Full of politics, youthful energy, and alternative lifestylers, eclectic, fun-loving, Eugene is a lively stop along I-5. Also known as ‘Tracktown,’ the town is popular for its track-and-field champions – Nike was born here, after all. And while Eugene maintains a working-class base in manufacturing and timber, some of the state’s most unique citizens live here, too – ex-hippie activists, upscale entrepreneurs, eco-green anarchists, and high-tech heads (CTOs).
Top Attractions in Eugene:
Alton Baker Park: This attractive 400-acre riverside park, which grants access to the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Trail System, a 10-mile bikeway covering both sides of the Willamette, is heaven for joggers and cyclists. Explore Alton Baker Park for its’ riverside, exquisite beauty, and clean air.
University of Oregon: Founded in 1872 CE, the University of Oregon is the state’s foremost school of higher learning, focusing on science, arts, and law. The campus is filled with well-known ivy-covered buildings and comprises a Pioneer Cemetery, with tombstones that presents a shining insight into life and death in the ancient settlement. Campus tours are exclusively held in the summer.
Saturday Market: For great entertainment and an ideal introduction to Eugene’s characteristic vitality, don’t miss the famed Saturday Market, held each Saturday from March through November. Regional artisans sell original handcrafted works, and there’s free live music throughout the day on the platform in the food court. It’s renamed the Holiday Market and moves indoors to the Lane Events Center between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Skinner Butte: A stroll up wooded Skinner Butte, north of downtown, offers a little exercise and a good orientation. Eugene Skinner built the town’s first business on the slim strip of land along the Willamette River below Skinner Butte Park; there’s an excellent playground for kids. If you’re an avid rock climber, don’t ignore the basalt formations along the butte’s lower westernmost side. You can luckily drive up here too.
Museum of Natural and Cultural History: Home to a replica of a Native American longhouse, this museum features various displays on Northwest Native American artifacts and culture, including basketry and a 10,000+-year-old pair of shoes (I am not kidding). Fun ‘laboratory’ activities introduce families and kids to the fundamentals of science.
Things to do in Eugene:
- Wine: Oregon wine tours are excellent for people interested in tasting wines
- Hike: Amazon Trail and River Bank Trail offers paved path running along the south and north sides of the Willamette River.
- Golf: There is a fashionable 18-hole course in the above-mentioned Alton Baker Park and a smaller, 9-hole course at the famed Westmoreland Park in West Eugene.
- Skate: There are numerous skate parks throughout the town. The skate park in Underbridge Park is the largest indoor skate park in the country.
Now You Know