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Holiday Lights and Merry Sights in Oregon’s Capital City

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The holiday season is always special in Oregon’s capital city, and as one of the state’s oldest communities, Salem is steeped in history and tradition. Not only is downtown Salem a vibrant destination, it is also central to some of the Mid-Willamette Valley’s top holiday events, attractions, festivals, performing arts, wineries and more. Keep reading for some of the best destinations to celebrate the holidays in Salem, Oregon.


Local Shops, Boutiques and Markets

Tax-free holiday shopping? Yes, please! Many of downtown Salem’s locally owned businesses offer gift options for loved ones. The annual Salem Holiday Market is a beloved local tradition where shoppers can find unique treasures handmade by local artisans, while enjoying festive holiday entertainment and food. Seasonal shopping deals abound in many of Salem’s renowned retail centers, like Salem Center and Willamette Town Center. Woodburn Premium Outlets, located just 25 minutes from Salem, boasts more than 100 stores and brand-name factory outlets.

Salem’s Riverfront Carousel

The Riverfront Carousel evokes nostalgia any time of the year, but the holiday season is an especially memorable time to visit. Nestled along the beautiful Willamette River in Salem’s Riverfront Park, the enchanting old-world style carousel features whimsical animals lovingly handcrafted with astonishing detail and craftsmanship. The Carousel traditionally hosts a delightful series of annual holiday events beginning in late November culminating in free carousel rides on Christmas Day. Visit for more information.

Santa riding Salem’s Riverfront Carousel from Top Hat Photography by Karl Nightingale

Mid-Willamette Valley Wineries and Breweries

A trip to the Willamette Valley would not be complete without an excursion through Oregon’s Wine Country! If you visit during the months of November and December, chances are you would have access to seasonal events, tastings, entertainment and open houses hosted by multiple wineries and breweries! Visit for more information.

A glass of Willamette Valley wine

The Silverton Christmas Market

Formerly known as Christmas in the Garden, the new Silverton Christmas Market is an idyllic destination to create magical holiday memories for the whole family. The annual European-inspired tradition takes place from late November through News Years Day in the Oregon Garden Resort. It features one million Christmas lights, a traditional German Christmas market, a Biergarten, wood-burning fire pit and of course, visits with Santa!

The Silverton Christmas Market

Willamette Heritage Center

This Salem, Oregon treasure hosts its annual Magic at the Mill event each December 19th- 23rd. Located at the beautiful Willamette Heritage Center, this cherished festival features children’s activities, thousands of twinkling lights, tours of historic buildings, demonstrations, seasonal treats and a holiday market. Visit for more information.

The Willamette Heritage Center

For more Salem, Oregon holiday events, visit for up-to-date visitor information. Located just 47 miles south of Portland and 64 miles north of Eugene, the Salem Convention Center is ideal for your next event or meeting! Be sure to book one of the luxurious, comfortable rooms or suites at the Grand Hotel in Salem, headquarters hotel for the Salem Convention Center,  in the heart of downtown Salem.