We plan to be in the Willamette Valley for 2 days. Please suggest a town where we can say that would be convenient for touring the vineyards and sampling some good food without being too touristy.
Three places came to mind when I read your question. They are McMinnville, Eugene and Albany! Three very different Oregon towns each offering what you are looking for. First of all, McMinnville is situated more in the Northern region of wine country. It’s has a
bustling downtown with lots of restaurants and shops and very close to hundreds of wineries and vineyards. One of my favorite places to visit when I’m in McMinnville is the McMenamins Hotel Oregon. Good food, beer, wine and lodging! A couple of my favorite wineries are Adelsheim and Sokol Blosser.
Eugene is further south but also perfectly situated for wine tasting, touring without being too touristy and a place where you will find
delicious food! The Inn at the 5th is a beautiful hotel located in the 5th Avenue Public Market in downtown Eugene. Lodging here could afford you to be smack dab in the middle of all the GOOD food and shopping! There is a wine tasting room also attached to the hotel. Two favorite wineries in the area are Sweet Cheeks and King Estate. And a few dining suggestions downtown: The Vintage and Sweet Life Patisserie. Our Daily Bread is found on the way to visit some of the wineries in that area!
Albany is smaller town of only about 50,000 pop. Home to several delicious restaurants as well, it’s also home to Matt Bennett, a James Beard Award Nominated Chef! He owns three restaurants downtown, one of which I send all of our visitors to who are looking for a true taste of the Pacific Northwest: Sybaris. Albany is also located in the middle between McMinnville and Eugene so a perfect spot if you are wanting to get as much as possible from all areas of the Willamette Valley.
Have something to add What’s Your Answer?
Share your thoughts Answers From Other People
Your comment will be the first one for this story. Some might think of this as a lot of pressure, but as a trail blazer you recognize that someone has to be first. Your fellow travelers appreciate your opinion, so thanks in advance!
Other questions about Willamette Valley
- We have three kids 5 and under. We want to go on a vacation and check out Oregon, but don’t know where to go? We would love some good ideas. We don’t mind camping, and we like doing things outdoors, but the kids might only last hiking for a couple of days and then be wiped out. – Sharp Family
- I want to combine a trip to Portland with a visit to the Willamette Valley. What would you plan to see and how should we travel from Portland to the Willamette Valley?
- We love cycling, although more road cycling than mountain biking, and I’m not too great on hills! Are there any particularly good (and relatively flat) cycle routes you could suggest? -Gill
About Ask Oregon Expert Debbie Lusk
Debbie Lusk loves Oregon and everything there is to experience here. She may be found on the back of a black mare riding through wine country with saddle bags full of Oregon wine, or enjoying a cold beer at a local Willamette Valley microbrewery. She's smitten with Oregon and plans to enjoy it all one bite at a time! All her experiences can be found on her blog, Sweet Bliss.