Eugene, Oregon, is known for its beautiful nature lover place and wide range of outdoor activities, so you’ll never run out of things to do there.
From beautiful lakes and waterways to lush forests and miles of nature walks, the city has a lot of natural beauty to offer.
What the city has to offer is used by organic farms, large wineries, local breweries, and farm-to-table restaurants.
But Eugene is more than just pretty trees and crunchy hike trails. It is also a center for arts, culture, and history.
Eugene, Oregon has a lot of well-known restaurants, great places to stay, great shopping, and other smart things to do.
Eugene is also known as the Emerald City, which is one of its few nicknames. There are lots of great things to do there, such as visiting historical buildings and homes, art museums, science centers, animal parks, and lots of markets.
Also, you can enjoy great outdoor activities in the local countryside. If you want to see more of the state, the many wineries of the Willamette Valley and the beautiful scenery of the Oregon Coast are not far away.
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23 Things to Do in Eugene Oregon
1. Sweet Cheeks Winery
Sweet Cheeks Winery is a beautiful place to try some of the great wines of the Southern Willamette Valley. It is surrounded by beautiful scenery. It’s only a half-hour drive southwest of the city, and its hillside patio is a great place to try great wines.
It has been making great wines that have won awards since 1978. Its fertile farms grow not only great Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, but also Riesling and Chardonnay. Guests can try great wines with handmade cheeses and fresh fruit from the area, either outside or in the tasting room’s cozy atmosphere.
The wide views from the outdoor deck of the Sweet Cheeks Winery are what make a trip there so memorable. They go well with the full, fruity flavors of the wine and add to the relaxing atmosphere of the place.
2. Owen Rose Garden
Visit the Owen Rose Garden as the first thing on your list of things to do in Eugene. This beautiful yard is next to the Willamette River and has more than 4,000 roses from more than 400 different types.
Take a walk through the impressive 8.5-acre park in the morning. It has a pagoda, a picnic area surrounded by trees, many paved and flower-covered archway paths, and a cherry tree that is about as old as the city. Not only does it have one of the biggest groups of roses, which are Oregon’s most famous flower, but it also has a wide range of other plants and animals.
3. Eugene Saturday Market
This art market at Park Blocks has been going on since 1970, which shows that the counterculture is still alive and well in Eugene. It is open all day every Saturday from April to November.
It’s both a social event and a business, and you can easily spend a whole day there, listening to live music, eating at the foreign food court, and looking at the wares of the 200 local artists who set up shop here.
A weekly farmers’ market where you can buy fresh food grown in the Willamette Valley is just across the street from this market.
4. Cascades Raptor Center
The Cascades Raptor Center opened in 1987 as a nature center and hospital for raptor birds. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Eugene. With the help of trained staff and the highest standards for veterinary care and treatment, the hospital takes care of more than 200 injured or orphaned raptors every year. After being fixed and feeling better, the birds are sent back to where they belong.
Even though the animals in the hospital can’t interact with people because they have to stay wild, the Center has about 60 birds that can’t be set free. Most of these are owls, hawks, eagles, and a few others.
They live in big cages on a forested mountain, where school groups, hikers, birders, and regular tourists often come to learn about the birds’ homes, dangers, and predators, as well as what they can do to help protect them. Since the Center opened, more than 2500 birds have been there, and almost 1300 of them have gone back into the wild.
Phone: 541-485-1320, 32275 Fox Hollow Road, Eugene, OR
5. Get close to waterfalls
Some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world are about an hour and a half to two hours’ drive east of Eugene. These include Proxy Falls, shown here, Sahalie Falls, and Koosah Falls, all of which are on the beautiful 26-mile McKenzie River National Recreation Trail.
The Koosah and Sahalie Falls Trail is a 2.9-mile hike in Willamette National Forest that takes people past each waterfall. Even though it’s a bit further from Eugene, the 1.6-mile Proxy Falls Loop Trail is well worth a stop on a nature-filled day trip.
6. Alton Baker Park
The slow-moving Willamette River flows through Eugene and helps set the border between Eugene and the nearby city of Springfield. Alton Baker Park, which is the biggest park in the city, has bike paths and other fun things for people to do along its banks. There are two main parts to the park. One is the 237-acre Whilamut Natural Area.
Paved paths go beyond the park’s borders, and bike bridges link trails on both sides of the river. Pre’s Trail is just over four miles long and is a famous cross-country and running route in the park. It was named after Steve Prefontaine, a local hero who won a gold medal in the Olympics. The Willamette is also a draw because it is a well-known water trail that boaters like to use.
Eugene, Oregon, 200 Day Island Road.
7. Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is on the grounds of the University of Oregon in Eugene. It has been connecting people to world-class, global, and multicultural art since 1933. The building of the museum is a work of art in and of itself. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are more than 13,000 pieces in the museum’s collection, and many different exhibits come and go every year, so you can probably see something new every time you go. As part of the museum’s permanent collections, there will always be art from the Americas, China, Japan, Korea, and Russia on show.
Want to learn more before you go or see what you missed when you were there? Check out the museum’s website for a video tour that lets you see parts of the museum without leaving your home. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art address is 1430 Johnson Lane, Eugene, OR 97403.
8. Hult Center
This theater opened in 1982 close to the Hilton’s Eugene and Conference Center. With two performance rooms, you can bring a large group of family and friends. The lobby can fit up to 2400 people. It also has a 5,000-seat theatre that will make sure you are comfortable.
For kids who like to read, there is a public library with books just for them. You can also play games there. At The Plaza, you can watch hip-hop and flamenco dances done live. The venue offers season subscriptions, which save you money and give you a lot of other perks.
Address: 1 Eugene Center, Eugene, OR 97401
9. The Natural and Cultural History Museum
The Museum of Natural and Cultural History is one of the top 10 things to do in Eugene. It is on the beautiful campus of the University of Oregon.
This American natural history museum is a place where the past, present, and future all come together.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday and is one of the few places where kids under two can do things for free. For everyone else, there is a small fee.
The museum has a lot of great exhibits. Some of them are about the history of Oregon, medieval magic, bird eggs, local plants, civil rights, and animals that are good at sports.
The Museum of Natural and Cultural History is a must-see if you want to learn about cultural things.
Address: 1680 E 15th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401, USA
10. McKenzie River Trail
The McKenzie River Trail is one of the most beautiful places to walk or ride a bike in Oregon. It takes you through beautiful nature and scenery. Along with the rushing river, the small path goes through old-growth forests and rough lava fields with sparkling blue pools, lakes, and even waterfalls.
The scenic trail is a little over 25 miles long and begins at the headwaters of the appropriately called Clear Lake. It ends at the McKenzie River Ranger Station, which is about an hour’s drive from Eugene. As the river and trail wind through the Cascade Mountains, some parts can be very steep and tricky, but most parts shouldn’t be too hard for hikers and riders who are just starting out.
The trail isn’t easy, but the beautiful views, photo spots, and vantage points make it well worth the effort. Some of the best places are the Tamolitch Blue Pool, the Terwilliger Hot Springs, and both Sahalie and Koosh Falls. If you want to make it a longer trip, there are several cozy campsites spread out along the path.
11. The South Willamette Wine Trail
Without a self-guided winery tour, a trip to Eugene wouldn’t be complete. Eugene is often ranked as one of the best places to go for wine in the Pacific Northwest. There are more than 20 wineries and farms in the area, and each one has its own style. One of the best things to do in Eugene is to spend some time drinking and swirling around town.
If you want to try something new, you can ride your bike to a few farms. Visit the wineries on Briggs Hill Road, which are about 15 miles from Eugene. Sweet Cheeks and Silvan Ridge, which are right next to each other, are two of the places you can go.
In the middle of the Market District, you can walk between at least 10 wineries, wine bars, and tasting rooms. Plus, many of them are near some of Eugene’s best hotels, making it easy to go out for the night. Some even have activities and events every week, like yoga with your choice of drink, like wine or mimosas.
This area is known for its award-winning Pinot Noir, so try a glass (or two!) when you go to one of the farms or wine bars in the area.
12. Country Fair in Oregon
The Oregon Country Fair is held every year in early July in the nearby city of Veneta, which is about 15 miles (24 km) west of Eugene.
But don’t be fooled—it’s not a normal show.
The Oregon Country Fair is a non-profit group whose goal is to “feed the spirit, explore living artfully and authentically on earth, and change culture.”
They stress how important it is to work together and support racial justice.
The fair is a beautiful place with a hippy vibe and no one there to judge you.
People enjoy putting on outfits and letting their inner child out.
There will be food tables, booths from local artists, parades, puppet shows, jugglers, and fantasy shows.
At 24207 OR-126, Veneta, OR 97487, is where the Oregon Country Fair is.
13. Oregon Ducks
If you’re coming from outside the U.S. to visit Eugene, it’s good to know that most American schools take sports very seriously. Few schools are as well-known for sports as the University of Oregon, whose teams are all called “The Ducks.” The football team is the most well-known of the Ducks. They play at Autzen Stadium, which can hold up to 59,000 people.
The football season is in the fall, but you could see basketball, track and field, or baseball games at other times of the year.
No matter what you like, you can be sure the quality is good. Professional sports teams often draft Ducks.
14. Hayward Field
Hayward Field is one of the most well-known track and field grounds in the world. It was first built in 1919 as a football field.
Hayward Field is on the campus of the University of Oregon. It has been the site of six U.S. Championships, ten NCAA Outdoor Championships, and three U.S. Olympic Trials. The Field’s grandstands are as old, protected, and comfortable as some of the best stadiums in Europe.
Hayward Field is known as the “Carnegie Hall” of track and field sites. It is where the Prefontaine Classic takes place every year. This is the nation’s most important one-day track and field competition, with the best athletes from all over the world. More than 10,500 people can fit in the stadium without much trouble.
Eugene, Oregon, 1580 E. 15th Avenue
15. The museum in Lane County
From wagons and tools used by pioneers to colorful signs and items from the counterculture, the Lane County Historical Museum does a great job of showing and explaining the people and events that shaped Eugene and the towns around it. A 1908 Model T Ford and a recreation of a blacksmith’s forge from the 20th century are on display at long-running shows.
16. Saturday Market
The Eugene Saturday Market is one of the best places to meet in the city. It is open every Saturday from April to mid-November, rain or shine. The Saturday Market brings Eugene’s many tastes and styles together with its handmade goods, live music, and food from around the world.
The Saturday Market is in the middle of downtown and is often surrounded by other city events. It is a great place to start exploring the city’s culture on the weekend.
The Saturday Market is on one side of the street, and the Lane County Farmers Market is on the other. Between May and October, the Lane Country Farmers Market is also open all day on Tuesdays. Most of the same food is sold at these Tuesday farmer’s markets, but there are usually fewer people there.
Eugene, Oregon, 26 E. 8th Ave.
17. Willamette River Bike Trail
The Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System, which includes the Willamette River Bike Trail, is a network of paved paths that run along the river. It is about 12 miles long and connects Eugene and Springfield. Bicyclists, roller skaters, and people pushing strollers use it often.
The path winds around several places where people can stop and enjoy the day. The most well-known public area is Afton Baker Park, which has more than 200 acres and is right next to the river. Several bridges let people walk across the water and get to both sides of the river.
18. Hendricks Park
At the moment, no living thing has lived to be 200 years old, but this park has a few things that are definitely 200 years old, like the Douglas fir tree. Hendricks Park is the oldest city park in Oregon, and it has a lot to offer visitors. Hikers and bikers who want to have an exciting experience come to this place.
There is also a world-famous Rhodes garden with wild plants and some of the most beautiful, bright flowers you’ve ever seen. Come to this spot for your next wildlife trail. It has plants from Oregon and other places.
Address: Summit Ave & Skyline Blvd, Eugene, OR 97403
19. Mount Pisgah Arboretum
The arboretum was started in 1973 and is a great place to learn about the local environment of the Willamette Valley.
The arboretum is like an outdoor school for both kids and adults. It is set on almost 210 acres of beautiful forest.
The Mount Pisgah Arboretum has a range of natural habitats, seven miles of hiking trails, and beautiful outdoor exhibits.
Even though you can visit the arboretum on your own, you can also sign up for educational events.
Mount Pisgah Arboretum has trails for hiking, but you can also eat lunch at the picnic tables there, have a quiet moment of reflection, or run a few miles to get fit.
Along the way, there are four exhibitions that explain what’s going on.
Best of all, going to Mount Pisgah Arboretum is one of the few things you can do in Eugene that doesn’t cost anything.
Address: 34901 Frank Parrish Rd, Eugene, OR 97405, USA
20. Oregon University
The University of Oregon is the most famous college in the state, and it takes up a large part of the city center. On its grounds, you’ll find not only beautiful architecture and old buildings covered in ivy, but also a lovely arboretum and a great art museum.
It was started in 1876 and now has five colleges that focus on the arts, science, and law. The campus also has a lot of libraries, quads, and study facilities. On tours, you can learn more about its rich history and tradition as you visit sacred halls and modern sports facilities.
21. Alpacas & Arcades
If you want to do something different in Eugene, go to the Aragon Alpaca farm in the southeast. Here, you can meet the alpacas in their fields, call them by name, and feed them carrots by hand. On-site, there is also a small store called the Spinner’s Barn Farm Store and Craft Studio that sells items made from alpaca fur and shows how the yarn is spun.
Next, visit the Blairally Vintage Arcade in Eugene’s lively Whiteaker neighborhood. This old arcade is in an old warehouse and has more than 30 pinball games. It also has a full bar with pub food and local microbrews on tap.
22. Go to the fair in Lane County
The Lane County Fair takes place in July, just like the Oregon Country Fair. It’s a more normal American fair, so it’s a great place to go if you want to experience a classic fair.
There are many fairground rides at the fair, from the famous merry-go-round to high-up rides that will make you feel scared.
There are a lot of rides and fair games for kids.
There are a lot of food stands and a lot of music at the Oregon County Fair. And between rides, don’t forget to get some cotton candy.
The Lane County Fair takes place at the Lane Events Center, which is at 796 W 13th Ave, Eugene, OR 97402.
23. Museum of Air and Space in Oregon
If you like military equipment, this show of old planes and models at Eugene’s regional airport is right up your alley.
The best planes in the collection are from the First World War. The French Nieuport 17 is a single-seat fighter, and the German Fokker Dr. 1 Triplane is the same type of plane that the famous Red Baron flew. A McDonnell Douglas A4 Skyhawk and a MiG-17 that fought in Vietnam stand in for the Cold War.
There is also a timeline with models, old photos, and NASA items that shows the past of space exploration.