By Rachael Carnes

Our beautiful state offers festive holiday activities for all ages. Whether you’re ready to pile in the car for a fun day trip or a weekend excursion, opportunities to take in the lights, sounds, and delicious smells of the season abound within reach of Eugene.

Mt. Hood Railroad —
The Train to Christmas Town

110 Mt. Hood Railroad, Hood River

See website for available dates


Based on the 2012 children’s book by Peggy Ellis, the Hood River Train to Christmas Town features the book’s characters and themed songs including “Takin’ the Train to Christmas Town” and “Chocolate Christmas.” The delightful ride from Hood River offers seating across a variety of budget points (in the book, the ride is free, but you don’t have to point that out to your children). An onboard visit from Santa and his helpers is the high point, and Santa makes his way to all the kiddos—most in their pajamas—whether they’re seated in standard, first, or diamond class. For more information and reservations, visit

Peacock Lane

Between SE Stark St. and SE Belmont St., East of SE Cesar Estrada Chavez Blvd., Portland

Dec. 15-31


On a magical street lined with vintage homes, Peacock Lane’s residents deck each of their tidy houses in holiday cheer and twinkling lights for two weeks every December, a tradition dating back to the 1940s. Located in a neighborhood in Southeast Portland, the sweet little street offers a safe, free, family-friendly event where revelers can stroll up and down the four-block lane, stop by the volunteer-staffed cocoa booth, and enjoy a slice of yesteryear. Catch the displays 6 to 11 pm, Dec. 15-31. And check their website for popular “pedestrian only” nights, when the street is closed to cars and the place really becomes a wonderland. You can find more information at

The Oregon Gardens – Christmas in the Garden

879 W Main St., Silverton

Nov. 24-Dec. 31

$3-$15, season passes also available 

Celebrate the holidays with the Oregon Garden’s annual “Christmas in the Garden” light display, featuring more than 600,000 lights. Christmas in the Garden runs from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31, and the festivities include ice skating, snowless tubing, an artisan vendor market, festive food and drink, carolers, theater performances, photos with Santa, and, for those grown-ups who want some merriment of their own, a full bar. For more information about tickets and where to stay, visit

Shore Acres State Park – Holiday Lights

Coos Bay

Nov. 23-Dec. 31

$5 parking fee

The 30th annual Holiday Lights at Shore Acres State Park opens on Thanksgiving and features walk-through displays of more than 325,000 lights. The garden house, beautifully decorated with a traditional holiday theme, has coffee, hot cider, and cookies from 4 to 9:30 pm every night, including Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s. Choirs, carolers, and bands offer entertainment in the performance pavilion. Along with garden landscape lighting, 26 large holiday trees, decorated by various organizations and businesses, are on display among dozens of lighted sculptures of herons, life-size whales, animated sea lions, an undersea garden, flowers, garden bugs, butterflies, and more. Find more information about the event’s history and how you can get involved at

The Festival of Light Celebration

Downtown Ashland

November 24


Ashland is more than just home to Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and they prove that with their annual holiday celebration to ring in the season. The twinkling city celebrates their Festival of Light on Nov. 24, with Santa’s parade at 5 pm, when families gather on the parade route downtown to see the festive lighted and musical entries. The parade guides attendees to the downtown plaza, where Santa and Mrs. Claus lead the crowd in holiday caroling. Then it’s time for the Grand Illumination, when the one million lights that adorn Ashland are turned on. Pro tip: make sure to get in line for Santa’s workshop that takes place from 6 to 8 pm at the Black Swan Theatre on the corner of East Main and Pioneer, where each child can say hello to Santa and Mrs. Claus. Throughout the holidays, visitors to Ashland can enjoy craft fairs, the opening of Mt. Ashland Ski Area (weather permitting), and ice skating in Lithia Park. Check out for more information.