15 things to see and do in Eugene during breaks from the IAAF World Championships | Wender Mind Kids

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Would you like to spend some time in Eugene? There is much to do.

Between beautiful local parks, fascinating museums, and recreational areas for hikers, bikers, kayakers, and rock climbers, it’s clear that the college town is more than just a place to watch Ducks games. Not to mention the local food and craft beer scene or the amazing countryside just a short drive away.

Whether you’re here for the Oregon22 IAAF World Championships in Eugene, the University of Oregon, or just for fun, you probably won’t be disappointed.

Here are 15 things to see and do in the city:

The view of the Willamette Valley from the top of Spencer Butte in Eugene, Oregon on Tuesday April 5, 2022. Sean Meagher/The Oregonian


Spencer Butte offers some of the best views of Eugene and is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny day, with family-friendly hiking trails leading to the summit. Hikers can do a moderately easy 1.7-mile loop from the main trail to the summit and back. The Butte is part of the larger Ridgeline Trail System.

Open daily from 6am to 11pm; 85397 Willamette St; eugene-or.gov

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Eugene has a reputation for being a great city for bikers, and the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System is a big reason for that. The approximately 14-mile system of interconnected multi-purpose trails runs along both banks of the Willamette River in Eugene and Springfield. The trails are heavily used by local cyclists as well as runners and walkers.


The 209-acre Mount Pisgah Arboretum is a beautiful hiking destination with educational and artistic installations scattered throughout its forests, wetlands, and hills. The many winding trails add up to about seven or eight miles in total, allowing visitors to embark on short or long adventures.

Open every day from morning to evening; 34901 Frank Parrish Road; Parking is $5 per vehicle; mountpisgaharboretum.org

Hawk with a chick's legs sticking out of its beak

A gyrfalcon eats a meal at the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene.Samantha imposter


Primarily a wildlife hospital, the Cascades Raptor Center also operates a nature center open to the public where visitors can view around 40 birds of prey. Keep an eye out for owls, eagles, hawks and more.

Open from 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday; 32275 Fox Hollow Road; Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for teens and seniors, $7 for children; cascadesraptorcenter.org


Tucked away on the banks of the Willamette River off US 105, the Owen Rose Garden is a small but delightful destination with more than 400 varieties of roses. The garden is also home to the Owen Cherry Tree, the oldest and largest cherry tree in the state.

Open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 300 N. Jefferson St.; eugene-or.gov


Located in Alton Baker Park across from Autzen Stadium, the Eugene Science Center is one of the city’s premier family-friendly attractions, with constantly changing exhibits and playrooms teaching kids about science and technology.

Open 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday to Sunday, open 10am to 7pm on Friday; 2300 Leo Harris Parkway.; Admission $5; eugenesciencecenter.org

Eugene is easy

Climbers will enjoy being close to the Skinner Butte Climbing Columns in downtown Eugene.Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian


Skinner Butte Park covers 100 acres along the Willamette River near downtown Eugene, but is perhaps best known for The Columns: a wall of columnar basalt popular with rock climbers. Climbers can tackle the 50-foot wall, while spectators can sit and watch from nearby benches.

Open daily from 6am to 11pm; 248 Cheshire Avenue; eugene-or.gov


Alton Baker Park, the largest park in Eugene, features biking and hiking trails, riverfront access, a concert hall, canoe canal, BMX trail, disc golf course and undeveloped nature area. The park is also home to Pre’s Trail, a running track designed by local running legend Steve Prefontaine.

Open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 200 Day Island Rd.; eugene-or.gov


The 150-acre Delta Ponds are a great spot for spotting wildlife north of the city, home to beavers, turtles, herons, and other waterfowl. A short nature trail loops around the ponds, and a scenic footbridge leads to Ruth Bascom’s cycle paths.

Open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Parking on Goodpasture Island Road; eugene-or.gov

Jordan Schnitzer Art Museum

A previous exhibition on minimalism can be seen at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene.Benjamin Brink/The Oregonian


Located on the University of Oregon campus, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art features rotating exhibitions and a permanent art collection in nearly a dozen galleries. The museum has been operational on campus since 1933 and continues to grow.

Open Wednesday 11am to 8pm, Thursday to Sunday 11am to 5pm; 1430 Johnson Ln.; Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, free for children and UO students; jsma.uoregon.edu


The Shelton McMurphey Johnson House is a beautiful 7,000 square foot Victorian mansion currently owned and operated by the City of Eugene as a local attraction. The mansion houses a museum, serves tea on select weekends and hosts local events.

Open 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday, 11am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday; 303 Willamette St.; Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, $3 for children; smjhouse.org


Legendary local runner Steve Prefontaine was set to take home gold at the 1976 Olympics, but tragically died in a 1975 car accident in Eugene. A small memorial, Pre’s Rock, stands at the site of this crash and has become a place of pilgrimage for runners.

The hotel is located on Skyline Boulevard off Birch Lane in Eugene

Mural of Maggie Simpson with arms outstretched

Maggie Simpson graces the back of a building in downtown Sprinfield. Many of the downtown murals are located in unnamed alleys between Main and A Streets.


Oregon has deep connections to The Simpsons, from the streets of Portland that gave their names to so many characters, to the very real city that inspired the fictional town. Springfield (the real Springfield) borders Eugene at the hip and today features dozens of murals depicting Simpsons characters scattered throughout the city.


Fern Ridge Reservoir is the largest lake in the Willamette Valley, measuring approximately 9,000 acres in summer. It’s the perfect place to get out in a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard, with access points to several lakefront parks, docks, and boat ramps. Find it west of Eugene off Oregon 126.


Visitors to the Eugene’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History are greeted outside by a large mammoth statue, and inside they will find exhibits on ancient Oregon natural history as well as more recent cultural history. The museum is located on the University of Oregon campus near Hayward Field.

Open Wednesday and Friday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm, Thursday from 10am to 8pm; 1680 E. 15th Ave; Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and children; mnch.uoregon.edu

– Jamie Hale; jhale@oregonian.com; 503-294-4077; @HaleJamesB