoo. Alternatively, visitors can use off-site parking with shuttle service when available.

2. Is smoking allowed during the Zoo Lights event?

Answer: Smoking, including e-cigarettes and vaping, is not permitted within the Oregon Zoo premises. There may be designated smoking areas outside the main entrance of the zoo. Please adhere to posted signs and guidelines.

3. Can I bring my pets to Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo?

Answer: Pets are not allowed inside the Oregon Zoo for the safety and comfort of the animals and visitors. Service animals, however, are always welcome but must remain under control at all times.

4. How long does it typically take to experience Zoo Lights?

Answer: Visitors usually spend 2 to 3 hours exploring the light displays and attractions during Zoo Lights. The duration can vary depending on personal pace and interest in the various exhibits.

5. Will there be food and beverage options available during Zoo Lights?

Answer: Yes, the Oregon Zoo offers a variety of dining options, and there are often special food and drink stands set up specifically for the Zoo Lights event.

6. Are there any restrictions on what items I can bring into the zoo during Zoo Lights?

Answer: For the safety and enjoyment of all visitors, items like large bags, outside food and beverages (with some exceptions), balloons, and weapons are not allowed. Always refer to the zoo’s official guidelines for a comprehensive list.

7. Is the Zoo Lights event wheelchair and stroller accessible?

Answer: Yes, the Oregon Zoo is designed to be accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. Rental options for wheelchairs and electric scooters may be available at the zoo, but it’s a good idea to check availability in advance.

8. Are there any special performances or activities during Zoo Lights?

Answer: In addition to the light displays, Zoo Lights typically features live music, animal encounters, and other festive activities. For a detailed schedule, it’s best to refer to the Oregon Zoo’s official website or promotional materials.




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