Looking for a new holiday tradition? Just down the road, in Silverton, the Oregon Garden’s annual Christmas in the Garden celebration offers cheery holiday lights, warm drinks and now–outdoor ice skating. Here’s what we found out when we road tripped it down there to check it out for ourselves.

Christmas in the Garden-Kelley Gardiner (5)

photo: Kelley Gardiner

Lights

At the heart of Christmas in the Garden is a stroll through the woods on a chilly evening with family and friends. These woods hold magic in the form of 400,000 lights in festive displays. Your little elves will delight in running through a tunnel of lights, seeing lit woodland creatures holding up umbrellas, and coming upon all kinds of funny and fantastical scenes. Fire pits and seating areas are scattered throughout the woods, and hot cocoa and mulled wine are available to buy for sipping. Of course, this being Oregon, you’ll be able to buy craft beer, too, thanks to Gilgamesh Brewing. Enjoy your drinks, hearty German food and carolers as you make your winding way through the trees.

Santa Claus also makes an appearance for the requisite gift consultations and photo opportunities. You’ll need to bring your own camera, but these photos are totally free. Stop and shop in the garden’s Christmas Market if you need any holiday gift inspiration or last-minute presents from local vendors.

skating

photo: Kelley Gardiner

Ice Skating

The skating rink, new this year, is not strictly outdoors—it’s in a large tent that’s protected from the elements—but it’s still far and away the closest thing to Rockefeller Center that you’ll find in our mild climate. Lights twinkle, Christmas trees sparkle, and holiday music wafts through the chilly (but not freezing: think 60 degrees or so) air. We love it when a holiday activity comes with a physical activity as well, but if you’re not one to strap on skates, you can watch your family while sitting on a bench rinkside, and drinking mulled wine. Ice skating is available during the day, and also as an add-on during the evening event. Rink admission and rental fees are in addition to admission, but you’re welcome to bring your own skates. Orange sleds called “bobbies” are available to push the wobblier little skaters around, but note that all kids on the ice must wear skates, and the smallest size available is a toddler’s size eight.

kid crawling in a hole

photo: Kelley Gardiner

Garden

Even though there’s not much blooming this time of year, it’s worth a tramp through the popular Oregon Gardens to see the manicured grounds. Little ones will love the Children’s Garden, where they can crawl through a “hobbit hole,” bang on bongos and check out some weird and interesting plant life. Come early and see the garden before nightfall, or stay overnight and check out the garden in the morning.

Oregon Garden Resort

photo: Kelley Gardiner

Resort

The Oregon Garden Resort offers cozy and comfortable digs for families to spend an evening or weekend. Rates from $109-139 will get you a “cottage” room (each cottage has four rooms), with two queen beds, a gas fireplace and a continental breakfast in the morning in the Garden View Restaurant. Check out different packages that will either include admission to Christmas in the Garden or for ice skating in the price of your stay. Be sure to check out the cozy lounge when it’s time to come inside and warm up after a night of strolling under the stars, trees and lights. Minors are welcome until 9 p.m.

sleigh in lights

photo: Kelley Gardiner

Details

Christmas in the Garden runs now through Jan. 3rd, closed Christmas Eve and Christmas. Throughout this time, you’ll find special events like live reindeer and pony rides. Check the schedule and calendar as you plan your trip. Admission to Christmas in the Garden doesn’t include ice skating or skate rental, but it does include admission to the Oregon Garden. Parking at the garden will cost $5 during peak times, when patrons are encouraged to park offsite and ride a free shuttle.

879 W Main St.
Silverton, Or
503-874-8100
Online: oregongarden.org/events/christmas-in-the-garden

Have you visited Christmas in the Garden? Tell us your favorite part in the comments!

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—Kelley Gardiner