The second largest city in Oregon, Eugene offers a diverse choice of things to see and do on your weekend trip.
Best things to do in Eugene, Oregon with kids include the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, the Cascades Raptor Center, the Science Factory, and the Mount Pisgah Arboretum.
1. Cascades Raptor Center
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The Cascades Raptor Center was established in 1987 as a nature center and wildlife hospital for raptor birds and is one of the top Eugene attractions. The hospital takes care of more than 200 injured or orphaned raptors every year with the help of the qualified staff and the use of the highest standards in veterinary care and treatment. After they are treated and completely recovered, the birds are released back to their habitat.
While the hospitalized animals are not in contact with visitors because they must remain wild animals, the Center has about 60 birds that cannot be released, mostly owls, hawks, eagles, and a few others.
They live in spacious aviaries on the forested hillside, and receive frequent visits from school groups, hikers, birders, and regular tourists who learn about the birds’ habitats, risk factors, and predators and what they can do to protect them. More than 2500 birds have passed through the Center since it opened, and almost 1300 have returned to the wild.
32275 Fox Hollow Road, Eugene, OR, Phone: 541-485-1320
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Originally built in 1919 as a football field, Hayward Field is one of the most famous track and field stadiums in the world.
Part of the campus of the University of Oregon, Hayward Field hosted three U.S. Olympic Trials, ten NCAA Outdoor Championships, and six U.S. Championships. The Field’s historic, covered, and comfortable grandstands are comparable to some of the best European venues.
Called the “Carnegie Hall” of track and field venues, Hayward Field hosts the Prefontaine Classic, the nation’s most important annual single-day track and field competition, which features the top national and international athletes. The stadium can comfortably fit more than 10,500 fans.
1580 E 15th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon
3. Museum of Natural and Cultural History
© Museum of Natural and Cultural History
The Museum of Natural and Cultural History, located on East 15th Street on the campus of the University of Oregon, is an American natural history museum that is the largest of its kind on the west coast between San Francisco and Seattle. The architecture of the museum is reminiscent of the longhouses of the Pacific Northwest Native Americans.
Begun in 1876 with the fossil collection of geologist Thomas Condon, the museum contains 100,000 fossils, almost one million archaeological artifacts and cultural objects, as well as many specimens of animals. The Museum of Natural and Cultural History is one of the best things to do in Eugene, Oregon. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts temporary exhibits that feature Pacific Northwest themes.
1680 East 15th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 541-346-3024
4.Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon
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Opened in September 1967, Autzen Stadium is an outdoor football stadium situated on 90 acres next to the north bank of Alton Baker Park. It is located north of the University of Oregon campus, and is the home of the Oregon Ducks.
The Stadium can fit 54,000 fans but exceeds the capacity for every home game, and it has undergone a number of upgrades since 1967. In 2002, its surface was upgraded to FieldTurf, polypropylene, and polyethylene fibers, which are supposed to resist extreme weather conditions.
In 1981, the Barker Stadium Club was added to provide additional meeting space and extra surroundings for pre-game activities. In 1998, the MegaVision color video scoreboard was added.
2700 MLK Jr. Blvd., Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 1-800 WEBFOOT
5. Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
© Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the campus of the University of Oregon. Opened in 1933, the museum was built to house the Murray Warner Collection of Oriental Art. Gertrude Bass Warner generously gave this collection of over 3,700 pieces of artwork to the university.
The museum’s permanent galleries contain works of American, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean art. Special exhibitions consist of pieces of art from the museum’s own permanent collection as well as art from collections outside of the museum. The museum hosts events and welcomes families with children as well as school groups.
1430 Johnson Lane, Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 541-346-3027
6.McKenzie River National Recreation Trail
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McKenzie River National Recreation Trail is a 26-mile biking, mountain biking, and hiking trail that passes through beautiful scenery starting with an old lava flow from Mount Washington.
The trail meanders along the McKenzie River through old growth Douglas firs and crosses several bridges over the river. The trail takes visitors to other scenic areas such as Clear Lake and the Great Spring, which is a source of the McKenzie River. The trail also leads to several waterfalls like Sahalie and Koosah Falls and goes around the Carmen Reservoir.
After several miles, the trail passes a viewpoint of Tamolich Falls and the Blue Pool before continuing on to the Trailbridge Reservoir and the Paradise Campground.
7. Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon: Mount Pisgah Arboretum
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Located on Frank Parrish Road, Mount Pisgah Arboretum is a 209-acre arboretum and botanical garden. It lies between the slopes of Mount Pisgah and the Coast Fork of the Willamette River.
Volunteers established the arboretum in 1973 when they created trails and built bridges: there are seven miles of riverside trails and 23 bridges. The landscape features meadows, forests, a water garden, and more.
Initially non-regional plants were added, but later these were removed. The arboretum is the home of native plants such as ferns, mosses, shrubs, and wildflowers, and fauna like bats, birds, coyotes, deer, foxes, frogs, and other creatures.
34901 Frank Parrish Road, Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 541-747-3817
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8.The Science Factory, Eugene, Oregon
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The Science Factory is a children’s museum and planetarium located on Leo Harris Parkway near Autzen Stadium in Eugene. Founded in 1961 as the Southwest Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the museum is today housed in a 10,000 square foot facility.
The museum features many changing interactive exhibits and hosts other events related to science and technology. Temporary exhibits have included Finding Your Way, Tech City, Yesterday’s Tomorrows, and many more. If you are looking for fun things to do in Eugene OR with kids, this is a great place to visit. The Science Factory Planetarium has a capacity of 75 and offers daytime shows during the weekends. Other features include a Museum gift store, a room for birthday parties, and the Tot Spot, an exploration room for toddlers.
2300 Leo Harris Parkway, Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 541-682-7888
9.Hult Center for the Performing Arts
© Hult Center for the Performing Arts
Located at 1 Eugene Center on Willamette Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, the Hult Center was completed in 1982 as a part of an urban renewal plan for downtown Eugene. The center consists of several facilities including the 2,448-seat Silva Concert Hall, the 495-seat Soreng Theater, Jacobs Gallery, a public art gallery, and more. There are performances by the Eugene Ballet Company, the Eugene Concert Choir, the Eugene Opera, and several other groups.
Experienced volunteers give guided tours of the center. Tour highlights include backstage areas, dressing rooms, and examples of public art like paintings and statues.
1 Eugene Center, Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 541-682-5087
10.Eugene Saturday Market
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Located on East Eighth Avenue, the Eugene Saturday Market is the oldest weekly outdoor arts and crafts market in the U. S. Starting in 1970 with less than 30 vendors, the market now boasts over 200 local artisans, food vendors, and live performances that all take place in a festival-like atmosphere with between 3,000 and 5,000 visitors each week.
It is held from April through November; between Thanksgiving and Christmas the market moves indoors to the Lane County Fairgrounds. Every item sold at the market is handcrafted and must be sold by the artisan who made the item. Some of the things for sale include homemade bread and jams as well as handcrafted artwork, clothing, and jewelry.
126 East 8th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 541-686-8885
11.Oregon Air and Space Museum
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The Oregon Air and Space Museum, located on Boeing Drive at the Eugene Airport, is devoted to exhibiting its collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft with emphasis on the history of aerospace in Oregon. Opened in 1991 and expanded in 1999, the museum boasts now 6,300 square feet of facility space.
Some of the aircraft displayed in the museum include a Fokker Dr 1 Triplane, a Grumman A-6E Intruder, a McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, a North American F-86 Sabre, and many more. The museum also hosts events such as lectures and air fairs and welcomes field trip groups from area schools.
Eugene Airport, 90377 Boeing Drive, Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 541-461-1101
12.Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon: Skinner Butte Park
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Located on Cheshire Avenue, Skinner Butte Park is a 100-acre municipal park that includes Skinner Butte, a hill on the northern edge of downtown. Named after Eugene Skinner, founder of the city of Eugene, the 682-foot high hill is a prominent landmark near the Willamette River. Established in 1914, it is one of the city’s oldest parks and contains many interesting features, making it a popular attraction in Eugene.
Some of these features include bike paths, hiking trails, picnic areas, the Columns climbing area, the RiverPlay Discovery Playground, and much more. There are also several structures within the park including the Lamb Cottage and the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House.
248 Cheshire Avenue, Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 541-682-5010
13.Owen Rose Garden, Eugene, Oregon
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It is hard to imagine a more beautiful setting for vacation photos or for a quiet stroll than a garden with more than 4,500 roses. Owen Rose Garden lies on eight and a half-acres on the bank of the Willamette River not far from the Washington/Jefferson Street Bridge.
The land for the garden was donated in 1951 by former Eugene councilor George E. Owen, and the Eugene Rose Society happily donated the first 750 rose bushes. Today, visitors can see more than 400 varieties of roses, some of which are precious heirloom and heritage varieties. The garden could not be kept in its current wonderful state without the help of many volunteers and Delta Rotary.
300 N. Jefferson St., Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 541-682-4800
14.Shelton McMurphey Johnson House
© Shelton McMurphey Johnson House
Located on Willamette Street on the south side of Skinner Butte, the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House is a landmark Victorian-era house open for public tours. Built in the Queen Anne style in 1888, it is named after the families who lived in the house over the years.
The house is also known as the “Castle on the Hill” and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historical Places. The house offers several programs for children including walking tours and hands-on activities, and it also hosts many events and can be rented for weddings, parties, and other special occasions.
303 Willamette Street, Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 541-484-0808
© Cuthbert Amphitheater
The Cuthbert Amphitheater is an outdoor concert venue located next to Alton Baker Park on Leo Harris Parkway in Eugene. With a capacity of 5,000 people, it is a popular performance venue in Eugene, especially during the summer months.
Situated near the Autzen Stadium on the campus of the University of Oregon, the amphitheater is known for its good acoustics, beautiful setting, and the top-notch performers who utilize the facilities, including national touring acts that provide entertainment on the stage.
Renovated in 2009 to increase audience capacity, the amphitheater now has a larger grassy area for lawn chairs. There are also food booths and beer gardens on the property. Next read: Oregon beaches
2300 Leo Harris Parkway, Eugene, Oregon, Phone: 541-762-8099
© Cornbread Cafe
Cornbread Café is an adorable and colorful vintage diner that serves vegan comfort food. Visitors delight in the wide range of dishes that are not only meat-free, but also 90 percent organic and homemade.
If you are completely new to vegan food, you will take a voyage of discovery. There are tempeh burgers made of soy and Surata tofy patties, which are also made of soy. But what they do with soy-based meat-replacements combined with fresh veggies and flavorful and rich sauces, toppings, and marinades makes all the difference.
And, of course, you can never go wrong with a really well-made corn bread. Keep your mind open and enjoy something new and exquisitely prepared.
1290 W. 7th (& Polk), Eugene, OR, Phone: 541-505-9175
17.Sweet Life Patisserie
© Sweet Life Patisserie
Sweet Life Patisserie has been tempting the folks of Eugene, Oregon, since 1999 with an incredible lineup of cakes, cookies, muffins, éclairs, cheesecakes, breads, and pastries. Displayed in a large glass-fronted case for everyone to see, the incredible range of sweet delights makes it difficult to buy just one or two. Many of the cakes are vegan and everything is carefully labeled, like a piece of art in a museum, and when you see the elaborately decorated wedding or birthday cakes, you will agree that they do look like they belong in an art gallery. They also serve coffee made with organic fair-trade beans roasted locally and more than 40 kinds of organic teas.
755 Monroe St, Eugene, OR 97402, Phone: 541-683-5676
18.Things to Do in Eugene, OR: Hendricks Park
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Located on Summit Avenue, Hendricks Park is an 80-acre municipal park close to the University of Oregon. It is the oldest park in the city and is famous for its native plant garden as well as its 12-acre rhododendron garden.
A forest with 200-year-old Douglas fir trees features many paths and trails for birders and hikers, all within the boundaries of the city of Eugene. In addition to the trees and rhododendrons, other plants in the park include ferns, irises, trilliums, wildflowers, and many more.
The Francis M. Wilkins Shelter was built in 1938 to honor one of the park’s founders. The shelter can be rented for events.
2198 Summit Avenue, Eugene, OR, Phone: 541-682-5324
19.Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar
© Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar
Located in the historic Broadway & Pearl District of Eugene, Ambrosia is a popular Italian restaurant where Italian cuisine gets an imaginative Pacific Northwest treatment.
Ambrosia features unpretentious décor and warm atmosphere, and it has several levels, including an upstairs gallery and a special events room in the cellar. Ambrosia has the perfect setting for a great evening, whether you are with your family for their famous wood-fired pizzas or a bunch of friends who want to taste something from the fantastic wine list. If you are looking for unique date ideas in Eugene, Oregon, this is a great place to try. You will find all the traditional Italian favorites on the menu.
All pasta and desserts are homemade, the ingredients are local whenever possible, and you can even buy a bottle of wine to take home.
174 East Broadway, Eugene, OR, Phone: 541-342-4141
20.Hot Mama's Wings, Eugene, Oregon
© Hot Mama's Wings
You would not expect that a restaurant famous for its fabulous chicken wings and 15 different sauces would also be famous for its large number of gluten-free items on their menu.
It might make for an interesting mix of customers, and the great wings, tasty burgers, and inventive sandwiches and salads are certainly popular with the nearby university’s students.
This spacious restaurant has two large screens, another incentive for the students and Ducks fans to get together on game night. Hot Mama’s has six local craft beers rotating on tap and a decent wine selection. Check their calendar for the next spicy wings eating competition, which is always a riot.
420 West 13th Ave, Eugene, OR, Phone: 541-653-9999
21.Fifth Street Public Market, Eugene, OR
© Fifth Street Public Market
Located on East Fifth Avenue, the Fifth Street Public Market is an area in downtown Eugene with many boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and shops. Established as a market where farmers and craftspeople rented small booths, the market has since expanded and is an important part of the Fifth Avenue Historic Market District.
It is a popular place to eat and to shop, and many of the eateries have outdoor dining areas with patio style tables and chairs. A pretty fountain surrounded by flowering shrubs adds to the beauty of the courtyard where many of the shops and restaurants are located.
296 East Fifth Avenue # 300, Eugene, OR, Phone: 541-484-0383
22.Chapala Mexican Restaurant, Eugene, Oregon
© Chapala Mexican Restaurant
Chapala has two locations in Eugene and both are warm and welcoming with earth colored walls and subtle, tasteful Mexican art on the walls. Of course, it is the food that got this restaurant voted the best Mexican restaurant in Eugene several years in a row.
The extensive menu has a variety of traditional Mexican favorites such as enchiladas,, fajitas, burritos, and soups, and the fresh salads burst with Mexican spices and flavors. Chapala also serves excellent margaritas in their cozy bar, where you can watch your favorite team while munching on the excellent house nachos. Try them with picadillo (shredded beef) and make a full meal out of it.
68 W 29th Ave., 541-683-5458; 136 Oakway Center, Eugene, OR, Phone: 541-434-6113
Cornucopia is a favorite pub hangout in Eugene, voted as the location of the city's best burger for several years running. The restaurant, which has been in operation for more than two decades, operates two locations on the city's 5th and 17th Streets, with a large outdoor beer garden offered at the latter location. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily, showcasing high-quality modern pub fare prepared with locally-sourced ingredients. Specialty burgers include the restaurant's acclaimed Aloha and Big Boom Swiss and Shroom burgers, which have won numerous awards with readers of the city's Register-Guard paper. Other specialties include gourmet skillet nachos, homemade macaroni and cheese, and homestyle chicken pot pie. Regularly-rotating regional craft brews are offered at both locations' bars, along with specialty cocktails and wines on tap.
295 W 17th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401, Phone: 541-485-2300
24.Maude Kerns Art Center, Eugene, Oregon
© Maude Kerns Art Center
The Maude Kerns Art Center, located on East 15th Avenue, is a visual arts center housed in a historic church building dating from 1895. Founded in 1950 by local artists, including Maude Irvine Kerns, the center displays art exhibits and hosts creative arts classes and private and public events like the annual Art & the Vineyard event.
Past exhibits have included Oregon Made for Interiors, A Color Runs through It, Art for All Seasons, and many more. The center offers classes for both children and adults; these include group classes in ceramics, drawing, and painting, as well as private lessons.
1910 East 15th Avenue, Eugene, OR, Phone: 541-345-1571
25.Ninkasi Brewing Company
© Ninkasi Brewing Company
Located on Van Buren Street, Ninkasi Brewing is a microbrewery named after the Sumerian goddess of beer, Ninkasi. Founded in 2006, the brewery uses local ingredients to produce its brews including Dawn of the Red, an India red ale; Vanilla Oatis, an oatmeal stout made with vanilla; and the brewery’s first product, Total Domination, an India pale ale.
The brewery’s tasting room is open every day, and snacks and a revolving selection of food from a variety of local food carts are offered on the outdoor patio. The brewery also hosts an artist in residence program.
272 Van Buren Street, Eugene, OR, Phone: 541-344-2739
More travel ideas: 50 Best Romantic Weekend Getaways in Oregon.
25 Best Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon
- Cascades Raptor Center, Photo: Courtesy of arinahabich - Fotolia.com
- Hayward Field, Photo: Courtesy of Joshua Rainey - Fotolia.com
- Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Photo: Museum of Natural and Cultural History
- Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon, Photo: Courtesy of Danny Hooks - Fotolia.com
- Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Photo: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
- McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, Photo: Courtesy of Steve Minkler - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon: Mount Pisgah Arboretum, Photo: Courtesy of Steven - Fotolia.com
- The Science Factory, Eugene, Oregon, Photo: Courtesy of Tryfonov - Fotolia.com
- Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Photo: Hult Center for the Performing Arts
- Eugene Saturday Market, Photo: Courtesy of zcperson - Fotolia.com
- Oregon Air and Space Museum, Photo: Courtesy of h368k742 - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon: Skinner Butte Park, Photo: Courtesy of Pakhnyushchyy - Fotolia.com
- Owen Rose Garden, Eugene, Oregon, Photo: Courtesy of Jamie Hooper - Fotolia
- Shelton McMurphey Johnson House, Photo: Shelton McMurphey Johnson House
- Cuthbert Amphitheater, Photo: Cuthbert Amphitheater
- Cornbread Cafe, Photo: Cornbread Cafe
- Sweet Life Patisserie, Photo: Sweet Life Patisserie
- Things to Do in Eugene, OR: Hendricks Park, Photo: Courtesy of Jamie Hooper - Fotolia.com
- Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar, Photo: Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar
- Hot Mama's Wings, Eugene, Oregon, Photo: Hot Mama's Wings
- Fifth Street Public Market, Eugene, OR, Photo: Fifth Street Public Market
- Chapala Mexican Restaurant, Eugene, Oregon, Photo: Chapala Mexican Restaurant
- Cornucopia, Photo: Cornucopia
- Maude Kerns Art Center, Eugene, Oregon, Photo: Maude Kerns Art Center
- Ninkasi Brewing Company, Photo: Ninkasi Brewing Company
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Jamie Hooper - Fotolia.com