Holiday Weekend Road Trip To Albany

Photo of horse-drawn wagons decorated for Christmas Carling in Albany, OR. Photo by Anthony Shelar

Searching for a jolly weekend getaway? Look no more — visit Albany from October through January and discover a unique blend of history and hip. Create a new family tradition this holiday season by exploring some of our favorite ideas below.

The essentials

Our lodging partners recognize holidays can be exhausting — especially if you’re away from home. Have no fear, the world will appear much brighter after a little pampering! Sink into a deep and comfy oversized chair next to a crackling fire in a festive lobby. Enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast, free WiFi, free parking, fluffy pillows and hot coffee. 

Several Albany hoteliers have partnered with Albany Visitors Association to bring you cozy accommodations for the holidays. From November to January, the Phoenix Inn & Suites, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Best Western Plus Prairie Inn usually offer holiday specials. Book direct and mention AVA to take advantage of great rates.

Photo of a room at the Historic 206 and 1/2 Hotel in Albany Oregon.For history and architecture buffs, the newly restored Historic 206 ½ Hotel provides a satisfying immersion into Albany’s downtown roots. Its proximity to restaurants, shops, coffee houses and bakeries and the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum make it an explorer’s dream.

Find your own good night’s sleep; view AVA’s lodging directory.

 

The entertainment

Trolley of Terror Climb aboard a spookily decorated trolley and be treated to a candlelit tour of the historic (and reportedly haunted) Monteith House. This is a family-friendly event and is appropriate (not too scary) for all ages. Each tour takes about an hour. Be forewarned: tickets generally sell out weeks before the tours, so reserve your spot today: 541-928-0911. AVA can securely process your payment over the phone. Tours begin on October 18th, at 6:00 p.m. (and hourly up to 9:00 p.m.) over two consecutive weekends. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. 

VIP Ghost Hunt Join a group of professional and amateur ghostbusters as they set up monitoring equipment inside the Monteith House and search for spectral evidence. Adults only please, as the hunt extends into the “witching hour.” Cost is $55 per person and event admission is by reservation and pre-payment only, 541-928-0911.There are two dates set for the hunt: October 19th and 20th, 10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Albany Veterans Day Parade

Albany is famous for the size and scope of its historic Veterans Day Parade — it is the biggest memorial parade in the state and has the distinction of being the largest parade of its kind west of the Mississippi River. Traditionally held on the actual holiday, the 67th annual parade begins at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Nov 11, 2019. 

Marching bands, bagpipes, living history re-enactment brigades, horses, llamas, canines, troops, veterans, floats and military vehicles make their way up Lyon Street and through downtown Albany. You’ll want to find a place to watch early as this is one of the highest attended events in our city. For more information, visit the event website.

Thanksgiving in Wine (and libations) Country Although the grapes were harvested earlier in the year, there’s still plenty of ways to sample the area’s bounty. Take your time — the Willamette Valley is a prize-winning international wine-growing region. We are also part of the craft-brew revolution. Plan several days in Albany and visit some of the best distilleries, breweries, ale-houses, tap houses and meaderies in the valley.

Start with a short drive from your hotel to the picturesque countryside. As you cross the Willamette River, you’re two miles from Springhill Cellars Winery. Over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov 29th – Dec 1st) the winery hosts its annual Federweisser Festival. Federweisser is a young, newly fermented varietal. Accompanying it (and Springhill’s French-method Pinot Noir), you’ll enjoy German music, handcrafted sausages and sauerkraut and a barn dance on Friday night. Visit Springhill’s website for more information.

Following your Springhill adventure, visit Deluxe Brewing and Sinister Distilling Company. The tasting room is open seven days per week and the flights they are a-flying! Take a free tour of the brewery and enjoy some of the best limited-edition whiskey in Oregon. Check their website for tasting hours.

A short walk from Deluxe and Sinister, enjoy brew pub gourmet grub and live music at Calapooia Brewery. And within close proximity, Three Sheets Brewery, No Rails Ale House, Growler Garage, The Barn at Hickory Station, and Vagabond serve up excellent brews, ciders and meads.

If you crave vibrant cocktails and a lively atmosphere, sample local wines and a charcuterie plate at Sweet Red Bistro; cocktails and tapas at the sophisticated Vault 244; or happy hour drinks and famous pork belly fries at Frankie’s.

Small Business Saturday – Shop Small

Photo of small shops along First Ave. in downtown Albany, OregonIf you’re visiting Oregon from a neighboring state, you know we are one of the best places to shop small and unique on the West Coast—our entire state is sales-tax free!

Stroll through our Downtown Historic District and visit galleries, hip clothing boutiques, gift, garden and pet stores, a men’s haberdashery, and shops that feature antiques and vintage furnishings, jewelry and books, and even fly-fishing paraphernalia. Most downtown businesses participate in Shop Small 2019 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov 29th) with special sales.

You should have enough change left in your wallet to splurge on a first-run movie at the historic Pix Theater or enjoy a live theatrical performance at the Albany Civic Theater.

Christmas Storybook Land Bring the family to an enchanted “forest” of trees, miniature buildings, holiday lights, snowy scenery, mechanized displays, and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Costumed characters roam the aisles, mesmerizing both toddlers and school-aged children. This enormous seasonal village is built by volunteers and is open Dec 6th – 20th at the Linn County Expo Center. All ages will love this activity and we think you’ll want to make it part of your new holiday tradition. This is a free event, although you are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for a local food pantry.  Hours vary, so visit the event website for admission information.

Christmas Parlour Tour

Photo of historic house with lights.Albany’s historic homeowners typically celebrate the holidays by hanging cedar swags, colorful lights and other seasonal regalia along porches and eaves. However, the Christmas Parlour Tour is an “insider’s” peek into the past. 

Participating historic homes and buildings throughout the Hackleman, Monteith, and Downtown Commercial Districts open their doors to tour participants. Meet the owners and learn about the architecture, the original occupants, and the ins and outs of restoring historic structures. 

You can opt to ride a vintage trolley or horse-drawn wagon to the various stops, or drive, walk, bike or hike the tour on your own. Tickets will be available online in mid-November. Tour proceeds benefit the non-profit Monteith House Museum. This year (2019) the tour will be held on Sunday, Dec 8th, from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. Telephone 541-928-0911 for more information.

Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade Looking for family fun and a traditional Christmas event? Enjoy an evening parade in Downtown Albany, as decorated floats and vintage vehicles usher Santa and Mrs. Claus to the community tree lighting — after circling “twice around” downtown. This year (2019), the event is held on Dec 1st, from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Visit the organizer website.

Christmas Caroling Wagon Ride  Another affordable family event is Monteith House Society’s Christmas Caroling By Wagon. Beautiful draft horses are decked out in sleigh bell harnesses and vintage trolley and wagons are draped in colorful lights. After shouting “Jingle jingle all the way” through downtown, the ride ends at Monteith House Museum for holiday refreshments.

Caroling will be held this year (2019) on Dec 14, 15, 20th, 21st, and 22nd, in hourly slots between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Ticket prices to be announced closer to the event. Telephone AVA 541-928-0911 for more information.

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