Eugene’s annual rhythms are blissfully distinct, with crisp autumn mornings, cozy winter nights, bright spring blooms and long, sunny summer days. That makes it the perfect place to mark annual traditions — and create new ones. Whether you’re a wine lover on the hunt for the perfect pinot noir or a runner training for an annual marathon, celebrating the best of every season starts by booking a room at artsy The Gordon Hotel or elegant Inn at the 5th. Luxurious rooms, thoughtful amenities and a central, walkable location make them the perfect home base for year-round celebrations.
Fall: Autumn Foliage and Harvest-Season Drinks
Good food and spooky fun go hand-in-hand in the fall. Enjoy both at the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House in downtown Eugene near Skinner Butte Park, an elaborate Victorian mansion that serves an equally elaborate three-course Halloween Tea. Or embrace fall’s bounty with a visit to the downtown 5th Street Public Market’s Haunted Market. Wander among decorated cafes and shops, and bring little ones along for free trick-or-treating and festivities.
Fall is also harvest season for Oregon’s more than 1,000 celebrated wineries, and the vineyard-packed South Willamette Valley is a pilgrimage for wine lovers around the world. Toast to harvest season from the comfort of 5th Street Public Market at Pfeiffer Winery or J. Scott Cellars tasting rooms, which make it easy to sample chardonnay, pinot noir and more while learning about Oregon’s distinctive terroir. If whiskey’s your drink of choice, try Heritage Distilling Company’s Cocoa Car Bomb, made with their award winning chocolate-flavored whiskey.
Wind up the night at Carlita’s, a seventh-floor rooftop bar above The Gordon Hotel. An expansive whiskey and agave menu and dishes like Pacific tuna ceviche and short rib tostadas make this the perfect place to toast the season. Afterward, sink into a luxurious bed downstairs at The Gordon Hotel, with rooms designed to maximize natural light and frame views of the city’s fall foliage.
Winter: See a Show and Savor Holiday Meals
Kick off winter with a full-on sensory experience: Night of a Thousand Stars at the 5th Street Public Market in downtown Eugene includes a snow show, tree lighting, live music, holiday cookies and a visit from Santa. Combine the day with sales-tax-free (like all of Oregon) holiday shopping at nearby shops like the Elephant’s Trunk Toy Company, Will Leather Goods and Pendleton Woolen Mills.
Get caught up in seasonal wonder at Ballet Fantastique’s performance of “Babes in Toyland” accompanied by live jazz at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts downtown, or dress in your finest for the Eugene Symphony’s New Year’s Eve celebration — think live music, sparkling drinks and dancing the night away. Keep the special-occasion vibe going with a night at Inn at the 5th, a luxury hotel in the center of all the action downtown with amenities like complimentary wine at check-in, an on-site spa, in-room fireplaces and down blankets on pillowtop beds.
It wouldn’t be the holidays without a celebratory meal: Book a table at Marché, a bustling French-inspired restaurant located inside the 5th Street Public Market, and ask your server what’s in season. With a menu that changes based on what’s fresh and local, your winter meal will be memorable. Unwind afterward with a tradition-worthy experience: Find the hidden entrance to the 86 Speakeasy and get cozy with a Prohibition era-inspired cocktail, or enjoy a rejuvenating treatment at Gervais Salon & Spa.
Spring: Smell the Roses and Cheer on Runners
The first sunny days of spring bring gorgeous blooms and fresh produce. Make sampling both part of your spring tradition. Visit Hendricks Park rhododendron garden about three miles southeast of downtown for brilliant flowering bushes towering 40 feet. Or, borrow a complimentary cruiser bike from The Gordon Hotel or Inn at the 5th for a quick pedal to Owen Rose Garden in the riverfront Kiwanis Park and sniff your way through a floral oasis with more than 4,500 roses. Just over a mile south, taste the flavors of spring at the Eugene Saturday Market, offering fresh produce and artisan cuisine from 13 food vendors. Create a picnic and dine al fresco next to the 5th Street Public Market’s iconic fountain. With twinkling lights and aromatic flowers around a central courtyard, it’s a beautiful spot to make memories.
Inn at the 5th was named a “best hotel for runners” by Runner’s World magazine, which makes a perfect home base for another springtime tradition: the world-class running community that gives Eugene its nickname of TrackTown USA. Whether you’re running or spectating, the annual Eugene Marathon is a captivating experience, with a course made famous by world champions and energy from crowds of cheering fans.
Summer: See Local Art and Pedal for a Pint
Summer brings its own traditions: graduations, beach trips and bike rides. Each June The Gordon Hotel celebrates the University of Oregon’s commencement with a student art showcase on the massive digital art installation in its lobby. Use it as a starting point for an art-centric summer trip. Explore Eugene’s mural trail, a series of more than 20 murals by artists from around the world, then make your own creations at The Gordon’s Art Bar, stocked with clay, watercolors and other supplies.
A day at the beach is another classic summer tradition. Florence is just 60 miles west of Eugene, making for an easy day trip with enough time to be back in Eugene for dinner. Before you go, hit up Provisions Market Hall for high-end picnic fare. At the Coast, try a new adventure: Rent a dune buggy or try sandboarding at the world’s first sandboarding park. In the evening, try some of Eugene’s bikeways and paths. About half a mile to the northeast, ColdFire Brewing makes a great cycling destination from either The Gordon Hotel and Inn at the 5th, with a kid-friendly outdoor patio surrounded by food trucks (pro tip: Don’t miss out on the Trinidadian-style fried chicken from Yardy). Didn’t bring a bike with you? No problem. Both hotels offer complimentary bikes for their guests to borrow, or rent a bike from local bike share program PeaceHealth Rides or Pedego Eugene, a bike store that specializes in e-bikes.