The city of Eugene lies at the southern end of Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley. With its multitudes of lovely parks and miles of walking and running trails, as well as its position along the scenic Willamette River, Eugene is haven for those who enjoy the fresh air of nature and outdoor recreation. The city proper features expansive shopping areas, fascinating museums, and absorbing cultural activities. Annual events hosted in the city include the Lane County Fair, the Asian Celebration, the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Oregon Festival of American Music. Book a stay at one of many vacation rentals in Eugene today. Check out the most exciting spots in and around Eugene.

1. Downtown Eugene

Source: Flickr/rfduck

Downtown Eugene is a great place to stroll and take in the many shops, coffee houses, and restaurants. Lane County Farmer’s Market and the Saturday Market are open air venues that allow you to shop for fresh produce, flowers, local arts and crafts, and other items. The Hult Center for the Performing Arts is an overwhelming architectural wonder that hosts performances of over 700 cultural events annually. The Lane County Historical Museum offers a fascinating look at local history. At the northern edge of downtown on the bank of the Willamette River is Skinner Butte Park, a lovely area that includes picnic and playground facilities, hiking and cycling trails, a rock climbing area, and a panoramic view. Also on the riverside, Owen Rose Garden has walkways through incomparably beautiful landscapes with over 400 varieties of roses.

2. Northwest Eugene

Source: Flickr/Rick Obst

Golden Gardens Park in the neighborhood of Bethel is a spacious wildlife habitat with several ponds in the center. It has a hiking trail around the ponds and is a good spot for fishing. Peterson Park is a recreational area with playground, picnic tables, sports facilities, and a community center inside a restored historic barn. One of the area’s premier attractions is the Oregon Air and Space Museum, which highlights the history of aviation and space technology. Its displays include a number of full-size aircraft as well as a collection of scale models, flight suits, and other memorabilia.

3. Northeast Eugene

Source: Flickr/Rick Obst

On the northeast side of the Willamette River are Alton Baker Park, a vast 400-acre area that includes lawns, fields, forest, and a network of trails. You can walk, run, or cycle along the trails, play disc golf on the 18-hole course, and play sports in the open fields. Within the park are the Science Factory, a fascinating interactive science museum, and planetarium that’s lots of fun for kids of all ages. Also inside the park is Nearby Nature, an organization devoted to the appreciation of nature and education in ecology. Guides from the organization lead children on nature walks through the park’s Whilamut Natural Area. At the edge of the city on the beautiful McKenzie River is spacious Armitage Park, which is a great place for swimming, tubing, and trout fishing.

4. South Eugene

Source: Flickr/Don Hankins

On the southern edge of the city is Spencer Butte, a forest-covered mountain that is one of Eugene’s significant landmarks. Several trails take you to the summit, where you have an unparalleled view of the southern Willamette Valley. Near Spencer Butte is the Cascade Raptor Center, which houses a collection of over 50 birds of prey in outdoor aviaries, including eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, and ospreys. The on-campus University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History features a vast array of displays on Oregon archaeology, environment, ecology, and history. The Maude Kerns Art Center has exhibits that focus on the visual arts.

5. North Springfield

Source: Flickr/Bruce Fingerhood

The city of Springfield lies adjacent to the east side of Eugene. In the northwest corner, the Eugene, Cascades and Coast Adventure Center is a helpful facility that provides visitor information, maps, park passes, and travel guides. Harvest Landing Park along the beautiful McKenzie River has a boat ramp and is a great location for trout fishing. Farther east along the river, Splash at Lively Park is an indoor water park that features a water slide, play pools, a kiddy pool, and a spa.

6. Downtown Springfield

Source: Flickr/David Lebech

The Main Street in downtown Springfield is renowned for its eclectic shops that focus on antiques, collectibles, art, jewelry, and clothing. Matt Groening, the creator of the Simpsons, named the Simpson’s hometown after Springfield, Oregon, and there’s a large mural of the Simpsons downtown. The interesting exhibits at the Springfield Museum highlight local history. Island Park is a beautiful area along the Willamette River that has picnic tables, a play area, a boat landing, and walking and cycling trails.

7. South Springfield

Source: Pixabay/PIRO4D

Vacation rentals in South Springfield have convenient access to Mount Pisgah Arboretum, a vast natural area with paths through evergreen forests, oak savannas, water gardens, and meadows bursting with wildflowers. You can walk the trails on your own or join a nature guide. Exhibits highlight various aspects of the park’s fauna. Clearwater Park is a beautiful natural area along the Willamette River that has walking and cycling trails, a boat landing, and opportunities for fishing.

8. Coburg

Source: Flickr/Bruce Fingerhood

The town of Coburg lies just north of Eugene near the Coburg Hills. The National Register of Historic Places lists the entire town as a historic site. Coburg is famous for its many high-quality antique shops. The town’s annual events include the Coburg Antique and Vintage Fair, the Coburg Quilt Show, and the Coburg Car Classic. Nearby are numerous places where you can go cycling and horseback riding.

9. Veneta

Source: Flickr/Rick Obst

The town of Veneta lies next to Fern Ridge Reservoir and the surrounding Fern Ridge Wilderness Area, which is a popular recreational location for visitors and residents of Eugene. Activities on the lake include swimming, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, and water skiing. It’s also a great place for bird watching and observing wildlife such as deer, coyote, and other mammals. Veneta has a public outdoor swimming pool and a large skateboarding and roller skating park.