Whether you’re looking to sample beer and wine, learn a little bit about local history and culture, see wildlife and nature or relax on the water, Eugene, Springfield and the surrounding area have you covered.
We asked Register-Guard readers for must-do activities as tens of thousands of people visit Eugene and Oregon during the World Athletics Championships Oregon22.
While there are plenty of guides to Portland or the state as a whole, here’s a guide to the heart of Lane County, crafted by locals.
Local, national and international artists created world-class murals, mostly in and around downtown Eugene, in preparation for the international track and field event.
The city set a goal of 20 murals in 2017 and surpassed that mark in 2019 with 22 art installations.
The project aimed to “bring color and life to Eugene’s urban landscape to foster pride and contribute to a sense of identity,” according to the city’s website.
There are free walking tours with Debbie Williamson-Smith, one of the project’s founding members at various times throughout Oregon22:
- 6 p.m. Friday, July 15
- 9 a.m. Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17
- 10 a.m. Monday, July 18 through Friday, July 22
- 9 a.m. Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24.
There are links to sign up for the tours at eugene-or.gov/3492/20×21-Mural-Project.
People also can go on a self-guided tour using a mural map that’s available at bit.ly/oregon22-eugene-mural-map, which goes to a PDF on the city’s website, or bit.ly/20×21-use-google-maps, which allows people to click on and navigate to murals using Google Maps.
Find out more about the project at eugene-or.gov/3492/20×21-Mural-Project.
Bike with GEARs
Greater Eugene Area Riders coordinates and leads scheduled rides for bike riders of various skill levels.
The organization is offering 11 various rides ranging from 25 to 47 miles during Oregon22 as part of its regularly scheduled rides.
The rides offer various average speed levels and terrain ranging from flat and gently rolling to moderately rolling and steeper, longer climbs.
Participants must wear a bike helmet and bring a bike in safe riding condition. GEARs strongly encouraged people to bring a frame tire pump, patch kit, basic tools and a full water bottle and to wear appropriate clothing.
There’s a schedule of the available rides, as well as where to meet, details on pace and ride length and other key information, at eugenegears.org/wp-content/uploads/July_2022_3.pdf.
For people who aren’t bringing their own bike, the city lists eight options for bike rentals at eugene-or.gov/3260/Bike-Repair-Rentals.
If people want to rent a bike but go on a more leisurely ride, there’s information on Eugene bike trails at eugene-or.gov/1849/Bike-Maps and on trails in the Springfield area at willamalane.org/park_and_trails/trail_maps.php.
From the coast to the Cascades, there are award-winning craft breweries throughout Lane County.
Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood has become a fermentation district featuring cider houses and distilleries alongside popular breweries like Ninkasi, Hop Valley and Oakshire.
The downtown Eugene hub also is infused with bottleshops, taphouses and growler fill stations.
People can taste small-batch, handcrafted beer along the Eugene Ale Trail, which mostly includes breweries and taprooms in the Eugene-Springfield area but stretches to Oakridge, Cottage Grove, Lorane and Florence.
Learn more about the county’s breweries at eugenecascadescoast.org/restaurants/breweries-taphouses/.
Cascade Raptor Center
A south Eugene nonprofit animal wildlife hospital and nature center, the Cascades Raptor Center is home to more than 30 birds of prey and a varying number of animals there for treatment.
The nonprofit is one of Eugene’s top tourist and field trip destinations and focuses on rehabilitation and release of wildlife and public education to enhance awareness, respect, appreciation and care of the Earth and all its inhabitants so critical for a balanced and healthy planet.
People can take a self-guided tour of the center, where they’ll see Dmitri the Eurasian eagle-wwl, Guapo the Swainson’s hawk, Neville the great horned owl, Ra the burrowing owl and several more raptors that call the center home.
Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students 13 and older and for ages 65+, $8 for ages 2 to 12 and free for younger than 2. There’s a 10% discount for groups of 15 or more people, and there are memberships available for free entry.
An in-depth, personal tour is also an option for individuals or groups of four or less people. There’s more information about those tours on the center’s website.
The center also offers on-site programs, with more information available at cascadesraptorcenter.org/resources/on-site-programs.
At 9,000 acres, Fern Ridge is the largest reservoir in the southern Willamette Valley.
The lake is popular for water sports, including windsurfing, sailing, water skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming and fishing. The area also is popular for birding, with extensive wetlands providing opportunities to view waterfowl and other wildlife.
Visitors to Fern Ridge should watch out for algae blooms, which can be toxic to both people and pets.
Multiple public parks provide access to the lake:
- Jeans Park: Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and on Jeans Road on the west side of the lake. The park has trails, vault toilets and limited parking.
- Kirk Park: Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and below the dam off Clear Lake Road. The park offers trails, picnic areas, paved roads, fire rings and vault toilets and is open from dawn to dusk.
- Orchard Point Park: 27171 Clear Lake Road, this 58-acre county park is open from dawn to dusk and offers two swimming areas, a 221-slip marina, play structures, and several group picnic facilities.
- Perkins Peninsula Park: 26647 OR-126, this 42-acre county park is open from dawn to dusk and offers a boat launch, fishing pier and a small swimming area. There’s also a nature trail along the western edge of the park and a state-managed wildlife viewing and hunting area to the east.
- Richardson Park: 25950 Richardson Park Road, the 115-acre county park is open from dawn to dusk offers an 8,000-square-foot picnic shelter, a 212-slip marina, a swimming area, play structures, game areas and an outdoor amphitheater. The park also has a 88-site campground.
- Shore Lane Park: Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and at the end of Shore Lane Road. The park has a vault toilet and is open dawn to dusk. People often use if for launching paddle craft.
- Zumwalt Park: 26081 Vista Drive, the 58-acre park is popular for walking, birding, and other passive recreation.
The parks operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have no associated fees. The four county parks require a day pass or annual pass. There’s more info about those at bit.ly/lane-county-parks-passes.
Fishing (renting poles/boat trip)
Lane County offers multiple rivers, dozens upon dozens of lakes and direct access to the Pacific Ocean.
People can fish for trophy-size bass, Chinook salmon and steelhead, among other kinds of fish.
Local shops offer lessons in fly tying and casting, and guides who have grown up fishing the area’s rivers, streams, lakes and coastline can help people discover the best fishing holes.
Learn more about fishing options at eugenecascadescoast.org/water-sports/fishing-guides/.
Jazz Station for music
People wanting to check out Eugene’s vibrant jazz scene can head to Jazz Station, on Broadway between Charnelton and Olive streets.
The 70-seat venue is open to all ages and attracts diverse performers and audiences. Local nonprofit Willamette Jazz Society operates the space.
Jazz Station is offering performances throughout Oregon22, both at the venue itself and at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion in downtown Eugene.
There’s a calendar of shows, along with links to buy tickets, at thejazzstation.org/get-tickets/calendar/#!calendar.
Lane County Fair
From concerts and carnival rides to a beer garden and racing pigs, the Lane County Fair offers a variety of entertainmet options.
The fair runs from Wednesday through Sunday, July 20-24, at the Lane Events Center, 796 W. 13th Ave. in Eugene.
Daily admission is:
- $9 for ages 13 to 64
- $7 for ages 65 and older, and for first responders and military personnel
- $6 for ages 6 to 12
- Free for 5 and younger
There are some daily deals on tickets. Find more information at atthefair.com/tickets-and-deals.
Museum of Natural and Cultural History
Located on the University of Oregon’s campus at 1680 E. 15th Ave., the Museum of Natural and Cultural History features exhibits on Oregon’s history and natural features as well as other displays.
The museum will be part of Athletes’ Village and adjacent to a security perimeter, but it will be open to members of the public without tickets to the event.
The museum will be free throughout July, and it has special hours before, during and after the international track and field event: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 19 to 22 and July 27 to 31.
UO suggests people bike, walk or take public transit to the museum during Oregon22 because there will be no public parking on campus.
Ticketed spectators can visit the museum’s booth inside Hayward Field. It’s open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 15 to 18 and July 23 to 24.
New Zone Gallery
The New Zone Gallery in Eugene, at corner of East 11th Avenue and Oak Street, is showing two special art exhibitions during Oregon22. “Pushing the Limits” is about track and field as a whole. “Panem et Circenses (Bread and Circuses)” is about stadium spectacles in times of global crisis.
Owen Rose Garden
This 8.5-acre park is nested next to the Willamette River near the Washington Jefferson Street bridge.
Started with a donation of 750 rose bushes, the city park now offers a panorama of more than 4,500 roses and 400 varieties.
The rose garden features the nationally recognized Oregon Heritage Cherry Tree, a large open turf area, a public restroom, accessible gravel walkways with benches, a pergola-lined paved walkway, a 28-foot diameter gazebo, an arbor picnic area, a parking lot and maintenance facility, and a collection of heritage and heirloom roses.
There’s a map of the park at eugene-or.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3463/Owen-Rose-Garden-Map?bidId=.
Eugene Science Center
The Eugene Science Center, located within Alton Baker Park, offers exhibits on science topics including astronomy, mechanics, optics, biology, water quality, and nanotechnology.
Visitors can try engineering an earthquake-resistant structure, creating watersheds, engineering wind turbines and completing numerous mental and physical challenges.
The Discovery Room offers the chance to explore fossils, minerals, skeletons, and meteorites, and there’s currently a special hands-on exhibit call “Sun, Earth, Universe.” There also are a variety of shows on display in the planetarium.
The science center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except for Fridays, when it’s open until 7 p.m.
Admission is free to the museum and all events for ages 2 and younger. Admission is $5 for ages 3 to 61 and $4 for ages 62 and older and varies for the planetarium shows and laser shows.
Learn more about the museum, including special rates and guest guidelines, at eugenesciencecenter.org/.
Strides for Social Justice
Strides for Social Justice is a free, family-friendly app that guides participants on routes to various landmarks, “creating a journey that provides a view into local Black history and the powerful influence of Black residents in our community,” according to the program’s website.
Strides for Social Justice added two routes in February focused on firsts in athletics and academics by Black UO students, coaches, faculty and staff.
People can download the app on iOS and Android. Learn more at peacehealth.org/strides-for-social-justice.
From tranquil lakes to rushing rivers and more sedate streams, Lane County’s bodies of water and waterways offer multiple options for everything from floating to kayaking to jet boat tours.
White-water rafting the on Willamette River or McKenzie River is generally a full-day trip, but there are other activities that only take a handful of hours.
People can float gently down the Willamette River, which winds through Eugene and Springfield, water ski at Dorena Reservoir in Cottage Grove, row across Dexter Reservoir, paddle the Siltcoos River water trail through coastal wetlands and sand dunes, swim in Waldo Lake and do so much more.
For more information on water sports and other aquatic activities, including hot springs, visit eugenecascadescoast.org/water-sports/.
Welcome to Pinot country. The southern Willamette Valley often is rated as a top wine destination.
A host of wineries line the area along Territorial Highway, which runs north to south through the region.
A dozen wineries and 24 vineyards around Junction City are part of the part of the Lower Long Tom American Viticultural Area, known for its Bellpine soils and temperate climate.
People also can enjoy tastings at urban wine bars if they’d rather not venture out of the metro area.
Learn more about the area’s wineries at eugenecascadescoast.org/restaurants/wineries/.
Megan Banta typically reports on local government for the Register-Guard. A Midwest transplant, she particularly recommends the area’s breweries and wineries, a day at Fern Ridge and the Cascade Raptor Center. Follow her on Twitter @MeganBanta_1.