Family Travel: Visiting Eugene Oregon!
Eugene Oregon is one of the most unique places I’ve ever been in life. Not unlike Oregon as a whole having a wonderful mix of city and nature. But it’s the dichotomy of a college town and a normal city that makes it so unique.
Eugene not unlike Portland celebrates local arts and artists in a unique and special way with the Eugene Saturday Market. Here you can taste local restaurants, buy local handmade items and watch local musical artists perform. The Saturday Market takes place directly across the street from the Lane County Farmers Market.
Spencer Butte and Skinner Butte offer unique views of the city and the campus of the University of Oregon. Skinner Butte offers a wonderful view of downtown Eugene. The Butte is roughly 700 ft and is an easy hike. Spencer Butte’s a much more difficult hike, especially right now because some of the path is out and being worked on. But if you brave it, you will receive a stunning view of Eugene and the Willamette Valley. Included in this view you’ll see the University of Oregon’s campus and Autzen Stadium. We chose to spend our time on Spencer Butte, and while it was an aggressive and strenuous hike it was well worth the stress and strain when you saw the view. There is no possible way you can describe it and a picture doesn’t do it any justice.
From Eugene you can take a day trip to any of many different outdoor options, not unlike anywhere else in Oregon. One of my favorite places on Earth is Crater Lake. A three-hour drive from Eugene. Crater Lake is nearly 2,000 feet deep making it the deepest lake in the United States and one of the top 10 deepest lakes in the world. If you can carve a full day out of your time in Eugene, leave early and go to Crater Lake. You will not regret the lengthy car ride.
Going to Eugene and not taking time to participate in the rich collegiate and sports history at the University of Oregon, you’re missing out. If you can time a visit around a home Ducks football game, you will see a very rare, very special place in sports. Autzen Stadium is ridiculously loud, ridiculously intimate and ridiculously fun. A small stadium as stadiums go, holding under 60,000 people, but man does it get loud in Autzen. Fans rise while the Ducks are on defense and yell “O.” It’s deafening, and devastating to opposing offenses. As for the football, the Ducks offense is innovative and FAST! Then there are the uniforms, which are news in Eugene. The trendsetters of the country, the relationship between Oregon and Nike means the newest and best will appear on the Ducks sideline before you see it anywhere else! Also a fun side note, Autzen stadium and the University of Oregon are the school and stadium in the hit “Animal House.”
Before any of the plethora of uniforms, the blur offense, the earsplitting decibels of Autzen, Oregon’s claim to fame was and really still is even if the football team gets more attention was and is the track program. Hayward Field is a 96 year old track facility that after recent renovations is one of only 5 IAAF Class 1 certified tracks in the United States. It has hosted USATF Championships and Olympic Trials and will host an IAAF Track and Field World Championship in 2021. This track is where the bond between Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman that would eventually lead to a partnership and the berth of Blue Ribbon Sports, and then Nike.
Phil Knight is known as “Uncle Phil” in Eugene due to the vast amount of money and attention the famous Alum has showered on the University of Oregon. You can see it in the form of amazing buildings, Matthew Knight Arena, PK Park (named for Pat Kilkenny not Phil Knight) and the football offices located next to Autzen to name a few.
Eugene is a remarkably special and unique place that you will fall in love with if you spend some time exploring the city. You’ll find a big city with restaurants, art and conveniences. You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy and you’re a small car ride away from many other beautiful and iconic landmarks!