12 Best Christmas Lights in Salem Oregon

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You don’t have to go far to find great Christmas lights in Salem Oregon. The sleepy city and its quiet countryside hosts a great selection of holiday light displays. On any given night you’re pretty well guaranteed to encounter small crowds, warm-hearted hosts, and country charm.

Antique tractor pulling a tram all decked out with Christmas lights and inflatables on the tram roof. Powerland Holiday Sparkles in Brooks, Oregon.
Powerland’s Holiday Sparkles

Many of these displays are community traditions that go back for years. A number of these holiday events benefit charities and welcome volunteers.

@dinkumtribe This is a free Christmas light display put on by a local church in Silverton, Oregon. Worth a stop if you are in the area for the Silverton Christmas Market lights! @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #christmasinoregon #christmastiktok #christmaslights #christmaslightsaremyfavoritecolor #christmaslightdisplay #holidaylights #holidaylightshow #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids ♬ Christmas Magic – Background Music Lab

In this post we’ll walk you through the 12 best Christmas lights in Salem Oregon. We’ll also introduce you to the best holiday displays in the State of Oregon.

Three of our children look over a glowing landscape of lights at the Nature's Coastal Holiday lights display in Azalea Park, Brookings. If you enjoy Christmas lights in Salem Oregon, then you'll love Oregon's other fantastic light displays.
A landscape of lights at Nature’s Coastal Holiday in Brookings, Oregon.

Looking for more to do besides Christmas lights? Check out our Family Christmas Bucket List or Winter Activities for Teens and Families posts.

Christmas Lights in Salem Oregon

Oregon’s capitol city quiets down after 7:00 PM and that makes for great holiday light excursions! Here are five displays to enjoy inside the City of Salem:

#1. Magic of Lights: Oregon State Fairgrounds

Picture shows a close-up of hanging lights. Magic of Lights is the place to see the best Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.
Image by Tbilisi.

Don’t miss this year’s hot-ticket holiday display! Magic of Lights is bringing holiday cheer to a whole new level at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

Magic of Lights is a top-notch traveling exhibit that illuminates cities across the United States. They’re known for enormous, original displays including life-size dinosaurs, monster trucks, and popular toys.

Magic of Lights Details:

  • Season runs from November 17th to December 31st
  • Hours:
    • Monday to Thursday: 5:30-9:00 PM
    • Friday to Sunday: 5:30-10:00 PM

#2. Riverfront Park

A six foot tall illuminated star stands at Riverfront Park. Riverfront Park is one of the 11 best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.
Riverfront Park becomes an illuminated playground during the holiday season.

Salem’s Riverfront Park transforms into a holiday wonderland after dark. The waterfront park features an illuminated playground of sorts, including  a light tunnel, an enormous teddy bear, and gargantuan Christmas present entryway. 

Jenn and I spent over half an hour gawking at the lights at Riverfront Park. Someone kindly offered to take our picture. When we looked at the photo we were shocked to find our parents dressed up in our clothing! I guess you have to get old sometime. 

@dinkumtribe The lights at the Salem Riverfront Park were beautiful with few crowds. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #salemoregon #salemoregonfun #salemoregoncheck #oregonchristmas #oregonchristmaslights #riverfrontpark #lighttunnel #traveloregon #youroregon #salemismopo #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids ♬ It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams

Riverfront Park is a short walk from the stores, brewpubs, and restaurants of Salem’s historic downtown. The lights are situated around the Asher Anderson Waterpark, toward the north end of Riverfront Park.

My wife and I pause for a selfie next to the enormous, illuminated present that serves as the entryway to the Riverfront Park lights display. Riverfront Park is one of the 11 best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.
Here’s a selfie. (No, I’m not going to show you our fat-middle-aged-parent photo.)

#3. Willamette University Star Trees

Salem holds one of the most unique light displays in all of Oregon. The Willamette Valley Star Trees are five giant sequoias that were artfully planted to create the shape of star. 

The outline of a star can be seen in the space between the five Willamette Star Trees. The picture is taken by pointing the camera up toward the top of the trees while standing in the center of the five trees. The Willamette University Start Trees are one of the 11 best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.

The star appears when you stand in the center of the giants and look up. Our particular visit required some imagination due to some wayward branches.

@dinkumtribe These giant sequoias were planted in such a way that from the center looking up you can see a star shape… also they are giant Christmas trees right now! @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #startrees #willametteuniversity #christmasinoregon #oregonchristmastrees #oregonchristmaslights #oregonchristmas #salemismopo #a#adhdfamilytravelf#familytravelcreatoro#oregonfamilyp#pnwfamilyp#pnwfamilieso#oregonfamiliesf#familytravelvlogf#familytravelblogf#familytravelinfluencer ♬ Carol of the Bells – Instrumental – Russell Davis & Roy Vogt & Michael Green & Marty Crum & Jeff Kirk & David Angell & Carrie Bailey & Steve Patrick & Nancy Allen & Ginger Newman & Sarah Valley

Geometry aside, the Star Trees are worth a visit simply for their size and splendor. The trees are enormous, easily making them the tallest Christmas trees on any college campus in America.

Willamette University’s Star Trees were planted by the class of 1942 to commemorate the University’s centennial. Willamette University was the first university established in the American West, begun by Jason Lee in 1842. 

A historic university building stands grandly beside the Willamette University Star Trees. The Willamette University Start Trees are one of the 11 best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.

#4. Holiday Sparkles: Powerland Heritage Park (Brooks)

Enjoy a drive-through history at Powerland’s Holiday Sparkles event, just a few minutes’ north of Keizer. Powerland’s collection of antique machine museums hosts a free, drive-thru light experience of historic machines and buildings decked out for the holidays.

John Deer historic building with tractors, completely decked out with Christmas lights.

We visited Holiday Sparkles with our kids recently, and it was one of our favorite holiday light experiences ever!

@dinkumtribe Enjoy a drive-through history at Powerland’s Holiday Sparkles event, just a few minutes’ north of Keizer. Powerland’s collection of antique machine museums hosts a free, drive-thru light experience of historic machines and buildings decked out for the holidays. We visited Holiday Sparkles with our kids recently, and it was one of our favorite holiday light experiences ever! Seeing tractors, fire engines, and even a full train with engine, cars and caboose all decked out with Christmas lights is unforgettable. Our boys kept saying, “We have to come back here and explore these in the summer!” #oregontravelguide #christmasbucketlist #havingfunoverchristmasbreak #holidaylightscheck #holidaytiktok #christmaslights #christmastiktok #christmasinoregon #salemoregonfun ♬ Christmas – neozilla

Seeing tractors, fire engines, and even a full train with engine, cars and caboose all decked out with Christmas lights is unforgettable. Our boys kept saying, “We have to come back here and explore these in the summer!”

Historic caboose and railcar decorated for Christmas at Powerland Holiday Sparkles.

In the middle of all of the buildings you can park and get out to enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies, and even meet Santa. We loved each museum’s creative takes on the holiday light displays.

Santa mannequin in a portable toilet with the Grinch outside holding John Deere monogrammed toilet paper.
We laughed so much at this!

But the best part was when the Grinch himself showed up to block our driving tour – don’t worry, he didn’t get away with it! 🙂

View from inside our van showing the Grinch standing in front of a road with a "Road Closed" sign next to a historic caboose. Best Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.
What? Road closed?

At the end of the auto tour you can vote for your favorite holiday display, and also donate to help the museums continue their mission of preserving these historic machines. Holiday Sparkles takes place during weekends in December at Powerland Heritage Park in North Salem (Brooks).

#5. Mortgage First Lights Display

Rudolph and his fellow reindeer prance up off the roof of the Mortgage First Building. The Mortgage First lights display is one of the 11 best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.

The Mortgage First Lights Display is one of the funnest places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon. This building is literally covered with all things Christmas— including a life-size Santa complete with sleigh and reindeer!

You’ll find the Mortgage First building at 1761 Liberty St. SE, near the Y intersection of Liberty and Commercial streets NE. The Mortgage First building lights up every night until January 6th, from sundown to 10 P.M.

@dinkumtribe The Mortgage First Lights Display is one of Salem’s funnest displays. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #familychristmas #christmaslightshow #christmaslights #bestchristmaslights #salemismopo #oregonchristmas #oregonchristmaslights ♬ It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas – Michael Bublé

#6. Magic at the Mill: Willamette Heritage Center

People stroll about the beautiful holiday lights at Magic at the Mill. Magic at the Mill is one of the 11 best places to see Christmas Lights in Salem.
Image by Glen Bledsoe.

The Willamette Heritage Center transforms into one of Salem’s biggest holiday attractions during Magic at the Mill. The five day event showcases Salem’s holiday history amid some of the city’s most historic venues. 

Magic at the Mill includes live performances, living history displays, illuminated decorations, miniature trains, children’s activities, and food. The magic lasts from December 19th-23rd. 

Open books and journals sit beside a tea cup an saucer in the historic Lee Home at the Willamette Valley Heritage Center.
Image by Glen Bledsoe.

Keizer

#7. Keizer Miracle of Christmas Lights Display

An inflated Santa stands among all kinds of Christmas lights at a house in Keizers Miracle of Christmas display. The Miracle of Christmas is one of the 11 best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.

Experience a miracle that was three decades in the making. The Gubser neighborhood has been Keizer’s Christmas capitol for almost forty years. 

House with multiple displays and a Happy New Year sign in Keizer's Gubser neighborhood. Best Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.

This community event began as a friendly neighborhood competition, and now it encompasses multiple city blocks. Follow the friendly snowman signs from the entry point located at Lockhaven Drive and 14th Avenue NE as you weave past homes decked out for the holidays.

Snowman sign on a stop sign with a hat that reads "KPD" and an arrow.
Snowman sign directing cars along the route to the Keizer PD stand.

Some of our favorite displays included a Star Wars inflatables yard, and several humorous Christmas dinosaur displays. You can easily spend a full hour driving around as you explore each block with cheery lights and holiday decor.

Keep an eye out for Buddy the Elf zooming around on a mini-bike throughout the neighborhood. He passed us at least 3 times on our recent visit!

home with multiple Christmas lights on.

Today The Miracle of Christmas is a community endeavor that supports the Marion-Polk Food Share. You can contribute to this effort by making monetary donations or providing non-perishables at the Keizer Police Department pavilion at the end of the snowmen signposts.

Silverton

My son pets an illuminated reindeer at the Christmas Light Spectacular at Silver Creek Fellowship. The Christmas Light Spectacular is one of the 11 best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.

Silverton is one of Oregon’s top Christmas towns, the home of the Oregon Garden, and the gateway to the incredible Silver Falls State Park. This town goes all out for Christmas and it’s only half an hour from the city of Salem. 

There are a number of great light displays in Silverton, but here are the top three:

#8. Christmas Light Spectacular at Silver Creek Fellowship

A multicolored landscape of lights spreads out from the entry road to the Christmas Light Spectacular. The Christmas Light Spectacular is one of  the 11 best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.

The Christmas Light Spectacular is one of our favorite local traditions. The church of Silver Creek Fellowship hosts a top-notch drive-thru event. The light show is synced to music that you can hear over your car radio (90.1 FM). Light displays include a nativity scene, an illuminated forest, and singing Christmas trees!

@dinkumtribe SCF puts on a free Christmas display every year for the local community. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #silvercreekfellowship #christmaslightshow #christmaslightsaremyfavoritecolor #christmasinoregon #oregonchristmaslights #oregonchristmas #adhdfamilytravel #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #christmas2022 ♬ Famous Christmas songs / Orchestra arrangement – MIZUSATO Masaki

#9. Town Square Park

Christmas is a big deal in Silverton!

Silverton’s Town Square Park is one of the most rewarding places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon. Town Square Park is a lovely green space located along Silver Creek and Silverton’s historic downtown. The park becomes Christmas central when with the annual Christmas tree lighting.

Town Square Park has a mailbox that’s specifically set aside for letters to Santa. Our children were overjoyed when their letters were answered with a handwritten response from Santa only a few days before Christmas.

@dinkumtribe Checking out Silverton’s murals: send a letter to Santa Claus here and get a real response! #silvertonoregon #santaclaus #santaclausiscomingtotown #ibelieveinsantaclaus #ibelieveinsanta #silvertonartwalk #christmastownusa #lettertosanta #letterstosanta #christmasfunforkids #christmasfunfortoddlers #christmastreelighting #artwalks #exploreoregonshistory #oregonexplored #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #familytraveltiktoker #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelblogger #familytravelvlogger #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids @dinkumtribe ♬ original sound – DinkumTribe ADHD family travel

Town Square Park is only a short drive from the Christmas Light Spectacular (above) and the Silverton Christmas Market (below). It’s also steps away from dozens of incredible Silverton restaurants, so it’s easy to make an evening of your visit.

#10. Silverton Christmas Market

The Oregon Garden Resort has its own winter wonderland. Jennifer enjoyed the Christmas market last year on a quiet, post-Christmas getaway.

People walk along a pathway of purple bushes and purple snow at the Silverton Christmas Market. Silverton Christmas Market is one of the 11 best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.

The Silverton Christmas Market features immersive illuminated displays, live music, a snowless tubing hill, fire pits, an artisan vendor market, a Biergarten, and Santa.

Mt. Angel

An enormous holiday switch stands in front of Mt. Angel's town Christmas tree. Mt. Angel is one of the 11 best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.

#11. Mt. Angel Christkindlmarkt

The nearby town of Mt. Angel may have the most heartwarming lights display in the Willamette Valley. Each year Santa selects a local child to help light the town’s Christmas Tree. 

The event takes place during the town’s German Christmas Market. Santa arrives on the town firetruck and picks a child’s name out of a hat. Then that child pulls an enormous lever to light the tree. This is Christmas at its best! 

@dinkumtribe Mt. Angel Christkindl Market was rainy, cold and perfectly festive! @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe #christmasmarket #christmasmarkets #christmastreelighting #bavarianfood #christmasinoregon #christmasinthepnw #pnwchristmas #oregonchristmas #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids ♬ A Holly Jolly Christmas – Christmas Music

Corvallis

#12. Pastega Christmas Lights Display

Headed southwest? The Pastega Christmas Display is a free, community-led holiday event that’s filled with fun. The display began from one family’s passion but has blossomed into a community-wide celebration.

The Benton County Fairgrounds is packed full of illuminated Christmas decor at the Pastega Christmas Display. The Pastega Christmas Display is one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.

Holiday cutouts range from the Grinch to Princess Amidala, all while collecting food donations for the local community. The Pastega Christmas Display can be found at the Benton fairgrounds from Nov. 24th-Dec. 31st. 

Note: Severe winter weather can result in closures. Check the Pastega Christmas Light website when planning your visit.

Illuminated Star Wars character cutouts welcome visitors at the Pastega Christmas Display. The Pastega Christmas Display is one of the 11 best places to see Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.

Best Christmas Lights in Oregon

Portland Area

The Rose City has its own collection of fantastic festive displays. Here’s a rundown of five holiday displays in the Portland area.

An illuminated train chugs along in ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo. ZooLights is an attraction that rivals the best Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.
  • Winter Wonderland: The Portland International Raceway hosts the largest holiday lights display in the Pacific Northwest. The drive-thru event benefits the Sunshine Division.
  • ZooLights: The Oregon Zoo’s light extravaganza includes colorful creature displays and an illuminated train. The outdoor event can be experienced on foot or by car. 
  • Christmas Ship Parade: Portland’s Christmas Fleet makes an appearance on the Columbia River, Willamette River, and even Lake Oswego. Christmas Ship Holiday parades run throughout the holiday season. 
Our daughter gawks at an enormous, illuminated boa constrictor at ZooLights.
  • Pioneer Courthouse Square: Shop, dine, and enjoy live music under Oregon’s grandest Christmas Tree. “Portland’s Living Room” hosts holiday events and performances all season long.
  • Peacock Lane: Portland’s OG light show has been ringing in the holidays since 1929. This historic neighborhood welcomes visitors with live musicians and warm drinks, entirely free of charge.

The Oregon Coast

Christmas lights illuminate the historic mansion and gardens at Shore Acres State Park. The Oregon Coast has several Christmas displays that rival any Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.
Shore Acres State Park. Image by OCVA.

The coast has its own holiday allure. We witnessed the Coast’s Christmas charm on our holiday national parks roadtrip. Here’s two places to consider if your Christmas holiday takes you to the beach:

  • Nature’s Coastal Holiday, Azalea Park: Brooking’s Azalea Park may be the most immersive Christmas lights experience in Oregon. The city park is literally covered with a dazzling variety of lights and light displays. Azalea Park is one of the best holiday displays that our family has ever encountered. 
@dinkumtribe This incredible lights display is an annual event held at Azalea Park in Brookings on the Oregon Coast. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @travelsouthernoregon #christmaslights #christmaslightinstallation #christmaslightsaremyfavoritecolor #holidaylights #holidaylights2022 #southoregoncoast #southernoregon #southernoregoncoast #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids ♬ Jingle Bells – Christmas Background Music
  • Shore Acres Holiday Lights, Shore Acres State Park: The historic estate of a lumber baron becomes a magical Christmas wonderland at this beautiful Oregon State Park. Shore Acres draws winter travelers as a place to enjoy holiday lights and majestic ocean storms.
A Great White Shark made entirely of Christmas lights threatens visitors at Nature's Coastal Holiday in Brooking Oregon.

Southern Oregon

Southern Oregon is another great holiday destination. We experienced three of these holiday light displays during our holiday national parks road trip to the Redwoods. Here are four great places to see Christmas lights in Southern Oregon:

The historic Jacksonville City Hall towers over a Christmas Tree in Jacksonville Oregon. If you enjoy Christmas lights in Salem Oregon, then you'll probably enjoy Jacksonville's Victorian Christmas.
  • Wolf Creek Inn & Tavern: Oregon’s longest-operating stage coach stop still welcomes travelers. Enjoy the holidays at a historic site that doesn’t take itself too seriously. 
  • Magical Murals of Grants Pass: Beautiful, illuminated murals bring holiday decor to a whole new level. Twenty magic murals decorate the Grant’s Pass downtown area. These remarkable works actually change as you watch them!
@dinkumtribe These holiday themed lighted murals are all made by local artists. They are available to view around downtown Grant’s Pass from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @dinkumtribe @travelsouthernoregon #christmaslights #holidaylights #holidaylights2022 #southernoregon #christmaslightsaremyfavoritecolor #adhdfamilytravel #familytravelcreator #oregonfamily #pnwfamily #pnwfamilies #oregonfamilies #familytravelvlog #familytravelblog #familytravelinfluencer #travelwithkids #youroregon #thatoregonlife #traveloregon #visitoregon #oregonisawesome #bestoforegon ♬ It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams
  • Jacksonville’s Victorian Christmas: Enjoy frontier finery as the town of Jacksonville transforms into a Victorian Belle. Jacksonville is one of Oregon’s best preserved frontier settlements and one of the best places to experience Christmas in Oregon. 
The notorious leg lamp of A Christmas Story stands before a window at Wolf Creek Inn State Heritage Site.

Eastern Oregon

Eastern Oregon is a great place to experience a white Christmas. Here are two holiday festivities that are worth looking into:

Wreaths, lights, and bows decorate snowy victorian buildings in the historic town of Baker City.
Image by Baker County Tourism Travel.
Christmas lights set steam aglow on the Sumpter Valley Railroad Christmas Train. Eastern Oregons Christmas lights rival all of the Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.
Image by Baker County Tourism Travel.

Did You Find What You’re Looking For?

Did you find the information that you needed? We’re always glad to hear from our readers. Leave a comment or send us an email with your questions and we’ll see what we can do! 

Happy traveling and Merry Christmas! 

Jennifer and I smile together in a bright, holiday selfie. We hope you enjoy the very best Christmas lights in Salem Oregon.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Dinkum Tribe!

© Copyright Brian A. Warren 2022. UPDATED and expanded: November 27, 2023.

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About the author

Brian Warren is a native of California and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and several other countries. He's husband to Jennifer, Dad of six children, and taught middle school history for several years. His special interests include craft beers, the American Old West, and geology. Brian is also an online marketing specialist and cofounder of Dinkum Tribe, a website dedicated to healthy, happy families. Feel free to send Brian a message at [email protected].

Comments

  1. Wow, amazingly beautiful Christmas light displays! Salem, Oregon really goes all out! Love that lit up train. Thanks for sharing! 😊

  2. Everything looks so festive! So many beautiful Christmas lights displays! I’m fascinated with trees so especially love Willamette Valley Star Trees.

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