Mid-Valley Day Trips

Image of Waverly Lake in Albany Oregon taken by AVA 2019 Photo Contest Winner Grand Champion David Maestes

Staying in Albany and need trip ideas? We figured you might like a few ways to fill a day, an afternoon, or a weekend, and a couple of complete itineraries to make it super easy on everyone. Find the sample itineraries under the topics below. If you want more, drop in and see us or telephone 541-928-0911 and we’ll be happy to build an itinerary to fit your stay.

 

Fun with Kids

Itinerary 1
Plan your day in Albany with the family that will stimulate both the mind and body.

Photo of turtles climbing one on top of another on a log sticking out of the pond at Albany's Talking Water GardensStart by spending some quality time with turtles, herons and the occasional mink as you stroll around Talking Water Gardens. The area has 2 miles of paths that traverse the 50-acre site. Take it slow and easy to get a glimpse of the critters, and bring binoculars for a better view.

After the gardens, find your way to Albany’s historic downtown, and ride a fierce dragon or a galloping steed. See carved creations brought to life by volunteer carvers at the Historic Albany Carousel & Museum. Dozens of fantastic creatures are created by carvers, painters and other volunteers for the enjoyment of kids of all ages.

Step back in time at the Albany Regional Museum, which houses thousands of items from Albany’s past and brings them to life with informative exhibits. Kids can dress up and have their photo taken, get creative with Lincoln Logs and other hands-on activities, or hone their investigative skills with a rousing game of “I Spy.”

Photo of the giant painted floating duck named "Woody" at Waverly Lake in Albany, OregonGet up close and personal with a giant duck as you leisurely cruise around Waverly Lake in paddle boats during the summer months or the rest of the year, bring your fishing pole and rain gear. Take a leisurely walk around the lake and see if you can identify the many species of ducks and geese. You are welcome to feed the ducks, but please, no bread! The Waverly Duck, a colorful, oversized Wood Duck decoy, has greeted visitors to Albany for several years.

Work off any extra energy at the bounce houses, arcade games and miniature golf await the adventurous at the G2 Fun Zone, in Heritage Mall. Afterwards, grab lunch or a treat at the mall’s food court, or browse its many shops.

Splash the afternoon or early evening away at Albany Community Pool. Go to the pool’s website for daily swim times and fees, and keep an eye out for Family Movie Night events, where children and parents can swim with their favorite inflatable while watching a kid-friendly film.

Tap into your inner PGA golfer and hit the mini-links or roll a strike or two while at Lakeshore Lanes. Both activities are offered seven days a week, and Cosmic Bowling on Friday and Saturday nights.

Dining suggestions

Breakfast Downtown Waffle, Brick & Mortar, Elmer’s, Sweetwater’s, Little Wuesten Cafe, Frankie’s

Lunch  Loafer’s Station, N’Reener’s Sidebar Cafe (inside the Courthouse), Hasty Freez, The Barn at Hickory Station (food trucks of all kinds)

Dinner First Burger, Red Robin, The Depot, Carino’s, Southpaw’s Pizza

Snacks Yogurt Extreme (at Fred Meyer), Sidekicks

Shopping suggestions Brick Circuit LEGO Store, Wicked Comics & Collectibles, Bricks & Joysticks, The Mattcave, Northwest Hobbies, Heritage Mall.

Itinerary 2
Start your day with coffee, cocoa and pastries at Little Weusten Cafe or Margin Coffee in Downtown Albany. After the treats, head on over to Waverly Lake Park, and kids can work off the sugar energy running around the lake or floating on a pedal-boat during the summer.

Plan to visit one of Albany’s two public libraries, both have public play sections and offer storytimes during the week.

Photo of carved wooden carousel animal, a kitty, with a mouse in its mouthKids of all ages are welcome at the spectacular Albany Historic Carousel and Museum. Families can ride the carousel, watch woodcarvers at work and learn about how the artists create the carousel animals. Snacks are available onsite and the gift shop is stocked with toys and mementos.

If you need to work off more energy, visit G2 FunZone, located at the Heritage Mall. Or, visit one of Albany’s 29 beautiful parks, 21 of them with kids’ playgrounds. Try miniature golf at Lake Shore Lanes or watch a family movie at The Pix Theater.

Have dinner at Southpaw’s Pizza, in North Albany, where kids can play arcade games, and adults can watch sporting events on the big screen televisions.

Wine Tasting

Photo of small appetizer and cheese plates at a local Albany restaurant, Sweet Red BistroAlbany is home to a region full of vineyards and wine tasting opportunities. Enjoy lunch at Sweet Red Wine Bistro, where you can order from local and international wines and sample great food and cheeses.

After lunch, head to Springhill Cellars, where the estate vineyard and winery are on the slopes of Springhill, a gentle hill not far from the banks of the Willamette River. Their tasting room is open on weekends or by appointment.

Those with more time can take a scenic drive through country roads to reach Marks Ridge Winery, one of the highest elevation wineries in the Willamette Valley. Enjoy their panoramic views while relaxing with a glass of Pinot. They are open Fridays-Sundays and at other times by appointment.

Just to the north of Albany is Willamette Valley Vineyards, one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in the mid-valley. Their tasting room is open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily and closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.

If you have more time to explore, try one of the Heart of Willamette Wineries–a collection of boutique wineries within 50 miles of Albany, producing memorable Oregon wines.

More day trip ideas
“Home is were the art is”

Itinerary 1
Spend the day, and maybe a night, touring Albany’s artistic points of interest, from galleries to public sculptures that dot the city’s landscape. And while you’re at it, try your hand a creating some art of your own!

Hands-on

photo of hand painted tiles at Surefire Pottery Design in Albany OregonGet fired up and drop into Surefire Design, The Pottery Place. All materials are on hand to create your own work of pottery art, and a friendly staff is available to assist in the painting, glazing and firing process.

Begin your pottery career at Calapooia Clay, a place for beginner and inexperienced potters to work on their skills or just have fun. Classes are available.

Galleries

  • Gallery Calapooia Take in many forms of art including fiber, jewelry, mixed media, original paintings, and more at Gallery Calapooia, an artist cooperative and retail gallery in Downtown Albany. A free reception featuring that month’s featured artists is held the First Friday of each month, with live entertainment and refreshments. A great night out!
  • LBCC Walk around Linn-Benton Community College to soak up a wide variety of art at several locations including the South Santiam Hall Gallery, the North Santiam Hall Gallery and the Calapooia Gallery. The South and North Santiam galleries are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • City Hall The Albany Arts Commission oversees a rotating art exhibit monthly in the public art gallery at Albany City Hall.

Public Sculpture 

Enjoy pieces of sculpture at various spots around town. A garden of abstract sculpture symbolizing Oregon geology rests in a park-like setting at the corner of First and Lyon in downtown Albany. Nearby at the historic Carnegie Library on 3rd and Ferry is a metal sculpture titled “Zeki,” a lively piece appealing to children featuring the images of a dinosaur, giant blocks, and books. A marble sculpture of a young woman reading, known as “Young Lady With The Book That Has No End,” sits outside the Main Library on 14th Ave S.E.

Performance art 

Attend a production at Albany Civic Theater, one of Oregon’s oldest community theaters. Currently in its 68th season, the ACT schedule includes a variety of plays, from musicals to drama to comedy. For the current season’s selections, visit the theater website.

Art in Motion

The Albany Historic Carousel & Museum is not just a carousel, but a whirlwind of sculpture in the form of horses, dragons, frogs and other assorted creatures. Visit the museum to see historic pieces of carousel art, then get a look at some of the painting and carving of animals in progress in the studio.

Small journeys
  • Explore pioneer history in the charming little town of Brownsville (bonus: it’s also where the classic ’80s movie Stand By Me was filmed!)
  • Beach day: we’re only an hour from the beautiful Oregon Coast.
  • City tour: hop on a train at the historic Albany station and you can be in Portland, Oregon’s largest city, in two hours.