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Top 12 Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon

Eugene, Oregon is known as a wonderful small city for biking enthusiasts and art lovers, offering a perfect mix of urban opportunities and outdoor recreation, including some pretty epic campgrounds. Foodies, families, couples, and anyone who enjoys good wine will enjoy taking a trip to Eugene and experiencing all that the city has to offer.

Here are some of the top things to do in Eugene to help you plan your trip!

Shop and Dine in the Downtown Area Downtown Eugene in the summertime
Credit: Downtown Eugene in the summertime by © Ulf Nammert | Dreamstime.com

Shop and Dine in the Downtown Area

What Is It? Downtown Eugene is a fun place to simply wander around to explore the shops and restaurants. Here you can find everything from the 5th Street Market for shopping to the Actors Cabaret of Eugene for entertainment and much more.

Why Do It? You can learn a lot about the history and culture of Eugene as you explore the downtown area.

Good to Know: Keep an eye out for local events happening in downtown Eugene, such as yoga classes, food specials, and special deals at stores.

Bike in Town and Along the River The Willamette River flows beside a bike path in Eugene
Credit: The Willamette River flows beside a bike path in Eugene by © Jamie Hooper | Dreamstime.com

Bike in Town and Along the River

What Is It? There is a scenic bike path that goes along the Willamette River and gives you a serene ride. It is known as the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System and the Willamette River Trail.

Why Do It? Biking culture is alive and well in Eugene, Oregon, and you can live like a local by exploring the area on two wheels. Biking along this 12-mile path between Eugene and Springfield will also give you some great exercise.

Good to Know: For a fun twist on the biking experience, book an electric bike tour along the river. Rides last for about three hours and go 20 miles on paths and streets.

Walk Around the University Campus Pioneer Mother Statue at the University of Oregon Campus in Eugene
Credit: Pioneer Mother Statue at the University of Oregon Campus in Eugene by © Joshua Rainey | Dreamstime.com

Walk Around the University Campus

What Is It? The University of Oregon has a beautiful campus that you can take a walk through, even if you are not a student or faculty member.

Why Do It? The campus is filled with many trees and flowers, plus historic buildings and unique features to learn about.

Good to Know: There are also nature trails near the university campus that you can hike along after you check out the campus itself. Hendricks Park and the Cascade Mountains are popular places to explore beyond the campus.

Watch Athletes Compete at Hayward Field Eugene is sometimes called Tracktown USA
Credit: Eugene is sometimes called Tracktown USA by © Knicolson | Dreamstime.com

Watch Athletes Compete at Hayward Field

What Is It? Hayward Field is a track and field facility that is famous within this sport worldwide. It has a 100-year history and is the most storied track and field venue in the country.

Why Do It? The stadium has comfortable seats if you are fortunate enough to watch athletes compete here. If not, there’s an interactive space called Hayward Hall that you can check out to learn more from the exhibits inside.

Good to Know: Hayward Field has the largest permanent video screen for a track and field stadium in the U.S. It is 60 feet tall and 160 feet long.

Hike to the Top of Spencer Butte Scenic view from the top of this popular Eugene hiking destination
Credit: Scenic view from the top of this popular Eugene hiking destination by © Joshua Rainey | Dreamstime.com

Hike to the Top of Spencer Butte

What Is It? Spencer Butte is a natural landmark in the Eugene area that is 2,058 feet tall at the summit and goes along the 2,100-acre Ridgeline Park system. There’s a 1.7-mile loop trail that is popular to hike in this area.

Why Do It? You’ll enjoy scenic views of the Cascade Mountains, Willamette Valley, and Coast Range when you hike to the summit. There have been trail improvements done here recently to make it more accessible.

Good to Know: The Main Summit Trail is the most popular route to get to the top of Spencer Butte, but there is also the alternative route of the West Trail. It is more challenging and requires scrambling on rocks.

Take a Tour of Oregon Wine Country Willamette Valley
Credit: Willamette Valley by bigstockphoto.com

Take a Tour of Oregon Wine Country

What Is It? Oregon is home to an amazing wine country region in the Willamette Valley, one of the top travel destinations for the wine connoisseur. It is near the city of Eugene.

Why Do It? On an Oregon wine country adventure, you can taste wines from local wineries and learn about how grapes are grown here. It’s also a beautiful area to walk, bike, or go for a drive.

Good to Know: Consider taking a private tour of wine country for a personalized tasting and travel experience. This takes the hassle and concerns out of driving, while introducing you to small wineries that you might miss out on during a DIY tour.

Catch Some Fish in the McKenzie River A fisherman prepares to put his drift boat into the Mckenzie River near Eugene
Credit: A fisherman prepares to put his drift boat into the Mckenzie River near Eugene by © Jamie Hooper | Dreamstime.com

Catch Some Fish in the McKenzie River

What Is It? The McKenzie River watershed is made up of 1,300 square miles of streams and lakes. There are various fish you can catch here, including trout, whitefish, lamprey, and steelhead.

Why Do It? The McKenzie river has both wild and hatchery fish available, with excellent angling opportunities all throughout the year.

Good to Know: Fly fishing is popular in the McKensie River, in addition to boat fishing, and it really lets you get out in nature and experience the sights and sounds around you.

Visit the Cascades Raptor Center There's so much to learn about these beautiful birds
Credit: There's so much to learn about these beautiful birds by cascadesraptorcenter.org

Visit the Cascades Raptor Center

What Is It? The Cascades Raptor Center is a year-round nature center that is open to the public and has approximately 40 raptors. Most of these unique birds are native to the Pacific Northwest.

Why Do It? This raptor center helps educate the public about raptors and rehabilitate raptors back to health. It’s a great place for families to visit and learn something new.

Good to Know: Dogs are not allowed here, even in cars. The parking lot is limited, so you may need to park across the road at the trailhead.

Soak Up the Natural Beauty at Mount Pisgah Mount Pisgah in Oregon lit up at sunset
Credit: Mount Pisgah in Oregon lit up at sunset by Jsayre64 via Wikimedia Commons

Soak Up the Natural Beauty at Mount Pisgah

What Is It? Mount Pisgah is a hiking destination in the Willamette Valley, near Eugene. The Mount Pisgah Trail is a 3.3-mile, out-and-back trail that is moderately challenging.

Why Do It? Getting out in the outdoors is a must-do in Oregon and this trail offers great opportunities for trail running, hiking, and bird watching. You can bring your dog along too because it’s pet-friendly.

Good to Know: The months between March and November are best for hiking this trail, although it is open year-round.

Walk Among the Flowers at Hendricks Park Sunlight highlights rhododendrons on a shady lawn
Credit: Sunlight highlights rhododendrons on a shady lawn by © Jamie Hooper | Dreamstime.com

Walk Among the Flowers at Hendricks Park

What Is It? Hendricks Park is the oldest city park in Eugene and spans about 80 acres. It is in the Fairmount Neighborhood and was originally built in 1938. Park features include drinking fountains, picnic tables, restrooms, and a parking lot.

Why Do It? The park is home to 200-year-old Douglas fir trees, wildflowers, and more than 6,000 varieties of rhododendrons and ornamental plants.

Good to Know: This park is connected to the 12-mile Ridgeline Trail for extended hiking and getting out even more in nature.

Browse the Eugene Saturday Market Every Saturday, rain or shine
Credit: Every Saturday, rain or shine by eugenesaturdaymarket.org

Browse the Eugene Saturday Market

What Is It? The Eugene Saturday Market is the oldest open-air crafts market in the U.S. It is a place to shop for locally handmade goods, get something to eat from the International Food Court, and listen to some live music.

Why Do It? This is a great place to experience the beating heart of Eugene and really get a sense of the local vibe.

Good to Know: This market takes place rain or shine every Saturday from 10am to 4pm. The location is at 8th Street and Oak Street.

Watch a Show at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts Lots of different events to choose from
Credit: Lots of different events to choose from by hultcenter.org

Watch a Show at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts

What Is It? For over 40 years, the Hult Center for the Performing Arts has been entertaining people in Eugene. It first opened in 1982 and is made up of the 2,447-seat Silva Concert Hall and the 495-seat Soreng Theater.

Why Do It? There’s always something fun and interesting going on at this art center. There’s a diverse lineup taking the stage here with everything from ballet to stand-up comedy, country music, kids performances, and more.

Good to Know: There are two parking garages near the Hult Center where you can park for $6 during events. There’s also a bus station three blocks away if you want to take public transportation.

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