The Oregon Garden Resort (and Christmas in the Garden) are the perfect spot for a safe runcation this holiday season

Run Oregon loves running – that’s no surprise. But we also love the Pacific Northwest and all that it has to offer. Running is a part of us, but it does not fully define us. In our new “Make a Day of It” feature, we aim to showcase some great local non-running events and highlight where to run and how to make the most of your experience!

This installment of the series is Christmas in the Garden.

First the running:

We will mention some races below, because we think that some of these may be available as in-person in 2021. However, as this is limited to the holiday season, we wanted to highlight some other solid running areas nearby, from the iconic Silver Falls to even a nice looped route on the garden grounds, you can get in your running fix. There are actually 4-miles of ADA paths that snake through the grounds, so you will get in some miles in right outside your door. The West Main Street Climb (Strava) will take you beginning at the entrance and slowly climbing upwards to the resort. I also previously created a 1.2 mile paved loop on Strava that starts and ends right in front of the resort.

Now on to Christmas in the Garden:

Christmas in the Garden is located at The Oregon Garden, “a stunning 80-acre botanical garden, featuring more than 20 specialty gardens showcasing the diverse botanical beauty of the Willamette Valley and the Pacific Northwest“. It’s 2020, so obviously this year some things have changed. Gone are the ice skating and snowless tubing, but returning are artisan vendors, fire pits, and even a masked up Santa.

One of the bigger changes this year is the way that you can actually get into the event. There are pretty much NO availability left for the rest of the season for those who are NOT staying at the Oregon Garden Resort. Their staycation special includes lodging, admission to the lights display, and free breakfast the next morning – not a bad deal AT ALL for a fun family experience.

Here are some highlights from our preview:

There will be some great new additions, as well as many great things that are beloved about the event. There will still be thousands of lights (including the candy cane tunnel) and themed displays. There will be heaters, fire pits, and covered areas to keep dry and warm (and distanced), as well as gluhwein (mulled wine) and other traditional beer and food from Germany (like sausages from nearby ,Mt. Angel Sausage Company). New this year 10 Barrel Brewing will be the beer provider and Santa will be at the light display most nights – though he will be 6 feet away.

Another significant change is that the lights are no longer located in The Oregon Garden trees, but are instead dispersed around Oregon Garden Resort’s lodge. The paths are one-way to discourage clumping. While the lights are more concentrated and the experience is “shorter”, you can actually go through multiple times during your hour timeframe (we went twice and could have gone more). And since only 50 people are allowed in the lights at any given time, it’s a really fun and quieter experience. And it’s pretty dang awesome…

My kids thoroughly enjoyed the numerous displays and the castle area (the photo immediately above this) was fantastic. We ended up standing around the firepit for a bit just soaking it in. We had NO issues with feeling near other people as there was plenty of space to stay separated.

The Stay:

If you haven’t stayed at the Oregon Garden Resort, we highly recommend it. We have stayed a few times, and it’s really great to feel one with nature, yet still within a town not too far removed from the I-5 corridor. There are 103 rooms on property, some within the main lodge, but a significant amount in cottage-style buildings just north of the main area.

Each of these have warm fireplaces and private garden patios.  There are even almost a dozen pet-friendly rooms if you have a four-legged friend in tow.

Though on-site indoor dining isn’t really going on at the on-site restaurants – the Garden View Restaurant and Fireside Lounge – you can still order contactless dinner delivered directly to your room. We recommend checking out this post for more information on the great location and the non-holiday season (and less COVID-restricted dining options) information.

Lastly, rest assured that the resort is taking COVID-19 seriously. I recommend reading their response to the coronavirus and making decisions based off that. They have started contactless Check-In, electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant to sterilize high-touch areas in public locations and in the spa, as well as enhanced sanitizing.

The time is NOW to experience Christmas in the Garden and the Oregon Garden Resort!

2020/2021 Event Dates: November 27, 2020 – January 2, 2021 (Closed December 24 & 25)

Cost: Purchase tickets here:

  • Lodging specials start at $169 and include overnight accommodations, lights admission, and breakfast

Follow the Oregon Garden on Facebook to be kept up to date on all that they have to offer!


Many thanks to the The Oregon Garden for allowing us to check out their property and the event! Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.

About Matt Rasmussen (1636 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.
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