With its colorful murals, urban greenery and countless culinary delights, the Eugene area is a phenomenal setting for a food crawl — or, even better, a pedal-powered foodie tour de Eugene. As one of the country’s most bike-friendly cities, Eugene is best enjoyed from behind a set of handlebars, so cyclists can cover the full region’s worth of tasting rooms and restaurants while also absorbing the area’s natural beauty.
Start in downtown Eugene and work your way through some of the area’s best eateries and watering holes. On nice days, it’s best to grab a seat outside and admire the beautiful fall foliage before sipping a pilsner, swirling a glass of pinot noir or devouring a pizza topped with Willamette Valley produce.
Explore Downtown Eugene
The best way to approach a culinary tour of Eugene is to set aside a full weekend to explore — ideally by bike. Rent some wheels from PeaceHealth Rides, Eugene’s local bike share, which has stations conveniently scattered across the city. You can also pop into nearby Bicycle Way of Life for rentals, or chat with the friendly staff at Hutch’s Bicycles. If electric bikes are more your speed, stop into Pedego, a new e-bike rental shop downtown.
Make your base camp at The Gordon Hotel, the luxe, art-focused hotel smack-dab in the middle of the action downtown, including the newly expanded 5th Street Public Market. Stroll down the Market Alley to taste your way through the local wine world: Pfeiffer Winery, Terra Pacem and J. Scott Cellars all operate urban tasting rooms just steps away from the hotel, showcasing the region’s world-famous pinot noir as well as other varietals. Craft-brew lovers can find an impressive selection of award-winning bretts and saisons at Alesong Brewing’s 5th Street location.
When it’s time to eat, book a reservation for dinner on Marche’s Parisian-inspired patio; the restaurant shows off all the Pacific Northwest has to offer, from the burger with Rogue Creamery blue cheese to the risotto featuring wild mushrooms. For dessert, pop by Euphoria Chocolate Company for decadent truffles and snag a few bags of chocolate-covered nuts to fuel tomorrow’s bike ride.
The next day, pedal west to Eugene’s hip Whiteaker neighborhood, where you’ll have your pick of some of the city’s most up-and-coming restaurants. Grab lunch at Ninkasi’s Better Living Room, which serves everything from Oregon bay shrimp rolls to smoked pastrami pierogis.
Stop into WildCraft Cider Works for its single-varietal, barrel-aged ciders, served alongside a menu featuring sweet and savory crepes and other seasonal dishes. Or go for a Reuben and a pint at Falling Sky Brewing’s deli, which features house-cured meats and a menu full of Oregon-centric ingredients. From there, roll into Thinking Tree for a tasting flight of spirits or a cocktail. Pedal around the shops and music venues in the Whit, and when you’re starting to feel hungry again, pedal your way back downtown. Finish the day at rye, which uses locally raised meats for dishes like pan-seared duck breast and red-wine-braised lamb shoulder.
Explore Springfield and Cottage Grove
For more excellent food and drink, take a longer, scenic ride along the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path to the Springfield Main Street area. Start with a brunch of fried chicken and waffles alongside a silky mocha at Washburne Cafe, and tour the area’s various murals and shops. When hunger strikes, park your bike at Plank Town Brewing for a cask ale and a big bowl of mac and cheese. For another fun weekend trip, take on the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway in Cottage Grove, a picturesque trail abundant with beautiful fall color.
On your way down to Cottage Grove, let the South Willamette Valley Food Trail be your guide: Visit Saginaw Vineyard for a tasting flight, including their best-selling dessert wines; stop by the food-truck pod at Bohemia Food Hub; and make a pit stop at Territorial Seed Company to get a start on the fall garden. After the ride, grab a beer and a pot pie at Coast Fork Brewing and Feed Store, and consider spending the night at the nearby Sweet Springs Family Farm B&B.
Explore the Coast and Cascades
Hop in the car and head 60 miles west of Eugene to the Coast to find more great eats along the Central Coast Food Trail. When you hit Florence, it’s time for fish and chips at Nosh Eatery or Homegrown Public House and Brewery, and maybe a celebratory tasting tray of spirits from Stillwagon Distillery.
Or head 30 miles east of Eugene to the Cascades to explore and support the McKenzie River communities. Start with breakfast — which, let’s be honest, is a slice of pie — at The Vida Cafe, riding down the McKenzie Highway until you reach Takoda’s Rainbow in Blue River for beefy burgers on the picturesque back patio.
For a longer ride, start with breakfast at McKenzie Stage Stop in Springfield. Alternatively, head over to Oakridge and Westfir to hit the area’s famous mountain biking trails, grabbing a bite at The 3 Legged Crane Pub and Brewhouse. Plan for a memorable mountain biking trip by booking a stay or grabbing a meal at Westfir Lodge & Mountain Market, a ride-in ride-out lodging and restaurant in the Willamette National Forest. Be sure to check road conditions for closures before you go.