Lush and green, both in terms of landscape and its environmentally friendly ways, Eugene, Oregon seems a far cry from big city. Yet together with neighboring Springfield, it sits at the heart of the state’s second-largest metropolitan area, think flourishing university town with well-ranked collegiate sports programs meets organic and often atmospheric. So what to do on a day out in Eugene, Oregon?
For starters, time your visit to coincide with a Saturday sometime between April and mid-November, when the colorful Saturday Market flourishes in downtown Eugene. Live musical performances, local artisans, farm fresh produce and hot food (including plenty of vegetarian dishes) make this the perfect introduction to this lively, health-conscious city. Having browsed the booths and caught the creative vibe, venture over a few blocks and enjoy a meander through the Fifth Street Public Market (open daily) on Fifth Avenue. Or, dispense with shopping for the day and head instead southeast to take a walking tour of the peaceful University of Oregon campus (which you might recognize as the setting for the decidedly less peaceful flick, Animal House). Here, highlights include historic buildings like Deady Hall (built 1876) and the accredited Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. There’s also a Natural History Museum to peruse with time to spare, and the educational Science Factory, located just across the Willamette River in Alton Baker Park.
In town for the weekend with one day more to while away as wished? Plan for a leisurely breakfast and coffee break in some atmospheric cafe downtown, then plot out your afternoon. Our top picks? Either a few hours of wine sipping at local tasting rooms or a trip out to Mount Pisgah Arboretum. Several miles of trail at the latter offer access to all kinds of flora, as well as lovely views from the summit of Mount Pisgah if you don’t mind a little hike.