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

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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 December 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.

Thankfully, there are plenty of regular, relatively-inexpensive flights between Houston and Portland. We pulled from travel site Skyscanner to provide you with a short list of flights and hotels handpicked for the occasion.

(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

Currently, the cheapest flights between Houston and Portland are if you leave on December 9 and return from Oregon on December 12. Frontier Airlines currently has tickets for $227, roundtrip.

There are also deals to be had later in December. If you fly out of Houston on December 12 and return from Portland on December 14, Frontier Airlines can get you there and back for $278 roundtrip.

Top Portland accommodations

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. It pays homage to the organic beauty of Portland and the lush neighboring vineyards, with each guest rooms named after one of Oregons wineries.

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

If you're looking to splurge on top quality, there's 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.)

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 hotels design and detailing is inspired by the architectural and decorative arts of the 1920s through the 1940s.

Top picks for dining and drinking

Portland has plenty of topnotch dining options. Here are a few of the most popular, according to Skyscanner.

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 is 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, Walt, Kevin and Brian opened up a small biscuit shop on Belmont Avenue where folks can enjoy a wholesome breakfast or lunch seven days a week.

What to see and do in Portland

Portland is also full of sites to visit and explore. Here are some popular attractions to round out your trip, again from Skyscanner's listings.

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 in downtown Portland, Oregon, and occupying an entire city block, the City 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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