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Meet the Neighborhoods

Published: September 15, 2022

 

Explore the neighborhoods that comprise the Eugene-Springfield area. Each community has its own personality expressed through unique shopping, dining, things to do and atmosphere.

Downtown Eugene

As the cultural and creative heart at the center of the city, downtown Eugene offers an exciting mix of experiences: art studios, live music, food and drink, and nightlife alongside the area’s cutting-edge tech companies, architectural firms and creative agencies. This is where the city’s creators and entrepreneurs come to work and play, ensuring there is always something new to discover around the corner. The iconic  Saturday Market and Farmers Market are the place to be on weekends, a home base for locally grown produce, handmade clothing and unique gifts like “fresh picked rainbows.” Ken Kesey Square, named for the region’s celebrated author, sits at the core of downtown as a home to stellar food carts and occasional street performers. Grab a morning muffin and mocha from Noisette Pastry Kitchen or indulge in a leisurely brunch of crepes and coffee at The Vintage. After brunch, shop for teas and treasures at places like Mosaic Fair Trade Collection. In the evenings, downtown Eugene buzzes with energy as students and locals flock to bars, theaters and clubs. On Friday nights, kick back and enjoy live performances at the Jazz Station.

The Market District

Anchored by the multilevel 5th Street Public Market and the adjacent Market Alley, Eugene’s Market District is the place to be for boutique shopping and exceptional food and drink. To the north, the sprawling Skinner Butte Park is one of the easiest places to get outside and enjoy Oregon’s outdoors. A quick hike takes you to panoramic views of the city from the top of the butte, or simply enjoy a stroll along the river. Thanks to its close concentration of restaurants, shops, parks and hotels, the Market District is a smart choice for visitors and a favorite for locals — a walkable, picturesque home base. Provisions Market Hall offers lattes, breakfast sandwiches and French pastries — not to mention some late-morning shopping at the attached specialty market, selling everything from cookware to spice blends. After brunch, check out the museum of history inside the ornate Shelton McMurphey Johnson House. Eugene’s all-ages bars and brewpubs, like Steelhead Brewing Co. and Northwest Burgers, serve stellar burgers and beers. Get a taste of Oregon wine and spirits at Pfeiffer Winery and Heritage Distilling’s 5th Street Market tasting rooms. Splurge on a new bag at Will Leather Goods, or talk to the local running experts at Run Hub Northwest. For dinner, make reservations at the Gordon Tavern or head to the standout Eugene food cart Yardy, which uses seasonal produce for West Indian dishes. For a luxurious French feast — Champagne, souffl és and crème brulée — Marché consistently wows.

The Whiteaker Neighborhood

Home to craft breweries, distilleries, bars and restaurants, the Whiteaker neighborhood — known as “the Whit” to locals — is the epicenter of Eugene’s beverage scene. Among the neighborhood’s colorfully painted houses, the Whit’s watering holes often serve as community hubs, hosting weekend brunch and local musicians. The Whit is the ideal place for a craft-beer crawl. Start things off with Ninkasi Brewing Company’s Better Living Room — not just for IPAs but for pastrami pierogies and smoked jojos. Head to Hop Valley Brewing Co. for a flight of ales and a soft pretzel before stopping by Oakshire Brewing for stouts and sours. Or go cider tasting at WildCraft Cider Works and tour the distillery at Thinking Tree Spirits. End the day at The Wheel Apizza Pub, which serves New Haven-style apizza alongside inventive beers made with Oregon-grown hops. And there is plenty more to do in the Whit: Try a smoothie and a bagel at the Red Barn Natural Grocery before watching skateboarders at the WJ Skatepark, or zoom around in one of Arcimoto’s one-of-a-kind, electric Fun Utility Vehicles (FUVs). For lunch, stop by Fisherman’s Market for Oregon Dungeness crab or wild-salmon tacos, or opt for Thai noodles and curries at Chao Pra Ya. Hit up the pinball machines at Blairally Vintage Arcade before Japanese whiskey and onigiri at the country-western Izakaya Meiji Company. Finish the day with live music at Sam Bond’s Garage.

Oakway 

Oakway Center is its own ecosystem in the core of the city, with shops, markets and restaurants anchored by the Hyatt Eugene. It’s home to both local favorites and national standbys, from Eugene Running Company to Lululemon. Nourish your body here at one of the fitness studios, juice bars and at healthy eateries like locally owned Cafe Yumm — and your soul at the popular Portland-based Salt & Straw ice cream. Start the morning at Glow Yoga, where owner Chelsea Duke is a sport-specific yoga instructor at the University of Oregon. Refuel at Vitality Bowls before walking or biking the Ruth Bascom Bike Path over to Alton Baker Park, home to public art installations, disc golf and duck ponds. For lunch, dine at Oregon-owned Pastini for responsibly sourced Italian food, or enjoy tacos and margaritas on the patio at Chapala overlooking the courtyard. Finish the day with dinner at Thai destination Sabai, home to the city’s best tom kha paired with the lemongrass-and-basil-infused Rangoon gimlet.

Salt & Straw at Oakway Center

Photo: Melanie Griffin / EugeneCascadesCoast.org

Springfield, Main Street

The charming, accessible downtown Springfield is home to unique shops and boutiques, fantastic eateries, and a variety of Simpsons-themed murals — a nod to show creator Matt Groening’s Oregon roots. A day’s stroll down Main Street could involve an afternoon of art at Tronson Gallery and the Emerald Art Center, or an educational excursion to the Springfield History Museum. And in the evening, visitors can challenge themselves to the immersive puzzles at Escape the Room Oregon or catch a show or a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants that line Main Street. You certainly won’t go hungry: The neighborhood is stocked with bakeries, bars, cafes, food carts and a number of exceptional restaurants. Sit down to a leisurely brunch at the Tavern on Main, complete with salted-caramel French toast, oysters on the half-shell and plenty of mimosas. PublicHouse food hall is home to a beer taproom, a whiskey bar and several food vendors, serving everything from Indian-Latin American fusion to fresh fish and chips. For a rib eye and a bottle of red, George + Violet’s Steakhouse delivers in a cozy space. For classic American fare, Cornucopia Main Street is a local favorite. Grab fresh picnic fixings at the Main Street Market to take to the riverside Island Park or do a tasting at the new Iris Vineyards urban tasting room.

Want to road trip but don't have a car? Explore the region beyond Eugene using public… More Info
Author: Julia Voigt

Julia grew up in Northern California and moved to Eugene in 2013 where she immediately fell in love with Oregon. When she's not out chasing waterfalls, she's usually diving into the overflowing pile of books on her nightstand. Julia loves exploring the region and sharing it with as many people as she can, which makes her role as Tourism Marketing Manager feel almost too good to be true.

At a gathering, you will likely find her around the food table, or any animals that happen to be there. Fun topics to bring up with her instead of the weather include live music, vegetarian food, house plants, and her cat Gibbles.