In Portland a big holiday tradition is the Lights at Peacock Lane. Peacock Lane is a street (four blocks long) in SE Portland between Stark and Belmont one block east of 39th Ave. Since the 1920s all the houses on the block have been decorated in lights for the holidays. Growing up the rumor was always that decorating was part of like the deed when a house was sold, but I think possibly the tradition is just strongly encouraged and conveyed to all potential buyers.
Most nights you can drive down Peacock Lane and take in the lights from your car if you want. I think it’s best taken in while walking. Certain nights though the street is blocked off to all cars. Some years the nights for no-cars are scheduled in advance and then any year the police sometimes decide to close it off when there is very heavy traffic. Some houses on the street are decorated more normally (but still impressively), while other houses go all out with the lights and/or decorations. Throughout my childhood there were also certain signs or characters (blow up, carved from wood, or in lights) that became pretty famous (like Charlie Brown characters or the Grinch).
My friend and I went on the 22nd to take in Peacock Lane this year. I was really hoping to get more in the festive mood and Peacock Lane seemed like a good bet. Every holiday season after my first year in Miami I’ve tried to get myself into the festive mood earlier, but you sometimes forget or find it hard when you’re surrounded by palm trees and sun. I always feel the holiday season more when I get back to Portland or a few days before Christmas, but part of me always regrets waiting that late (yet it never seems to lead to a change the next year…). Since I also am pretty busy with family and friends when I am back in Portland, this year I really wanted to prioritize something like Peacock Lane.
This night the street was indeed blocked off to traffic, but I wanted us to walk anyways. It was quite crowded and so it really helped that people weren’t restricted to the sidewalks. We walked up the middle of the street and this allowed us to take in houses on both sides of the street at the same time. Usually if there is traffic you do a whole loop and take in the houses along each sidewalk one at a time. I would say that overall there weren’t as many over the top decorations as I remembered as a kid, but still very cool and well-worth the visit.
Take a look at the pics below and next holiday season if you’re interested take a look at the website for the holiday schedule (starts in mid-December).
Lights on Peacock Lane- one block east on 39th Avenue between Stark and Division Streets