Eugene may not be as big as Portland, but this college town does not lack in terms of excitement. The city’s set in a perfect location, on the south end of the Willamette Valley in the heart of Oregon’s beautiful wine country. They’re proudly home to the U of O, some great microbreweries, wineries and a range of amazing food options. Next time you’re in the area, these are just eight of the local gems you won’t want to miss.
1. Willamette River Bike Trail
Paved and flat, this route is great for hiking or biking along both sides of the Willamette River. It stretches for a decent 6+ miles, passing by a couple of parks and offering easy access to a lot of businesses downtown.
2. Off The Waffle
Off The Waffle serves both savory and sweet Belgium-style Liège waffles in three locations – including two in Eugene and one in Portland. They top waffles with everything from bacon & eggs to ones with strawberries and chocolate sauce.
They also offer catering for special events like birthday parties and office meetings. You can find directions and their full menus over on their website here.
3. Sweet Cheeks Winery
Sweet Cheeks Winery has been perfecting their handcrafted wines since 1978. They have a lovely location both inside and out, including a spacious patio where you can enjoy a glass overlooking the vineyards. There aren’t any food options available but you’re more than welcome to bring your own picnic to pair with your flights.
4. Ninkasi Brewery
Not much of a wine drinker? Maybe beer is more your speed. Pints are always ready to be filled at Ninkasi Brewing and they’ve got plenty of seating where you can relax and enjoy them. Grab a spot on their patio with a cold IPA, or get a closer look at how they make our favorite hoppy drinks by following one of their guided tours.
5. Hendricks Park
What could be more relaxing than spending a few hours winding through Oregon forest? Hendricks Park is Eugene’s oldest city park and just a short drive up from the University of Oregon campus. It’s very well-maintained, and includes a beautiful rhododendron garden that blooms by spring and early summer.
6. Wandering Goat Coffee Co.
On a cold rainy day there’s nothing like a warm mocha in hand at Wandering Goat Coffee. The laid-back cafe is hidden away in an industrial area, serving not just espresso but also snacks, teas and house-made baked goods from their all-vegan bakery.
7. Mount Pisgah Arboretum
Mount Pisgah Arboretum is a quiet place to unwind and reconnect with nature, set just outside of Eugene and Springfield. The living tree museum encompasses about 209 acres and miles of scenic hiking trails.
8. Owen Rose Garden
Owen Rose Garden is about as picturesque as it gets. Like something from a fairy tale, the garden has a gazebo, an old giant cherry tree and a walking path to meander. It’s a lovely place to stroll and see colorful varieties of roses blooming in the spring, and take in the sweet floral fragrances.
Have you been to any of these places before? Where do you love visiting around Eugene?