When it comes to Oregon, there is no shortage of adventure.
You can find epic rock formations at Samuel H. Board Corridor, explore tons of waterfalls, and even explore weird and beautiful landscapes like the Painted Hills!
We quickly learned that Eugene provides pretty much the best of Oregon – proximity to the ocean, the mountains, and a thriving city with an amazing culture just to name a few highlights!
In this post, we’re sharing our favorite laid-back things to do in Eugene in this winter – perfect for that weekend visiting your friends in college or just a fun getaway to a new city!
11 Laid-Back Things To Do In Eugene
This post is in partnership with Travel Lane County. All words and opinions are truthful and completely our own.
We didn’t know much about Eugene at first – we knew the Oregon Ducks reigned supreme, the city has a good beer scene, and there’s access to tons of hiking trails.
We are happy to report that the city is all of these things and much, much more! Discover everything from hiking trips, to the best restaurants, to boutique shopping and all the surprises of Eugene right in this post.
1. Stay At The Inn at 5th
We were lucky enough to stay at the Inn at 5th, which is the sister hotel to the Inn at 500 in Boise, Idaho. This place is centrally located and the perfect place for the shopper, socialite or foodie!
The hotel offers a free shuttle from the airport and free transport within a 4-mile radius of the hotel (which includes the Whiteaker neighborhood – hellooo beer tasting!).
We felt like royalty everytime we walked in – we were greeted at the door, offered a glass of wine/beer checking in, and had access to their 24-hour snack bar in the lobby!
Berty and I stayed in their new Pendleton suite, which was decorated with gorgeous patterns, historic photos and cool coffee table books about textiles.
They also started a new “blanket menu” which allows you borrow a gorgeous Pendleton blanket to use for your stay!
Speaking of cozy things….
Read More: 16 Epic Things To Do In Boise, Idaho
2. Bundle Up And Buy A Pendleton Blanket
We purchased this blanket for my mom for Christmas – the store was conveniently attached to the hotel!
According to Pendleton’s company history, in 1909, a settler family established a textile company that created blankets and robes for Native Americans.
Tons of research went into the colors and patterns of the blankets, and they are still honored with the stories and meanings of the Native American population today.
Each blanket comes with a card that tells its story.
The one we purchased is called “Night Dance” and the colors represent the night sky (blue) the bright flames of a ceremonial fire (oranges and yellows) and the dancing that lasts into the morning (whites).
Knowing the story behind the blanket gives me a sense of respect and gratitude for the history preserved in these tangible blankets, and that we can appreciate them by owning a beautiful piece of history!
3. Emboss Something Personal At Will Leather Goods
Their location at the 5th Street Public Market is actually situated in a boxcar in the parking lot.
Will Leather Goods is a family-owned lifestyle brand created by founder Will Alder. They create handcrafted leather goods like bags, wallets, belts, and more inspired by artisans around the world.
We got to spend a morning in the store hearing about their history, sip on some local cold-brew and kombucha, and chat with Natasha as she embossed (heat-stamped) personalized leather tags for us.
I love that you can purchase something and have it personalized with a monogram or name. What a special gift!
Thank you, Natasha, for a wonderful visit to the 5th Street Market Boxcar!
Read More: Our 20 Favorite Carry On Bags For Travelers
4. Gather Delicious Food at Provisions Market Hall
Located in the 5th Street Public Market, this local gem offers a wide variety of specialty ingredients, home goods, and artisan wines.
They also have an amazing food court inside the market (pizza, sandwiches and a bakery) as well as upstairs!
Berty and I spent time gathering some local meats, cheeses, and wine to take on our hike later for a picnic. It was really fun to wander around the market and experience the rich Willamette Valley food bounty!
5. Meet Your Friends At Jazzy Ladies Cafe
This corner coffee shop has cozy tables, big windows, and is a perfect spot for meeting friends for coffee downtown. All the food here is made from scratch!
They have an impressive breakfast menu and offer tons of ways to make orders your own. Berty and I chose biscuits and gravy and a good cup of coffee which was a great start to our day.
6. Drive To King Estate For Wine Tasting
Don’t leave Eugene without paying King Estate Winery a visit.
Not only do they provide a gorgeous entry (do the words “castle on a hill” entice you enough?) but their French-style estate and large tasting room deliver an unforgettable experience!
With each tasting, they provide exceptional wine educators to answer any and all questions. They even put up with all our rookie questions like “why is this wine darker than this one?” ha!
We learned so much about wine, including King Estate’s new Biodynamic title, which makes them the largest of their kind in the entire county.
We came away with a great appreciation for the Willamette Valley area and a greater appreciation for Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Oregon really set the bar high!
Thank you, Jenny, for your company and teaching us about King Estate Wines!
Read More Wine Locations: Visiting Idaho’s Wine Country
7. Eat Local At Marche
Located conveniently next door to The Inn at 5th, this restaurant boasts fresh and organic ingredients, Pacific Northwest sources, and exceptional service.
Marche is also french for “market” which is why their location is so fitting – they get most of their food from Provisions Market Hall right next door!
Come here for a great date night or celebration – we were treated like a million bucks!
8. Get Outside To Salt Creek Falls
An hour east on Highway 58 and you’ll reach Salt Creek Falls, Oregon’s second largest single waterfall.
A stunning vision at 286 feet, this place is easily accessible (seriously, wheelchair accessible to the first lookout!) and provides an easy adventure for hikers of any level.
For the more experienced hikers, you have the option to do a longer loop trail to Diamond Creek Falls (5.4 miles total) which brings you to another gorgeous waterfall.
Bring a blanket and picnic to enjoy because you’re surely going to want to spend all day here!
*Note* – in the winter they close the main parking lot area – park at the outer lot and take just a short walk to the main area, which has toilets and picnic benches to use all year long. Check weather conditions as well and bring snowshoes if it looks snowy!
9. Indulge Your Inner Foodie in the Whiteaker Neighborhood
Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood is a rapidly growing area attracting beer lovers and foodies alike.
After Ninkasi Brewing was established in 2006, this place has been a magnet for eclectic eateries, cafes, and all-around fun vibes. This is a great area to gather with friends, get good drinks, and have a fun time.
Berty and I loved that most of the businesses were houses-turned-restaurants. Izakaya Meiji Company, Grit, and the Pizza Research Institute being great examples of this – they are literally all neighbors on the same block.
Pictured below is Tacovore’s classic combo of tacos and margaritas.
When it comes to good beer, Eugene brings a strong game. The city has created an interactive trail that connects 21 (and counting!) breweries on a journey called the Eugene Ale Trail. Visit each, get a stamp, and collect awesome prizes. This is a fun way to explore new places in the city and hang out with your friends!
At both locations, we tried a flight of 4-5 beers and learned more about each.
Ninkasi provides you with info cards that come with each tasting, which was also incredibly helpful to learn more about what made each brew so special!
11. Breakfast At Off The Waffle
On our last day in Eugene, we went to a funky breakfast place called Off The Waffle.
This experimental waffle house is full of fun vibes that allows you to make your own waffle combination or choose from their curated (and delicious!) menu.
They pride themselves in making the best liège waffles, which are waffles made from dough rather than batter, and carmelized with pearl sugar that creates a crispy, shiny, sweet coat on the outside!
No syrup is needed to enjoy this sweet breakfast. At the downtown location, coffee is bottomless and they even offer to put it in a to-go cup on your way out the door!
12. Take A Covered Bridge Tour
Did you know that Oregon has the highest concentration of covered bridges in the West Coast?
If you are into history, darling little towns, and time in nature, you have to check out this list of covered bridges to visit. There is even a scenic road that connects 6 of them which can be enjoyed via car or bike!
Thank you to Travel Lane County and The Inn at 5th for hosting us on this trip and showing us the best things to do in Eugene! As always, all opinions are our own, and we love sharing our experiences in the Pacific Northwest!
What are some of your favorite things to do in Eugene? Tell us in the comments below how you like to bundle up in the city when it’s cold outside!
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