Top 10 Events to Bring Holiday Cheer to Everyone

Everyone deserves to make the most of their holidays and balance family activities with nights on the town and holiday shopping. Throughout the remainder of November and December, Albany has many opportunities for adults, kids and families alike to celebrate the season. 

Be sure to observe all Covid-19 restrictions when out and about at events or in businesses, including physical distancing and wearing a mask.

Family Fun: Kid-friendly events for the whole family to enjoy 

Hop in the car and take the family on a light-filled trip around Albany to see the beautiful entries in the 2021 Nighttime Magic Holiday Lights Contest. For a map of where to find these wonderful homes, go here. The lights will be up through Jan. 1.

Take a festive train ride and sip hot cocoa on the Candy Cane Express while watching Lebanon pass by during this hour-long holiday adventure. Hosted by Santiam Excursion Trains, the Candy Cane Express is a round trip train ride, including photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs.Claus and hot cocoa with candy canes to enjoy. This ride has something for everyone, with a luggage car converted to a movie, popcorn and crafts center and a car with a fully stocked bar and beverage station! 

There will be six train cars per trip, and inside seating is available to everyone. There are also two open-top cars for passengers to enjoy the fresh air above the train. Although it’s covered overhead, this train doesn’t have windows, so bundle up in your favorite winter gear! Weekly on Saturday and Sunday until December 19, the Candy Cane Express will take three trips a day. Tickets are $27 for adults, $23 for kids, $20 for seniors and free for toddlers and veterans. 

Albany’s Historic Carousel & Museum is hosting exciting holiday events this year. On December 3, they’ll be putting on a 1st Friday event where participants can come in their coziest holiday pajamas and enjoy cookies and milk during a special storytime with Santa and the carousel’s elf, “Burl.”  

This “Storytime & Santa” event begins at 5:30pm, and the fun continues until 8pm. On December 11, the carousel will be hosting a “Breakfast with Santa” event, where kids can meet Santa and enjoy a meal! Seating is limited so be sure to register soon. This event is SOLD OUT!

Albany’s Downtown Twice Around Parade is a great way to kick off your holiday season! Beginning on Broadalbin Street at exactly 5pm on December 5, you can view the parade by standing or sitting socially distanced along its 8-block route. This parade will get you in the holiday spirit as you watch the festivities unfold, ending in a fantastic tree lighting that will take place 20 minutes after the parade. The tree lighting is visible from the Two Rivers Market and surrounding blocks, so there’s plenty of room to space out and safely enjoy the event!

The Historic Albany Annual Christmas Parlour Tour is once again indoors this year, with Covid-safe protocols. Explore the history of Albany’s historic homes and their unique and vintage architecture and design. The Christmas Parlour Tour is an experience unlike any other, where you can be transported as far back in time as the mid 1800s, when the Monteith family founded Albany. See vintage Albany holidays come to life on December 12 from 2pm to 7pm. Advanced tickets strongly recommended. 

Night Out: Experience a festive night out in historic downtown Albany 

Check out local artists’ work at Gallery Calapooia’s First Friday Event. Starting at 6pm and ending December 3 at 8pm, this month’s featured artist will show their latest pieces at the gallery. If you’re looking for a peaceful December night of art-viewing, then mark your calendar with the Gallery Calapooia’s 1st Friday. 

Supporting Albany’s small businesses during the holidays can make for a great night on the town! As part of Downtown Unwrapped events, Small Business Saturday will be taking place on November 27, and many of Albany’s small businesses and restaurants will be participating, so be sure to shop, dine and have fun at local places! Enjoy a delicious meal at local favorites, such as Sybaris, Vault 244 Bistro, and many more that you can browse here. Albany’s Pix Theatre is also a fun way to spend Small Business Saturday watching a movie while enjoying beer, food and treats at their amazing snack bar. Be on the lookout for participating businesses and their events on the 27th! 

Watch the talented actors at Albany Civic Theatre by attending “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.” This Christmas play is a sequel to Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and follows Mary Bennett as she searches for love during Christmas. Watching this love story is a great way to get into the holiday spirit and support the production of ACT plays and musicals. 

Showings are 7:30pm on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18. The matinees will start at 2:30pm on December 12 and 19. Tickets can be purchased online on ACT’s website. If tickets are not sold out, you can also purchase them at the door. 

Buy & Sell Festive Goods: Local shopping for holiday gifts and keepsakes 

Albany’s beloved Farmers’ Market, which closes in late November, reopens for one day on December 11 for the annual Holiday Farmers’ Market. This special pop-up market has local vendors selling fresh produce, dried flowers, homemade gifts, honey, jams, teas, holiday greeneries, baked goods, canned fish, dried beans, house plants, nuts, herbal products and more! The market is a perfect opportunity to find a special and unique gift for anyone from a wide variety of vendors. Locally-sourced products are a thoughtful way to say happy holidays and support our small businesses at the same time!

The Holiday Farmer’s Market will be on December 11 from 10am to 2pm.  

Visit The Penny Cottage Christmas Boutique in Lebanon to find a wide selection of unique holiday decorations, vintage finds and gifts, or treat yourself to a vintage furniture piece or home decoration. The Penny Cottage is hosting its Christmas Boutique on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 4pm until December 11. 

If you’re looking for a special, handmade gift, look no further than the Ropp Family Farm Christmas Barn. Ropp Family Farm has filled its barn with all the homemade holiday goods you can think of: decor, quilts, wreaths, furniture, gifts, toys and more! Enjoy a delicious lunch while you shop by trying the freshly made soups, breads, pies, cookies, and coffee they offer. 

The Ropp Family Farm Christmas Barn is open on November 20, 26 and 27 and December 3, 4, 10 and 11 from 9am to 4pm. 

Navigating the schedule of the holiday season can be difficult, so we’ve created itineraries to make the most of your December and support Albany’s small businesses and events. Each itinerary is created on a week-by-week schedule, so you can explore events while you’re visiting. Click on the itinerary links below to view, download and print! 

Weekend-only Fun 

After 5pm Only 

All Days, All Times 

Check out all of these events and discover more by browsing our event calendar.

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