A Car-Free Getaway To Eugene

Leave your wheels behind for stress-free dining, shopping and culture.
May 18, 2023

Eugene is world-famous for its contributions to the world of athletics. But with ample access to the outdoors and restaurants serving cuisines from across the world, there is a lot more to TrackTown USA than sports. Plus, with convenient public transit and numerous attractions in a compact, walkable downtown, travelers can get straight to the fun of exploring Eugene without the hassle of driving and parking.

The Gordon Hotel

Where to Stay

The best place to base yourself during a car-free trip to Eugene is near 5th Street Public Market, a four-block area packed with creative restaurants and unique boutiques. Two hotels in particular to keep your eyes on are Inn at the 5th and The Gordon Hotel, both at the heart of the action and pet-friendly for anyone traveling with furry companions. Bonus: Both offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the Eugene Airport, and the Eugene Amtrak station is just a one-block walk away. 

Ranked as one of the top 25 hotels in the country, Inn at the 5th is a charming European-style retreat with private balconies and on-site spa services. The Gordon Hotel is a hub for the area’s vibrant social scene, with an on-site speakeasy and rooftop bar, and it boasts more than 380 pieces of local art as well as an “art bar” stocked with art supplies and plenty of creative inspiration. Both hotels put you within walking distance of the train station, dozens of restaurants, fitness studios and tasting rooms. And both properties also offer complimentary bike rentals and in-town shuttle services so you can venture out to see more of Eugene.

The Gordon Tavern

Where to Eat

You can enjoy some of the best restaurants in Eugene right on the hotel premises. Gordon Tavern, located in the Gordon Hotel, serves a Northwestern twist on classic American comfort food. Downstairs from Inn at the 5th, hotel guests can dine in at Marché, which dishes up farm-to-table French cuisine. Grab a cocktail at Carlita’s, a rooftop taco and cocktail bar located in the Gordon Hotel, then stroll to dinner at the James Beard-nominated Lion & Owl (whimsical, market-driven modern American cuisine) or Osteria DOP (pizza and pasta). If your group can’t agree on one menu, hit up the 5th Street Eateries, an upscale food court of locally owned restaurants with a full bar.

Experienced and budding wine enthusiasts alike can enjoy the flavors of the South Willamette Valley with nearby tasting rooms J. Scott Cellars, Pfeiffer Winery, Alesong Brewing & Blending, Capitello Wines and Civic Winery. If craft beer and cider are more your style, ColdFire Brewing and Steelhead Brewing Co. are just a short walk away from the hotels. Or sample a craft spirits flight at Heritage Distilling Co. Before heading back to your room for the night, grab a few snacks at Provisions Market Hall — either to enjoy as a nightcap or to take home as a souvenir. 

Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path (Photo by Melanie Griffin / Eugene, Cascades & Coast)

Where to Play

The Gordon Hotel and Inn at the 5th are positioned in the center of some of the best things to do in Eugene. The Hult Center and the McDonald Theatre are both within walking distance, offering concerts, musicals and comedy shows every week. For sales-tax-free shopping (as per the case for all of Oregon), travelers can walk to the Farmers Market Pavilion for fresh produce, then spend the day browsing small shops like Will Leather Goods, Swahili Modern and Paws Pet Shop, as well as larger brands like Nike by Eugene and Pendleton Woolen Mills

Guests at the hotels have convenient access to the 1.4-mile loop trail to the top of Skinner Butte for 360-degree views of Eugene, as well as the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path walking/biking trail, which connects to the University of Oregon and Autzen Stadium. Guests can also use the complimentary bike rentals to follow along Eugene’s Black History self-guided tour and learn more about the city’s past.

Inn at the 5th

Getting to Eugene

There are a handful of ways to get to Eugene without a car. The most affordable option is the FlixBus, which runs multiple trips per day from Portland and other cities. Spend a few hours relaxing on a comfortable coach complete with onboard restrooms, Wi-Fi, power outlets and reclinable seats before the bus drops you off in downtown Eugene. For a more scenic route, take the Amtrak to the downtown Eugene station and enjoy rolling views of Willamette Valley vineyards along the way. You can also fly directly to the Eugene Airport, which serves 11 airports in the United States, and grab a shuttle to your hotel.

About The

Kay Kingsman
Kay Kingsman is a travel blogger based in Portland and the voice behind The Awkward Traveller blog. When she’s not recounting her hilariously embarrassing adventures abroad, Kingsman uses her platform to provide tips and information to make travel more accessible and attainable. She’s featured in Forbes, Buzzfeed and Dame Traveler.

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