Portland on New Year’s Eve: Odd to Awesome

Portland on New Year’s Eve: Odd to Awesome

Anything can happen at Portland's Holocene, and often does.


by Cornelius Swart, KGW.com Staff


Posted on December 31, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 1 at 3:09 AM

PORTLAND — Once again the cosmic odometer is turning over another significant number and all across town Portlanders will be celebrating New Year’s Eve 2014 in the way best fitting their particular lifestyle mode. While most of these events are sold out, they reflect the zeitgeist of what it means to really be a Portlander.

Skiing/Snowboarding on Mt. Hood

You’re fit and you don’t mind skiing or snowboarding in the dark and/or tipsy. Many headed up to Timberline Lodge for their New Year’s Eve events which include all the trimming, plus the local tradition of watching the fireworks from the parking lot in the comfort of your own RV.

Old School New Year’s Eve for Generation X

When the baby on the Nirvana album cover is 22 year old, you know Generation X will soon be Generation Ex-lax. That means they should take it easy a little for Tuesday. Fortunately Portland and the Pacific Northwest are still home to many of the indie bands that buoyed their grungey youth. Idaho’s Built to Spill plays the Mission Theater New Years Eve.

Hipsters at the Holocene (where else)

It wouldn’t be Portland without hipsters and it wouldn’t be hip unless it happened at the Holocene. Their New Year’s event features a long lineup of DJs. However, this event is sold out because people much younger and cooler than you knew about it way before you did.

A very New Age New Year

If you want a New Year’s Eve party to that tries to "minimize the event's overall ecological impact” and is organized by a "model new paradigm organization," than Inspire Truth at the Portland Art Museum is the place for you.

The event calls itself, “A stunning, art-filled and transformative environment that will inspire clarity of intent fueled by joyful celebration & the danciest dance music in the galaxy.” If that doesn’t open your chakras nothing will.

The modern classic: Pink Martini at the Crystal Ballroom

Few music venues are as distinctly Portland as the spring-loaded dance floor at McMenamins’ Crystal Ballroom. Few bands are as homegrown and characteristically aloof as the world beat lounge group Pink Martini. Joining nimble fingered pianist and Grant High School grad Thomas Lauderdale, Pink Martini and the Portland Symphony is a classically class and easy going way to gently ring in the New Year Portland style.

Party bus and/or partying on a bus

Portlander’s love transit, so what better way to celebrate than drinking on a bus? The No Resolutions Shanghai Party Bus (really just a school bus painted red) will be safely touring the streets of Portland. Of course, most Portlander’s will take public transit. In conscious Portland, TriMet is offering free rides all night long.

Partying unarmed, it's the law

Even though it’s illegal to fire a gun inside Portland city limits, we are in a region where an AR-15 assault-style rife was recently raffled off for a local little league fundraiser. So you know you are in Portland when the police have to formally remind people not to fire their guns in the air (because gravity makes bullets fall back to Earth) on New Year’s Eve.

The classic classic: The Champagne Ball

Now in its 23rd year, the Champagne Ball at the Hilton is the oldest and largest of Portland’s New Year’s Eve parties. It carries on a long tradition of celebrating New Year’s Eve at a hotel ballroom and is a monument to the fact that there are still people in the world who know more than five words of Auld Lang Syne.

New Year’s Eve on the Willamette River (now with less poop)

Now that Portland's combined sewer overflow problem (AKA The Big Pipe) has largely been fixed, what better way to celebrate the new year and Portland’s newly poop-free river than on Portland’s most popular river cruise.

New Year’s Eve skating at Oaks Park

In a town that takes anachronisms seriously, Portland’s old amusement park is an civic icon. Rollerskate the night away on top of one of the nation’s only floating skating rinks and underneath one of the city’s last pipe organs not housed in a church. This event promises lots of family-appropriate fun at a low price. Stinky feet smells thrown in for free.

If you aren’t making it to any of these events, but still looking for something to do, you can find lots of things on PDXPipeline and on the KGW Events page.