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Eugene, Oregon Travel Guide
Last Updated: Dec-22-2011, Hits: 5,847, Rating: 3, Reviews: 1, Votes: 1 Bookmark and Share
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Eugene, Oregon Travel Guide Restaurants (73)
Hotels and Lodging (54)
Bars and Nightlife (54)
Attractions (41)
Services (12)
Maps (3)
Links (4)
Oregon Travel Forum (20)
McKenzie River Valley, Oregon Travel Guide
Location: North America
Geography: City, Forest
Vacation Type: Family
Popularity: Off-the-Beaten Path
Costs: Budget, Moderate
Attractions: Nightlife, Scenery, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Breweries, Wineries

Facts and Stats:
City Population: 156,185
Metro Population: 351,715
Land Area: 40.54 square miles
Elevation: 430 feet
Country Dialing Code: 1
Area Code: 541
Languages: English
Electricity: 110V
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Time Zone: Pacific (PST) UTC-8/UTC-7 (Summer)
Current Time:

Note: This travel guide covers the cities and communities of Springfield, Veneta, Coburg, Creswell, Cottage Grove, Lorane, Goshen, and Junction City.

Nicknamed the "Emerald City", Eugene is the second largest city in Oregon, and is the quintessential college town. It is home to the University of Oregon, the largest university in Oregon. The university has a big presence in the small city, with a 250 acre campus featuring old architectural buildings and beautiful landscaping.

Eugene has also long been known for its liberal, progressive, and alternative vibe. Environmental and political concerns have always been of significance here, initially attracting the hippie counter culture in the 60's, which remains in spirit to this day. Eugene is a charming blend of small town ease, mindful living, and quality craftsmanship. Outdoor recreation is a huge part of the lifestyle in Eugene, as there are mountains to ski, trails to hike, rivers to fish, and an ocean to surf - all about an hour's drive away.

Eugene is located in the South Willamette Valley and sits at the axis of the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers. The Willamette Valley is nestled between the Cascade and Coast Mountain Range. Eugene is surrounded by 2,500 acres of wetlands, and 1,675,407 acres of forest in the Willamette National Forest. The city has over 250 miles of fantastic biking and jogging trails in a interconnected loop system to take advantage of- Eugene was named one of the top ten cities for cycling in the United States. Eugene also has over 100 parks, including Hendricks Park, which boasts 78 trails alongside world renowned rhododendron gardens. There are 8 rivers and 249 lakes, again, all about within an hour's distance of Eugene.

Brief History:
The Kalalpuya people were the earliest inhabitants of the Eugene Area. Archeological evidence suggests they were in the area for several centuries. They were hunters and gatherers and they slash burned large areas to cultivate open pastures and meadows, operating like a pre agricultural society, with land management and permanent winter homes in the valley. An estimated 80,000 Kalapuyas once dwelled in the Willamette Valley area. Their numbers decreased in the early 19th century due to exposure to diseases brought in by non–Native American explorers and traders.

In 1846, settlers Elijah Bristow and Eugene Franklin Skinner arrived and established land claims. Skinner claimed the Eugene area and called it Eugene City after himself. He built the city's first cabin, using it as a trading post and a post office. Eugene City was officially incorporated in 1862 and changed it's name from Eugene City to just Eugene. Eugene continued to grow, with the picturesque curb appeal of tree lined streets and the allure of a more cosmopolitan town. The University of Oregon was founded in 1872, furthering Eugene along as a cultural center for the area. Today, Eugene is a thriving small city with an economic focus on lumber and woods product center, and a fledgling wine industry. The town is also focused on eco friendly, local, organic and sustainable goods and lifestyle.

People & Culture:
As previously mentioned, Eugene has a strong liberal reputation, and is still a hippie haven for those intending to live their lives within the ideology of the movement, rather than dismiss it as a trend in the 60's. To that testamant, The Eugene Saturday Market is one of the oldest open air craft markets in the United States, and it has been continuously in operation since 1970, rain or shine. Also, every summer in July, The Oregon Country Fair commences 13 miles outside of Eugene and is an astonishing turn out of world class entertainment, hand-made crafts, food and much more. It is difficult to describe the country fair; perhaps it is something of a cross between a Renaissance fair and Woodstock, but the underlying theme is to nourish the spirit, to live with health and joy, and to be conscientious of the earth and one another.

Eugene is also a track and field town, earning the city the nickname of Tracktown. U of O's Hayward field is a well known track facility that is home to the U.S. Olympic trials and national championship meets. Many elite athletes and coaches of track and field have been on the Oregon Ducks Track team, including Steve Prefontaine, Maurice Wilkins, and Bill Bowerman.

Food & Nightlife:
Eugene has a very good representation of restaurants. There has always been a strong presence for utilizing organic, local and sustainable foods, long before it was mainstream, and so Eugene has the jump in establishing restaurants that are not only incredibly good, but also environmentally conscientious. There is a vibrant music scene with an emphasis on the blues, so there is lots of live music in the area.

It is most definitely a college town, so the nightlife is a little college-ish, with cheap drinks to fit the college budget. The crowds thin out a lot in the summers. Oregon has a strong craft brewing presence with 91 brewing companies operating 121 brewing facilities in 50 cities. Eugene makes some nice contributions with some popular breweries and brewpubs.

Money & Costs:
Eugene is pretty affordable. Most restaurants in town serve dinner entrees for under $20, and hotels are mostly under $150.00 per night, although there is a 10.5% hotel tax on top of that. Tipping follows the U.S. standard of 15-20%. There is no state sales tax, so those used to it will find Eugene very reasonably priced. Access to money is not a problem as there are a number of major banks and plenty of ATMs around.

Getting There & Around:
Eugene has a small airport called Mahlon Sweet Airfield and it is located 7 miles outside of Eugene. There are several flights that are direct to and from Eugene, but most of the time you will have to fly to a bigger city and catch a smaller commuter flight to Eugene. Many people utilize Portland's airport and drive the 110 miles to and from Portland International Airport. Eugene also has an Amtrak Train Station and is serviced by Greyhound busses.

Once you have arrived in Eugene, there are several ways to get around. Most people utilize car rentals when visiting so that they can see some out of the outlying areas like the coast or the mountains. If you are just staying in town, the bus system operated by Lane Transit District is clean and easy to use. It services both the Eugene and the Springfield areas.

Bicycling is also a nice way to get around. Eugene has great cycling paths, and several places that rent bikes on a daily or weekly basis. Here are a few of them:

  • Blue Heron Bicycles - (541) 343-2488
  • High Street Bicycles - (541) 687-1775
  • Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life - (541) 344-4105

  • Eugene also has taxis for the commute to and from Amtrak or the airport, or just getting around. You will have to call ahead, they do not wait around to be hailed down as they are not utilized enough. Most companies charge a flag drop of $2.50+ and $2+ per mile. Students and seniors usually get discounts of 10% off. If arrangements are made in advance, there is usually a 20% discount for those going to and from the airport.

    Eugene is considered a temperate climate, although, if you have heard anything about Oregon weather, you have likely been told that it rains here all the time - and that is partially true. The winters are long and it rains often. Many people that relocate here have a very hard time adjusting to the grey days of winter. In contrast, the summer and fall are green and beautiful with very little rain. You will find spring a little rainy, but with more blue skies as summer comes closer.

    Below are the current conditions and weather forecast for Eugene, Oregon.

    The table below shows the average high and low temperatures.

      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Avg High 46 51 56 61 67 74 82 82 76 65 52 46
    Avg Low 35 37 39 41 45 50 53 53 49 44 40 36
    Precipitation 7.9" 5.6" 5.5" 3.1" 2.2" 1.4" 0.5" 1.1" 1.7" 3.4" 8.3" 8.6"
    Days of Rainfall 18 15 17 13 10 7 3 4 6 11 17 18
    Cloudy Days 25 21 22 19 17 14 7 8 9 17 23 26

    Tips & Additional Information:
  • Oregon is one of only 2 states where you cannot pump your own gas.
  • Eugene was the first city to have one-way streets.
  • Up until the 1970s, it was illegal to show movies or attend car races on Sundays in Eugene.
  • Phil Knight, the co-founder and chairman of Nike, graduated from the University of Oregon.
  • The movie "Animal House" was filmed at the U of O.
  • Eugene is crazy for their Oregon Ducks football team. If you want to attend a game, you will have to get tickets way in advance.

  • User Reviews (1)

    Reviewed by: sloshed
    Review date: Jun-28-2012

    I am pretty biased on Eugene. I went to UofO and had a good time there, but had a hard time "achieving escape velocity" to get out of there. Now we visit frequently as we have friends there. Part of the city, particularly downtown, have become a lot nicer and more lively, and other parts are exactly the same. It isn't really a vacation destination - it's a place you go if you are going to school or have friends/family there. However, there are a number of cool places within driving distance. 

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