Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas in the City: Peacock Lane

Every Oregonian should go to Peacock Lane at least once; in fact, for many, it's a yearly tradition. For most of the year, this is a quiet little residential street, four short blocks nestled into the SE Belmont neighborhood. But every December for decades, Peacock Lane has become Portland's Christmas Street.

Look very closely at a Portland map and you will find Peacock Lane one block east of SE 39th, tucked between SE Stark and SE Belmont. The only other landmark near here (unless you consider Walgreen's a landmark) is venerable Laurelhurst Park, a great place to take the kids or dogs if you arrive in the area before dark. While it is often possible to drive through the light display, it is highly recommended that you park in a nearby neighborhood (not in the Walgreen's parking lot) and walk to Peacock Lane if you are physically able to do so. Not only does this reduce the serious congestion problem in the Lane, it is just more fun. You can spend all the time you want without angry motorists honking at you, and there is just something about the happy holiday crowd of grandparents, toddlers, and everyone in between, all enjoying the lights together and taking endless blurry pictures.

This year (2019), the display is open December 15-31. The lights switch on at 6:00, and the plug is pulled at 11:00 (Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve the lights will stay on until midnight). Portland Police sometimes close the street if traffic becomes too ugly; Peacock Lane's Facebook page tries to keep the public updated on the situation. To avoid the traffic altogether, plan to go on the auto-free nights, December 15-17. Complimentary hot drinks are served, although supplies have been known to run out; stop by the stand early, and consider making a donation of cash or canned food.

This is Portland, so the lights go on regardless of weather. Of course, that's all part of the experience; bundle up, take an umbrella, put a raincoat on your pooch, and head for Portland's Christmas Street.

This had to be included. The photographer could not help himself.


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