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Top Things to Do This Winter

Published: November 01, 2019

 

Winter in Oregon brings a new crop of adventures to choose from: watching whales making their annual trek along our coastline; sipping a glass of Pinot with friends by the tasting room fire; cozying up in a mountain lodge after a day of snowshoeing in the Cascades.

You're likely to encounter a variety of different types of weather along the way, but luckily this region offers no shortage of things to do indoors and outdoors. Drizzly day in the Willamette Valley? Take the opportunity to explore exquisite art and museums, or head to wine country to take advantage of Cellar Season. Cool and clear in Florence? Fly a kite on the beach and warm up with the coast's best clam chowder. Snowing in the mountains? Bundle up and go hiking or snowshoeing. 

Kite Flying at South Jetty in Florence by Sally McAleer
Kite Flying at the South Jetty in Florence by Sally McAleer

 

Take note that the weather can also vary greatly from the coast to the mountains. You may get beautiful, sunshine-filled coastal days while it pours in the valley, or vice versa. So no matter where you wander, be prepared for a range of weather conditions. Pack layers, check road conditions at TripCheck.com, and call ahead to confirm business hours.

Here are our picks for the best of the winter: from holiday lights to cellar season, whale and storm watching to live music.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Holiday Lights at The Village Green by Hayley Radich
Holiday Lights at The Village Green by Hayley Radich

 

The region dresses up for the holidays with twinkling gardens, covered bridges and shopping centers. Attend a tree lighting, take a guided tour or watch a light parade. From Christmas choirs to holiday dining, the season is full of fun, family-friendly events.

Saturday Market's Holiday Market is a festive take on the regular artisan market—and this year it will stay outside on the Park Blocks, rain… More Info
The parade is on! But it will be in a "reverse" format this year. Floats will be stationary and you will drive by them! This is the oldest… More Info
Enjoy a formal afternoon tea in the historic Shelton McMurphey Johnson House for your private party of 4 to 10 people. The beautiful rooms… More Info

Cellar Season in Oregon Wine Country

Benton-Lane Winery in Snow
Benton-Lane Winery in Snow
 

Wine tasting in winter has its own unique appeal. Imagine uncorking a bottle in a cozy tasting room, soaking up the slow pace of a lazy winter afternoon. Perhaps the winemaker stops by your table to chat, or you take the opportunity to tour the barrel room or sample a yet-to-be-released vintage. Days are shorter and tasting room hours are fewer, but the tasting experience itself can often be more personable, slower-paced and special.

TrackTown USA & Running Events

Eugene doesn't stop running just because it's cool and damp outside – after all, this is the TrackTown USA! Lace up your shoes and join a run, explore the chip trails or shop for running gear at one of the region's acclaimed running stores.

Choose your own adventure to get your blood pumping in the winter air! The 5K is very challenging, from mile 1.3 to mile 1.9, the course… More Info

Whale Watching & Storm Watching on the Oregon Coast

It's peak season for winter whale watching on the Oregon Coast, where spouting mammoth gray whales embark on their southern migration. It's also the season for storm watching, where huge thundering waves and dramatic skies are on display alongside the Oregon Coast's gusty winds and rolling fog banks. While beautiful, always practice beach safety by watching for sneaker waves and staying away from logs and driftwood. After a chilly ramble on the beach, enjoy a warm bowl of clam chowder at one of the many delicious seafood restaurants in Historic Old Town Florence. 

This event has been canceled. Experience three days of bluegrass, Americana and folk music at the 19th annual Florence Winter Music… More Info

Play in the Snow

Sledding at Willamette Pass by Traci Williamson
Sledding at Willamette Pass by Traci Williamson

 

Try snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding in the Cascade Mountains. Snowshoe waterfalls, sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, around lakes and through majestic snowy forests. Downhill ski, snowboard and cross-country ski at Willamette Pass Resort. And when you're ready to warm up, take advantage of the Cascade Mountain's natural hot springs.

Food & Drink

Rye Restaurant Cocktails by Melanie Griffin
Rye Restaurant Cocktails by Melanie Griffin

 

Explore a world of tastes this winter: with artisan spirits or one of the Willamette Valley's farm-to-fork restaurants dishing up local specialties like Oregon truffles, Dungeness crab and an array of local artisan chocolates. Pair with regional wine or a craft brew for the ultimate local foodie experience.

Creswell Bakery by Eugene, Cascades & Coast
Explore regional beverage and food trails showcasing local farms, artisan industries and locavore dining.… More Info
Matthew Knight Arena Sunset by Gregory Burns
UO Women's Basketball games are drawing huge crowds.… More Info

Arts, Music & Entertainment

It's always warm and bright indoors with the region's many great museums, art galleries, movie theaters and performing arts. Discover Eugene's nightlife with live music, DJs and karaoke. Show your ticket from select theaters at participating businesses for dining and shopping discounts. Roll dice at a local casino or use your smarts to escape a room and your brawn to throw an axe.

More Winter Events

  

Author: Taj Barnhart Morgan

Taj Barnhart Morgan is the Director of Content Strategy for Travel Lane County. A journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, Taj has two decades of special event management and hospitality marketing experience in San Diego, CA and Maui, HI. Passionate about mothering, and back to her Oregon roots, she is discovering the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region all over again through the eyes of her daughter.