There is no shortage of things to see and do in Eugene. I’ve created a pdf map with different activity tours you might enjoy based on your interests. From parks, events, adventure, the arts, and the quirky, it’s all here.
Tour the University
This tour will help you explore all the University of Oregon campus and neighborhood have to offer.
Tour and play in the parks
This is your guide to the diversity of Eugene Parks. Most activities here are kid and pet-friendly, but you need to know the one place not to take your dog.
Downtown Shopping tour
Highlights of great spots to visit with your girlfriends. Between the highlighted spots, you’ll no doubt discover many additional favorites.
234 Reasons to be here on Saturday
This is THE place to visit on Saturday; you won’t want to miss it.
Eugene Ale Trail tour
If you’re a beer lover, you’ll want to experience this ultimate pub crawl before you die. It’s a not to be missed exploration.
Download the pdf, click on the icons, and have fun exploring.
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/.
Eclectic and quirky, Portland offers diversity amidst natural beauty. You’ll find something for every type of visitor. Here where the Willamette River flows into the massive Columbia, Portland, the city of roses, spreads from the river out and up to the hills beyond. A center of Northwest history, it is the largest city in Oregon.
Straddling the River, Portland is a city of bridges. No two identical. Sunset on the east bank looking across the river and bridges to the downtown skyline is a photo opp not to miss.
Discover art, music, theater, parks, biking, and hiking. Shop ‘till you drop… there’s no sales tax in Oregon. Year around Portland’s events calendar is crammed full, more than 54 of them annually. Sure it rains here, that’s tree growing weather. But here’s a link with 34 Things to Do in the Rain: https://www.travelportland.com/article/34-things-rain/.
Kicking off in April and running through September, outdoor events abound. On the site of a former freeway, the Tom McCall Waterfront Park attracts locals and visitors with music and festivals one after another. June attracts visitors from near and far for the granddaddy of all city parties, the Portland Rose Festival. It’s a full week of events, parades, concerts, a carnival next to the river, boat races and lots more.
On a budget?
Portland offers lots of free and inexpensive attractions and activities. Wander the neighborhoods. Portland is blessed with diverse neighborhoods full of quaint shops and awesome eats. Parks abound offering laid back or hiking experiences.
Walk one of the bridges. Hawthorne Bridge is over a century old. Tilikum Crossing is pedestrian friendly. St. Johns Bridge is tall and elegant. All afford unique and beautiful perspectives on the city. Another great view and inexpensive treat is taking a ride on the Portland Aerial Tram.
Portland is a food lover’s mecca. You’ll find 70 breweries in town and another 35 in the metro area. Renowned for coffee shops and food carts, you’ll also enjoy fine and family dining. Seasonal fresh, local sourced and diverse. You’ll find vegans and carnivores munching side by side.
If you catch a bit of rain, enjoy one of the museums, galleries or bookstores. Blessed with sunshine, take a walk or hike in Washington Park, Forest Park, or the Rose Gardens. You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the city below and picturesque Mt. Hood rising majestically beyond.
For adventure, head to the Columbia Gorge 45 minutes to the east. Here you’ll find waterfalls, hiking and photo opportunities. Southwest of town about the same distance, you’ll be in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country. More wineries than you could hope to visit in weeks, let alone a day.
Here’s a link so you can plan your Portland escape for a weekend, a week or more. There’s lots to entertain you in the City of Roses.
Tall Ships take you back to the 18th Century and the Era of Buccaneers…
Under a brilliant blue sky, the helmsman cut the trolling motor. The silence was complete. The 112-footlong “tall ship” wallowed in gentle swells that felt much stronger than their size.
There was no denying the power of the ocean around us. My hands gripped the nearest solid wood to steady myself against the roll. First-time sailors, my girlfriend and I caught glances and smiled. Here we were, senior citizens, ticking off a bucket list dream.
Wind whipped the sails. Wood creaked. Sailors, dressed in well-worn period garb, worked the rigging. Raising 4442 feet of sails using over 6 miles of ropes, (called rigging), and then rotating the angles of the masts to catch the wind is a complex job. It requires teamwork and precise orchestration.
Then the wind caught, the sails billowed and the ship surged forward cutting smoothly through the waves. We were sailing on the ocean.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the first mate shouted over the noise of the wind. “You are traveling at the speed that conquered the world.” The wind whipped and billowed the tall ship’s sails. The first mate shouted commands. Sailors chanted replies over the sound of ocean swells meeting the hull.
Skillfully, the sailors guided the brig back into the long jetty that protects the Newport, Oregon harbor. Just off starboard, a kayaker skimmed across the water, keeping pace with little difficulty. Gulls cried, sails whipped, rigging groaned.
A dozen crew and 45 enchanted guests sailed for the next 45 minutes before heading Lady Washington back to dock. As sailors, both male and female tend to the ship, their bawdy songs provide a tempo for the work.
One of the crew sat on the deck, gathering children around her and exploring the contents of a sailor’s rucksack and telling stories. Shutters clicked as passengers tried to capture the moment. Eighty-nine feet above us the peak of the main mast towered. There is no experience like it.
Lady Washington is called a tall ship because of the height of her sails. She is a full-scale replica of the original Lady Washington. Following the Revolutionary War, the original ship was refitted and set on an adventure. She sailed around the horn in 1778 to become the first US vessel to sail the Pacific and reach the west coast. From there she traveled for the next 10 years around the vast Pacific Ocean on trading missions.
The modern Lady Washington was launched in 1989. She is dedicated to bringing the magic of the age of tall ships to locals and visitors up and down the west coast. Her goal to educate, excite and preserve the history of the era.
Her home is in Gig Harbor, Washington but Lady Washington spends much of her time with her crew at sea. She is famous, having appeared in several movies including “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Black Pearl.” Each year in December she departs with her companion the Hawaiian Chieftain. The two tall ships sail from Gig Harbor to San Diego, CA.
Slowly, they sail back up the west coast with numerous ports of call. School children are given tours. Living history. The public may also pay to tour the ships while docked or go for a sail. If you want to go sailing, buy your tickets early as they generally sell out in advance in every port.
A limited number of guests are allowed to book passage and travel between ports with the crew. There are restrictions for these guests available on their website.
Because these are accurate historical replicas they are not handicapped accessible. But there is always a ready hand to assist guests safely on and off the ship. For complete information on the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain, their history and their schedule please visit http://historicalseaport.org/. Step back into history and enjoy the age and magic of the era of Buccaneers.
One of my readers commented they’d like to experience sailing but had physical challenges. Not a problem. There are companies that specialize in helping every level of ability enjoy sailing. Here are three links I found:
Traveling with physical challenges requires planning. I know, I grew up
around someone with physical challenges. My sister was born with cerebral palsy. She is fortunate and with a lot of help has been able to lead a pretty normal, independent life as an adult.
Sis has some physical issues. Motor skills, balance, hearing and speech issues, and trouble judging changes in elevation. She has the heart of a tiger. And big dreams. It was always her dream to visit Africa. Elephants are her passion.
Finally, she had to accept it would be a physically and emotionally difficult trip for her. Her doctor advised against the arduous journey. That was a bitter pill to swallow.
My son, his wife and I decided to give her the next best thing to visiting Africa… A trip to Disney World with a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The wildlife was right out the window. Giraffes, zebra, flamingos and her favorite… elephants, are in the park. She loved wandering through the African art and shopping for trinkets to take home.
Watching her so excited and blossoming was amazing. But it did take a bit of planning. Here are some thoughts.
Plan for Physical Challenges
Individual limitations – clearly define what their challenges are. Think about how those challenges may be affected by things you will encounter.
Luggage handling What will they need through each phase.
Airport help – will they be able to board safely and get from gate to gate if there are transfers? If it’s a long distance, you might consider a wheelchair assist.
Room needs – sis needed a handicap accessible shower. But she and I were
sharing a room and needed two beds. Couldn’t get both in the same room. With adjoining rooms, my son and his wife took the one with the single bed and the shower. Sis and I took the two-bed room. While my son went for a gym workout she got her shower. This gave her a bit of privacy. It worked great.
Meals – table service is easier than buffets. If your meal plans include buffets, be ready to assist them with food selection and getting it to the table.
Transportation – like lots of places, shuttles were the best way to get around. With the three of us, it was no problem to give sis the extra hand/support to make her feel secure.
Pace your tour – this varies by individual. Physical challenges can makeyou burn more energy just getting through the day. Be sensitive to signs of tiring and suggest a break. At a theme park, there are always places to sit and people watch. That was a real bonus.
Timing can ease the challenges
Theme parks tend to be busy year around. But if you can go at what is
normally a slower time, it can make it easier. We found out that the first half of December is a great time to visit Disney in Florida. It is between the Thanksgiving crowds and the Christmas ones. Lines were shorter, rates a little lower, fewer masses of people to negotiate. Weather can still be warm – or surprise you. It’s smart to either take a warm jacket or plan for a shopping opportunity.
Sis discovered she could go and conquer. She mastered escalators – which had terrified her. Staff also spotted her and helped us so she was able to get on and off rides. She had the adventure of her life and we all came home with some great memories.
I’d love to hear your stories/comments/questions about traveling with disabilities.
You might be of Celtic ancestry. One of the seven British Nations: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Mann (Manx), Cornish and Brittany. Or you may just love to have fun. In either case, you can have a great weekend experiencing a local Celtic Festival Highland Games event.
When the call goes out in Scotland for the games – people take it seriously. Pride, power and a passion for fun.
People gather, eat great Scottish, Irish and American foods, and meet like-minded people. It’s a party, Celtic style. Scottish, Irish, Renaissance all mixed up together just to have fun.
There will be lots to taste. Food from the home country. Yummy beefy Scottish pies, scones with berries and cream. Don’t forget the haggis, a Scottish cross between meatloaf and sausage.
You’ll also find hamburgers, fish and chips, pulled pork or whatever else local food trucks cook up. Lots of kid friendly choices.
Get on your Celtic festival kilt
It won’t be just the dancers, athletes and pipers dressed up. Attendees are
invited to get their gear on too. Kilts and all manner of Celtic dress. You’ll see Jacobite to Renaissance, traditional to Victorian and modern twists too. Plaid scarves, tartans, berets, skirts. You will find it all. No costume? The vendors will help you find just the thing.
Music, Dancers, Athletics
Dancers and pipe bands compete and entertain. No Highland festival would be complete without the magical sound of bagpipes! Lots of them. But you may also find brass bands and Irish folk music. Listen…there is harp music in the air.
Brawny lads and lasses compete in athletic events -attired in kilts. If
you’ve never seen a strong lad throw a heavy stone or flip a heavy pole (Caber), you’ve missed something. You might see a cast iron frying pan toss. Or, the ladies do their own version of the same events the guys do.
You might be thirsty after cheering on the athletes, so head over to the beer garden for some libations.
What is that dog doing??? It’s a sheep herding demonstration. Clever dog.
Each Celtic Festival is unique
Every event is a little different depending on the venue. You might see
sword fights or jousting. There might be a Scottish cow. Face painting and a kid’s area get everyone involved.
At clan booths, you can learn some of the histories of the clans. They will even help you find what clan you might descend from. Not from the British Isles? No worries. They are a friendly group, especially at these gatherings and welcome all.
Many events are dog-friendly to well-mannered dogs on leash. Some offer camping or places to park an RV for those traveling to attend. Some offer a classical bagpipe recital.
Almost all have a Saturday evening party called a Ceilidh (kay-lee). It’s generally held after the closing of the day event. It’s an evening of live music, piping, drumming, and dancing. The Scottish and Irish love their parties… especially when accompanied by good brews and whisky.
To find an event near you, Google is your friend. Just “google” highland games or Celtic festivals for your state or region. A list will pop up and you can check out their websites.
Volunteers are always needed
Want even more fun? Volunteer to help out. They always need an extra set of hands either in the background or at the event. It might get you a free t-shirt or even a free entry.
Nestled next to Siletz Bay, Salishan Resort has been offering wellness for decades. Many baby boomer natives grew up visiting there. Freshly remodeled and updated, guests are returning to enjoy the magic of this coastal oasis.
Salishan sits on 250 lush acres. It seems to be one with nature. Play a round of golf on their top-caliber course stretching from the bay to the edge of old forests. Walk on paths among the tall Douglas firs and Sitka spruce that leave you feeling you may have stepped into another place and time.
Stay, relax, and rejuvenate. The remodeled modern guest rooms wrap you in rustic luxury. Throughout you will enjoy Oregon Coast materials. Local woods, marble and stone. Whether you choose a simple spacious room, with a private balcony, or a lavish suite with its own hot tub, you won’t be disappointed.
Oregon Coast details abound in The Spa at Salishan. From the moment you enter, coastal restorative elements surround you. Relax in the lounge and watch eagles soar over the bay. Or soak up nature from the outdoor infinity whirlpool accompanied by the dull roar of waves crashing.
Succumb to the hands of skilled massage therapists. Cool coastal temperatures make hot stone treatments a favorite. This Signature 90 minute treatment will shift you into a state of complete relaxation. With 8 different massages and 60 or 90-minute lengths, you have many choices.
Choose from a full range of customizable facials, body treatments, hand and foot treatments and salon services available. Spend an hour > spend the day. Retreat alone, bring a friend.
4 Unique Restaurants
With four unique restaurants, your hardest decisions will be choosing which one. Choose their Signature room, Gray’s for creative Pacific Northwest inspired dining. Gray’s specializes in fresh local seafood and steaks. Their award-winning chef is known for his special creations and flavors. Enjoy the spectacular views of the coast while you try one of their famous potpies.
If you want something more casual The Sun Room, The Attic Lounge or the Grill at the Golf Clubhouse each have their own special charm and unique atmosphere. Go, explore, and stay. There’s lots to see at the coast.
Summers are high season at the Oregon Coast. Be sure to make your reservations in advance. The coast is popular year around for weekend escapes by those who live in the Willamette Valley. It’s only 2 hour 15 minutes from Portland. Inclement weather doesn’t slow down Oregon Coast goers. They flock to vantage points where they can watch the power of Pacific storms high winds and crashing waves.
For the best pricing check out one of Salishan’s package specials or visit during the off-season. October to May visitors enjoy less traffic and lower pricing, especially Sunday – Thursday.