Eugene Fun Enjoy the culture, diversity, outdoors without Portland’s traffic
Experience Eugene…. Portland Fun
Without the Traffic
By Judith Culp Pearson
Eugene offers fun quirkiness and the diversity of Portland. But there is a key difference… you get that fun feeling and gorgeous scenery without the big city traffic. And, it’s
home to the University of Oregon Ducks! It’s laid back, casual, sophisticated, cultural and quirky all at once. It’s a beautiful outdoors playground.
At the southern end of the Willamette Valley, the hills tuck in and the valley narrows. The city takes advantage of two high Cascade snow melt rivers, the Willamette and the McKenzie. They create a habitat for wildlife and a place for people to have a great outdoors experience.
Whether you arrive by car, Amtrak train or air, you will find getting around Eugene easy. The airport is user-friendly. They say fly EUG, it’s EASY. Easy to get around, easy to park, easy to find a cab, a shuttle or a car.
Amtrak riders disembark only blocks from the heart of downtown and hotel properties. Cabs and the local bus service can whisk you wherever you want to go if you don’t want to rent a car.
Outdoors fun is one of the most popular activities.
There are over 46 miles of shared use paths. Want to hike? We have lots of
that too. Many of the trails run alongside the river and delta ponds.
See the town like a local. There are at least 10 different resources for renting a bike. With all those paths plus 187 miles of on-street bicycle lanes, it’s a great way to get around. Check out this web page sponsored by the city. You can even download a free bicycle map. https://www.eugene-or.gov/3260/Bike-Rentals
If you like watersports those are aplenty. Rent a canoe at Alton Baker Park and explore the inlets. Kayak, boat or sail at Fern Ridge Reservoir. With its 9000 acres, you can paddle narrow inlets, or sail across wide expanses. Catch white crappie, brown bullhead catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, and native cutthroat trout. Many easily accessible parks dot the shoreline offering great picnic locations.
You’ll find diverse arts, music, and theater rub shoulders with baseball, track and field and football at Autzen Stadium. Kids sports, soccer, hockey, and golf are all there to tempt or entertain you.
Go for a Broadway play, the symphony or a ballet at the Hult Center.
Wander through the many galleries located throughout the downtown. Like classical music? You can enjoy nearly three weeks of events at the Oregon Bach Festival. It runs late June to mid-July. http://oregonbachfestival.com/
And then there is the food. Many restaurants feature fresh, locally sustainable regardless of cuisine. Cafes, food trucks, fine dining… you will find the diversity delightful.
Here are 5 fun Eugene activities you might want to include:
1. Tour the markets.
5th Street Market has made a name for itself as a premium attraction. It’s located on the site of a historical market where vendors could rent space for $5.00 a day. Now you’ll find diverse boutiques and great food options like Marche, Provisions and the food court. Plus the market there are lots of local merchants along 5th and 6th Streets. Restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries vie for your attention. In good weather, your dog can join you in one of the outdoor patio dining areas.
On Tuesday and Saturday, you can experience the Lane County Farmer’s Market. It
offers a wide diversity of fresh, organic produce and flowers. You find farm fresh eggs, meats and honey as well as a wide range of prepared foods you can enjoy there or take home. It’s held on Oak St and 8th, only a few blocks from 5th Street Market.
On Saturdays, the Saturday Market joins the Farmer’s Market across eighth street at Oak. Across two park blocks, you’ll find over 200 local artisans offer handcrafted wares. Before you reach the International Food Court, you’ll catch aromas and spices of Asia, India and local favorites. Made fresh on site with local produce when possible. Music from the entertainment stage carries across the venue. It features live music of every imaginable type. Bring the family, there is something for all ages. But please, no pets allowed.
2. Museums on University of Oregon campus.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is beautiful architecture. It was built without windows to protect the treasures inside. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here you will find an extensive collection of American, European, Korean, Chinese and Japanese art. Visit Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm, Wednesday until 8pm. You’ll find it at 1430 Johnson Lane.
A short walk across campus is the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. It highlights the university’s anthropological, zoological and paleontological artifacts. It focuses on the natural and cultural history of the area. Hours are Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm. 1680 East 15th Avenue. Website: http//natural-history.uoregon.edu/.
3. Relax and enjoy a sunset
Sweetwater’s patio is a great spot to watch the Willamette River while you
dine or sip your favorite beverage. Located at Valley River Inn, it is blessed with an amazing river view. Accessible from either the parking lot or the walking path along the river, it is a popular place to gather.
The patio is perfect to enjoy a warm summer afternoon, the river and your favorite brew. If it’s a bit chilly to sit outdoors enjoy the views from the panoramic windows. They specialize in fresh, local Northwest cuisine. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Whether you want fine dining, or just enjoy a glass of wine and the view, this is a popular place to relax and do just that. Sweetwater is located at 1000 Valley River Way (541) 341-3462 http://www.valleyriverinn.com/dining.htm.
4. Enjoy a game.
No matter what time of year you visit there are great
sporting events to watch. In summer, take in a Eugene Emeralds baseball game at PK Park. The whole family will love it. Kids love their special activities. They get to run the field, play games and visit with Sluggo, the team mascot. http://www.milb.com.
Track and field events take place on campus at historic Hayward Field. It’s great family entertainment. Parking nearby can be iffy. But public transportation will whisk you there and back again without any issues.
Starting In September, the acoustics at Autzen Stadium roar as fans cheer the Ducks football team. GO DUCKS! The games sell out so get tickets well in advance.
Come early and meet up for tailgating. Casual to sophisticated, it’s considered an art form and a great way to spend time with friends.
Avoid the traffic… take advantage of park and ride centers strategically located around town.
In the winter, it’s back to campus and Matthew Knight Arena for basketball. (This fabulous arena is also a great location to catch a concert or other special event.)
before, during and after prohibition. The ultra pure water of the McKenzie is a brew crafters dream. Add a strong emphasis on local and regional hops and grains and you have a great recipe for great brews. The close proximity to many of the many beer tasting rooms makes it easy to do the ultimate pub crawl.
You can pick up a Passport from any participating brewery or bottleshop. They are also available at The Downtown Eugene Visitor Center at 754 Olive Street, or the Adventure Center in Springfield.
As you visit each brewery, ask them to stamp your passport. Collect eight stamps from eight participating breweries in the Eugene-Springfield area. They will earn you a 64oz amber Eugene Ale Trail growler.
Visit their website for complete details. You’ll also find suggestions for safe transportation. They recommend either a chauffeured driver or designated driver. https://www.eugenecascadescoast.org/eugene-ale-trail/.
Eugene residents are a friendly lot and they love living where they do. They are happy to share their city, its beauty and its quirky side. For more help planning your trip, visit https://www.eugenecascadescoast.org/eugene/.