Portland, Oregon's Pittock Mansion At Christmastime

A guide to the Portland, Oregon’s Pittock Mansion.

Sitting high in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon, the Pittock Mansion welcomes visitors to its annual celebration - The Magic of Wintertime. Different design volunteers transform the French chateaux-style home into a winter wonderland. Assigned to one room, they lace twinkling lights and ribbons amongst evergreens within rooms bedecked with Christmas trees. Visitors spill into the period-style rooms with the hum of holiday spirit.

In 1853 Henry Pittock crossed the Oregon trail in search of fortune in the Pacific Northwest, where he met and married a fellow pioneer, Georgiana Burton. And in 1914, the Pittock mansion - designed in a French Renaissance Revival Chateauesque style - became their home.

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During the holiday season, Portland designers deliver a visual feast of theme-inspired rooms. When you first enter the mansion, you will discover Henry’s oak-paneled, Jacobean library. Book-lined cases surround a centralized fireplace, bearing the crest of Henry Pittock's family.

The library's Christmas decor - designed by Rosanne Sachson of The Sachson Groupglistens with tear drop icicles and rounded gold balls on a Christmas tree. A down pillow with painted roses don the words, “The Pride of Portland.” Rosanne revealed, “Each designer can design and decorate a room twice. After, they have to bid for a new room."

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When stepping away from the library, turn to the right, and you will find the Turkish Smoking Room with a painted ceiling and Tiffany glazes. The Pittocks used Portland artisans of the period in designing and building the mansion. Miniature figures of children piled on classic pull sleds surrounded by snow and a flanneled throw, express a traditional winter scene.

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Next, transition to the music room and pause while local musicians glide fingers across a grand piano, or strum an elegant harp. After listening to an elegant rendition of Joy to the World – played by an art teacher with enviable silver hair – follow the hall to the Great Gatsby New Year’s room with felt top hats and sheet music of a 1933 classic - Goody Goody.

*Tip: Call ahead for a daily schedule of the musicians playing. 

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After weaving your way through the Gatsby-themed dining room, step into a cheerful kitchen dressed in a puzzle-style floor tile and a decor of holiday citrus fruit. Sitting on a pine counter block is a framed quote of an ancient Greek legend: “…oranges and other citrus warmed the body, and therefore should be eaten in the morning to get the body moving. It follows that orange juice, grapefruit, and other citrus are such popular breakfast foods/drinks.”

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After viewing the kitchen, mosey your way through a small hall and you will find a West-facing breakfast room where the Runaway Snowman will be drinking tea. The breakfast room opens to the mansion's main entrance and leads you to a sweeping, marble staircase. At the top of the staircase will be the family bedrooms. 

*Tip from the Mansion: “Pittock Mansion is partially wheelchair and stroller accessible, via the ground floor entrance on the right (East) side of the home. Volunteers and staff members will assist visitors in using the Mansion’s original 1914 Otis elevator to access the 3 floors open for touring.Due to the limited size of the Mansion elevator, motorized wheelchairs and scooters may not fit inside it. Visitors are welcome to borrow one of two wheelchairs, which are available on a first come, first serve basis.

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When upstairs, saunter down the hall to a bedroom with dolls in crocheted bonnets and winter-white berry wreaths, brightening grey weather found outside. A cardboard deer head, surrounded by vintage sheet music cut into feathers, adorns a flowered wallpaper in one of the main bedrooms.

*Tip: Do not touch a designer’s elements used in their design - such as the dolls.

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After roaming the Mansion, head outside to 46 acres of land, 1,000 feet above sea level. It commands a view of Portland’s skyline and five mountains in the Cascade Range. Traipse your way through gardens, then enjoy a visit to the quaint Coach House nestled amongst the grounds. Make sure to save a few minutes for the gift shop.

*Tip: Don’t forget to bring an umbrella, coat and good walking shoes as winter weather in Oregon can be unpredictable.


FAQ, per the mansion's website:

Hours are: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The mansion is closed Christmas Day. You will buy your tickets at the Mansion’s garage, next to the gift store, located separately from the house.

For directons: please visit Google Maps. The Pittock Mansion is located two miles west of downtown, off West Burnside, at 3229 N.W. Pittock Drive. Some GPS systems have incorrect directions. You will want to follow the street signs on Burnside.

*Tip: You can take a free shuttle from Washington Park available 12/19 – 1/2 and receive one dollar off admission. When taking the Tri-Met, there is a half mile, uphill hike from the bus stop on W. Burnside to the entrance of the Mansion.