Warm spring and summer evenings pair perfectly with baseball. Eugene is home to the Eugene Emeralds, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the San Fransisco Giants, that plays at the University of Oregon's PK Park.
Plan a two-day vacation to Eugene and catch an Emeralds baseball game along with some relaxed urban explorations. This itinerary is based on an evening game, although there are a handful of afternoon games too.
Adjacent PK Park, beautiful green lawns and the natural areas of Alton Baker Park sprawl along the banks of the Willamette River. Arrive early and rent a Peacehealth Rides bikeshare or a Superpedestrian e-scooter and cruise the paved bike paths encircling and crisscrossing the river. This extensive network of paths connects Valley River Center shopping, the Owen Rose Garden, several children's playgrounds, Skinner Butte Park, 5th Street Public Market and Springfield's woodsy parks. If you have kids in tow (they must be 18 years old for bike or scooter rentals), stop by the Eugene Science Center in Alton Baker Park to explore hands-on exhibits. Walk or jog on along Pre's Trail (no wheels on the chip trail please). Pick up your morning coffee from Provisions in the Market District.
Check into your hotel, then meander over to McMenamins North Bank for lunch along the river. This regional brewery not only offers outside, riverfront seating — they are beloved for their craft beer and delicious pub food. In the afternoon, visit the Lane County History Museum. The museum has a collection of baseball memorabilia, including a bat used by Babe Ruth during an exhibition game in Eugene in 1924. (Please note: the museum is undergoing renovations and scheduled to re-open early summer 2023.)
Head to PK Park for the Eugene Emeralds game! Easy pay parking is right in front of the stadium, or you can hike in or take a ride share from your nearby hotel. Gates open to the public one hour before first pitch so you can shop the onsite Eugene Emeralds store or visit the Eugene Emeralds Hall of Fame with tributes to Ems players, coaches, and others who have made significant contributions to the team.
PK Park (also the home of the UO Ducks Baseball team) is an intimate, polished facility with capacity for 4,000 fans. The seats have great sight lines and are close to the field so you can really feel the energy in the stadium. There is always a lot going on, with musical interludes, fan interactions, sideline activities and announcements that keep the pace humming. Plan to have dinner at PK Park. Along with all the traditional favorites, indulge in Ninkasi craft beer, Prince Puckler's ice cream (you can get your ice cream in a keepsake plastic helmet bowl) and loaded nachos from local food vendors.
For the kids, Sluggo's FunZone with an inflatable slide and bounce house is located behind the bleachers down the left field line. There is an additional entrance fee. Sluggo's Fun Run takes place at the end of the 7th inning and allows kids to run across the field, from the 3rd base side to the 1st base side, with Sluggo. Kids who wish to partake in the Fun Run should gather on the 3rd base foul line, near Sluggo's Fun Zone, after the 6th inning. This program was paused during the pandemic.
After the game, if you are not ready for sleep, adults can keep the party going at The Cooler, just down the street. With more sports on the big screens and occasional country dancing or DJs, this makes for a fun after-hours scene.
Start your morning at Oakway Center with a fresh juice smoothie or a fitness class (or Oh My! Mini Donuts, if that is more your mood.) Mixed with a little shopping and a leisurely lunch in the mall courtyard, your morning will comfortably transition into the afternoon.
Follow up with an ice cream cone from Salt & Straw, an innovative creamery specializing in unique flavors. On your way out of town, swing through Coburg. This historic community north of Eugene has a fantastic candy shop, many antique stores, a relaxed wine bar and more great dining and boutique shopping.
Planning Tips for Your Baseball Getaway
The Eugene Emeralds now offer digital tickets for single or season games. Each game has a different theme or promotion, adding a fun element from costumes or entertainment or giveaways.
Plan ahead by purchasing your Emeralds fan gear online. Snag an "alternate identity" t-shirt for the Eugene Emeralds masquerading as the Eugene Pranksters — a tie-dye tribute to Ken Kesey legacy — or grab an Exploding Whales jersey — a reckoning of the day when the City of Florence blew up a beached whale carcass in a misguided attempt to clean up the beach (it "rained" whale blubber that day). Or go all in on the Em's Bigfoot or their family-friendly mascot Sluggo with shirts and hats. Remember that specific size, clear plastic bags are the only bags allowed into the park — the Ems sell those too!
Select Your Hotel
Three outstanding, affordable and family-friendly hotels are in close proximity to PK Park. Marriott's Residence Inn, La Quinta Inn & Suites and EVEN HOTEL are approximately a 20 minute walk from the baseball stadium or a 3 minute drive.