Eugene is the third largest city in the state best known for being the home of University of Oregon. Though it doesn’t have the same tourist draw of Portland, Eugene has been raising its profile. This summer the city hosted the IAAF World Junior Championships, world championships for track and field athletes under 20 years-old for its first meet in the United States.
Located in between Portland and Crater Lake National Park, Eugene was the ideal stopover on our road trip through the Pacific Northwest this summer. It was a laid-back city with beautiful views of the Willamette River and a lot of activities for visiting families.
With only a few hours spent exploring we only scratched the surface of the city. We look forward to exploring more when we are back in the area.
Where to Play: Skinner Butte Park & RiverPlay Discovery Village Playground
This is a one of a kind playground that is open to public and designed to help kids understand the history of the city through elements of play. Kids can pretend to dig for fossils, act as early settlers in the Pioneer Village or climb replica of the Skinner Butte Mountain.
This playground is a local treasure as it can help kids understand and relate to how the city was built. But even if you’re new to the area like we were, it can help you appreciate and learn a bit about local history. It is also connected to Riverbank Trails, a collection of interconnected pathways along the Willamette River. With benches and tables available, this is also an ideal spot for a picnic.
Where to Eat and Shop: 5th Street Public Market
If you’re looking to grab a bite or relax with a snack this place will be ideal. As we walked into the beautiful brick building with a view of the fountain in the courtyard, we were transported to a square in Europe.
The patio seating among beautiful flowers, the soft murmur of the water fountain and the aroma of coffee and gelato brings a very European feel to a place that used be a poultry plant in the 1920s. Today, the 5th Street Public Market is a high end destination for shopping at a host of local retailers. Elephant’s Trunk Toy Company, a toy store specializing heirloom-quality toys such as real wooden cars was our favorite.
There are several restaurants and dessert shops and cafes. Since we couldn’t decide on one particular place we each grabbed what we wanted and ate together in the courtyard. The bakery at Marché Provisions and the ice cream at Goody’s were definitely worth stopping for.
Where to Sleep:
Hilton Eugene, is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Eugen, a block away from the 5th street market. It is a large hotel with several conference halls and recently completed a multi million dollar remodel.
We had a room with a king sized bed on the executive floor. The room was spacious and had a street view. There was an extra sink in the room adjacent to the bathroom, which was very useful when traveling with a toddler. Rooms in the executive floor are also provided with continental, self serve breakfast in the floor lounge.
The bath products provided were from one of my favorite skin care brands, Peter Thomas Roth. The bathroom also had a little rubber duck toy that my son was thrilled to take home with him.
Due to its proximity to downtown, parking will cost $15/night. The wifi for the room will be an additional charge but guests are welcome to use free wifi in the lobby. There is a fitness room and pool on site. Pack and Plays are provided free of charge but make a note to request ahead of time to ensure
Hilton Eugene is close to several eateries including Voodoo Donuts and 5th street market but there is a restaurant in house if you wish to dine at the hotel. One staff member highly recommended the breakfast buffet at the hotel restaurant saying that it is one of the best and perhaps the only breakfast buffet in Eugene. At $16 per person (and reduced price for kids) it could be worth checking out the spread if you are planning on a hearty breakfast.
If you don’t want to wait inline to try Voodoo Donuts in Portland, stop by their outlet in Eugene. Voodoo donuts is a Portland staple, known for a large variety of donuts
with innovative flavors including ones topped with maple glaze and bacon. We stopped by around 10.30am and got our donuts with no wait.