Fun Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon

As a long-time Eugene resident, I’m thrilled to show off everything that makes this vibrant city consistently ranked one of America’s hippest destinations.

Beyond the home of the Oregon Ducks and the unofficial track and field capital of the world thanks to historic Hayward Field, Eugene boasts a spectacular natural landscape, top-notch food and drink, thriving arts, and legendary quirkiness.

From strolling through the largest open-air craft market in the Pacific Northwest to exploring hundreds of miles of running trails that twist through ancient forests and mountains, Eugene offers visitors endless opportunities for adventure and fun.

Let this local’s guide help you discover the best things to do in Eugene, Oregon during your visit to the “Emerald City” of the great Northwest.

Fun Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon

Things to Do in Eugene

Check Out the 5th Street Public Market

The bustling 5th Street Public Market should top any list of things to do in Eugene. This vibrant complex filled with artisan shops and eateries embodies the city’s eccentric yet laidback vibe.

Don’t miss:

  • Off the Waffle – For sweet and savory Belgian delicacies
  • Red Wagon Creamery – serving up Eugene’s best artisanal ice cream
  • Brigadoon Brewery & Taphouse – house-brewed craft ales

With local musicians busking in the central courtyard filled with umbrella-shaded tables, the 5th Street Market offers comfort food and craft beverages perfect for a relaxing afternoon escaping Eugene’s occasional rain showers.

Wander the Lane County Farmers Market

One of the top Eugene attractions happens every Saturday morning from mid-April through November at 8th and Oak Street when the Lane County Farmers Market sets up shop.

Come early to grab a hot coffee and snag bags of the freshest produce, meats, baked goods, and artisanal treats from over 150 local vendors and food purveyors. Don’t forget to bring cash!

During peak harvest seasons, join guided tours of the market to meet farmers first-hand and learn about crops grown across the Willamette Valley’s bountiful farmland. Kids will love scavenger hunts through the market searching for everything from blackberries to bok choy.

When hunger strikes, grab newlines and sit at the picnic tables to feast on falafel pockets, waffles smothered in marionberries, or the best pad Thai noodles you’ve ever tasted.

Check Out Local Art and crafts at the Eugene Saturday Market

Consistently ranked one of the best things to do in Eugene, the legendary Eugene Saturday Market draws thousands to downtown Park Blocks from mid-March through November to wander its rows of talented artisans.

With tie-dye apparel, glass pendants, hand-thrown ceramics, embroidered textiles, wood carvings, scented soaps, portrait sketches and more, it’s easy to spend hours perusing goods crafted by over 200 local and regional artists.

Unique Eugene-inspired gifts like “Keep Eugene Weird” prints or glass pendants shaped like bicycle bells make memorable souvenirs. And hungry shoppers will find plenty of snack carts and food trucks offering everything from wood-fired pizza to gluten-free baklava as fuel while bargain hunting.

Treasure Hunt Vintage Finds on Oak Street

Those looking to furnish their homes with quirky antiques should visit the Oak Street vintage shops clustered between 7th and 13th Avenues just west of the University of Oregon campus.

Retro Revival features midcentury Danish teak credenzas, while Next Step Home carries industrial cabinets and toolbox-inspired end tables. Across the street, The Merchant Mercantile stocks chandeliers made from antique jewelry and rebuilt stained glass windows.

Further west near Oak Street and Lawrence, Sit’n Stitch is filled with Victorian fainting couches and antique sewing machines, while Digs on Oak hosts monthly swap meets to trade your own vintage wares.

Sip Award-Winning Coffee at Farmers Union

For some of the freshest artisanal coffee sourced from regional roasters, stop by the laidback Farmers Union coffee bars housed in repurposed shipping containers. Sip a nitro cold brew or organic tea grown on their farms while watching baristas roast Fair Trade beans to order on antique equipment before your eyes.

Their flagship downtown location sits beside a urban farm growing hops used in small-batch wet hop IPAs. And kids will love visiting the goats, chickens, and pigs that call the farm home.

Discover the Small but Mighty Town of Springfield

Although technically its a separate municipality, Springfield might as well be considered part of Eugene given their proximity and amalgamated feel.

Just across the Willamette River are several fun attractions, like touring the working Mills International harvester factory, or catching an amateur baseball game at PK Park, the home field of the minor league Eugene Emeralds.

For family fun, hit up Lively Park’s splash pads and maze-like playgrounds. And culture aficionados will appreciate Springfield’s burgeoning public artworks, like A Walk Through Time depicting the town’s history in larger-than-life murals.

Bike and walk for Miles on Local Paths

Outdoorsy types looking for fun things to do in Eugene can lace up their shoes and hit an endless array of spectacular biking and walking trails spanning the city.

Some top routes include:

Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System – These riverside urban paths with views of the churning Willamette River connect several Eugene parks and attractions perfect for running, walking, or biking.

Fern Ridge Path – This nearly 25-mile paved path between Eugene and nearby Elmira offers views of coastal mountains and abundant wildlife like herons and turtles.

Ridgeline Trail System – Over 200 miles of dirt hiking and mountain biking trails twist up and over the south Eugene hills through towering Doug Fir forests straight from an REI catalog photo shoot.

Eugene proudly carries the moniker “A Great City for the Bicycle” thanks to its extensive network of bike lanes, greenway paths, and community rides welcoming cyclists of all levels to discover the city on two wheels.

Relax Riverside in Alton Baker Park

Alton Baker Park offers over 400 acres of open green space in the heart of Eugene centered around the flowing Willamette River.

Whilamut Natural Area preserves native wetland landscapes where over 100 species of birds flock, like great blue herons spearing fish in the ponds. Catch a stunning sunset after hiking to the top of Mt. Baldy’s wildflower meadows.

At the park’s eastern edge, Pre’s Trail commemorates hometown running legend Steve Prefontaine with a bark running path looping by historic Hayward Field and the University of Oregon’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

After working up an appetite exploring Alton Baker on foot or bike, reward yourself with a food cart pod lunch on E Broadway Avenue.

Check Out Eugene’s Fantastic Local Breweries and wineries

With so many fantastic microbreweries and urban wineries clustered around town, exploring Eugene’s beer and wine scene ranks high on lists of fun things to do in Eugene for good reason.

Oakshire Public House – Sample small-batch experimental brews filling three dozen taps inside their tasting room lined with repurposed wine barrels framing a cozy biergarten.

Alesong Brewing & Blending – Sip tart farmhouse ales and foeders of wine barrel-aged beer inside their modern, gallery-esque taproom and restaurant beside historic train tracks.

Territorial Vineyards – Eugene’s oldest winery captures spectacular views of Eugenia Terrace Butte from their tasting room pouring estate Pinot Noir grown using organic and sustainable practices.

Iris Vineyards – Located down a dirt driveway in nearby Lowell, Iris Vineyards’ intimate tasting room shares award-winning Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay wines crafted by legendary area winemakers.

With so many fantastic microbreweries and urban wineries clustered around town, exploring Eugene’s beer and wine scene ranks high on lists of fun things to do in Eugene for good reason.

Find Eugene’s Best Foodie Hot Spots

From James Beard commended chefs to converted Airstream food trucks, Eugene’s incredible restaurants Scene continually impresses locals and visitors alike with Raisedon’s diverse flavors and ingredients celebrating Oregon’s seasons.

Forktown on Willamette Street brings Portland’s hip food hall trends south serving Loco grilled meats, gluten-free Uzbek cuisine, arepas stuffed sky-high with julienned vegetables, and more quick bites ideal for grazers.

Looking for dinner with a view? Marché Restaurant sits perched above the city with a seasonal New American menu focused on locally sourced meats, sustainable seafood, and Willamette Valley wines. Their weekend brunch buffet consistently ranks among the very best in Eugene.

If sweets are what you crave, track down the hot pink VW bus housing Sweet Life Patisserie. Their ever-changing cases overflow with some of Eugene’s most inventive desserts, like their legendary 7-layer carrot cake, salted honey pie, or seasonal fruit galettes.

And don’t leave town without trying the mole negro oaxaqueña smothering tender grass-fed Oregon beef at chef-owned taqueria El Plate trucks found around town. Their handmade corn tortillas and smooth horchata make every meal shine.

See Spectacular Waterfall Hikes Near Eugene

Surrounded by ancient volcanic peaks and temperate rain forests, Eugene offers easy access to some of Oregon’s most spectacular waterfall hikes—many just 30 minutes outside city limits.

A few local favorites include:

  • Salt Creek Falls – At 286 feet, one of Oregon’s tallest waterfalls plunges beside a beautiful forested canyon less than an hour from Eugene via Highway 58.
  • Brice Creek Falls – A quick 5-minute walk through mossy old-growth forest leads to this double-decker cascade pouring from towering basalt cliffs.
  • Clear Lake Serene Falls – Reach this hidden 50-foot falls via a peaceful 3-mile loop around spring-fed Clear Lake ringed by vine maples turning electric red each fall.

Many Willamette Valley wineries like Sweet Cheeks, Noble Estate, and Sarver also happen to be located beside some of the area’s best waterfall hikes—perfect for pairing a breathtaking trek with an equally enjoyable wine tasting.

Tour Local Family Farms & U-Pick Harvests

From you-pick berry farms beside hidden coastal forests to sprawling fields of heritage varietal hazelnuts, exploring Eugene’s local agriculture makes for fantastic family-friendly adventures.

Many nearby farms welcome visitors to not only purchase their harvests directly from farm stands, but also offer u-pick harvesting, orchard tours pointing out experimental growing techniques, or tasting rooms pouring estate ciders and wines.

A few local favorites include:

Thistledown Farm – Pick buckets of organic blueberries and blackberries or wander you-cut flower fields filled with dahlia, zinnia and sunflowers bursting with color.

King Estate Winery – Oregon’s largest certified biodynamic vineyard offers tours on a picturesque 1,033-acre farm estate leading to tastings inside their modern, LEED-certified winery and tasting room beside gardens exploding with over 200 varietals of roses.

Bauman’s Farm & Garden – One of Oregon’s oldest continuously operating family farms sits a quick scenic drive from Eugene, offering pumpkin patches and corn mazes in the fall, fresh berries and stone fruits in summer, and gorgeous flower fields welcoming photographers year-round.

Quirky & Offbeat Attractions

It wouldn’t be Eugene without some seriously quirky attractions suited perfectly to this offbeat town.

A few favorites include:

Museum of Natural and Cultural History – One of Oregon’s oldest museums features cultural exhibits from Pacific Islanders while also covering everything from mastodon fossils to Nobel Prize medals of historic University of Oregon alumni.

Ninkasi Better Living Center – Quaff small-batch experiments from over a dozen beer taps inside the hip tasting room for Eugene’s much-loved Ninkasi Brewery while learning about their innovative water treatment technology through interactive exhibits aimed at inspiring eco-conscious living.

Mount Pisgah Arboretum – Meander over 200 acres of cultivated natural landscape at the base of Mt. Pisgah, home to thousands of rare native plants and trees beside 7 miles of hiking trails leading to panoramic mountaintop views.

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art – Explore three floors of diverse galleries inside the University of Oregon’s Modernist Museum housing one of the largest Asian art collections on the West Coast, with intricate Buddhist scrolls, samurai armor sets, and monumental Korean ceramics.

Cascades Raptor Center – Get an up-close look at majestic birds of prey like bald eagles, owls, falcons and hawks while learning about conservation efforts during a tour of this one-of-a-kind avian rehabilitation clinic tucked inside the forests of south Eugene.

Shop the Local Boutiques and bookstores

Visiting some of Eugene’s fantastic indie shops makes for a perfect rainy-day activity while also supporting wonderful local businesses.

Smith Family Bookstore – Browse towering shelves of new books across all genres alongside rare antiquarian first edition finds inside Oregon’s oldest family-owned bookseller. After, pop into the connected cafe for steaming cups of tea and house-baked scones.

Mezza Luna – Find flowy bohemian dresses and printed kimonos perfect for sunny Oregon summers beside locally made jewelry and natural bath products that embody Eugene’s laidback style.

Moss Street Market – This vibrant collective near the University campus gathers dozens of local artists and makers, like ceramicists Paloma Pottery, vintage denim upcyclers Hunters and Gatherers Co, and Soy Candle Studio essential oil candles made using ethically-sourced soy wax and cotton wicks.

Long’s Meat Market – Operating for over 75 years, this James Beard beloved butcher shop supplies celebrated Eugene restaurants, like chef Mark Kosmicki of Party Downtown, stretching house-made sausages and hand-cutting steaks aged in humidity-controlled coolers.

Catch the Oregon Ducks Play & Visit Nearby Wineries

After wandering Eugene’s many fantastic small businesses, boutiques, cafes and taprooms, catch a University of Oregon Ducks football game at the iconic Autzen Stadium. Avid College sports fans shouldn’t miss the electric atmosphere of cheering on track and field greats at historic Hayward Field competitions.

Stretch your legs at several fantastic wineries located beside campus, like King Estate’s sprawling 1,033-acre biodynamic farm estate and Willamette Valley Vineyard’s Tasting Room pouring Pinot Noir grown from vines first planted in 1983.

Where to Stay in Eugene

Since Eugene hotels fill up fast during popular local events, consider these fantastic highly reviewed accommodations options to call home during your Oregon adventure:

The Gordon Hotel – Stunning historic hotel featuring ski lodge-inspired rooms with gas fireplaces, soaking tubs, and exceptional service located downtown beside fantastic restaurants.

Campbell House – Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this appealing inn made up of two fully restored historic homes offers a free hot breakfast and evening wine + cheese receptions.

C’est La Vie Inn – Charming bed and breakfast nestled beside the Willamette River smack in the center of the university district providing uniquely decorated rooms like the Alchemy Chamber with an ancient medieval theme.

Getting Around Eugene

This laidback city was made for exploring on foot, by bike, or via the convenient EmGo public transportation system with several bus routes providing affordable transportation between downtown Eugene, the university, and outlying neighborhoods.

The University of Oregon, Lane Transit District and the City of Eugene have collaborated to make Eugene one of America’s most bicycle-friendly communities by developing extensive biking infrastructure and scenic multi-use paths connecting much of the city designated in green on local maps.

Within Eugene’s core, iconic Kesey Square marks the central public transportation hub with buses departing every 10-15 minutes providing easy access across town. And volunteers with the Eugene Bicycle Pedegree program offer free bike rentals to help visitors better navigate Eugene’s famous bikeways.

Frequently Asked Questions about Visiting Eugene

What is there to do in Eugene when it rains?

Luckily May through September remain relatively dry in Eugene. But umbrella weather means exploring the many fantastic covered shopping arcades downtown, like the 5th Street Market. Catch local string quartets perform inside the Hult Center’s gorgeous lobby or visit the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

What food is Eugene known for?

Top Eugene specialties include Willamette Valley’s famed Pinot Noir and terroir-driven wines, craft beers from pioneers like Ninkasi Brewing, and seasonal dishes celebrating the region’s abundant produce, cheeses, nuts and seafood from restaurants like Party Downtown, Marche and King Estate Restaurant.

How many days do you need in Eugene?

Most Eugene highlights can be seen in 2-4 days, though outdoor lovers benefit from extended stays to make time for the endless hiking, biking, running and walking trails across the valley and winding up to awesome mountain peak viewpoints. Nearby attractions like the Oregon coast, Columbia River Gorge waterfalls, Crater Lake National Park or Mt. Hood also pair easily with an Eugene trip.

Is Eugene or Portland better?

Both fantastic Oregon cities offer distinct vibes! Portland edges out on foodie scenes and urban cultural attractions like world-class museums. But Eugene boasts easy access to abundant natural beauty and hundreds of miles of trails that twist from dense, towering old growth forests up to wildflower meadows on ancient volcanic peaks.

What is there to do near Eugene?

Eugene sits snug within Oregon’s spectacular Willamette Valley surrounded by fantastic wineries, riverside trails, waterfalls, and the mountain playgrounds of Willamette National Forest. Just over the Coast Range mountains lie incredible sandy Pacific Ocean beaches with famous lighthouses.


Eugene emerges as one of America’s most appealing destinations thanks to vibrant arts scenes, top-notch restaurants dishing up the region’s bounty, and easy access to fantastic natural beauty across Willamette Valley’s forests, farms, rivers and mountains.

From cheering on the Oregon Ducks beside historic Hayward Field to wandering the Saturday Market munching artisan waffles hot off the iron, Eugene offers visitors plenty of fantastic opportunities to appreciate local culture. And a vast network of scenic hiking trails catering to all ability levels enables adventure seekers to explore rushing waterfalls pouring from towering basalt cliffs before relaxing over award-winning wines and imaginative farm-to-table cuisine.

Whether traveling solo, with family, or friends, Eugene promises memorable experiences for all interests any time of year. Just come ready to keep pace with this active community!

For more ideas on things to do in Eugene, check out TravelLaneCounty’s official visitor site at covering top attractions across Eugene and the greater Willamette Valley region.

And don’t forget to share your own Eugene recommendations and hidden gems in the comments below!

Hello, I’m John Ahmi, the founder and chief editor of USA Travels Guide. I’m an award-winning travel blogger with over [15 years] of experience exploring the diverse landscapes, cultures, and cuisines of the United States. My passion for travel and storytelling led me to create this platform, where I share in-depth, reliable travel guides focusing on the best places and menu prices across the USA.