For many, walking around and looking at beautiful holiday lights is an annual tradition and some of the best quality time they’ll get around this festive time of the year. Whether it’s a romantic evening stroll or a cherished family drive, the magic of the twinkling lights sets the perfect festive mood.
Whatever the reason for your excursion, you’ll only want to see the best of the best. Here are the 8 best holiday lights in Clark County you need to see.
Christmas Ships Parade
Location: various locations
One of the best views of the city is at night when the city lights reflect off the glassy surface of the Columbia River. This scene becomes even more enchanting every holiday season during the annual Christmas Ships Parade.
This year, they present new boats and displays as they celebrate their 69th year. Up to 60 brightly decorated boats, 14 to 65 feet long, make up two fleets. The parades can be seen from Portland, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, Scappoose, Vancouver, Washougal, Camas, and St. Helens.
The event is free to attend from multiple outdoor viewing spots but consider making a reservation at a restaurant along the Columbia River if you want to make the night extra special. Since the parade is happening on various days and locations, you can view the Columbia River schedule here.
Candy Cane Lane
Location: N 34th Ct, Ridgefield, WA 98642
This year, Bella Noche HOA presented the second annual Candy Cane Lane in Ridgefield. The 34 homes on Bella Noche are lighting up for the holidays and you’re invited to come see the festivities. In the spirit of giving, new coats, winter gear, or monetary donations to support the Ridgefield Family Resource Center are highly appreciated.
Convenient parking is available at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex and shuttle services also run regularly. Due to the high interest in the event, it’s recommended to utilize the shuttle for a seamless experience. The holiday lights will shine all December, so feel free to walk or drive through the neighborhood and enjoy the festive displays.
Location: 1940 N Victory Blvd, Portland, OR 97217
Cost: Ticket prices start at $48
Roughly 3 miles south of Vancouver, Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway is known all around the Pacific Northwest as the “Largest Holiday Lightshow West of the Mississippi”. Since 1993, millions of people have been making this event their festive tradition to celebrate the spirit of the holiday.
You can enjoy this spectacular drive-through light show from the comfort of your own vehicle. Over 250 colorful light set pieces are featured on top of many fully animated scenes along the way. All proceeds from this light show will benefit Sunshine Division’s year-round hunger relief efforts that provide thousands of free, nutritious meals to families in need.
Another thing that’s great about this event is that it’s open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve so you can visit with your loved ones during these special days. However, please note that weekends and the week of Christmas are always popular times so to avoid crowds you can attend during weeknights.
Washougal Christmas Lights
Location: Pendleton Way, Washougal, WA 98671
Downtown Washougal lights up for the holidays with the Christmas Tree in Reflection Plaza. Thanks to the annual Lighted Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting event, this spot has become the go-to for festive vibes. Last year, a towering seventeen-foot Grand Fir was the star of the show, decked out with almost 7,000 vibrant lights.
It’s the perfect spot for everyone to gather and soak in the holiday spirit. Families, neighbors, and friends all come together to see the big tree and enjoy the simple joy of the season.
Circle of Trees
Location: 113-131 S Main Ave, Ridgefield, WA 98642
Experience the festive spirit at Overlook Park with the Circle of Trees, Ridgefield’s popular tree decorating contest. You can look around the area and vote for your favorite tree until December 9th. Beyond this date, the magical display continues its allure through December 26th, promising an extended season of merriment.
Wander through the creatively decorated residences, neighborhoods/streets, and businesses that joined the 2023 Hometown Celebration Holiday Decorating Competition. This city-wide decorating contest provides a free, family-friendly adventure where you and your loved one can see and enjoy the holiday lights and festive adornments in the area.
Esther Short Park’s Community Tree
Location: 605 Esther St, Vancouver, WA 98660
The majestic community tree, with its vibrant lights, at Esther Short Park is one of the highlights of Vancouver’s holiday season. The annual tree lighting evolved from the Vancouver Rotary Festival of Trees, a gala that featured ornately decorated trees for sale. Though this renowned event eventually ran its course, the tree-lighting ceremony at the park remained.
The park, aglow with festive spirit, features not only the grand tree but also intricately adorned wreaths and sparkling LED lights decorating smaller trees. The warm holiday glow in the park, sponsored by generous community supporters, will brighten up the nights until New Year’s Day.
Tour of Lights
Location: various locations
This year, Battle Ground is hosting its first-ever Battle of Lights holiday decorating contest. Residents within the city limits of Battle Ground get to participate for a chance to win prizes and bragging rights. The judging will happen until December 21st, with winners announced on December 22nd.
All participating homes get an entry number and make it onto the Tour of Lights map. So, you can view the published map here and tour the city to check out the holiday lights. You can even rank your favorite decorations to help decide the winners.
Christmas on Franklin
Location: 4616 NW Franklin St, Vancouver, WA 98663
Christmas on Franklin is another magical and beloved winter experience you won’t want to miss. With 200,000 twinkling lights across 10 stunningly decorated properties at 46th and Franklin, it’s a holiday delight. Moreover, the main house at 4616 NW Franklin Street is definitely a must-see.
Every evening in December, you can walk or drive through to enjoy the lights along with live events, Santa visits, and even snowfall over the property. Though this event is free for everyone, consider making a cash donation or Venmo contribution at the collection bin by the main house’s driveway. Your generosity supports the electricity and production costs, ensuring this luminous holiday tradition continues to shine.