Top 10 Essential Tips for Experiencing the Sisters Quilt Show

Every July, the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show takes over its namesake community in Central Oregon—displaying more than 1,000 quilts and attracting roughly 10,000 visitors from around the world. It’s a local tradition that’s been going strong since 1975.

Several events comprise the festivities, but the main attraction—which takes place the second Saturday in July—is a one-day outdoor quilt display. During its peak, more than 1,000 quilts adorn the sides of eateries, shops, and businesses throughout Sisters, inviting visitors to admire ornate designs, fantastical scenes, and brightly hued patterns. There are no judges on hand or awards to hand out, resulting in a festival that’s dedicated solely to celebrating the hard work and dedicated craftsmanship of countless quilters. Best of all: The massive show is free to explore.

If you’d like to enjoy the event yourself, we’ve put together 10 tips for visiting the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

Keep reading to make the most of your time at the Sisters quilt show.

Planning Your Visit

Quilts hanging outside business in Sisters, Oregon.

Photo courtesy of Explore Sisters.

Tip #1: Start Planning Early

First things first: It helps to know when the event occurs. No matter the year, the Sisters quilt show always takes place the second Saturday in July. Volunteers typically hang the event’s more than 1,000 quilts by 9 a.m., and they are taken down later that afternoon.

Tip #2: Choose the Right Time

There’s no bad time to visit the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show—but try arriving by 10 a.m. to enjoy quieter streets, more solitude, easier parking, and less traffic throughout downtown Sisters. (Early risers, take note: Volunteers begin hanging quilts as early as 7 a.m., offering a glimpse of what’s to come for those strolling around downtown in the morning hours.) Vehicular and pedestrian traffic increases as the day progresses; peak times typically occur around noon and again at 4 p.m., when the festival winds down for the day and visitors begin departing.

Whenever you visit, check out the festival’s traffic webpage for updates on street closures, safe pedestrian crossings, and other useful tips for navigating the show.

Tip #3: Lodging & Accommodations in Sisters

The first overnight stays for the next Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show are typically booked as soon as the current show ends—but you don’t need to be a dedicated planner to find stays around town.

Whenever possible, it helps to make reservations at local hotels as early as January—a full six months before the event. FivePine Lodge & Cabins offers an extravagant stay, Left Coast Lodge resides in a historic motel, and the Ski Inn Boutique Hotel hosts six well-appointed rooms just above a bustling taphouse.

If you’re okay with staying just outside of Sisters, the massive Black Butte Ranch may have vacation homes available for your group—and hotels in the likes of Redmond and Bend sit just 25 to 35 minutes from Sisters and tend to have plenty of availability. You’ll also find numerous campgrounds in the area—from the convenient Creekside Campground (at the edge of downtown Sisters) to Tumalo State Park (home to more than 80 campsites and yurts near Bend).

Balcony at the Ski Inn Taphouse Hotel in Sisters, Oregon

If you didn’t make an early reservation and aren’t seeing much vacancy in the weeks leading up to the festival, fear not: With so many visitors, last-minute cancellations always occur. Ask to be placed on a waiting list at your preferred hotel, check online availability occasionally, sign up for a hotel’s email newsletter (or follow them on social media) to learn about late-breaking availability, and create an availability alert for your desired campground—which sends you an email when space opens up for your selected dates.

Navigating the Show

Tip #4: Check the Schedule

If your schedule allows, consider arriving early or sticking around for some of the smaller events that make up an exciting part of the broader show. Those may include a fundraiser before the official show, walking tours, workshops, and lectures with featured quilters. Events change from year to year, which leads to new and memorable experiences every summer. Learn more from the Sisters Quilt Show Events page, see which events strike your fancy, and start planning today. 

Close up view of people admiring a quilt.

Tip #5: Attending Quilt Show Events & Raffle Quilts

A mix of one-off experiences and traditional events are offered as part of the festival every year—and that continues in 2024. Here’s a sampling of the fun events you can expect around the one-day quilt show:

Cherrywood Fabrics Monarch Challenge Preview: Fabric maker Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics invited artists to create works with a limited range of colors—all inspired by the striking beauty of the monarch butterfly. Those pieces will be on display July 12, 2024.

A Night of Colorful Celebration: The fundraiser takes place on July 11, 2024, at Sisters High School; it celebrates the life and career of quilt designer Freddy Moran with a special video presentation and an auction of Freddy-inspired quilts.

2024 Raffle Quilt: Every year, one quilt is selected to be raffled off to one lucky winner; proceeds help support the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show scholarship fund and go toward producing the show. Each raffle ticket is $5, tickets are available online, and the quilt is awarded at the conclusion of the one-day display.

Save it for Sunday!: The festival’s Save it for Sunday! event is an annual tradition, where a featured quilter’s work is displayed at FivePine Lodge & Cabins—and walking tours are offered with the artist. In 2024, designer Giuseppe Ribaudo will discuss his works and career in a lecture (tickets are $35 per person) and over the span of two walking tours (each is $25 per person). Ribaudo’s quilts will also be on display, free of charge, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Note that some events may cost money and require advance tickets; check the Sisters Quilt Show Events calendar for full details and links to buy tickets.

Making the Most of Your Time

Tip #6: Wear Comfortable Attire

The Sisters quilt show takes place across the community’s downtown core—and, as such, requires a fair amount of walking outdoors to take it all in. Keep the following in mind when planning your day:

  • Comfortable footwear: Wear shoes that you’ll feel comfortable walking in for a few hours; hopefully, they’ve been broken in and feel good by the time the event rolls around.
  • Appropriate clothing: Wear moisture-wicking apparel, which pulls sweat from the skin and lets it evaporate more quickly, to keep cool when the day gets warm. 
  • Hat and sunglasses: Expect plenty of sunshine, and gear up with a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the day’s warmth.
People walking the streets at the Sisters Quilt Show.

Photo courtesy of Explore Sisters.

Tip #7: Prepare for the Weather

Temperatures can warm up rapidly in Central Oregon, with frequent highs around 80ºF and occasional spikes to 90ºF, but as the saying goes: There’s no bad weather in Central Oregon—just a lack of preparation. Plan for the weather with these helpful tips:

    • Hydration: Bring a reusable water bottle, and keep it topped off whenever possible. Vendors and eateries around Sisters will be happy to help you stay hydrated and cool.
    • Sun protection: Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, and apply as often as necessary to protect against sunburns.
    • Breaks: If necessary, take a midday break (away from the sun) to cool off, rest, and recharge; take advantage of your hotel’s air-conditioned room, lounge by (or in) the pool, or kick back with a meal at one of Sister’s many restaurants.

Exploring Beyond the Quilt Show

Family eating at The Barn in Sisters, Oregon.

Tip #8: Local Dining

All over town, creative chefs pour their energy into crafting memorable meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Start your day right with regionally inspired breakfast classics at the Cottonwood Cafe, where a back patio provides the perfect backdrop for indulging in breakfast tacos, country-fried steak, and other hearty classics. For lunch or dinner, mosey into Sisters Saloon & Ranch Grill, whose pub fare menu includes sandwiches, regionally sourced steaks, and towering burgers. And at The Barn in Sisters, pair your meal from four on-site food carts with a local craft beer or creative cocktail at the bar.

Find your next favorite meal with our guide to the top restaurants in Sisters, Oregon.

Tip #9: Support Local Artisans and Businesses

Part of what makes the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show so unique is its setting: More than 1,000 quilts are displayed on the sides of buildings throughout the community’s Wild West-inspired downtown core—and those buildings host charming businesses that are worth a stop on your travels through town.

If you’re in town for the show and are already enchanted by quilts, it makes sense to visit Stitchin’ Post; the locally owned shop sells all the equipment you need to craft your own quilts, books and patterns for inspiration, knitting and crochet kits, and even works from local artists. About a block away, Sisters Cascade sells locally inspired gifts and home decor (such as mugs, artwork, and apparel) alongside decadent, house-made fudge. And Dixie’s is a popular boutique where you can get into the spirit of Sisters by purchasing jeans, boots, traditional Stetson hats, and other Western-inspired apparel.

Stitchin’ Post arts and crafts store in downtown Sisters, Oregon
The Dee Wright Observatory.

Tip #10: Other Attractions in Central Oregon

You’ll find plenty to enjoy when visiting Sisters, Oregon—above and beyond the quilt show.

In summer, one of the top sites around Sisters is the Dee Wright Observatory; constructed from black lava rock, the observatory sits in the heart of the Cascade Range, is surrounded by miles of lava flows, and offers wide-open views of roughly a dozen mountain peaks. The observatory sits about 15 miles west of Sisters via the seasonal McKenzie Highway.

If you’re looking for an active outing closer to town, rent a mountain bike from Blazin Saddles—and explore the Peterson Ridge Trail System, where more than 20 miles of mostly level, beginner-friendly trails head through ponderosa pine forests immediately south of Sisters.

You can also take a short walk on the Whychus Creek Scenic Overlook Trail, with a trailhead that’s just 5.5 miles south of Sisters. The wheelchair-accessible trail measures about one mile (round-trip) with little elevation gain—and ends with wide-open views of the Whychus Creek Wild and Scenic River Canyon, as well as the Three Sisters mountain peaks towering above it all.

Looking for other fun ideas? See the top 10 things to do in Sisters, Oregon, to plan a memorable weekend.

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