Enjoy the Winter Light Festival by bike with these handy maps

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Many of you have already figured out that the cure for the winter blues is getting out on your bike and riding in a group. It’s been wonderful to see so many groups hosting rides still happening each week through the cold, dark and wet winter.

But if the existing rides on the calendar aren’t enough to motivate you, then perhaps the annual Portland Winter Light Festival is. Affectionately abbreviated as PDXWLF, this free event is put on by the Willamette Light Brigade, a nonprofit arts organization that uses art and technology to bring people together. Last year, an estimated 189,000 people took part in the nine-day festival.

What is it? Imagine dozens of installations citywide full of imaginative light-based artwork that pops up (often unexpectedly) in all sorts of places — from public parks to storefronts and even backyards. There are interactive sculptures, live performances, projections onto buildings, and more. Think of it like Pedalpalooza, but instead of creative bike rides there are creative light displays.

Another way this reminds me of Pedalpalooza is that organizers encourage folks to ride to the exhibits. In fact, our friend (and BikePortland contributor) Tom Howe has worked with PDXWLF to create five bike routes specifically for the festival. Tom’s routes are on the event website and available for anyone to follow. You can print them out, import them into your GPS unit, view them on your phone, or whatever. Check them out below and set aside some time to get out there and see these by bike.

(Click on the “i” for information about each installation.)

PDXWLF kicks off February 3rd with an event at Pioneer Courthouse Square and goes through February 11th. If you want to welcome this event with a bang, consider rolling up to the PopCartPDX gathering on Friday the 3rd for some tunes and other fun stuff. See the official website for more details.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Jeff
Jeff
1 year ago

I’m still trying to recover from being hit by a car going to the Annual Christmas lights ride. I’ll sit these out

JG
JG
1 year ago

None of these routes include the downtown anchor sites of Pioneer Square and World Trade Center, which are a quick hop over the Hawthorne bridge from the other anchor site at 2nd and Clay. These three sites are the most impressive ones!

Josh Mahar
Josh Mahar
1 year ago

Just had my first PDXWLF experience, absolutely in love! Very much agree this is a sister event to Pedalpalooza with all the fun DIY, dancing, randomness, and fire! This is one of those things that just reminds you how creative and unique the people of this city are and when we have an outlet to express it, it’s truly something special.

Didn’t get a chance to participate via bike this year (sadly since Saturday was a beautiful night) but did get very jealous when I saw the ride roll through. Next year!