Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Portland
For families, the New Year’s Eve celebrations start midday with events like New Year’s at Noon at the Portland Children’s Museum, where kids can enjoy countdowns throughout the day, try arts and crafts activities inspired by cultures around the world and join in on family dance parties. Less than 3 miles west of downtown and across from the Oregon Zoo, the museum is located in Washington Park, where you can park your rental car for $2 an hour or $8 for the day. After your daylight countdown, venture to the zoo, where families will discover holiday fun happening all month long, especially after dusk during ZooLights. The winter festival features more than 1.5 million dazzling lights that illuminate the Zooliner steam train, carousel and zoo grounds.
For traditionalists who prefer counting down to midnight, head about 5 miles south of downtown for the Rink in the New Year: All-Ages NYE Party at Oaks Park, where families can enjoy roller skating, games, party favors and a live DJ to usher in the new year.
Drive Outside of Portland for More New Year’s Celebrations
Drive about 55 miles southeast from downtown Portland to Mount Hood Skibowl for the annual New Year’s Eve Extravaganza at Skibowl, where guests can try cosmic tubing at the Snow Tube and Adventure Park (where the tubing hill is illuminated by neon lights that “dance” to fun party music), watch the torchlight parade and dance to DJ music while ringing in the new year. Kids can take a break from the cold in the Super Play Zone, a heated two-story indoor playground featuring slides and obstacles where kids can climb, run and slide.
While on the road, families should also check out Christmas in the Garden at the Oregon Garden in historic Silverton, about 40 miles south of downtown Portland. This charming, European-inspired outdoor event features ice skating, snowless tubing (a 100-foot slippery tubing track without the chill), an artisan vendor market, photos with Santa, fire pits and live music.
Bonus: If you’re feeling ambitious, make your Oregon vacation a one-way adventure that ends with a day or two exploring Portland’s sister city of Seattle in the new year. Then return your rental car and fly out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Drive 8 miles north from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to downtown.
As the capital city of Georgia and the cultural and economic center of the state, vibrant Atlanta turns it up a notch during the holidays with unique offerings that are more than worth the trip.