'Tis the season for festive light displays! Many family traditions include touring local neighborhoods adorned with thousands of twinkly lights for the holidays, enjoying the towering lighted trees at malls or city squares or making a pilgrimage to see a lighted covered bridge or spectacularly adorned historic home.
Here are the top five best ways to enjoy Eugene's magical lights this year.
1. Tree & Covered Bridge Lightings
Kicking off the season with "snow" and a lighted tree, 5th Street Public Market and Market Alley shine bright in downtown Eugene. Oakway Center also gets festive with a holiday tree lighting and real reindeer! Veneta, Creswell and Cottage Grove also light up holiday trees. Florence, on the Oregon Coast, also gets into the spirit! These small, charming towns are the perfect backdrops for holiday decor, lights and festivities.
It's not just trees getting all the glory. Several of our historic covered bridges get bedecked in colorful lights too! On Highway 58, the Lowell Covered Bridge is magnificently illuminated with red and green lights which reflect off the smooth waters of Dexter Reservoir. Further along, Westfir's Office Covered Bridge, known for its dedicated pedestrian walkway, is decked out in full holiday lights. The Goodpasture Covered Bridge over the McKenzie River off Highway 126 is also lit up for Christmas.
2. Lighted Experiences
Walk through light displays designed to enchant and amaze! Gardens and outdoor spaces are transformed by thousands of twinkling lights. Paired with warm beverages, bonfires or visits with Santa; these magical wonderlands create a lovely evening excursion.
3. Neighborhood Twinkle Lights
Eugene's bright spots include the Gilham neighborhood (think music and light shows) and McLean Blvd and Chambers St (no expense spared on some of these magical estates). Individual addresses change every year, so you may just need to jump in your car and drive around. But as the season progresses, we'll make updates here as best we can!
While you can always do the driving yourself, taking a guided tour is often the most fun. Holiday light tours are offered by My Party Bus, Sunshine Limo and Sam's Place. The drivers know the neighborhoods and can narrate about area landmarks while you revel in the sights with family and friends. And since someone else is driving, bring along some special holiday spirits from Eugene's local distilleries (please check with your tour company first on their policies). Yes, Eugene has some pretty cool light displays!
4. Holiday Light Parades
Turn out for a magical line up of huge lighted floats through Junction City, Veneta, Coburg and Creswell. Since you are heading out to "wine country" towns, make plans to arrive earlier in the day to purchase wines from open tasting rooms. Choose your favorite local wines for the holiday table.
Springfield is also known for its amazing holiday parade — not a light parade, but still a worthy parade to watch.
5. Oregon Coast Holiday Lights
On the Oregon Coast, the Heceta Head Lighthouse is the brightest light year-round and its adjacent bed and breakfast celebrates the season with full lights. Historic Old Town Florence will also light their holiday tree and you can enjoy the added beauty of lighted boats in the marina. From Florence drive 60 miles south to Shore Acres State Park to tour their marine-themed light display in their oceanfront gardens.
Bonus Holiday Lighting
Reserve your tour of the historic Shelton McMurphey Johnson House lit only with holiday lights and electric lanterns. The beautiful home is dressed for the holidays, and you get to explore it with the soft magical glow of holiday lighting.