The holiday season is a magical time to visit Central Oregon — with winter activities ranging from downhill skiing and snowshoeing to shopping at boutiques around Bend and cozying up next to outdoor fire pits.
Adding to the fun are a variety of colorful holiday light displays across Central Oregon—where you’ll enjoy dazzling drive-through experiences, family-friendly attractions and (naturally) a light-up paddle to celebrate the season.
Here are a few local favorite holiday displays:
Excited to don your favorite winter jacket, toss a few marshmallows into your cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy the magic of the season? Get into the holiday spirit, and check out the best places to see holiday lights in Bend, Oregon, and beyond.
Sunriver Holiday Light Show
Every winter, Sunriver Resort transforms into a winter wonderland with its annual Traditions line-up—which includes filling holiday meals, horse-drawn sleigh rides, gingerbread house decorating, and other memorable activities for the whole family.
One of the most popular winter events at Sunriver Resort is the Holiday Light Show, occurring three times nightly between Nov. 19, 2023, and Jan. 1, 2024. The upbeat display comprises thousands of glittering lights, strewn across several trees and shrubs, that are programmed to sync up with some of your favorite holiday tunes. (Take it all in with a warm beverage available for purchase from the nearby Backyard Cafe & Bar.)
Tumalo Creek Holiday Lights Paddle Parade
Paddling is one of Central Oregon’s most beloved summertime traditions — so is it any wonder that a group of outdoor enthusiasts get together each winter to put on the Tumalo Creek Holiday Lights Paddle Parade?
Here’s how it works: Paddlers dress up in costume and decorate their kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards with colorful, battery-operated lights and holiday gear. From there, shortly before sunset, the parade kicks off from the Tumalo Creek outfitter shop on the Deschutes River before heading through the Old Mill District in Bend. Avid paddlers are encouraged to join, and spectators can watch from paved paths along the Deschutes River and from the Old Mill District Flag Bridge, which crosses the winding waterway.
Photo credit: Tumalo Creek Events
Drive-Through Starfest Holiday Light Celebration
Just 10 minutes west of Redmond and less than 30 minutes north of Bend, Starfest at Eagle Crest Resort is a long-running celebration, happening between late November and late December each year.
Thousands of holiday lights flicker on when the sun sets each night—inviting visitors to walk or drive through the resort’s many displays. Past animations have included Santa Claus playing baseball with an elf, Santa going cross-country skiing (no doubt along one of Central Oregon’s beloved trails), and traditional sights of the season—such as candy canes, reindeer, and presents. The drive-through Christmas lights display near Bend, Oregon, measures about one mile long.
Whether you’re visiting over the holidays or are planning a trip later in the season, check out our guide to the top winter activities in Central Oregon—including skiing, ice skating, shopping, and relaxing at day spas.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
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Ice Skating Rinks You Have to Try in Bend and Sunriver
Bend and Sunriver are two excellent winter destinations. The offering of winter activities in Central Oregon are immense. Snow typically falls fast and heavy and visitors get to experience a winter wonderland filled with snow capped Ponderosa pines and fresh powder. In such a winter wonderland, it makes sense that Bend and Sunriver would have a selection of ice skating spots. Whether guests choose to twirl on the ice, casually glide or just kick back with a hot cocoa while the kids play, a trip to the ice skating rink can help cap off any Central Oregon winter getaway.
Central Oregon Winter Adventures
When the snow flies, Central Oregon shines. All you have to do is choose your adventure. Mt. Bachelor - The model of a complete snowsports resort, Mt. Bachelor offers 360-degree lift-served groomed skiing and riding from its volcanic summit.