Mid-Valley Day Trips

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

Crafting a staycation 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.

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 (through the last weekend of September) during the summer months, or the rest of the year bring your fishing pole and try your luck at some large rainbow trout that were planted in the spring. 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.

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

Dining suggestions

Breakfast Brick & Mortar, Elmer’s, Panera Bread

Lunch Loafer’s Station, Hasty Freez, The Barn at Hickory Station (food trucks of all kinds)

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

Snacks Yogurt Extreme, Crumbl Cookies, 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 Allan’s Coffee & Tea or Margin Coffee. After the treats, head on over to Waverly Lake Park, and kids can work off the sugar energy running around the lake.

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 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 outside at Southpaw’s Pizza in North Albany (weather permitting) or get take-out and head to a park!

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 Gamberetti’s where they buy from local farmers market, using sustainable, natural and organic ingredients whenever possible

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. Call ahead for an appointment.

Just to the north of Albany is Willamette Valley Vineyards, one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in the mid-valley. Call ahead for reservation information.

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. Then head back to Albany for dinner at Sweet Red Wine Bistro where you can order from local and international wines and sample great food and cheeses, or stop by Wine Crush for a shared appetizer or charcuterie board.

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 at creating some art of your own!


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. Sign up in advance, classes are available.

Take your sweetie or BFF to the Splatter Box on Montgomery Street. Situated inside a historic building, this unique hands-on (or paint-on!) studio lets you paint on the walls and canvas (or your friends) with non-toxic water-based paints. Splatter, dance and be happy. Book an appointment online. Facemasks are required upon entry.


Gallery Calapooia Take in many forms of art including fiber, jewelry, mized media original paintings and more at Gallery Calapooia on 1st Avenue, an artist cooperative and retail gallery in downtown Albany. The gallery is open 11 am to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, or by appointment.

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. At the intersection of 9th Avenue and Lyon Street, a large piece of art depicting the native Camas flower stands on the East side of Lyon near the path.

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 Carousel’s new 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. Be sure to wear your mask!

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.