: Brooke Hoyer / Portland Winter Lights Festival

Oregon’s Wonderful Winter Events

November 22, 2021 (Updated November 10, 2022)

Winter is upon us, and with shorter nights and colder temperatures, it’s tempting to hunker down at home. Yet Oregon offers plenty of excuses to get out and about during the coziest time of the year. From bedazzling light displays to celebrations of the arts, here are some Oregon events that will have you ready to bundle up and head out the door.

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Find a walk-through maze of twinkly lights and a snow-less tubing hill at the Silverton Christmas Market, a winter-time tradition at the Oregon Garden Resort.

December

Umpqua Valley Festival of Lights, Roseburg (Nov. 20, 2022–Jan. 1, 2023): Holiday-light fans won’t want to miss Riverforks Park’s annual drive-through experience, a fundraiser for the Roseburg Rotary Club. The festival features at least half a million lights throughout more than 90 displays, including animated Disney characters and the world’s largest nutcracker.

Holiday in the Grove, Forest Grove (Nov. 1, 2022–Dec. 3, 2022): Ring in the festive season with this annual celebration, which includes decorative storefronts, a stocking-design contest and a holiday-light parade. Plus, don’t miss visiting their artisans holiday market to shop for local handmade ornaments. 

Silverton Christmas Market, Silverton (Nov. 25, 2022–Jan. 1, 2023): This Oregon spin on a traditional German Christmas market includes food and gift vendors, visits from Santa and a biergarten with live music. There’s even a light path decked out with over a million twinkling fairy lights, and a snow-less tubing hill and hot cocoa for all-ages fun. 

Victorian Christmas, Jacksonville, (Nov. 26, 2022–Dec. 18, 2022): Celebrate Christmas like a Victorian with Jacksonville’s best-known annual event, which includes visits from Father Christmas, a tree-lighting ceremony and a Victorian-inspired Christmas parade on December 3.

Christmas Ships Parade, Portland (Dec. 2-21, 2022): Now in its 68th year, this annual tradition brings cheer to the Willamette and Columbia rivers, with parading boats decked out with colorful lights and holiday displays.

Oregon Whale Watch Week, Dec. 28-Jan. 1, 2023 (Coastwide): In-person whale-watching with interpretive guides is back this year, after a hiatus since 2019. Trained volunteers will be stationed at 17 locations coastwide to help visitors spot thousands of gray whales as they make their winter migration along the Coast. Check out the best spots to watch whales, or head to the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay for more.

Sled dogs pull a musher on a snowy landscape
Cheer on the sled dogs and their humans at this classic winter event in Northeast Oregon. (Courtesy of of Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog Race)

January

First Day Hikes, Jan. 1, 2023 (statewide): Bundle up and ring in the new year with some fresh air and gorgeous scenery. Oregon State Parks is hosting its annual First Day Hikes, with rangers leading guided hikes at 22 state parks. These are free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Check posted details on accessibility, pets and winter conditions for the best experience, and pack your winter hiking essentials.

New Year’s Day Peace Hike, Yachats (Jan. 1, 2023): The Yachats Trail Committee will host 12th Annual Peace Hike honoring the memory of a Native American woman named Amanda who was take from her home in what is now Yachats in 1864. The ceremonial event is led by tribal members and includes ceremonial drumming, fire lighting, setting of intentions and a walk along the Amanda Trail.

Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog Race, Joseph (Jan. 18-21, 2023): This annual dog-mushing event in the snow-capped Wallowa Mountains features races ranging from 22 to 200 miles. You can visit with dogs and mushers the day before at vet checks, staged in Enterprise and Joseph.

First Taste Oregon, Salem, (Jan. 27-28, 2023): Taste a huge variety of wines, beers, ciders and spirits at this annual expo. There are also plenty of food booths, so you can also sample the region’s best eateries.

Winter Music Festival, Florence (Jan. 27-29, 2023): This three-day event creates a platform for acoustic music artists, with a particular focus on folk-music performances. The festival hosts concerts, workshops and open jam sessions.

 

A dragonboat is light up with against the dark river landscape
See the Deschutes River and Old Mill District in Bend light up each winter with colorful displays and activities for all ages. (Courtesy of OregonWinterFest)

February

Portland Winter Light Festival, Portland (Feb. 3-11, 2023): Now in its eight year, this whimsical event adds sparkle to the late winter season, with immersive light installations all over the city. 

McMinnville Short Film Festival, McMinnville (Feb. 23-26, 2023): Watch short films from around the world while sipping on local wine at this annual event.

Oregon WinterFest, Bend (Feb. 17-19, 2023): Winter is feted in full force at this high-desert event, with live music, ice carving, food and craft vendors, and lots of activities for kids.

Winter Wings Festival, Klamath Falls (Feb. 17-20, 2023): Birds take center stage at this famous Southern Oregon birding hot spot, which offers presentations, guided walks and plenty of opportunities for immersing in nature. 

FisherPoets Gathering, Astoria (Feb. 24-26, 2023): This event attracts nearly 100 poets, songwriters and storytellers to town as they wax lyrical about life at sea.

About The
Author

Margot Bigg
Margot Bigg grew up in Portland and England and after many years living in Europe and Asia (including six years in India), she once again calls the City of Roses home. When not traveling and writing, Margot spends her time studying new languages, discovering new music and seeking out new places to explore. She speaks English, French and Hindi, and is the author of Moon Living Abroad in India and Moon Taj Mahal, Delhi & Jaipur; and a co-author of Fodor's Essential India, Fodor's Oregon, and Fodor's Pacific Northwest.

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