Staying sober in the new year in Portland is easy with these fun events.

The holidays can be a challenging time if you’re in recovery. Everywhere you go, there are holiday parties where substance use is almost mandatory. Taking care of yourself, sticking to your routine, and developing a relapse prevention plan for the holidays is essential. Another good idea: seeking out sober-friendly events where you don’t have to work on your refusal skills because it’s a zero-alcohol event! 

Portland, Oregon has such an awesome recovery scene. Today let’s look at Shanti Recovery and Wellness‘ top 5 sober-friendly holiday events in the city of roses.

#1 – NARA’s New Year’s Eve Sobriety Pow Wow at the Oregon Convention Center

The Annual Sober Pow Wow at the Convention Center is not to be missed.

This event has it all: it’s free, it’s awesome for kids and families, there’s dancing, music, food, and crafts everywhere—and there’s absolutely no alcohol allowed. Held every year by the Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA), the New Year’s Eve Sobriety Pow Wow is a proud Portland tradition and one of the best sober events of the year. Head to the Oregon Convention Center on NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. anytime between 1pm and midnight to enjoy this drop-in event. 

#2 – Dark XMas Dance at 4D Recovery Center 

Darkest Night of the Year Dance is an awesome way for younger people to celebrate the holidays in fellowship.

For the under 35 crowd, it can be tricky to find a place to party without drugs and alcohol. 4D Recovery Center is a great choice for live hip hop and trip hop events, DJ dances, rock concerts, comedy shows, sport events, pool tournaments, and open mic nights. Their community center is open most days from 2pm to midnight and you can drop in to watch TV, play video games, or just “hang out.” They often host holiday themed events around the holidays. For 2019, they are hosting a Dark XMas Dance on December 21st from 8pm – 12am. Expect two DJs, a raffle, a bake sale, and talks from two recovery mentors. Don’t forget to check out 4D’s newest Hillsboro location. 

#3 – Christmas Lights Festival at The Grotto 

The Grotto's Festival of Lights is an alcohol free event that's perfect for a sober holiday in Portland

If you’ve never been to The Grotto before, you’re in for a treat. Hidden amid an unexpected miniature forest near NE Sandy and 82nd Ave, The Grotto, a National Catholic shrine, is a sprawling 62 acre property combining indoor and outdoor places of worship with plenty of statues and gardens. During the holidays, The Grotto hosts the largest Christmas choral festival in the world and transforms into a holiday Disneyland of sorts with a ton of light up displays, round-the-clock concerts and caroling, puppet shows, and a petting zoo. Tickets are $12.50 per adult and kids under two get in free. It runs every night from Thanksgiving to New Year’s from 5pm to 9:30pm. 

#4 – Christmas Day Open Mic—Sounds of Recovery at 4D Recovery Center 

Xmas Day Open Mic at 4th Dimension Recovery Center in Portland is a great Christmas Day option.

Another awesome event for young people at the 4D Recovery Center. What better way to get away from the family than head to an open mic session? Watch “Home Alone” and then drop your best rendition of your favorite holiday tune on stage. 

 #5 – Peacock Lane 

Peacock Lane in Portland is a great family activity.

A Portland holiday tradition and completely alcohol-free. Grab some friends and family, bundle up, pour some hot chocolate into a thermos and get ready to take a bunch of snoopy-and-santa dotted selfies along Portland’s most-visited residential Christmas lane. Don’t try to drive in: they’ve closed the street and it’s pedestrian-access only. Prepare for traffic and parking difficulties or take public transit to avoid the hassle. 


‘Tis the season to give back. Volunteering feels good for you and helps other people out during a critical time of year. It can also be a welcome distraction. There are so many volunteer opportunities during the holidays—why not start at Hands On Greater Portland or at the Portland Area Intergroup for Alcoholics Anonymous? They are always looking for people to help staff the 24 hour Portland AA hotline, especially at night. Call the central office at 503-223-8569 to claim your shift.