Holiday travel: Portland's the Festival of Lights coming soon, a flight away from Raleigh

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The holiday season is now in full swing, and many U.S. cities are decked out with annual festivals of lights, elaborate tree displays and Christmas markets. If you love the season's carols in addition to evergreens and lights, Portland hosts the largest Christmas choral festival in the world.

The Christmas Festival of Lights at the Grotto fills the majestic fir trees of the city's Catholic sanctuary and botanical garden with soaring lighting displays. The event features over 170 indoor holiday concerts, as well as puppet shows and a live petting zoo to please the whole family.

The event runs through Dec. 30, so there's still time to book some last-minute holiday travel. You'll find the festival situated in close proximity to the rest of Portland's quirky charm. And the city's trending food cart, brewery and Scandinavian food scenes may hit the spot for a Pacific Northwest holiday getaway.

It's more doable than you think. According to travel site Skyscanner, there are plenty of flights from Raleigh to Portland in that time frame, and the prices aren't too shabby.

So if you're looking for a change of scenery, here are some deals to put on your to-do list.

(Hoodline offers data-driven analysis of local happenings and trends across cities. Links included in the articles may earn Hoodline a commission on clicks and transactions. Prices and availability are subject to change.)

Cheapest Portland flights

The cheapest flights between Raleigh and Portland are if you leave on Dec. 8 and return from Oregon on Dec. 10. Frontier Airlines currently has roundtrip, nonstop tickets for $245.

If you fly out of Raleigh on Dec. 8 and return from Portland on Dec. 11, Frontier Airlines can get you there and back for $258 roundtrip.

Top Portland hotels

To plan your accommodations, here are some of Portland's top-rated hotels, according to Skyscanner, that we selected based on price, proximity to things to do and customer satisfaction.

The Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland (422 S.W. Broadway)
Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

For an all-around top recommendation, consider The Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland. The hotel has a 4.9-star rating on Skyscanner, and rooms are currently available for $139.

Located in the heart of downtown Portland, Hotel Vintage Plaza is a charming European-style boutique hotel in a turn-of-the-century brick building that blends Old World hospitality with New World luxury. The hotel pays homage to the organic beauty of Portland and the lush neighboring vineyards, with each guest room named after one of Oregon's wineries.

The Lion and the Rose Victorian B&B Inn (1810 N.E. 15th Ave.)
Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

A pricier alternative is The Lion and the Rose Victorian B&B Inn. Rooms are currently set at $155/night.

The Lion and Rose has six rooms and a meeting/reception space that can accommodate up to 75 people. All rooms have TVs, telephones, air-conditioning and Wi-Fi. It's conveniently located in the historic Irvington neighborhood, near the Lloyd Center, the Oregon Convention Center and downtown Portland.

Hotel deLuxe (729 S.W. 15th Ave.)
Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

A third option is Hotel deLuxe. With a 4.5-star rating on Skyscanner, the hotel is one of the most luxurious in the city. Rooms are currently listed for $129/night.

Hotel deLuxe is a glamorous downtown Portland hotel that pays homage to the Golden Era of Hollywood. All of the hotel's design and detailing is inspired by the architectural and decorative arts of the 1920s through the 1940s.

Local restaurant picks

If you're looking to snag a bite at one of Portland's many quality eateries, here are a few popular culinary destinations from Skyscanner's listings that will help keep you satiated.

Voodoo Doughnut (22 S.W. Third Ave.)
Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking for a local favorite, head to Voodoo Doughnut, which has an average of 4.1 stars out of 228 reviews on Skyscanner.

"Short line and easy service," wrote visitor Briana. "Remember this is cash only when you go. Would go again."

Food Carts All Over Portland (Portland)
Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Another popular dining destination is Food Carts All Over Portland, with 4.6 stars from 85 reviews.

"You've got pretty much any kind of food you might want in a convenient location. I've tried many of these and have never been disappointed," wrote reviewer Barbara.
Pine State Biscuits (1100 S.E. Division, #100)
Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Also worth considering is Pine State Biscuits.

Pine State Biscuits launched its kitchen at the bustling Portland Farmers Market in spring of 2006. Word caught on about the outdoor baking operation and in early 2008, the owners opened up a small biscuit shop on Belmont Avenue, where folks can enjoy a wholesome breakfast or lunch seven days a week, rain or shine.

Featured local attractions

To round out your trip, Portland offers plenty of popular attractions worth visiting. Here are some top recommendations, based on Skyscanner's descriptions and reviews.

Powell's City of Books (1005 W. Burnside)
Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

First up is Powell's City of Books.

Powell's City of Books is a book lover's paradise and the largest used and new bookstore in the world. Located downtown and occupying an entire city block, the store stocks more than a million new and used books.

"It's a modern-day shrine to all things literature. If you're a book junkie, you can kill a week in there and find a hidden gem each time," wrote visitor Stephen.

Portland Japanese Garden (611 S.W. Kingston Ave.)
Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Then, there's Portland Japanese Garden.

The Japanese Garden in Portland is a favorite among locals and tourists. Take a stroll through the five gardens, each distinct in its own style and beauty. Enjoy nature at its best as the serene and tranquil surroundings take you to a place of peace and harmony, with waterfalls whispering in the background and koi swimming and playing in the pond.
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