Fun Things to Do in Eugene Oregon

Oregon Forest
••• The forest outside of Eugene. Richard Hicks / Getty Images

Eugene is known for many things. The city is located at the south end of Oregon's Willamette Valley, a fertile wine-grape-growing region famous for pinot noir and pinot gris. Eugene was a counterculture haven in the 1960s and 1970s and retains much of that identity and lifestyle today. Finally, Eugene is known as "Track Town USA" and the "Track and Field Capital of the World", frequently hosting world-class events and competitions. Visitors to Eugene can participate in activities and attractions related to these things, and more. Home to a major university, the University of Oregon, Eugene offers a variety of fun things to do for history buffs and for music lovers. You'll find a wonderful bounty of outdoor spaces where you can enjoy wildlife, gardens, and scenery.

Here are some recommendations for fun things to do in Eugene, Oregon:

  • 01 of 10

    Wine Tasting & Touring

    Picture of King Estate Winery in Eugene Oregon (Angela M. Brown)
    ••• King Estate Winery. Courtesy of King Estate Winery

    There are a number of ways to experience the award-winning wines produced in the Eugene area. You can drive from winery to winery, visiting tasting rooms and spending time taking in vineyard, garden, and valley views. Or you can visit one of several tasting rooms located within the city. These Eugene wineries provide great visitor experiences:

    • King Estate Winery
      Perched atop a hill surrounded by vineyards, the King Estate visitor center is an extensive and welcoming facility. Not only can you sample wines in their tasting room, you can take a guided tour of their wine production operations. Weather permitting, I recommend enjoying a meal on the King Estate restaurant's outdoor patio space, where you can savor a charming valley view. Their wonderful restaurant, which has both indoor and outdoor seating, serves lunch and dinner and is open year round.
    • Sweet Cheeks Winery
      The tasting room at Sweet Cheeks Winery is located in a relocated, historic building placed near their own estate...MORE vineyard. They provide an elegant indoor tasting room as well as outdoor patio space to welcome visitors. In addition to daily tasting hours, Sweet Cheeks offers Friday evening tastings and special events throughout the year.
  • 02 of 10

    Visitors to Eugene will find many wonderful outdoor spaces and facilities that offer opportunities for recreation of all kinds, from mild strolls to more active adventures. There are parks large and small, where you can enjoy time with your kids, your dog, or yourself. Eugene's public gardens provide the chance to wander among beautiful trees and flowers and to pick up tips for your own landscaping efforts. Walkers, runners, and bikers will enjoy the several well-maintained recreation trails.

  • 03 of 10

    Museums on the University of Oregon Campus

    A major presence in the Eugene community, the University of Oregon campus is located just southeast of downtown. Visitors can enjoy walking through the lovely campus, stopping at the UO Duck Store, the student union building, or one of these fascinating museums:

    • Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
      With a mission to promote the appreciation of all visual arts, this museum collects and exhibits works from around the world and throughout time. In addition to pieces from their well-established collection of Asian and Pacific Northwest art, visitors can view Russian icons, photography, and contemporary art.
    • The Museum of Natural and Cultural History
      Visitors to this family-friendly museum will find exhibits that focus on the natural history and culture of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest as well as those that take a ​worldwide view. Northwest Native history and culture and regional geology and ecology are covered in the museum's permanent exhibits.
  • 04 of 10
    Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene Oregon (Angela M. Brown)
    ••• Hult Center for the Performing Arts

    A crown jewel of Eugene's downtown, the Hult Center for the Performing Arts provides a variety of performance, meeting, and exhibition spaces. The Silva Concert Hall hosts music and dance from visiting artists as well as local performers. It is also the venue for the annual "Broadway in Eugene" series of popular musicals. The Soreng Theater is a smaller venue for more intimate ballets and concerts.

    The artistic organizations that call the Hult Center for the Performing Arts home include:

    • Eugene Opera
    • Eugene Symphony
    • Oregon Bach Festival
    • Eugene Ballet Company
    • Eugene Concert Choir
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Special Events & Festivals in Eugene

    • Oregon Truffle Festival (Jan)
    • Eugene Marathon (May)
    • Oregon Bach Festival (Jun/Jul)
    • Prefontaine Classic Track Event (Jul)
    • Oregon Country Fair (Jul)
    • Lane County Fair (Aug)
    • Eugene Celebration (Sep)
  • 06 of 10
    Counterculture Exhibit in Lane County Historical Museum in Eugene Oregon (Angela M. Brown)
    ••• Counterculture Exhibit in Lane County Historical Museum in Eugene Oregon. Courtesy of Lane County Historical Museum

    From pioneer-era wagons and equipment to colorful counterculture signs and artifacts, the Lane County Historical Museum does an excellent job of presenting and interpreting the people and events that shaped Eugene and the surrounding communities.

  • 07 of 10

    Both a nature education center and a wildlife hospital, Eugene's Cascades Raptor Center provides the opportunity to learn about the region's birds of prey. Visitors can enjoy expert talks from the wildlife handlers or sign up for in-depth educational programs. The resident birds you might see during your visit include a snowy owl, a great gray owl, a bald eagle, an osprey, a red-tailed hawk, and a peregrine falcon.

  • 08 of 10

    Professional & College Sports in Eugene

    Arizona v Oregon
    ••• Steve Dykes / Getty Images

    Sports fans will find plenty of games, meets, competitions, and races to watch throughout the year in Eugene.

    • The University of Oregon Ducks
      Part of the competitive Pac-12 conference, the men's and women's teams at UO excel in many sports, dominating in football, cross country, and track and field. Venues for University of Oregon home games include Autzen Stadium, Matt Arena, and Hayward Field.
    • Eugene Emeralds Professional Baseball
      This short-season, Class A, minor league baseball team is part of the Northwest League of Professional Baseball, playing against teams that include Spokane, Boise, Everett, and Tri-cities. The Eugene Emeralds play at the university's PK Park.
    • Eugene Generals Hockey
      Part of the Northern Pacific Hockey League, Eugene's junior-level hockey team plays their home games at the Lane Events Center at the Fairgrounds. The season runs from October through February.
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Aviation buffs and budding engineers will enjoy the aircraft, artifacts, and interpretive displays at the modest Oregon Air and Space Museum. Planes on exhibit include fighters and bombers from World War I, the Vietnam War, and Persian Gulf War. Other exhibits focus on space exploration, flight suits, and aircraft engines.

  • 10 of 10

    Shopping in Eugene

    Fifth Street Public Market in Eugene Oregon (Angela M. Brown)
    ••• Fifth Street Public Market in Eugene. Courtesy of Fifth Street Public Market

    Eugene is a surprisingly fun shopping destination, particularly around its downtown district.

    • Downtown Eugene Shops and Galleries
      Eugene's counterculture flavor is evident in the unique shops, galleries, and restaurants scattered around its walkable downtown.
    • Fifth Street Public Market
      A relatively new shopping venue, Eugene's Fifth Street Public Market is located on the north edge of the downtown core. Shops that feature artisanal foods, local wines, and unique home and gift items are all nestled together amongst patios and public spaces.
    • Oakway Center
      This village-style shopping complex includes many popular chain stores such as Coldwater Creek, Chico's, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Pottery Barn. Casual and fine dining are ​both available.
    • Eugene Saturday Market
      Running April through mid-November, the Saturday Market is a community marketplace. You'll find live entertainment, a food court, and handcrafted goods. The Saturday Lane County Farmers Market takes place adjacent to this...MORE market, at 8th Ave. and Oak Street.