2024 Photo Contest

The purpose of this contest is to find images suitable for use in our marketing of Albany, Linn County and the Willamette Valley.

Photo Contest Information & Rules for Entering
Winner CHAMPION 2023, Albany Clock Tower by Brenda Autry

FEE There is an entry fee of $2 for each photo submitted.

Photograph Subject  We ask that your work be original, not previously submitted to this or any other contest, be taken in 2022, 2023 or 2024 and specifically feature Albany and surrounding Linn County. 

To see examples of the kinds of images we use most, scroll through our Instagram, Facebook, website, and calendar of events.

Photograph Subject Categories

Downtown: Shine a spotlight on your favorite downtown sights. The category is NEW this year!

Culinary:  Visit a local restaurant or a unique foodie or drink venue and let people know what delicious rewards await them. Attend the Albany Farmers’ Market and capture the bounty.

Events: Antiques in the Streets, Twice Around Christmas Parade, Mid-Winter Dance and so much more! 

Historic Albany:  With four nationally recognized historic districts and architectural styles from the mid- 1800s to the 1950s, Albany has a plethora of historic buildings! 

Landmarks:  A landmark is unique to Albany and lends itself to the quintessential identity of our city. A Victorian painted advertisement on a brick wall or a statue could be a landmark.

People: Visitors love to see people enjoying themselves, but we know it can be hard to get the shot right and get strangers to sign release forms. Consider enlisting your family and friends!

Scenic: Our area is lovely in all seasons! Find something you think will make someone want to come visit us and represents the unique charm of our region. Rustic barns, farm stands, bountiful gardens, wildflowers and wildlife, the Willamette Valley with distant snowcapped mountains. 

Youth: For young photographers ages 18 and under.

Winner 2nd Place Culinary 2023, Ice Cream at the Carousel by Melinda

Judging A committee of judges will (anonymously) assess photos for subject and composition. Judges will consider some of the following criteria: is the subject appropriate for the category, is it a really good/unusual example of that subject, is the composition in focus, does it draw you in, is it original? Judges will determine Champion and Reserve Champion winners. The People’s Choice award will be judged by the public who can view all of the photos on the AVA Flickr site and then submit their choice to the AVA. 

Winners will be announced in April 2024. Winning photographs will be showcased in a professional video shown at the Pix Theatre before feature films, on the AVA website and YouTube, and displayed at the Albany Amtrak Station. 

Prizes Champion, Reserve Champion, and People’s Choice awards will be $300, $150 and $75, respectively.  All first-place through third-place winners will receive a certificate and a gift card to the Pix Theatre to see their photos on the big screen.         

Who can enter? The contest is open to all ages, all levels: from amateur to professional or hobbyist. 

Winner STUDENT 2023, Bryant Park Train by Liv Kottre
Winner 3rd Place Landmarks 2023, Weddle Bridge by Dave Maestas

How to Enter

  • There is an entry fee of $2 for each photo submitted except for students/youth whose fees are waived.
  • Entrants must complete a release allowing AVA to use their photos for promotional purposes although photographers retain all rights to their photos. PDF of the Use and Reproduction Release Form.
  • Photos must be a minimum of 300 dpi and 1MB in size. Photos should be standard rectangular portrait or landscape; square, panoramic or custom ratios are more difficult to place within our ads.
  • Photos may be color or black & white.
  • Photos may be digitally enhanced for contrast, color, hue, etc., but not digitally manipulated. Images that have digitally applied effects (such as montages, double exposures or vignettes) cannot be used in AVA publications or national advertising.
  • There is a limit of 15 photos per photographer, 10 for Students/Youth.
  • All photos depicting water recreation must be compliant with Oregon regulations regarding life jackets.
  • For any photo that features a recognizable individual’s face (or group of individuals) photographers MUST complete a signed photo release. We will not accept such photos without a model release! Here is PDF of the Model Release Form.

Please use the following format for the file name of each of your photos. Please do NOT use all caps or punctuation!

title (no duplicates please)

location, if not mentioned in title eg. Albany or Linn Co

your name 

For example: Albany Regional Museum Alicen Arsenault
  • Email info@albanyvisitors.com and give us your email address. We will email you the link to a ‘survey’ in which you can upload your photos (with file names as above) and complete all your contact information.
  • Mail your check for the entry fee, your completed photographers release form, and any model release forms necessary  to the AVA (address below) before March 8. Paperwork may also be placed through mail drop slot after hours. 

DEADLINE  All entries, fees and releases must be submitted by 5pm Friday, March 8, 2024. 

Albany Visitors Association

541-928-0911

122 Ferry St SW, Albany, OR  97321

Love from Albany!

You’re gonna love your visit to Albany in February! It’s Valentine’s month, and we have some ideas to help you plan a special day with your sweetheart and fill your calendar all month. Here are some more ideas to get you started: 

LOVE banner above a table covered in Valentine's knick-knacks
Vintage Roost Valentine’s by Debbie Williams

1st Friday Downtown Chocolate Walk on February 2 in Historic Downtown Albany. Get some treats and take advantage of sale prices on a gift for your special someone. See AlbanyDowntownAssociation.com or call 541-928-2469. 

“The Miracle on First Avenue” Book Signing at Albany Historic Carousel & Museum Authors Jennifer Moody and Wendy Kirbey with editor Dianne Neglay will be on-site to answer questions and sign copies of the new book about the true story of a tenacious woman and the people who supported her to bring a carousel to Albany. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on February 4 at 503 1st Ave. W. See AlbanyCarousel.com for more information or call 541-497-2934. 

The Great Gatsby at Albany Civic Theater This adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic draws the audience into themes of equity and privilege and showcases Daisy’s strength and character. This show is a World Premiere performance by Portland playwright Maeve Z O’Connor. Albany Civic Theater is located at 111 First Ave W. Performances on February 2- 4 and February 8-10. See AlbanyCivic.org or call 541-928-4603 for showtimes and future plays. 

Valentine Open House The Vintage Roost will open its charming seasonal gift shop in the picturesque countryside of North Albany. Shop for hand-made gifts, antiques, collectibles, fresh-baked goods and more. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on February 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 935 Scenic Dr. N.W. See The Vintage Roost, LLC on Facebook or thevintageroostllc on Instagram for more information. 

Lambentine’s at Iron Water Ranch Fun for the whole family and one of the sweetest events available for Valentine’s Day.  Snuggle, bottle feed and hang out with adorable baby lambs and learn about all the care that goes into raising them. 11 a.m. to p.m. on February 10 and 11. Reservations are required for one-hour sessions, $20 per person. Purchase tickets online at IronWater.com or call 541-928-5180. 35179 Riverside Dr. S.W. 

Miss Maui courtesy of Iron Water Ranch

Crab Fest Hosted by the Greater Albany Rotary Club, the dinner will be held at Calapooia Brewing from noon to 7 p.m. on February 10. Tickets will be available soon at RotaryCrabFest.org for $55 and at the door the day of the event for $60. Calapooia Brewing is located at 140 NE Hill St. N.E.

Greyhound Tavern Grand Opening Be the first to experience this great new hangout on February 22. The Tavern is located at 220 2nd Ave S.W. Keep checking their Facebook for more information. 

Outdoor Fun for Wintertime

Wintertime is a great time to enjoy the outdoors in and around Albany, from viewing 100’s of species of birds, to hiking past raging waterfalls, to hitting the mountains for some fun in the snow: Whatever your choice, Hub City is a great place to start.

Covered Bridges

There are eight covered bridges in the Linn County, five of them clustered around the town of Scio and several more to the east of Lebanon. Read our article about covered bridges to get a map of the route to drive or bike through picturesque country and travel through these historic landmarks.

Winter Adventures Around Oregon

Recommendations courtesy of The Oregon Challenge.

If you haven’t visited McDowell Creek Falls County Park in the wintertime, then you are missing out. This time of year the falls are flowing full with water from the Santiam River. With over three miles of hiking trails, the park offers viewing decks and wooden bridges to The Royal Terrace and Majestic Falls, a few smaller cascades and breathtaking scenery. 

One of the more diverse hiking areas is in McDonald-Dunn Forest. Located near Corvallis, the forest has trails fit for anyone from beginner to advanced hiker to families, bicyclers and more. There are almost 30 miles worth of trails in the Forests, meaning you can visit countless times and always have a new experience. 

Talking Waters Gardens in Albany is a great location for a scenic stroll, and even during winter the area is teeming with a variety of wildlife. Many of the ponds are drained in colder months as well, exposing features like “the weeping wall,” a former loading dock left over from an old mill that has water flowing over it in abundance during warmer months. 

There are endless sights to see in the South Santiam River area. If you’re looking for a family-friendly winter experience, explore gorgeous snow parks with skiing, sledding, snow-mobiling, tubing, snowboarding and snow-shoeing opportunities. If hiking is your thing, stay below snow level and traverse routes like Trout Creek Trail and Rooster Rock. Along Trout Creek you’ll get to experience the rushing blue waters and cascading waterfalls that become even more majestic during winter months. For a more family-friendly version of the Trout Creek Trail, begin at the Trout Creek trailhead, but take the alternative Walton Interpretive Trail. 

Yet another spectacular South Santiam spot is The Gordon Meadows Hike. While the hike is 8 miles round trip, there are multiple meadows along the trail where you can relax and enjoy the scenery and then head back around if you’re looking for a shorter hike. Or, if you just want a spot to enjoy winter scenery and spend time with family, the roadside pullout at Lost Prairie is a great place to play in the snow.

West of Albany, enjoy a view of magical Mary’s Peak in the Coast Range after hike along lush green meadows in Beazell Forest. There are two loops in the Beazell Forest area as well as multiple other trail variations to enjoy along Plunkett Creek. Hike through this majestic Douglas forest by taking the South loop trail, which will lead you through a plantation and into another meadow. End your hike by checking out Lumos Winery or Cardwell Hill Winery, which are both in close proximity!

Along Oregon’s spectacular coast is Cape Perpetua. The Cape’s popularity is well deserved, as its main lookout is over 800 feet above the ocean, making it one of the highest viewpoints accessible by cars on the Oregon Coast. Cape Perpetua is located in Siuslaw National Forest, and the area features 26 miles of trail possibilities to explore, complete with incredible forest vegetation, endless scenic views, tidepools, a geyser, coastal caves, caverns and more. 

Ultimately, wherever you choose to go in Oregon this season, there is no doubt that you’ll get a unique and beautiful experience out of it. Who knows, maybe winter will become your favorite season to explore our wonderful outdoors! 

Albany Outdoor Adventures

Make a plan to get outside, enjoy the sun a little, and get some Vitamin D in and around Albany! Let your inner adventurer free and enjoy some activities that will get your blood pumping. 

EXPLORE

For a quick but scenic hike while you’re in town, wander the trails of Albany’s Talking Water Gardens. The manufactured wetland sports 2 miles of paths through a habitat filled with wildlife. On the north side of the river, walk or run the Takena Landing Trail, where you’ll enjoy peaceful views of the Willamette River on this 3.6-mile loop. Its companion, the Dave Clark Trail, follows along the south edge of the river and runs out and back from Monteith Riverpark in a 2.5-mile loop. These are just a few of the walking paths and trails found in Albany. 

turtle on a log in the water

Pack your binoculars and camera to check out the mid-valley’s diverse wildlife. The Willamette Valley Birding Trail is a wonderful resource for birding in the area. Download the Santiam Loop section for a guide to spotting a streaked horned lark, pacific golden plover, and other species of native birds. Talking Water Garden is a great place for birding, and E.E. Wilson and other wildlife refuges are right outside of town. Visit our Wildlife Viewing page to find more places to view local flora and fauna.

Disc golfers can test their skills with three courses in Albany. Bryant Park and Takena Landing flank both sides of the Willamette River, with Bryant offering 18 baskets near downtown and Takena Landing nine baskets in North Albany. On the east side of town, easily accessible from Interstate 5, Timber-Linn Memorial Park has nine baskets in a flat, grassy setting. The newest course in Albany is Jack’s Track, located in Deerfield Park, with 9 holes.  

For information about all of our parks, see Albany Parks & Recreation. Most of our parks have areas available to rent for events, and several of them have covered shelters. 

These are just a few of the outdoor activities in Albany and the surrounding area. Check out our Outdoor Recreation page for information about golfing, backpacking, water recreation and much more. 

PLAY

Don’t pass up a visit to Iron Water Ranch. This working fiber animal farm includes seasonal family-oriented events like bottle-feeding baby lambs and educational workshops. They host two events in the spring – March MAAAdness and April Floof’s Day. In addition to events, the ranch produces beautifully dyed wool and fiber for craft, such as yarn for knitting and raw fiber for spinning or felting.

The ranch is open daily by appointment at 35179 Riverside Dr. Reach them online or at 541-928-5180.

A little girl bottle feeding a lamb at Iron Water Ranch

Midway Farms is a dedicated gluten-free farm. Not only do they offer produce and delicious baked goods, but they also hold some fun events. Attend the May Day Celebration on May 1 and their Annual Open House on June 1-2. Check their website for more days and times for other happenings like Body Positive Belly Dance, Sangria Sundays and Sip and Shimmy. The farm also has a beautiful garden that is available for rent.

EAT

focus on picnic basket in front of a happy couple

Plan to take your meals with you if you go out and about. Albany has several top-notch eateries that can outfit you with the perfect take-out meal. Stop by Grazing Oregon and pick up a specialty to-go charcuterie like the Snackle, packed up in a tackle box, or a Romantic Picnic. Grab some sandwiches at No Baloney to take along, or dine outside after your adventure at The Barn at Hickory Station, where you can choose from a diverse selection of food carts. For a full list of dining options, go to our Restaurant Page. Many of our eateries feature local and farm-fresh produce, so you can enjoy the season’s best. 

You could also plan your very own cuisine exploration. The self-guided Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail spans wineries, craft breweries, farms, ranches, markets, experiences, and more in the heart of the Willamette Valley. 

Springtime in Albany is a great time to get outside. See the sights, enjoy the sounds and taste our bounty. 

Cure Your Winter Blues

Pull yourself out of the winter slump in Albany! Attend one of the events taking place in January at the Linn County Expo Center. Skip having to cook by enjoying a night out. Browse for all things old at a downtown antique store and grab lunch while you’re there. Here are some ideas to get you out and brighten your mood. 

Weekend Events

East Albany Lions Club Sportsman & Gun Show This event features sporting and hunting supplies, knives, military collectibles, ammo, reloading, new and used guns, antique guns and lots more. All proceeds go to Lions Sight and Hearing, local charities and community projects. It is held at Linn County Expo Center 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on January 13 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m.  January 14. Visit eastalbanylionsclub.org to find out more. 

Winter Rod & Speed Show Over 100 cars, including hot rods, muscle cars, bikes, low riders, custom trucks and race cars from all over the Northwest gather for a show at the Linn County Expo Center! NHRA fan favorite top Fuel driver Buddy Hull is coming and the Motorsports Expo and Special Interest show is loaded with race cars and entertainment by the Master DJ Paul Finister. On Friday night, the band Back Again will be playing your favorite 70’s and 80’s hits. On Saturday, there is a swap meet and a model car contest. Check it out 6-9 p.m. on January 19 and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. January 20. Visit capitoldragster.com for more information. 

Auto Show at Linn Co Expo Center
Photo by Dave Maestas

“Mask”uerading in 2024 Dance, shop and visit with other dancers at the Midwinter Festival. Featured callers are Jet Roberts and Scott Bennett. Round dance cuers are Rey and Sherry Garza. The clogging instructor is Missy Shinoski. Held January 26-28 at the Linn County Expo Center. For more information visit MidwinterFestival.org.

The Great Gatsby at Albany Civic Theater This adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic draws the audience into themes of equity and privilege and showcases Daisy’s strength and character. This show is a World Premiere performance by Portland playwright Maeve Z O’Connor. Albany Civic Theater is located at 111 First Ave W. Performances on January 26-28, February 2- 4 and February 8-10. See albanycivic.org for showtimes and future plays. 

Featured Restaurants 

La Roca margarita flight

Homegrown Oregon Foods Albany’s only dedicated gluten-free restaurant has a sit-down location in Historic Downtown. Celebrate an allergy-free life with delicious selections such as soups, salads and protein boxes with international flare. 212 1st Ave SE, 541-971-7174, homegrownoregonfoods.com

La Roca Mexican Restaurant Family-friendly Tex-Mex restaurant with delicious food and excellent service. Why wait till Taco Tuesday? At La Roca, it’s always taco day. They also have Margarita Monday with specials every week. 1727 Hill St SE, 541-928-6141, facebook.com/LaRocaMexicanRestaurant

Sam City An old-fashioned throwback restaurant preparing pho and other traditional Pan-Asian meals and affordable lunch specials. They serve vegan dishes and have a kids’ menu. 2180 Pacific Blvd SE, 541-928-6180. 

Simply Ramen This quaint little gem has Thai dishes, rice plates and ramen. The food is fresh and tasty. 1800 Geary Street SE, 541-981-2798, menu at https://qrco.de/bbrmrJ

Antique Shops

Albany Antique Mall 145 SW 2nd Ave, 541-704-0109, albanyantiquemall.com.

Cronies Antiques 211 2nd Ave, 541-760-1941, croniesantiques.business.site.

Stay Awhile Vintage Mercantile 425 W 1st Ave, 541-981-2373, see their Facebook page. 

Join the jolly fun!

In Albany, holiday cheer is never in short supply. Drive through the dazzling displays from the Nighttime Magic Holiday Lights Contest with a map from the Albany Visitors Association. Visit Christmas Storybook Land, an Albany tradition for 47 years! Don’t miss the Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade & Community Tree Lighting Ceremony, two times the fun of a regular parade. 

Breakfast with Santa at the Carousel Support the carousel and have breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Tickets include a delicious breakfast, a Christmas carol concert, a Christmas craft, a professional photo of your child meeting with Santa by Sarah LaFond Photography, a one-on-one visit with Santa, and a personalized note and a gift he picked out for them! The event is December 9, 8-10:30 am Tickets at AlbanyCarousel.com.

36th Annual Nighttime Magic Light Contest Help continue Albany’s wintertime tradition! Enter your home for a chance to win prizes, then plan a family night to drive by the winning displays. Lights will be on December 4 through January 1. Find more information at AlbanyVisitors.com, info@albanyvisitors.com or 541-928-0911.

Christmas Storybook Land Share your favorite childhood nursery rhymes, fairy tales and family movies with the children in your life. The magical indoor walk-thru forest is open at Linn County Expo Center December 2-16. Entry is free, although commercially packaged food for the local food bank is gladly accepted. Hours vary, so see their website for the full schedule. ChristmasStorybookLand.org.

The Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade & Community Tree Lighting Ceremony The parade begins at the corner of Broadalbin Street and First Avenue on Sunday, December 3 at 5 pm, with the tree lighting right after at Two Rivers Market. See the route at AlbanyDowntown.com.

Christmas Parlour Tour Peek into the past by stepping inside some of Albany’s most intriguing historic homes. The tour is December 10, 2-7 pm Tickets are $15 at MonteithHouse.org or the day of the tour at the Albany Visitors Association, 122 Ferry St SW. For information, info@albanyvisitors.com or 541-928-0911. 

Yokai Wonderland Market  Saturday, December 16, noon to 6 pm at Linn County Expo Center. There will be vendors, food, music, art, anime, cosplay, collectibles, crafts, jewelry and more. A market unlike any other. Tickets are $5 through EventBrite.com

Find your favorite tree farm and seasonal products. Here are some local farms:

Toland Tree Farm Pre-cut Douglas fir trees and wreaths on sale December 2-3. 1340 NE Rosa Lane, Albany, 541-974-4546, kirstentoland@comcast.net, or see the Toland Tree Farm Facebook page

Vollstedt Farms Pre-cuts only this year. Check their website for days and hours. 451 NW Quarry Rd, Albany, 541-926-5640, vollstedtfarms@comcast.net, VollstedtFarms.com.

Donovan’s Place Pre-cut and U-cut trees, wreaths and garlands. They supply hand saws and friendly assistance. 5720 SW Donovan Place, Corvallis, 541-829-1981, DonovanPlace.com.

Willamette National Forest Harvest your own Christmas Tree! Purchase a permit and find all the information fs.usda.gov.

36th Annual Nighttime Magic Holiday Light Contest

VOTE NOW through Sunday, December 17 for your favorite display! Here’s how.

Get the PDF version of the map with this year’s participating houses,

Download our app, Albany Explorer, where you will find an interactive version,

Link directly to the Google map, or

Pick up a paper copy from our office. NOTE: The office will be closed after December 11 during our move. Copies will be in the 24 hour visitor information display to the right of our front door.

After you visit the homes, visit our Facebook or Instagram, find the post with the numbered photos of each home, and comment with the number of your favorite display.

You can also email info@albanyvisitors with your top choice. Put “Nighttime Magic” in the subject and the address of your choice in the body.

Many thanks to our sponsors, Burcham’s Metals.

What the contest is all about

Albany residents are encouraged to enter the 36th Annual Nighttime Magic Holiday Light Contest for the best use of lights in decorating the exterior of their homes for everyone to enjoy and vote for their favorite. The winners will gain bragging rights for the year and receive some great prizes, including a variety of gift certificates from local stores.

Judging this year will again be open to the community. Pictures of entries will be posted on the AVA Facebook page and Instagram, and addresses will be included for people to drive by. A holiday light drive (with map) will be posted on the Albany Explorer App and community members can vote for their favorites via Facebook, Instagram or by emailing info@albanyvisitors.com.

It just takes four things to participate:

1. Your display must be within the city limits of Albany.

2. Email a picture of your completed light display to info@albanyvisitors.com by 5 p.m. Monday, December 4.

3. Include in your email entry:

  • Your name
  • Your full street address
  • Title of your display
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number

4.  Keep your light display on from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. December 4 through January 1, or longer if you like!

That’s all it will take to be a part of Albany’s Nighttime Magic this year! So, break out the lights and help us all have a big and bright holiday season! Questions – Email info@albanyvisitors.com or call 541-928-0911.

Public voting will open on Friday, December 8, and continue through Sunday, December 17, 2023. Winners will be announced by Tuesday, December 19.

People wishing to drive the route to look at the participating locations can pick up a list of participants at the Albany Visitors Association beginning December 8, or download the Albany Explorer App.

Thank you to all the homeowners who participate in this program. Without your efforts this wonderful community tradition would not be possible.

Fall Events in November

Fall leaves covered in dew
Periwinkle Grand Tree by Joy Massey

Enjoy Albany this November where fall is in full swing. Leaves are falling, fog fills the air, and the starts to nip at our noses. Bundle up for the big Veterans Day Parade and honor our local veterans. Warm up with a glass of seasonal wine at Springhill Cellars’ Federweisser Festival. Get your blood pumping by participating in the Gobbler’s Revenge Road Race. There’s plenty to be thankful for in November. 

Linn County Veterans Day Parade 

Join us in Albany for the largest event of this kind west of the Mississippi. Thousands of spectators line the streets of Albany to honor those who served. We invite you to be a spectator at this wonderful salute to our nation’s heroes.

To find the parade schedule and route, other events taking place, and a contact page if you have further questions, go to LinnCountyVeteransDayParade.org

After the parade, have lunch or coffee downtown and look for military uniforms that will be on display November 7-13. Find updated information at AlbanyDowntown.com.

Photo by Scott Van Schoiack

Oregon Mid-Valley Road Race Gobbler’s Revenge

The 15th Annual Oregon Mid-Valley Road Race is set to kick off on Thanksgiving morning 2023! Food, music, awards, and prizes await those who are not afraid of “The Gobbler’s Revenge.” Events include a Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, 2.5 mile Walk, and Kid’s Dash. All runs start and finish at North Albany Middle School Track. The run takes place on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, from 7 a.m. to noon. Kid’s Dash starts at 9 a.m. Register at omRoadRace.org or see their Facebook page to find current information about the event. 

Springhill Cellars’ Federweisser Festival

Try Springhill Cellars’ delicious cider-like semi-sweet cloudy Pinot Gris Federweisser along with a delicious Zwiebelkuchen (an onion, egg, bacon, swiss cheese, and sour-cream pie) while enjoying traditional oom-pah-pah music during the day. Join the fun November 24-26. Hours vary each day, so check their Facebook page for updates or call 541-974-0917.

Springhill Cellars by Kristi Crawford
“Frozen in Time” by Camron Settlemier

Christmas Parlour Tour

Plan ahead to enjoy the sights and sounds of an old-fashioned holiday celebration in Historic Downtown Albany. The Christmas Parlour Tour is an “insider’s” peek into the past. Step inside some of our most intriguing historic homes and travel back through several eras including Art Deco and Victorian. The Tour takes place on Sunday, December 10, from 2-7 p.m. Tickets will be available at MonteithHouse.org starting in November. Call Albany Visitors Association if you have questions at (541) 928-0911 or email info@albanyvisitors.com. 

Get ready for Spooky Season!

October in Albany has everything from scary fun to family-friendly events. Choose the perfect pumpkin, get lost in a corn maze or press apples for some tangy cider. The crisp weather and colorful leaves invite us to get out and enjoy our beautiful city.
Trolley in front of Monteith House
Trolley of Terror by Amanda Pool

 

Trolley of Terror is back!  
Get ready for a hauntingly good time at the Monteith House, where history meets Halloween: Trolley Tours will be held at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on Oct. 20, 21, 27 and 28; Put on your walking shoes and journey through the eerie and mysterious history of downtown Albany on Ghost Walking Tours, which take place on Oct. 13 and 14, also at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m.; Expect spine-tingling tales and ghostly encounters at the VIP Experience Ghost Hunts on Oct. 21 and 28 from 11:30 p.m.-1 a.m.

Purchase tickets at MonteithHouse.com, or call 541-220-0421. 

Here are some other great October events to put on your list. Be sure to visit the AVA website to get more details on them as well:

1st Friday in Historic Downtown Albany
The theme for Oct. 6 is Fall Kickoff! Join downtown businesses for extended hours, food, drinks, promotions, sales and music. Be sure to stop by the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum where October’s theme is Halloween. So, get your costume ready and have some scary good fun for the whole family!

The Natty Dresser is holding a ladies trunk show with Pendleton Woolens. This will be a one-night-only opportunity to order from the Pendleton Women’s line. Plus, they will also have Pikolinos’ Shoe there offering ladies styles for special order.

Cider Pressing at Thompson’s Mills
Oct. 14 and 28, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Kids of all ages are invited to help crush and press the apples and watch as golden cider flows from the press. Fresh cider is available for your donation to Thompson’s Mills Preservation Society. They will have storytelling for the younger ones and mill-themed gifts are available. Docents are on hand for mill tours – pack a lunch and make a day of it! Telephone the Mill for additional information at 541-491-3611. 

cider press
Thompson’s Mills Cider Press by Kristi Crawford

Downtown Halloween Character Hunt
Get an early start on Halloween by joining this fun activity for the whole family, put on by the Albany Downtown Association. The hunt begins Saturday, Oct. 14. Entries turned in by Sunday, Oct. 30, will be entered in a drawing to win a Movie Night Prize Basket featuring tickets to The Pix Theatre, theater candy, popcorn and more.

Trick or Treat Cruise Thru
Dress up and get in on the fun 1-3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, at Timber-Linn Memorial Park. REGISTRATION is required for this event and is due by Oct. 13. Cost is $5 per child for ages 1-12. There will be candy and goodies to collect along the way and some spooktacular decorations. The event is sponsored by Albany Parks & Recreation.

Loot by Oliver J. Anderson

Downtown Trick-or-Treating & Costume Contest
Celebrate Halloween in Downtown Albany with this FREE family-friendly event 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28. Just look for the orange and black balloons marking participating Albany Downtown Association member businesses. There’s a costume contest for the whole family as well. Enter by stopping by the photo station at the 1st Avenue Parklet near Ferry Street. Winners will be selected on Facebook.

Albany Farmers’ Market
It’s still open Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through November. Pick up fresh and local produce, baked goods, meat, flowers and more! 

Pumpkin patches and seasonal produce

For seasonal produce, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and other treats, here are some local farms you will enjoy:

Blunck Family Produce and Willow will have their pumpkin patch again this year. 4228 Springhill Dr. NW, 541-497-4533.

Bose Family Farm features a pumpkin patch, corn maze, hayrides and harvest decor. 35765 Cyrus Rd. NE. 

Grandpa’s Fresh Market carries pumpkins, melons, gourds, straw bales, cornstalk bundles and has hayrides on the weekends. 36483 Hwy 226, 541-928-8778.

Kenagy Family Farm has pumpkins, gourds, decorative corn, winter squash and corn stalks. 1650 North Nebergall Loop NE, 541-979-1490.

Midway Farms doesn’t have a pumpkin patch, but they do have pumpkins, winter squash and fresh-pressed apple cider. All of the farm’s products are gluten-free, and they have pumpkin bread and apple cake. 6980 Hwy. 20 NW, 541-740-6141. 

Three Day Getaway

Small city charm has its benefits when you want to get away. There is lots to do in Albany, and you avoid the crowds and traffic of a bigger city. Albany is packed with great restaurants, adorable shops and fantastic places to relax with a drink.

Day 1

Start your stay by choosing a great hotel. Phoenix Inn Suites in Albany has an indoor pool and spa, complimentary breakfast and warm cookies in the lobby every night. You don’t even have to skip leg day. If you want to get a workout, the Phoenix has a fitness room. Check out our lodging page for more places to stay, and view virtual tours of all of our hotels.

After getting settled in your suite, head downtown for dinner and drinks. Sybaris Bistro has a Northwest inspired, farm-to-table menu in a serene interior. Chef Matt Bennett prides himself on providing the best, freshest local food for his guests, so the menu changes each month. Bennett has served his award winning fare at the James Beard House in New York City, and the restaurant wins regional awards every year. Sybaris offers an upscale dining experience with a down-to-earth feel. 

You can get drinks at Sybaris as they have a full bar and an extensive wine list, but if you are after a change of scenery, walk up the street to Vault 244 and take a seat at the bar. The restaurant is cozy, cocktails are amazing and it’s Happy Hour from 9pm to close. They even have a few specialty mocktails for your designated driver. 

“Vault” by Lance Gross,

Day 2

Did you oversleep and miss breakfast in your comfy bed? No need to worry. Head downtown and grab a coffee at Margin Coffee Roasters. You’ll find a bright, open, and laid-back environment with coffee, tea and pastries. Enjoy some time chatting with your besties on a cushy couch or a corner nook. It’s like hanging out in your living room, but better because everyone gets their favorite drink! 

You could also take your drink to go so you can wander the downtown shops. Step inside Emma Downtown and find women’s clothing, jewelry, kitchen items and all the sweet little knickknacks that will make your heart happy. Reds Boutique also carries women’s apparel. The Natty Dresser will help you upgrade your wardrobe with the latest fashion trends. They offer a wide range of men’s clothing options that cater to different styles, sizes, and budgets. They also have alterations available on site so you can get that perfect fit. Oak Creek Collection has an eclectic selection of gifts, handcrafted goods, décor, furniture, clothing and lots more. 

Dragon carving at the Albany Carousel

Make sure to wander all the way down to the end of 1st Avenue for a ride on the carousel. Albany Historic Carousel & Museum will make you feel like a kid again. Choose one of the whimsical animals and take a spin. The beautifully carved creatures make Instagram-worthy selfie shots! 

“Carousel Mighty Dragon” by Kimberly Sylva

You could spend all day in the shops downtown, but you won’t want to miss having a glass of locally brewed beer or a cocktail made with spirits created here in Albany. Stop in at Deluxe Brewing and Sinister Distilling where they also have a food truck for a quick dinner. Calapooia Brewing and Vivacity Spirits (located in the same building) has a full menu of burgers, sandwiches and salads. Check out their websites to see if there will be live music or fun activities like trivia night scheduled during your stay. 

“Deluxe Beer Tastes” by Cathy Webb

If wine is your drink of choice, Springhill Cellars Winery is perched atop a hill with views to the west and magnificent sunsets over the Coast Range. They masterfully craft their pinot varietals using the French method of barrel aging. The tasting room is open seasonally, so plan to visit the winery 11:30 am-5:30 pm, Friday-Sunday, May-November.

Be sure to check out the Albany Civic Theater to see if there is a play running. The ambiance of the historic building and the stellar performances by local actors never disappoint. If the ACT is between performances, visit the Pix Theater to watch first run movies in a one-of-a-kind space. Also housed in a historic building, the Pix is decorated with movie memorabilia, and it offers a selection of treats beyond the usual popcorn and soda. Have a glass of wine or a cider along with a hummus and veggie plate. The seats make noshing comfortable with their slide-out tray for your drink and snack. 

Day 3

Sleep in and grab brunch or lunch before you head out. Brick & Mortar Cafe is a great choice, and they feature mimosas and bloody marys! For lunch, Gamberetti’s Italian Restaurant is the locals’ go-to for Italian. Loafer’s Station is a casual restaurant that is locally owned and sourced with a range of food and beverage offerings. Across the river, there is a great lunch spot everyone can agree on. The Barn at Hickory Station taproom has beer, wine and cider. Outside they have a food cart hub that offers all varieties of cuisine. 

Do you love all things old? There are a few antique shops within walking distance of each other downtown. The Albany Antique Mall has 20,000 square feet of unique finds including a huge selection of vintage clothing upstairs. Cronies Vintage & Antique Emporium features unique furniture and collectables, and Stay Awhile Vintage Mercantile has a great variety of vintage toys and so much more. 

You don’t have to “go big” to have an enormously great weekend with your friends. Skip the crowds, and enjoy a jam-packed stay in Albany. We can’t wait to see you!