I moved to Eugene two years ago to attend law school. As an former track athlete, I knew that the University of Oregon was where I was meant to be when I saw that the law school was located right across from Hayward Field. And while these days most of my time is spent studying for school, during my free time you can find me eating my way through some the best restaurants in town or partaking in the Eugene Ale Trail.
There is a reason why Eugene is called TrackTown USA. It’s the home of Nike’s beginnings, the famous Hayward Field, the last home of the celebrated Steve Prefontaine and the host of the Olympic Trials. But track and field is not the only thing Eugene has to offer. Be sure to check out all the things Eugene has to offer during your trip, especially those off the track.
For breakfast, start your day off with some delicious liege waffles from Off the Waffle. You can have them topped with something sweet like Nutella and strawberries, or if you prefer something savory, top your waffle with an avocado and egg. Or stop by Vero Espresso House and try their French toast or bagel sandwich. Don’t forget to try their lavender latte, it’s the best one in town! If fresh baked goods are what you’re looking for then Hideaway Bakery is the place for you. And if you’re looking for something on the go, drop by the famous Voodoo Doughnut. It’s just like the one in Portland but without the long line!
For lunch, try either McMenamins or Agate Alley for a quick bite near Hayward Field. If you’re craving pizza, head on over to Track Town Pizza and try one of their track-and-field-themed pizzas. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
For dinner, stop by the Wild Duck Cafe for their famous duck wings and jalapeno pineapple margaritas. If you’re near downtown, Bon Mi‘s Vietnamese sandwiches are always a good choice. Or are you in the mood for Mexican? Try Chula’s Restaurant and Cantina. Craving something southern? Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen is the spot for comfort food. Looking for something a little upscale? Then make a reservation at Oregon Electric Station, Beppe and Gianni ‘s Trattoria or Izakaya Meiji Company. And if you’re looking for something on the go, try one of the many food trucks parked around town, such as Izzy G. Cheese.
If you are a big coffee connoisseur, then you’re in luck, Eugene has many places to grab a great cup of joe. Local favorites include Vero Espresso House, The Barn Light, The Beanery, Wandering Goat, Coffee Plant Roasters and Dutch Bros.
But if you’re in the mood for something stronger after a day at the track, don’t worry, Eugene also has you covered in that department. If you are looking for some local Eugene craft beer, start with the Eugene Ale Trail. With over 14 breweries and cideries, there’s bound to be something for everyone. My personal favorites include Viking Braggot Company, Coldfire Brewing, Oakshire Brewing and Wildcraft Cider Works.
Want to try some Oregon beer from outside the Eugene area but can’t make the trip up to Portland or Bend? Then visit one of the amazing beer gardens in town, such as Tap and Growler, BeerGarden and The Bier Stein.
If wine is more of your thing, have no fear. Oregon’s Willamette Valley is known for its wine and especially its Pinot Noirs. Located just a half hour from downtown are some of the best wineries this state has to offer. Take a drive and visit wineries such as King Estate, Silvan Ridge Winery, Noble Estate Vineyard and Winery and Sweet Cheeks Winery. Don’t feel like making the drive out to the country? That’s ok because Eugene also has some urban wineries located right in the middle of town, such as Oregon Wine LAB, Capitello Wines, J. Scott Cellars, Territorial Vineyards and Eugene Wine Cellars.
Burn off all the calories you’ve consumed from all the food, beer and wine by running along one of the many trials around town. Local favorites include Pre’s Trail, the Ruth Bascom River Path along the Willamette River, Skinner Butte, and the Amazon Trail. If you are looking for more of a hike, then Spencer Butte and its city views are for you. And don’t miss out on running in Hendricks Park to see Pre’s Rock. But if you don’t feel like running alone, check out some of the weekly running groups at Tap and Growler, Eugene Running Company, and Nike Run Club.
There’s no better way to starting your weekend than with a visit to the Eugene Saturday Market. There, one can eat, drink, shop and listen to live music. If you didn’t get enough of your musical intake at the market, purchase tickets to the Oregon Bach Festival and listen to different variations of Bach’s timeless music. If you really want to see how the locals like to party, then put on your most hippie outfit and head on over to the Oregon Country Fair.
Don’t forget to take a peek at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium. The massive structure draws thousands of fans every football season. This summer, Autzen will host a major soccer game in the International Champions Cup on July 24 — another reason to extend your trip to Eugene.
In the evening, take a break from watching races and enjoy a night out on the town. If you’re in downtown, check out The Davis’ Restaurant & Bar or Jameson’s Bar. If you’re near campus, The Webfoot Bar & Grill, Rennie’s Landing, and Taylor’s Bar & Grill are always fun. And if you’re in the Whiteaker neighborhood feeling nostalgic about your youth, visit the Blairally Vintage Arcade, where you can play video games from childhood with an alcoholic beverage in hand.