Eugene is a city in Oregon, United States. Oregon is one of the only states without a sales tax. Eugene is situated near the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers at the southern end of the Willamette Valley.
The Coburg Hills are located northeast of the city. Spencer Butte is a significant landmark to the south of town. Mount Pisgah is located southeast of Eugene and features the Mount Pisgah Arboretum and the Howard Buford Recreation Area, both of which are Lane County Parks.
This article will highlight some amazing things to do in Eugene, Oregon.
Things to do in Eugene, Oregon
1. Museum of Natural and Cultural History
The Museum of Natural and Cultural History is on the University of Oregon campus’s 15th Avenue, between the Knight Law Center and Global Scholars Hall.
The Condon Paleontological Collection, the Archaeological Research Division (also known as OSMA), the Anthropological Collections Division, and the Public Programs Division are the four divisions of the museum.
Through vibrant displays and interactive stations, you will learn about the University of Oregon’s health and fitness research, explore Eugene’s running culture, and be motivated to move your body toward optimum wellness. Discover the dynamic forces in Oregon’s ecosystems, climate, landscapes, and incredible creatures from all over the centuries, such as enormous salmon and sloths from the Ice Age.
For science and culture enthusiasts of all ages, the Museum of Natural and Cultural History offers a variety of seasonal and year-round programs.
The museum’s main entrance has bicycle racks for your convenience. A visit to the Museum of Natural and Cultural History is a must on the list of things to do in Eugene, Oregon.
2. Cascades Raptor Center
1987, the non-profit Cascades Raptor Center was established as a wildlife hospital. It was moved to its current location in southwest Eugene, next to the Ridgeline Trail, in 1994. It promotes relationships between people and raptors through public education and wildlife restoration.
Most guest areas do not allow service animals.
This Nature Center has an unmatched capacity to captivate visitors of all ages thanks to one of the greatest collections of native species of raptors in the Pacific Northwest, including hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, and more. These local birds are essential for the educational aim of promoting knowledge, respect, and care for the natural world.
They are kept in sizable outdoor aviaries on a wooded hillside property. Visitors from around Oregon and the world, including school groups, scout units, hikers, birders, and the general public, come to observe the extensive collection of native raptors on display.
3. Alton Baker Park
Numerous recreational amenities and facilities may be found in Alton Baker Park, Eugene’s largest developed park, which has been a resource for the city since 1959. The park has two main sections: the 237-acre Whilamut Natural Area and the more developed West Alton Baker Park.
With its 400 acres of forests, farmland, plains, and paths, Alton Baker Park is a wonderful spot for unwinding, picnicking, and taking in the scenery.
For more than 50 years, Eugene residents have been able to bike, run, feed ducks, and take their dogs to Alton Baker Park, located directly on the Willamette River’s banks and across from the University of Oregon.
You can add exploring this park to your list of things to do in Eugene, Oregon.
4. Jordan Schnitzer Museum
A visit to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is another thing that can be added to your list of things to do in Eugene, Oregon.
On the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Oregon, sits the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, a fine art museum, Ellis F. Lawrence created the original structure as a part of what is now referred to as the Memorial Quadrangle, which was his “main university quadrangle.”
The museum’s goal is to advance public understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts and advance the academic purpose of the University of Oregon. The JSMA has galleries with important collections of artworks from China, Japan, Korea, Europe, and America, as well as various special exhibitions.
5. Hendricks Park
The first civic park in Eugene was Hendricks Park. On its 80 acres are a native plant garden and a renowned rhododendron garden. The park is a paradise for hikers, birders, and other people who love withdrawing to the calm of nature.
It is laced with walkways and the northern terminus of the 12-mile Ridgeline Trail. Visitors can stroll through 200-year-old Douglas fir trees, ferns, wildflowers like trilliums and irises, and more than 6,000 different species of rhododendrons and other decorative plants, all without ever leaving the city.
In the springtime sun, towering Rhododendron plants encircled by walls of Douglas-fir trees create brilliant displays of color. The rhododendron garden does not permit pets or planned group activities like weddings, sports, games, or other organized activities.
6. Owen Rose Garden
The eight-and-a-half-acre Owen Rose Garden Park can be found nestled adjacent to the Willamette River, not far from the Washington Jefferson Street bridge. George E. Owen, a former lumberman and member of the Eugene city council, gave the city five acres along with his home in 1951.
The part of the riverfront park that runs from the Ferry Street Bridge to the Greenway cycle bridge close to Valley River Center was built on the first of a succession of parcels that came before it.
Over 4500 roses and countless more blooms can be seen in the Rose Garden. The aromas are even better than the aesthetic beauty.
7. Skinner Butte Park
One of Eugene’s oldest parks, Skinner Butte Park is full of local history and recreational options. Skinner Butte Park, located 100 acres north of Eugene’s downtown, was established in 1914 and is bordered by the Willamette River.
Skinner Butte, the Columns climbing area, the RiverPlay Discovery Village Playground, the Campbell Senior Center, Lamb Cottage, the Skinner City Farm community garden, acres of lawn and meadows, hiking trails, bike lanes, picnic spots, and more are just a few of the notable attractions.
On Skinner Butte, a few kilometers have marked hiking and jogging routes linking the peak to different park attractions. Be aware of poison oaks along the trails that face south and west.
Since it was built in 1888 by a local timber baron, the Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House has served as a landmark in the area. It has undergone thorough restoration and is accessible for tours and special occasions. Visit this ornate example of late Victorian Queen Ann Revival architecture if you are interested in history.
8. Lane County Historical Museum
The Lane County Historical Museum in Eugene, Oregon, USA, offers current exhibitions on the Oregon Trail, the county courthouse, vintage cars, various relics from all across the county, and photographs.
It is situated on the county fairgrounds. The museum also offers school visits, a range of public events, study resources by appointment in their closed stack library, and an annual grant program for heritage outreach projects.
On request, research archives are accessible.
9. Oregon Air and Space Museum
The Oregon Air and Space Museum’s mission is to collect and exhibit aircraft and artifacts that illustrate the development of aviation and space technology. The museum is a well-liked educational tool for classrooms. Pilots, historians, model makers, and aviation enthusiasts of all ages can also enjoy it locally.
This museum is a nonprofit institution run by and for the residents of Oregon. This museum, which opened in the early 1990s, frequently hosts unique aviation events and fairs.
10. Outdoor Football Stadium
Autzen Stadium is an open-air football stadium in Eugene, Oregon, northwest of the country. It is the home field of the Pac-12 Conference’s Oregon Ducks and is north of the University of Oregon campus. If you travel during a different season than football season, you might be able to catch a basketball, track & field, or baseball game.
Fifty-four thousand shouting Duck supporters can be found in this famous outdoor stadium, which has regularly sold out games over the past ten years. Local supporters of the Ducks were steadfast in spirit and dedication even before the team’s current national rankings. It is now the biggest sports venue in Oregon and is well known for being among the loudest collegiate stadiums.
In addition, PK Park (baseball), Pape Field (soccer, lacrosse), the Moshofsky Center, and the Casanova Center are all part of the nearby sports complex. Before home games, the public is welcome to visit the Hall of Champions and Hall of Fame trophy and plaque collection on the second floor of the Casanova Center.
11. Performing Arts Hult Center
A key building in downtown Eugene’s developing and thriving arts and cultural neighborhood is the Hult Center for the Performing Arts. Hotels, stores, shops, and restaurants are all conveniently close to the Hult Center.
The Silva Concert Hall and Soreng Theater host four resident companies, a Broadway presenter, regional dance ensembles, and traveling performances of comedy, rock, blues, and family activities throughout the year.
The Hult Center offers a wide range of performances and events. You can discover date night suggestions, activities to do with friends or guests, and various forms of entertainment.
12. Annual Mushroom Festival
The largest annual fundraising event is the Mushroom Festival. The festival’s efforts to protect natural habitats and promote outdoor environmental education are supported through ticket and merchandise sales.
Activities consist of-
- Learn about hundreds of local species at a huge mushroom exhibit
- Display of mushrooms that are both delectable and poisonous
- Live Music Naturalist-led nature walks in the area
- Mushroom sellers
- Cuisine, crafts, and arts made locally
- Scarecrows and cider pressing
13. McKenzie River National Recreation Trail
The trail winds along the shore of the McKenzie River and crosses the river on a footbridge shortly before Clear Lake while maintaining a moderate downward slope among old-growth conifer trees.
Because of Clear Lake, the trail continues weaving through the forest and past ancient lava flows until it reaches the Great Spring, which serves as the McKenzie River’s main spring.
Oregon’s Eugene and Bend are roughly an hour’s drive from the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail. One mile east of McKenzie Bridge, at the Upper McKenzie River trailhead, the path begins and terminates at the Lower McKenzie River trailhead. It is one of Oregon’s most picturesque routes and is 26.5 miles long with mild elevation changes.
14. Koosah Falls
Just off Highway 126, Koosah Falls is about 60 miles outside Eugene. Along the side of the road, there is clear signage. The Chinook term for “sky” is “Koosah.” Lava flows that created the McKenzie River 3,000 years ago resulted in the formation of these falls.
A paved path leads directly from the parking area to the waterfall. In the vicinity of the falls, there are a lot of paved and dirt trails that provide trekking opportunities and unique perspectives of the falls themselves.
Sahalie Falls, Tamolitch Pool, Trail Bridge Reservoir/Campground, and Clear Lake are just a few neighboring attractions.
15. Tamolitch Falls (Blue Pool)
Tamolitch Falls, often called Tamolitch Blue Pool, has traditionally been a well-liked destination because of its beauty. In 1933, William Parke, a recreation engineer for the Willamette National Forest, changed the name of this cliff-rimmed basin to “Tamolitch,” taking his cue from the Chinook language term for “bucket.”
Although it is a short hike, the rocky, uneven terrain can be difficult; thus, strong, closed-toed footwear is advised.
The 26-mile-long McKenzie River Trail, which follows the river, is a well-liked route for mountain biking and hiking. If you are not ready to hike the entire 26-mile trek, there are several different sections that you can walk. Two miles of the river’s journey underground ends at Blue Pool, where it resurfaces. The result is a pool of ice-cold, emerald-green water.
16. Biking Trails
There are many biking trails in Eugene, Oregon. Two of the popular ones are:
16.1 Ruth Bascom Willamette Riverbank Path
This 12.4-km circular trail may be found close to Eugene, Oregon. It typically takes 2 hours and 18 minutes to accomplish this trip, which is considered simple. Even though this is a popular trail for running, road biking, and birding, you can still find some peace during the slower times of the day.
The paved parking area of Goodpasture Island Road at the trail’s eastern end has 19 spaces designated as accessible. With striped access aisles, they are all van accessible. The asphalt and the concrete trail surface are smooth and surfaced. Usually, it is at least 8 feet broad.
16.2 West Bank Path
There is relatively limited street parking where this trail begins in a residential area. Although the course is all paved, there are many street crossings. There are water fountains and at least one restroom on the path. There is a shelter, and you get beautiful river and park views. In addition, you get to see several ducks and geese.
At the north end of the trail, no places are marked as accessible in the paved street parking of Forman Avenue. However, the paved parking lot off of Cheshire Avenue at about 2.7 miles has six places that are marked as accessible. With striped access aisles, they are all van accessible. The trail is conveniently located. A waypoint has been placed in this parking lot.
It is wonderful to visit here, especially when the weather is nice. You can see the vineyards and a lovely valley from the terrace.
European architecture and breathtaking vistas complement both indoor and outdoor dining.
Wheelchair accessibility is one of the features, along with takeout, highchairs available, free wi-fi, reservations, outdoor seating, private dining, and seating. The restaurant serves beer, wine, and alcohol table service and accepts credit cards.
18. Saturday Market
The first Saturday market in Oregon was established in Eugene in May 1970, making it the nation’s first and oldest weekly outdoor craft fair. Explore the 200 booths loaded with exquisite handmade goods that are always offered for sale by the makers. For every meal of the day, fifteen food booths in the International Food Court provide a variety of freshly cooked delicacies.
The Lane County Farmers Market represents nearly 100 farmers and culinary artisans. The consumers may be confident they are getting the freshest and most restricted items because all the vendors either cultivate or produce in Oregon.
This is the ideal location for enjoying live music, shopping for locally manufactured goods, and dining at the International Food Court.
There is a ton of free parking available in two parking lots, and the location is completely accessible to the disabled.
19. Eugene Science Center
The Eugene Science Center is a science and technology destination for kids, families, and school groups. It is situated in Alton Baker Park in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States. It offers a variety of science and technology-related educational programs, planetarium performances, camp programs, special events, and changing interactive exhibits.
The planetarium and exhibit hall at the Eugene Science Center house both permanent and rotating displays. The Eugene Science Center primarily serves children from birth through eighth grade through specialized programs, summer camps, and field trips. Formerly, the center ran programs like Girls’ Science Adventures. This nationally acclaimed initiative paired young girls with adult female mentors to encourage them to consider careers in math, science, and technology.
20. Maude Kerns Art Center
The only nonprofit community facility for the visual arts in Eugene is the Maude Kerns Art Center. The Maude Kerns Art Center also provides year-round classes and workshops for all ages. Maude Kerns Art Center also offers year-round classes and workshops.
Kerns was born in Portland in 1876 and died in Eugene in 1965. She has been involved with the 1950-founded Eugene Art Center for a long time. The art center was renamed the Maude Kerns Art Center (MKAC) in her honor in 1962 following a sizable financial commitment from Kerns. 1963 the facility relocated to its current home, formerly the Fairmount Presbyterian Church.
21. Hayward Field
The hub of American athletics has long been Eugene’s Hayward Field, and now that it has been rebuilt, it boasts a track that has seen records fall since it was put in place in 2021. With temporary seating available for up to 30,000 people, the new stadium can accommodate 12,500 spectators.
The stadium’s spacious layout provides sightlines from the street to the pitch. Locker rooms, equipment rooms, training rooms, and medical facilities are equipped for the athletes. It is an architectural masterpiece that honors both track enthusiasts and athletes.
It is common to witness first-time visitors at Hayward Field cry when they arrive. A passionate fan base fills the bleachers at meets held here, cheering on track and field competitors like no other community in the country.
22. South Willamette Wine Trail
With a trail map of nearby vineyards, the South Willamette Wine Trail highlights the region’s finest wineries. The route leads from bustling vineyards in Eugene’s downtown to quiet tasting rooms tucked away in the heart of Oregon’s wine region.
The Lower Long Tom AVA includes the vineyards along Territorial Highway’s northern end. Each winery offers a distinctive setting and its interpretation of the most well-known varieties from Oregon. Choose your favorite bottle at one of the more than 20 wineries in the South Willamette Valley.
The volcanic soils of Oregon and the climate comparable to that of France add a delicateness that specifically accentuates the tastes of the southern Willamette Valley wines.
23. Eugene Ballet Company
The Eugene Ballet Company serves a wide range of audiences in Oregon and the western United States with top-notch, professional dance performances and cutting-edge educational offerings.
Since its foundation in 1978, Eugene Ballet has developed into one of the busiest and most diverse professional dance companies in the West, all under the direction of Toni Pimble, an award-winning art director and resident choreographer.
Built on a strong foundation of lengthy classical ballets, contemporary pieces, and approachable family programs, Eugene Ballet continues to work with artists from various cultural fields to produce cutting-edge new works and present the choreography of many of the nation’s top choreographers.
There are so many exciting things you can explore in Eugene, Oregon. Go shopping at artisan markets, galleries, and locally owned shops. Take a scenic trip through wine country, where you may stop at local vineyards, speak with winemakers, and sample some of the world’s best Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
Sip on a craft brew while gazing at the river, then venture into the bustling city center to catch live music at a neighborhood bar or a renowned performing arts theater. This is the real Northwest experience.
If you want to do exciting things in Eugene, Oregon, this article will help you plan and enjoy your trip.