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We’ve traveled through Oregon extensively – which is why we have so many posts on Oregon destinations (I’ll share some links in the end of the post). Eugene happens to be one destination that we should have paid more attention to and didn’t. Yet. We did explore around the city, but there’s so much more to do. So, this post is really “our notes” for when we get back to Oregon and visit Eugene. I hope it helps you plan your own trip there.
There are many things to see and do in Eugene and around the city as well. Here is a list of 12 things to do in Eugene:
- Oregon Air and Space Museum
- Adventure Children’s Museum
- Lane County History Museum
- Eugene Science Center
- Jordon Schnitzer Museum of Art
- Museum of Natural and Cultural History
- Springfield Museum
- Cascades Raptor Center
- Owen Rose Garden
- Mount Pisgah Arboretum
- Fall Creek State Recreation Area
- Umpqua National Forest
Eugene has a decent mix of culture, arts, shopping, entertainment, dining, and sports. It is located alongside the great Willamette River. You could go on one of many great adventures in Eugene and the surrounding areas.
Eugene is home to the University of Oregon, a hotbed for craft breweries, known as TrackTown U.S.A., and a top destination for food lovers and history buffs interested in counter-culture and pioneer history. Let’s take a look at the 12 Eugene attractions listed above.
12 Things To Do In Eugene, OR
Here is a helpful list of 12 awesome things to do in Eugene and near it as well. Everything listed on this list is within a one-hour drive range from Eugene which is why I said: “near it”.
It is a great idea to rent a car since you will not be able to walk to some of the places on this list.
Eugene, OR Museums
There is a wide variety of museums for you and your family to go to in Eugene, Oregon. There are plenty of great options especially if you like geology, animals, and history.
1. Oregon Air and Space Museum
The Oregon Air and Space Museum opened in 1991 and has a great showing of numerous artifacts and aircraft. Aviation history and space technology are the themes at this museum.
Here is a list of the featured aircraft at the Oregon Air and Space Museum:
- North American F-86 Sabre
- Nieuport 17
- Fokker Dr 1 Triplane
- Grumman A-6E Intruder
- Mitchell Wing B-10
- McDonnell F-4 Phantom
- Japanese Zero Replica
- Mikoyan/Gurevich MiG-17
- Smith Termite
See more on the Oregon Air and Space Museum’s website.
Adults: $7 – Kids (6 – 17): $3. Ages 5 and under: Free – Seniors (62 & over): $6
Sunday – Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday – Saturday: 12 – 4 p.m.
2. Adventure Children’s Museum
Adventure Children’s Museum has numerous interactive exhibits such as a flight test table, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a scavenger hunt, a Pacific Northwest camping experience, building sets, an art room, a soft rock play area, a treehouse library, and a mid-century newsroom.
See more on the Adventure Children’s Museum’s website.
Ages over 2: $4 – Ages under 2: Free
Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
3. Lane County History Museum
Lane County History Museum can be found on the county fairgrounds in Lane County. It has a large number of exhibits covering the Oregon Trail, historic vehicles, and the county courthouse. Also, it has selections of artifacts from all over the county.
The museum can also administer research materials by appointment. It has school tours, a closed stack library, a wide variety of public events, and conducts an annual grant program for heritage outreach projects.
See more on the Lane County History Museum’s website.
Adults (18 – 59): $5 – Ages 15 and under: Free – Young Adults (15 – 17): $1 – Seniors (60 & over): $3
Tuesday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
4. Eugene Science Center
The Eugene Science Center is a technology and science center for families, children, and school groups. This 10,000-square-foot museum can be found near Autzen Stadium and it has planetarium shows, interactive exhibits, camp programs, special events and more.
The Eugene Science Center is an independent, non-profit organization overseen by a volunteer board of directors. The mission of the museum is: “To engage children, excite their curiosity, inspire them toward a lifetime love of science, and empower them to use science and technology to improve their communities.”
See more on the Eugene Science Center’s website.
General (3 – 61): $4 – $8 (depending on the type of show) – Ages 2 and under: Free – Seniors (62 & over): $4 – $6 (depending on the type of show)
Saturday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
5. Jordon Schnitzer Museum of Art
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) is an art museum that can be found on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. The first building was built and designed by Ellis F. Lawrence. It was part of the main university quadrangle which is now known as the Memorial Quadrangle.
It is the only academic museum in Oregon that is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art organizes houses collections and exhibitions of contemporary and historic art. It conducts educational and research programs.
See more on the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s website.
Adults: $5 – Ages 18 and under: Free – Seniors (62 & over): $3
Thursday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
6. Museum of Natural and Cultural History
The Oregon State Museum of Anthropology and Museum of Natural History was officially created in 1935-36. The museum has its roots in the late 1800s when geologist Thomas Condon brought his extensive fossil collection to the university. He was one of its first three professors. The so-called Condon Fossil Collection can be found at the center of the museum’s paleontological collections.
Archaeologist and founding director Luther Cressman started the museum primarily for archaeological research during the 1930s. Currently, the MNCH is Oregon’s number one repository for publicly owned collections. It is home to thousands of ethnographic and archaeological fossils, objects, and biological specimens from Oregon and around the globe.
See more on the Oregon State Museum of Anthropology and Museum of Natural’s website.
Families (up to 2 adults and 4 youths): $10 – Young Adults (3 – 18): $3 – Seniors (62 & over): $5
Tuesday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
7. Springfield Museum
The Springfield Museum’s main goal is to conserve the City of Springfield’s historical artifacts and provide cultural and historical exhibits for visitors and the citizens of Springfield.
The museum features historical exhibits, rotating art, permanent exhibit displays, and additional educational programs are also provided.
See more on the Springfield Museum’s website.
Admission is free.
Thursday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Eugene, OR Nature and Wildlife Attractions
Make sure you rent a car if you do not have one so you can enjoy the outdoor activities right outside of Eugene. There are many different parks to explore.
8. Cascades Raptor Center
This wildlife hospital and nature center’s main focus is birds of prey. It can be found on a wooded hillside in south Eugene. On display are around fifty resident birds of thirty native species. This includes falcons, owls, hawks, bald eagles, and gold eagles.
The Cascades Raptor Center is available to the public the entire year and educational programs are scheduled both offsite and onsite for students of every age.
See more on the Cascades Raptor Center’s website.
Adults: $9 – Students/Seniors: $8 – Youth (2 – 12): $6
Everyday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
9. Owen Rose Garden
George E. Owen was a former lumberman and Eugene city councilor who donated his house plus five acres to the city. It was the very first parcel in a series that now manifests a section of riverfront park that encompasses the Greenway bike bridge to the Ferry Street Bridge.
The rose garden has the nationally recognized Oregon Heritage Cherry Tree, a large open turf area, a webcam, accessible gravel walkways with benches, a public restroom, a pergola-lined paved walkway, an arbor picnic area, a 28-foot diameter gazebo, a parking lot and maintenance facility, and an awesome collection of heirloom and heritage roses.
See more on the Owen Rose Garden’s website.
Admission is free.
Everyday: 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.
10. Mount Pisgah Arboretum
Mount Pisgah Arboretum is a shining jewel of Lane County. It is a 209-acre living tree arboretum and museum. Its quiet paths, riverside trails, evergreen forests, bright wildflower meadows, water garden, and wide-open views across oak savannas are enjoyable for all ages.
The habitats in the arboretum house many species of lichens, native mosses, shrubs, ferns, and wildflowers as well. Also, birding is a common activity in the arboretum since it houses a wide variety of resident and migratory raptors, songbirds, and waterfowl.
See more on the Mount Pisgah Arboretum’s website.
Admission is free.
Weekdays: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
11. Fall Creek State Recreation Area
Fall Creek State Recreation Area is an Oregon state park that is administered by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. This large park includes forty-seven campsites which do not include many luxuries, unfortunately.
Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring as well. A designated swimming area in the lake that Fall Creek flows into is also available. A boat ramp and dock can be found on the lake too.
See more on the Fall Creek State Recreation Area’s website.
Admission is free. Click here for reservable areas and facilities rates.
Oregon state parks are open from 9 A.M. to 5 P. M.
12. Umpqua National Forest
The Umpqua National Forest is at the intersection of many unique geological provinces. It provides a large, diverse spectrum of habitat for wildlife and plants.
Visitors will experience high mountain lakes, rapidly moving waters, and tranquil ponds. The Umpqua Nationa Forest has a large number of waterfalls, including Watson Falls on the North Umpqua Highway which is 293-feet tall.
The Umpqua National Forest presently has fifty-four constructed campgrounds with five historic cabins, around 800 campsites, and many lookouts available for rent. There are also around 350 miles of trails that are maintained for year-round use, 1,150 miles of roads constructed for car travel, and four lookouts for staff members.
See more on the USDA’s website.
Admission is free, of course!
Oregon state parks are open from 9 A.M. to 5 P. M.
Best Things to do in Eugene, OR at Night
Coldfire Brewery is a microbrewery that is rated number one for nightlife in Eugene. You can take a brewery tour for $85.
If you were an arcade kid during the ’80s, then Level Up Arcade seems like a video game heaven. It is a perfect place for the whole family. Adults can enjoy a full bar and excellent drinks at reasonable prices.
The Jazz Station is a jazz performance venue operated by the Willamette Jazz Society. It can be found in the heart of downtown Eugene. Local musicians, as well as others from all over the country, perform at this venue.