Home to close to 160,000 people, Eugene is Oregon's second biggest city. It is located within Willamette Valley so it is a given that you could find a lot of family farms here that offer the best hazelnuts, Christmas trees, tulips and blueberries in the region. But more than that, the city is home to a great mix of arts and culture attractions, dining and shopping options, as well as your choice of sports and entertainment. The city also offers a great selection of outdoor recreation, including hiking, mountain biking and other activities.
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Do check out the Amazon Center, where you can enjoy the swimming pool, the picnic area, the playground, the jogging path, skateboard area and wading pools. Or you can have a fun day at Putter's Indoor Golf and Strike city Lanes.
If you are looking for a great game or relaxing bingo, then go to Full House Poker, High Mountain Poker Place, the Arc of Oregon Bingo Hall, and Pocket Pair Card Club.
You can check out the art galleries here as well. The Gallery at the Watershed is where you could find the works of Robert Canaga, Lilian Almeida, Kirk Lybecker, Michael Orwick, Randy Ortiz, Sarah Sedwick, Randall David Tipton, Angelita Surmon, Jeff White, Renee Manford, Jill Cardinal, and other contemporary artists. The Maude Kerns Art Center gives you ten different exhibits every year, including the Jello Show and an art and wine festival that happens on Independence Day. Other galleries here include Mike Leckie Sculpture, Raven Frame Works, and Robert Canaga Studio.
Locals think that these three are the best galleries in the city: New Zone Gallery, Karin Clarke Gallery, and White Lotus Gallery.
Museums. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon gives you creative and innovative programs and exhibits. The museum has been open since 1933 and is the only museum that is accredited by the AAM, or the American Alliance of Museums. Holdings here include a comprehensive and exhausting collection of American art, Korean art, Chinese art and Japanese art. The museum usually has special exhibits, using pieces from the collection or those borrowed from other institutions.
Performance arts. Eugene has two ballet companies in Ballet Fantastique, which performs at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts and the Eugene Ballet Company, an extraordinary company that has been around for more than three decades already.
The Cuthbert Amphitheater host outdoor concerts during the summer, as well as theater productions, musical concerts and dance performances, among others. This is where you could catch nationally touring artists as well as great Shakespearean plays. The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts, on the other hand, hosts conferences, classes, lectures, concerts and other events, most notably, the Oregon Festival of American Music every August. You also have the McDonald Theatre, where you can also catch live performances of any forms.
Eugene Concert Choir is a premiere choir that also performs at Hult Center, usually together with the Eugene Vocal Arts Ensemble. While the Eugene Symphony gives you symphonic performances that is great for the whole family to attend.
Music lovers should not miss out on the Oregon Bach Festival, which features at least 40 musical events in multiple days. World-renowned vocalists and musicians perform at different venues around the city, including Beall Concert Hall and the Hult Center.
Two venues that are also local favorites are Oregon Contemporary Theatre and Actors Cabaret of Eugene.
Festivals and events. Be sure to check out Art at the Vineyard that happens at the Alton Baker Park. Hosted by the Maude Kerns Art Center, this event brings together garden art, an art marketplace, live musical performances, food and wine. Meanwhile the Cinema Pacific Film Festival happens in April every year and puts focus on countries that are found on the Pacific Ocean, as such it feature films from Asian countries, Latin American countries and even the United States. There are lots of post-film workshops and discussions that happen during the film festival, bringing you to different venues around the city, such as community theaters, the Robinson Theater, the Bijou Theater and the UO campus.
Another film festival of note is the Eugene International Film Festival, where you can watch movies from all around the world.
If you are in Eugene in October, you will want to attend the Colonial Harvest Days, held at the Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm, where you can play seasonal games, get on tractor rides and tour the farm.
The Lane Arts Council brings you the First Friday Art Walks through downtown Eugene, giving you the chance to visit local art venues and galleries all in one night. The Lane Events Center, on the other hand, hosts the Lane County Fair every July. Then you have the Wildflower Festival at the Mount Pisgah Arboretum.
Further, you have the Oregon Truffle Festival, a unique festival in the United States. Attend the chef dinners, pairing and tastings here. You can even join a truffle hunt or learn how to cook in one of the cooking classes organized by the festival committee. Meanwhile the Pacific International Children's Choir Festival allows you to see 300 youth singers from all over the world. The festival gives you 13 uplifting and inspiring performances from the best youth choirs in the world.
Other events you could join are the Eugene Marathon and the Eugene Pride Day Equality Project.
A lot of visitors think that Eugene is limited when it comes to dining options. Not really. It might be a college town, but that no way translates to the variety and quality of food that many restaurants serve. For instance, you can find Marche at the 5th St. Public Market, and taste the most delicious French food in the city while also being able to shop at Marche Provisions, where you can also get fast grab and go delights.
Then you can check out the intimate Belly, for a great fusion experience that brings together fresh local ingredients and European flavor, dishes created by Chef Brendan Mahaney. If you want to have a hearty breakfast to start your day, then you can decide between Glenwood Cafe and Off the Waffle.
Outside of downtown, you have Osteria Sfizio which first regales you with splashy decors and then wows you with great Italian food prepared by chef Rocky Maselli. In Whiteaker, you can enjoy the brews at Ninkasi Brewing or enjoy the variety of pizzas at the Pizza Research Institute. If you are looking to mix burgers and beer, check out Cornucopia, the Vintage or Izakaya Meiji. On a date? Then go to Beppe & Gianni's, or Noli, both serving some of the best Italian food here.
Locals love the breads at Hideaway Bakery, Metropol Bakery, and Eugene City Bakery, while also loving the coffee at Wandering Goat, Full City and Vero Espresso. You can also choose among Papa's Soul Food, Hole in the Wall or H&H BBQ for some of the best barbecues in town. Then you can enjoy the most delicious Mediterranean food at Poppi's Anatolia, Dalia on Broadway, and Café Soriah.
If you are craving for Thai food, then you can go to Ta Ra Rin, Sweet Basil, or Sabai. Frozen goodies? Go to Red Wagon Creamery, Vanilla Jill's or Prince Pückler's.
The city's best Korean restaurants are Noodle Bowl, Café Arirang, and Chingu Restaurant, while the best Mexican restaurants are Chapala and Taqueria Mi Tierra.
For the budget and time conscious, food carts fill the need. So get in line at Delacata, Sammitch, and Viva! Vegetarian Grill for some of the best food cart fare.
Craving for Indian food? Then go to Evergreen, Taste of India, or Poppi's Anatolia. And if you have kids eating with you, the best places to take them are Laughing Planet and Papa's Pizza.
Speaking of pizza, Mezza Luna Pizzeria and Pegasus Pizza might be your best bets, while the best sushi awardees are Sushi Domo, Mame and PURE.
Other restaurants you should try include Cornbread Cafe, The Bier Stein, and Party Downtown.
Shopping. The Lane County Farmers Market is now located at the Lane Events Center and you can shop for fresh produce and other products every weekend in November and December. You can buy from local producers, farmers and crafters here and even hear local musicians perform. Or you can go to the Saturday Market and experience the longest running artisan craft fair in the country. You have at least 200 artists and crafters selling you anything from pottery to candles to jewelry to wind chimes and everything else in between. Buy your unique memento and gift here!
Another farmers market you can visit here is the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition.
You can get the best vintage stuff at Pewter Rabbit Antiques.
Valley River Center is the city's premier shopping option where you have 120 stores open for you, including Macy's, Sports Authority, JCPenney, the Mac Store, and a bevy of shoe and clothing stores. This is where you could find the Duck Store, and get your fill of University of Oregon souvenirs and Made-in-Oregon stuff. You can also go to Oakway Center where you could shop at specialty stores such as Chico's Coldwater Creek, Trader Joe's, Pier 1 Imports, Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom Rack, Pottery Barn, Nike, Talbots, Eugene Running Company, and Old Navy. Then you have Fifth Street Public Market where you could find a concentration of unique home furnishing, fashion and gift shops.
Looking to save money on your purchases? Then check out the following thrift shops:
Best places for the best fashion finds? Go to Redoux Parlour, and Clothes Horse. While Smith Family Bookstore, Tsunami Books, and J. Michaels are the city's best books stores.
Golfers would love the city's many challenging and relaxing golf courses, such as:
Sports venues. When it comes to sports, then you certainly will want to catch a University of Oregon football game, which has been one of the exciting highlights in the city during the season. Be one of the more than 50,000 fans who pack themselves in at the Autzen Stadium. Another team that you could cheer on is the Emerald City Roller Girls, which has four teams: the Skatesaphrenics, the Andromedolls, the Church of Sk8in, and Flat Track Furies. The 80 strong league have their derbies at the Lane County Fairgrounds. The Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League play their games at PK Park.
Other sports venues here include:
The Conger Street Clock Museum has close to two dozen exhibits that focus on clocks, trains, handmade cars, cameras, mini pedal cars, and tractors. Meanwhile, the Lane County Historical Society and Museum gives you more information about the history of Lane County, through long-term displays and exhibits, traveling exhibits and children's special programs. The museum also has an exhaustive photography collection.
Further, you can go to the Oregon Air & Space Museum where you can find different aviation and space related displays, including full sized aircraft that were used both World Wars. There are also space program timelines, flight suits, and other exhibits and memorabilia here. You can go to the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House, which is the only Victorian Museum in the entire city.
Other museums you can go to include the Museums of Springfield/Eugene, University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, and the University of Oregon Hall of Champions & Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile, you can go and see the East Skinner Butte Historic Landmark Area where you have around two dozen buildings that are historically or architecturally important. These buildings have been built between the 1850s right through the 1920s. You would certainly love the variety of architectural designs and the time period here.
The city also has more than 20 houses that are designated as national historic sites, including Abraham and Phoebe Ball House, Benjamin Franklin Dorris House, Chase Gardens Residential Grouping Christian–Patterson Rental Property, Clarence and Ethel Boyer House, Daniel and Catherine Christian House, Frank L. and Ida H. Chambers House, Fred E. Chambers House and Grounds, Howard A. Hall House, Shelton McMurphey Johnson House, Wallace and Glenn Potter House, and Windsor W. Calkins House, among others.
In addition, there are close to 30 non-house sites that are on the National Register of historic Places, including:
One of the first places you should visit is the Mount Pisgah Arboretum, where you have more than 200 acres of space where you can get eight miles of trails, as well as a great venue for the Mushroom Festival and the Wildflower Festival.
You can also experience a different kind of biking and pub crawl here in the city. Join the Pacific Pub Cycle and you and your group of eight to fourteen people can get on a multi-passenger bike and tour the participating breweries and pubs in the city, including Ninkasi Brewing Company and Hop Valley Brewing Company, among others.
Camping and RV parks in the city include Armitage Park Campground, Eugene Kamping World RV Park, and Premier RV Resorts of Eugene. Or you can check out the many hiking and biking trails here, including:
Meanwhile, runners would want to familiarize themselves with these trails: Adidas Oregon Trail, Rexius Trail, Hendricks Park Trail, Pre's Trail, and Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System.
Aside from these, Eugene also has great parks. You can go to the Golden Gardens Park where you can go on a trail that takes you to several streams and ponds that provides a home and rest stop for various animals. Petersen Park has a community center, running and walking trails, a playground, and sports fields. Candlelight Park is a dog park that also has a basketball court, large fields, and a playground. Other parks nearby include Balboa Park, Irwin Park, Empire Park, Echo Hollow Park, Bethel Community Park, and State Street Park.
Downtown, you have:
Hendricks Park in East Eugene is the city's oldest park covering a space of 78 acres. It features a forest, a native plant garden and a rhododendron garden. It also features several trails for joggers and hikers. Millrace Park is nearby.
Meanwhile, North Eugene has five major parks: Armitage Park, Delta Ponds Park, Sheldon Park, Ascot Park, and Churchill Sports Park. Other green spaces in the area include: Hileman Landing Park, Oakmont Park, Country Inn, and Camp Harlow. Then Santa Clara has Emerald Park, Walnut Grove Park, Bramblewood Park, Arrow Head Quail Ridge Park, and Awbrey Park.
Amazon Park in South Eugene is the city's activity center with running trails, a playground, dog park, pool, skate park, volleyball, soccer and baseball fields. It also has the Hillyard Community Center, and its pool has diving boards, lap pools and water slide. Other parks in the area include: Morse Ranch Park, Washington Park, Lafferty Park, Glen Oak Park, Willis Park, and Kincaid Park.
Then you have the following West Eugene parks:
Lastly, you have the parks that are near the Williamette River, such as the Alton Baker Park, where you can find a duck pond, biking, walking and running trails, picnic spots, an amphitheater and a dog park. It also has a scale model of the solar system for you to enjoy. Rose lovers would love Owen Rose Garden. The small park features around 400 varieties of roses. Other parks in this area include the Franklin Park, Riverfront Research Park, Maurie Jacobs Park, and East Bank Park.
You have the Cascades Raptor Center, which is a nature hospital where you can find at least five dozen birds belonging to more than 30 species. You can also go to Aragon Alpacas and Pura Vida Alpacas to get up close to these cute furry creatures.
You could take the kids to the Science Factory Children's Museum & Exploration Dome, where they can have fun exploring and understanding science through a variety of interactive and hands on exhibits.
LGBT Travel. Eugene is one of the cities cited as one of the top destinations for gay travelers by TravelNerd. The University of Oregon is also one of the best schools for LGBT students. The city also features several TAG approved hotels, including the Hilton Eugene.
There are a lot of recreational and social activities for LGBT travelers in the city, including the Frontrunners group, the Rainbow River Women Social Group, and the LGBT Kayaking Club.
The city also has several no partner required dance venues, as well as its own HIV-POZ Social Group.
Dizzying, right? Don't worry, with a bus rental in Eugene, Oregon, you can be sure that you can visit all the sites that you want to go to and have time to spare to discover more of Track Town, USA!
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