14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Eugene, OR

Written by Chloë Ernst and Brad Lane
Updated Dec 27, 2023
We may earn a commission from affiliate links ()

Author Brad Lane lives nearby in Portland.

Eugene is at the southern end of the Willamette Valley and is the third-largest city in Oregon. It has all the amenities of a sizeable city, such as impressive museums, restaurants, and a bustling feel that make it ideal for a weekend getaway.

Downtown Eugene, Oregon
Downtown Eugene, Oregon

But, the cityscape also abuts nature. From lush parks and arboretums to a bird of prey sanctuary, the city is easily escapable on hiking trails or nature walks.

The Willamette River is near the dividing line of Eugene and its neighboring town of Springfield, with miles of paved trails lining the water between the two cities. This signature river corridor is also home to several stunning places to visit, like the lush grounds of Alton Baker Park.

The best place to begin sightseeing is on the expansive University of Oregon campus. An excellent art museum, the historic track at Hayward Field, and a natural history museum are throughout the landscaped grounds, offering photo opportunities and family activities.

Discover more places to visit and things to do in one of Oregon's best cities with our list of the top attractions in Eugene.

See also: Where to Stay in Eugene

1. Alton Baker Park

Alton Baker Park
Alton Baker Park

The ambling Willamette River meanders through Eugene and helps define the boundary with neighboring Springfield. Along its banks, visitors explore the bicycle trails and other recreational facilities of Alton Baker Park — the city's largest park. The park is split between two main areas, including the 237-acre Whilamut Natural Area.

Paved paths extend beyond park boundaries, and bike bridges connect trails on both sides of the river. Pre's Trail is just over four miles long and a popular cross-country and running route within the park, named after hometown hero Steve Prefontaine. The Willamette itself is also a draw as a nationally noted water trail popular with kayakers.

Address: 200 Day Island Road, Eugene, Oregon

2. Cascades Raptor Center

Bald eagle at the Cascades Raptor Center
Bald eagle at the Cascades Raptor Center

Eagles, falcons, and hawks are among the regal feathered residents at the Cascades Raptor Center. This non-profit organization nurses injured birds back to health and is open to the public year-round. Visitors see various resident birds and get a sense of the rehabilitation process.

The Cascades Raptor Center also hosts off- and on-site educational programs, including handler-led demonstrations, personal tours, and kid-friendly craft workshops.

For those looking to be involved with the raptor rehabilitation process, volunteer opportunities are available for all interest levels.

Address: 32275 Fox Hollow Road, Eugene, Oregon

3. Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon in Eugene features an extensive collection of American, European, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese art. It was designed without windows to protect the treasures inside. The museum opened in 1933 and has expanded considerably since.

The emphasis is on Asian art but also includes major Pacific Northwest — including Oregonian — and European artists. Changing displays sample works from the permanent collection, pieces on loan, or traveling exhibitions.

The building was designed by Ellis F. Lawrence, the one-time dean of the School of Architecture & Allied Arts at the University of Oregon. It features lovely brickwork and iron grillwork and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Public tours are offered on Saturdays at the museum free of charge, or visitors can request a guided experience prior to their visit.

Address: 1430 Johnson Lane, Eugene, Oregon

4. Hayward Field

Hayward Field
Hayward Field | Oregon National Guard / photo modified

Hayward Field, on the University of Oregon campus, is a legendary track and field stadium that lends credence to Eugene's nickname, TrackTown USA. These hallowed grounds have hosted running legends and champions from across the world.

Most recently, Hayward Field hosted the first U.S.-held World Athletic Championships in July of 2022. Major stadium upgrades went into hosting this renowned event, including additional seating. New upgrades also included a museum space, an observation tower, and state-of-the-art electronics and sound equipment.

5. Hult Center for the Performing Arts

Hult Center for the Performing Arts
Hult Center for the Performing Arts | Oregon Attractions / photo modified

The Hult Center for the Performing Arts has been at the heart of Eugene's rich cultural scene since 1982. All kinds of entertainment occur here throughout the year, from jazz to opera, musicals, comedy, and so much more.

Resident companies calling the venue home include the Eugene Ballet Company, the Eugene Concert Choir, the Eugene Opera, and the Eugene Symphony. Many of these signature city performances take place in the evening, offering a long list of things to do at night in Eugene.

In addition to the performing arts, the center also features permanent and temporary art collections throughout the building. One of the permanent installations includes the house curtain for the Silva Concert Hall. Various sculptures are also found throughout the mezzanine and lower balcony levels.

Address: One Eugene Center, Eugene, Oregon

6. Saturday Market

Vegetables for sale at the Saturday Market
Vegetables for sale at the Saturday Market

Operating rain or shine every Saturday between April and mid-November, the Eugene Saturday Market is one of the best gathering spaces in the city. The Saturday Market combines local artisan crafts, live music, and internationally inspired food, bringing together the many tastes and styles of Eugene.

The Saturday Market takes place at the center of downtown, often surrounded by other city events, and is a great starting point for a cultural weekend spent exploring the city.

For local agricultural produce, the Lane County Farmers Market is across the street from the Saturday Market. The Lane Country Farmers Market also operates throughout the day on Tuesdays, between May and October. These Tuesday farmers markets have much of the same produce but generally fewer crowds.

Address: 26 E 8th Ave, Eugene, Oregon

7. Willamette River Bike Trail

Willamette River Bike Trail
Willamette River Bike Trail

The Willamette River Bike Trail, also known as the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System, is a series of interconnected paved paths along the river. It spans approximately 12 miles total, connecting Eugene and Springfield, and is a common thoroughfare for bicyclists, roller-skaters, and stroller pushers.

The path meanders next to several public spaces to pull over and enjoy the day. Afton Baker Park is the most prominent public space, covering over 200 acres next to the banks. Several pedestrian bridges span the water, lending access to both sides of the river.

8. Hendricks Park

Hendricks Park
Hendricks Park

Rhododendrons thrive in the Pacific Northwest (indeed, it is Washington's state flower). This rhododendron garden in Eugene's Hendricks Park offers an excellent climate for the flowering evergreen shrubs that have flourished in this local favorite park.

About 80 acres of parkland also feature undulating walking trails, old-growth Douglas fir trees, and native plant varieties. Spring is the peak season for rhododendrons. In addition to the expansive Rhododendron Garden, the Oak Knoll Trail is a favorite to explore, including the expansive views found at its turnaround point.

With picnic tables and shelters available, Hendrick's Park is also a popular spot to bring a packed lunch. The 80-plus-year-old Francis M. Wilkins Shelter at the park is a historic, reservable structure that accommodates up to 60 people.

Location: Summit Avenue and Skyline Blvd, Eugene, Oregon

9. Museum of Natural and Cultural History

Museum of Natural and Cultural History
Museum of Natural and Cultural History | rfduck / photo modified

Among the many tourist attractions on the University of Oregon campus is the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, which highlights the university's anthropological, zoological, and paleontological artifacts. The museum delves into the natural and cultural histories of the area through fossils, preserved wildlife, and photographs.

A popular permanent exhibit at the museum immerses patrons in the last 14,000 years of Oregon history. Other permanent exhibits include in-depth looks into the climate and ecosystems that define the state.

The museum also hosts various events and workshops, including summer camps and Free First Fridays. Admission to the museum is free for students and faculty of the university and $6 for the general public. Family rates are also available.

Address: 1680 East 15th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon

10. Mount Pisgah Arboretum

View from the top of Mount Pisgah
View from the top of Mount Pisgah | Loren Kerns / photo modified

Mount Pisgah Arboretum harbors local and international species of trees, covering 209 acres on the slopes of its namesake mountain. Walking trails fan out from the parking area taking tree-lovers to Mt. Pisgah summit, riverbanks, and various viewpoints over surrounding farmlands.

Leashed canine companions are welcome at Mount Pisgah Arboretum, and evenly graded trails allow all hiking abilities to explore.

For avid mushroom hunters, the arboretum hosts an annual Mushroom Festival each year, displaying more than 300 species of local mushrooms.

Address: 34901 Frank Parrish Road, Eugene, Oregon

11. Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House

Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House
Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House | Kathleen Tyler Conklin / photo modified

A fairytale-like beauty has made this Victorian mansion a landmark in the city, especially as it sits perched on the slopes of Skinner Butte. The Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House was built in 1888 for a doctor. The interior décor is styled with historical artifacts, clothing, and furniture to create a sense of days gone by.

Public tours are available for anyone interested in its history, and afternoon tea and other events are often hosted at the house. Other events in this historic home include book readings, escape rooms, and a Victorian Finishing School summer camp. The Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House is just one of many buildings in Eugene listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Address: 303 Willamette Street, Eugene, Oregon

12. Eugene Science Center

Eugene Science Center
Eugene Science Center | Josh Ward / photo modified

The Eugene Science Center is a science-themed museum that provides educational and interactive displays for children and adults. The exhibit hall has many things to discover through touch, while the Planetarium features science films and laser shows.

The Science Center also hosts an array of special events and programs throughout the year, including "Meet a Scientist" demonstrations and Science Adventure Camps.

The Science Center is within the bounds of Alton Baker Park, making this family attraction a fun part of a day trip to this part of town.

Address: 2300 Leo Harris Parkway, Eugene, Oregon

13. Lane County Historical Museum

Lane County Historical Museum
Lane County Historical Museum | rfduck / photo modified

The Lane County Historical Museum in Eugene features items related to the history of Lane County and its early pioneers. This is a good spot to learn about the famed Oregon Trail and the state's forestry history. An eye-catching series of portraits at the museum highlights the faces of Native Americans from across the country, primarily photographed between 1870 and 1950.

Permanent exhibits at the Lane County Historical Museum include the 1853 Lane County Clerk's Building, a century-old staircase from the old courthouse, and an impressive collection of antique transportation vehicles. The Great War is also on display at the Lane County Historical Museum, including first-hand accounts from residents who fought overseas.

The museum also hosts a variety of events throughout the year including quilt shows, professional speaker series, and pre-school specific programming for little explorers.

Address: 740 West 13th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon

14. Owen Rose Garden

A pathway through Owen Rose Garden
A pathway through Owen Rose Garden

The Owen Rose Garden is near the shores of the Willamette River and the Washington-Jefferson Street Bridge. This 8.5-acre park showcases a variety of natural beauty with more than 4,000 different roses and at least 400 different varieties. A key to the experience here is simply taking in the colorful scene.

The rose garden provides a peaceful place to visit with plenty of picnic tables and looped walking paths. Shelters in the garden can be reserved for organized events.

Address: 300 N. Jefferson Street, Eugene, Oregon

Where to Stay in Eugene for Sightseeing

Eugene is bisected by Interstate 5, the unofficial dividing line between Eugene and Springfield, which are often lumped together. The best place to stay is in Eugene, a delightfully small city.

The University of Oregon campus contains several of the major cultural and sporting attractions and is right downtown, so staying nearby is recommended. Below are some highly-rated hotels in good locations:

Luxury Hotels:

  • Top-end luxury hotels are in short supply in Eugene. The boutique hotel, Inn at the 5th, is all about Pacific Northwest luxury and is steps from the trendy 5th Street Public Market.
  • One of only two all-suite hotels in town, the Residence Inn by Marriott occupies a perfect location on the riverfront between Alton Baker Park and downtown. This is a great family option, with lovely walking and biking trails along the Willamette River just outside the front door.
  • The recently renovated Graduate Eugene is right in the center of the action, steps from the city's historical district, and two blocks from the Amtrak station.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • The Holiday Inn Express & Suites is recently renovated and has a great location, perfect for sports fans, with the stadium close by.
  • Across the street from the University of Oregon and its multitude of attractions is the Best Western.
  • The Candlewood Suites, about one mile from downtown, is a new, all-suite property, with large rooms featuring kitchens.

Budget Hotels:

  • A smaller, older-style property with just 42 rooms, the Timbers Motel offers exceptional value in a great location, less than a half mile from the restaurants of 5th Street.
  • The appropriately named Downtown Inn is family run and easily accessible off Interstate 105, and only a couple of blocks from the Hult Center, perfect if you are in town for a concert or performance.
  • A five-minute drive to the east of downtown is the clean and quiet Budget Lodge.

Eugene, OR - Climate Chart

Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Eugene, OR in °C
8 1 11 2 13 3 16 4 19 6 23 8 27 11 28 11 25 8 18 5 11 3 8 1
Average monthly precipitation totals for Eugene, OR in mm.
194 161 147 93 68 39 16 25 39 85 214 211
Average monthly snowfall totals for Eugene, OR in cm.
8 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4
Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Eugene, OR in °F
46 33 51 35 56 37 61 39 67 43 73 47 81 51 82 51 77 47 65 41 52 37 46 33
Average monthly precipitation totals for Eugene, OR in inches.
7.7 6.4 5.8 3.7 2.7 1.5 0.6 1.0 1.5 3.4 8.4 8.3
Average monthly snowfall totals for Eugene, OR in inches.
3.1 0.9 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 1.7

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com


More Fun in Oregon: Featuring coastal views, dormant volcanoes, and exciting cities, Oregon is a state full of places to explore. For outdoor excitement, Mount Hood National Forest provides year-round recreation. To find your cultural fill, cities like Portland and Newport mix stunning scenery with friendly communities and fun things to do.


Other Cities in Oregon: Every city in Oregon offers something new to explore. The state capital of Salem features a beautiful Riverfront City Park alongside an ornate state capitol building. For a little taste of the coast, the seaside city of Astoria is a cool place to enjoy the ocean scene. Southern Oregon is also the place to be, and cities like Ashland deliver with awesome things to do like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Destinations popular right now
25 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Oregon