10 Top Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon (2024)

Located at the southern end of Oregon's Willamette Valley, Eugene is close to a fertile wine-grape-growing region famous for pinot noir and pinotgris and was also known asa counterculture haven back in the 1960s and 1970s. The city has also been called "Track Town USA" and the "Track and Field Capital of the World," as it frequently hosts world-class events and competitions. Visitors willfind a wonderful bounty of outdoor spaces full of wildlife, gardens, and plenty of beautiful scenery. Here's how to make the most of your time in this underrated part of the country.

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See Waterfalls Up Close

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Proxy Falls, Oregon 97413, USA

Located about a 60-90-minute drive east of Eugene are some of the most beautiful waterfalls on earth, including Proxy Falls, pictured here, as well as Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls, both situated along the scenic 26-mile McKenzie River National Recreation Trail.

Head to the Koosah and Sahalie Falls Trail in Willamette National Forest, a 2.9-mile hike that takes visitors past each waterfall. While the Proxy Falls Loop Trail is a bit farther away, the 1.6-mile route is definitely worth making an extra stop on a nature-filled day trip from Eugene.

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Stop and Smell the Roses

10 Top Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon (2)


300 N Jefferson St, Eugene, OR 97402-5000, USA

Phone+1 541-682-4800

If you're seeking solace in a beautiful setting, head to one of the city's two flower-filled parks: Owen Rose Garden, an 8.5-acre park located along the scenic Willamette River, or Hendricks Park, an 80-acre green space established in 1906 that's Eugene's oldest city park. Both are free to enter and offer beautiful surroundings, perfect for a stroll or a picnic.

Owen Rose Garden is home to over 4,500 roses reflecting more than 400 varieties, as well as the Oregon Heritage Cherry Tree, which, according to local legend, was planted by the city's founder, Eugene Skinner, in 1847. Hendricks Park is home to several hiking trails as well as more than 6,000 rhododendron and other plant varieties, including iris and trillium wildflowers, ferns, and 200-year-old Douglas fir trees.

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Taste Local Wines

10 Top Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon (3)

There are a number of ways to experience the award-winning wines produced in the Eugene area, whether you want to drive from winery to winery visiting tasting rooms and enjoying all those valley views, or visit one of several tasting rooms within the city.

King Estate Winery, perched atop a hill surrounded by vineyards, is an extensive and welcoming facility. Sample wines in the tasting room, then take a guided tour to learn more about its wine production operations. Weather permitting, you can also enjoy a meal at the restaurant's outdoor patio space for more charming valley views. Next, stop by the tasting room atSweet Cheeks Winery, just 15 minutes away and situated in a relocated historic building placed near its estate vineyard. In addition to daily tasting hours, the vineyard offers Friday evening tastings and special events year-round.

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Visit Museums at the University of Oregon

10 Top Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon (4)


1430 Johnson Lane, Eugene, OR 97403, USA

Phone+1 541-346-3027

A major presence in the Eugene community, the University of Oregon is located just southeast of downtown. Stroll through its lovely campus and visit the UO Duck Store, student union building, or one of its museums.

TheJordan Schnitzer Museum of Arthouses awell-established collection of Asian and Pacific Northwest art, as well as Russian icons, photography, and contemporary art. Don't miss​The Museum of Natural and Cultural History, where you'll find exhibits focusing on the natural history and culture of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The history and culture of the area's Indigenous peoples, regional geology, and ecology are covered in the permanent exhibits at this family-friendly museum.

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See a Show at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts

10 Top Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon (5)


1 Eugene Center, Eugene, OR 97401, USA

Phone+1 541-682-5000

A crown jewel of Eugene's downtown, the Hult Center for the Performing Arts contains a variety of performance, meeting, and exhibition spaces. The Silva Concert Hall hosts music and dance exhibitions by visiting artists as well as local performers, and acts as the venue for the annual "Broadway in Eugene" series of popular musicals. The Soreng Theater is a smaller venue meant for more intimate ballets and concerts, while the Eugene Opera, Eugene Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, Eugene Ballet Company, and the Eugene Concert Choir all call the Hult Center home.

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Get Historical at the Lane County Museum

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740 W 13th Ave, Eugene, OR 97402-4097, USA

Phone+1 541-682-4242

From pioneer-era wagons and equipment to colorful counterculture signs and artifacts, the Lane County Historical Museum does an excellent job of representing and interpreting the people and events that shaped Eugene and its surrounding communities. Long-running exhibitions feature historical vehicles including a 1908 Model T Ford and a re-creation of a 20th-century blacksmith's forge.

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Meet Birds of Prey at the Cascades Raptor Center

10 Top Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon (7)


32275 Fox Hollow Rd, Eugene, OR 97405, USA

Phone+1 541-485-1320

Both a nature education center and a wildlife hospital, Eugene's Cascades Raptor Center gives you a closer look at some of the region's most impressive birds of prey. Take in an expert talk from the wildlife handlers or sign up for more in-depth educational programs. Resident birds you might see during your trip include a snowy owl, a great gray owl, a bald eagle, an osprey, a red-tailed hawk, and a peregrine falcon.

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Cheer on the Oregon Ducks

10 Top Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon (8)


2700 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Eugene, OR 97401, USA

Phone+1 541-346-4461

Sports fans will find plenty of games, meets, competitions, and races to watch throughout the year in Eugene, especially if they're rooting for the University of Oregon Ducks. Part of the competitive Pac-12 conference, the men's and women's teams at UO excel in many sports, dominating in football, cross country, and track and field. Venues for home games include Autzen Stadium, Matt Arena, and Hayward Field.

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Visit the Oregon Air and Space Museum

10 Top Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon (9)


90377 Boeing Dr, Eugene, OR 97402-9536, USA

Phone+1 541-461-1101

Aviation buffs and budding engineers might like to get a look at the aircraft, artifacts, and interpretive displays at the modest but interesting Oregon Air and Space Museum. Airplanes on exhibit include fighters and bombers from World War I,the VietnamWar, and the Persian Gulf War, while other displays focus on space exploration, flight suits, and aircraft engines.

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Treat Yourself to Some Retail Therapy

10 Top Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon (10)


296 E 5th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401, USA

Phone+1 541-484-0383

Eugene is a surprisingly fun shopping destination, especiallyaround its downtown district.Visit theFifth Street Public Market, a relatively new shopping venue featuring artisanal foods, local wines, and unique home and gift items, all nestled together amongpatios and public spaces. Also worth checking out is theEugene Saturday Market, which runsApril through mid-November, with live entertainment, a food court, and plenty of handcrafted goods. The Saturday Lane County Farmers Market takes place next door at Eighth Avenue and Oak Street and is also worth a look.

10 Top Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon (2024)


What is Eugene, Oregon best known for? ›

Eugene is known for outdoor recreation, bicycle and hiking trails, organic farming, a politically engaged citizenry, and a commitment to the arts. The University of Oregon, Lane Community College, and three private colleges are located there.

How to spend a day in Eugene, Oregon? ›

Top Attractions in Eugene
  1. Studio West Glassblowing Studio and Gallery. 194. Art Galleries. ...
  2. Cascades Raptor Center. 512. Nature & Wildlife Areas. ...
  3. Willamette River bike trail. 489. Biking Trails. ...
  4. Hayward Field. 239. ...
  5. Mount Pisgah. 176. ...
  6. Eugene Saturday Market. 283. ...
  7. University of Oregon. 376. ...
  8. Hult Center for the Performing Arts. 220.

What is special about Eugene? ›

Framed by rolling wine country, agricultural lands and lush green forests, Eugene offers easy access to stunning natural beauty as well as abundant outdoor adventures. Just an hour west, play on sandy beaches and explore dramatic coastal vistas.

Is Eugene, Oregon worth visiting? ›

There's a lot to do in Oregon's second largest city. Located along the Willamette River, Eugene has a dynamic mix of arts and culture, shopping and dining, entertainment and sports. With real adventures, real close, this is a one-stop shop for fun.

What is the nicest area of Eugene Oregon? ›

Live in Eugene Oregon: Best Neighborhoods for Your Lifestyle
  1. Amazon. The Amazon area, one of the top Eugene OR neighborhoods, is a magnet for educators, professionals, and families, known for its welcoming atmosphere and low crime rates. ...
  2. Cal Young. ...
  3. College Hill. ...
  4. Fairmount. ...
  5. Fox Hollow. ...
  6. Friendly Area. ...
  7. Harlow. ...
  8. North Gilham Area.
Mar 1, 2024

What is the most expensive area in Eugene Oregon? ›

West University

With a median home price of $575,505 and a median rent of $927, West University is the most expensive neighborhood on our list. Based on the growth in home prices in West University over the last 3 years, it ranks No. 1 among all the neighborhoods in Eugene.

Is it cheaper to live in Portland or Eugene? ›

The Cost of Living in Eugene is Substantially Lower than in Portland. Eugene is significantly less expensive than Portland. For example, Eugene's cost of living index is 107.3/100, about 7% higher than the national average.

What is the most walkable neighborhood in Eugene Oregon? ›

1. West University. West University is the most walkable neighborhood in Eugene, with a Walk Score of 93. Known for its close proximity to the University of Oregon, residents and visitors alike can explore the area and take advantage of its walkable layout.

Is Eugene expensive to live in? ›

Eugene is ranked 50 out of 273 cities across the US in terms of cost of living. The cost of living in Eugene is 109.4% of the national average.

Why is Eugene famous? ›

A well-known hot spot for both lush, dense greenery in the forests and an infamous training/gathering hub of some of the fastest athletes in the world, it's fitting that Eugene got the nicknames Emerald City and Track Town, USA.

Why does Eugene have a homeless problem? ›

A lack of affordable housing, limited shelter capacity, and scarce mental and behavioral health resources contribute to the more than 3,000 people experiencing homelessness in Eugene, more than 2,000 of which are without shelter every night.

What disorder does Eugene have? ›

Due to some of his personality quirks, Eugene may have Asperger's Syndrome, a fact that producers have hinted at.

How do you spend a day in Eugene, Oregon? ›

  1. Find the Simpsons in Springfield. 5 minutes from Eugene. ...
  2. Step Back in Time in Coburg. 10 minutes from Eugene. ...
  3. Go on a Covered Bridges Quest. ...
  4. Spend the Day in Oregon Wine Country. ...
  5. Field Trip to the Willamette Fish Hatchery. ...
  6. Explore the Oregon Dunes. ...
  7. Touch the Pacific Crest Trail. ...
  8. View the Heceta Head Lighthouse.
Mar 22, 2024

What is cool about Eugene Oregon? ›

Top Attractions
  • Hayward Field.
  • Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon.
  • 5th Street Public Market.
  • Heceta Head Lighthouse.
  • Spencer Butte Trail.
  • King Estate.
  • Salt Creek Falls.
  • The Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

What is the racial makeup of Eugene Oregon? ›

The 5 largest ethnic groups in Eugene, OR are White (Non-Hispanic) (76.9%), Two+ (Non-Hispanic) (6.42%), Asian (Non-Hispanic) (3.86%), White (Hispanic) (3.6%), and Two+ (Hispanic) (3.22%).

What is the major industry in Eugene Oregon? ›

The top industries include small business, agriculture, forest products, higher education, technology, tourism and recreation, retail, manufacturing, health-care, government and social assistance. The Eugene Airport (EUG) is 15 minutes from downtown Eugene.

Why is Eugene called the Emerald city? ›

Located in western Oregon, Eugene is a beautiful city known for its stunning scenery, outdoor recreation, and commitment to the arts. Many people affectionately refer to Eugene as “Emerald City” thanks to its picturesque surroundings and abundant greenery.

Is Eugene Oregon a great place to live? ›

Eugene named best place to live in Oregon and one of the best in the US.

Is Eugene Oregon expensive to live? ›

Eugene is part of Eugene-Springfield Metro metro area, which is ranked 50 out of 273 cities across the US in terms of cost of living. According to C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research), the cost of living in Eugene is estimated to be 109.4% of the national average making it an average US city.

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