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Rainy Day Things to Do

Published: November 15, 2019
 

Eugene doesn't slow down in the rain. We know that's what keeps our hiking trails green and our rivers flowing. We know all you really need is rain boots and a hood and you can do all the things you would do on a sunny day. But when you are ready to be inside and out of the weather, try this list of favorite indoor activities.

1. Barcades

BlairAlly Vintage Arcade in the Whiteaker neighborhood is a fun place to spend some time playing classic games like Mortal Kombat and Pac-Man while listening to music from the 80s and 90s and sipping a beer. Level Up is another barcade you'll love. Level Up is in downtown Eugene and offers a little bit of everything. Come on a Friday or Saturday to enjoy a live DJ while you play pool or blast bad guys. 

Level Up Arcades by Melanie Griffin
Level Up Arcades by Melanie Griffin

 

2. Art Galleries

Step out of the rain and into a world of art at one of these great local galleries.

Maude Kerns Art Center, Emerald Art Center, New Zone, White Lotus Gallery- Asian Arts, Four Winds Gallery - Native American Arts, Out on a Limb Gallery and Raven FrameWorks

3. Museums

Visit two of Eugene's finest museums on the lovely University of Oregon campus - Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art for collections of historic and contemporary art from around the world and Museum of Natural and Cultural History for hands-on learning about Oregon's past which includes artwork and traditions of the indigenous Kalapuya people and extinct wildlife such as the woolly mammoth and saber-toothed cat. Lane County History Museum tells the story of a unique place and the tough folks who made it here. The Shelton-McMurphy Johnson House is a Victorian-era mansion and local landmark where visitors can get a taste of what life was like for some of Eugene's first families. Also tour the historic Mims House to see the first black-owned home in Eugene.

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art by Colin Morton
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art by Colin Morton

 

4. Theaters & Performance Halls

Broadway Metro is a downtown art cinema house where you can enjoy great independent movies as well as some of the top releases out today. Oregon Contemporary Theatre brings the world's best plays to downtown Eugene. With matinee shows and student pricing, everyone can enjoy the magic of theatre at Oregon Contemporary Theatre. At the Actors Cabaret, you can enjoy dinner (or brunch) and a show. This dinner theatre is located downtown and is an intimate way to experience musical theatre. The Shedd Institute is a music school that stages classic, world and American music. Hult Center for the Performing Arts is where you will find performances from some of the largest acts that come through the city. David Minor Theater is a small movie theater that feels a little bit like movie night at a friend's house. Grab a seat on a comfy couch and text the bar to bring you a beer so you don't miss a moment of the flick. 

5. Farmer's Union shops

The shops at the Farmer's Union building include Down to Earth home goods store, Oak Street Vintage and Mountain Rose Herbs Mercantile. Shop for gifts at Down to Earth, find a unique treasure at Oak Street Vintage and delight your senses at Mountain Rose Herbs. All of these are housed in old buildings that were once a mill and warehouse. Enjoy coffee from Farmer's Union coffee shop as you browse. 

Farmers Union Marketplace by Melanie Griffin
Farmers Union Marketplace by Melanie Griffin

 

6. 5th Street Public Market 

At the 5th Street Public Market, you can find a variety of shops from the popular Pendleton Woolen Mills to local souvenirs at Made In Oregon and more. Sixteen unique stores in total. And when you are finished shopping, grab a bite at one of the many eateries on-site or enjoy a glass of wine at the Sweet Cheeks urban wine bar.

Rainy Day at 5th Street Public Market by Melanie Griffin
Rainy day shopping at 5th Street Public Market by Melanie Griffin
 

7. Record Stores

Eugene is a great place for crate-digging for a unique addition to your record collection. House of Records has been supplying rare cuts to Eugenians since 1971. Moon Rock Records is a small space in downtown where you can shop for records and even take a listen on the record player by the window while you shop. There is a resident cat that here that likes to greet all visiting vinyl heads. Epic Seconds is a great place to buy, sell and trade movies and video games. But head upstairs and you'll find an epic record collection.

8. Smith Family Bookstore

Another great way to spend a rainy day is to browse at Smith Family Bookstore. This two-story independent bookstore is a favorite spot for igniting your imagination in any weather. 

Rainy Day at Smith Family Bookstore by Melanie Griffin
Rainy Day at Smith Family Bookstore by Melanie Griffin

 

9. Nobody's Baby Vintage Clothing Store

Nobody's Baby is a vintage clothing store that also offers costume rentals. Bring a friend to shop classic threads and then have some fun trying on costumes in the back. The folks here are friendly and happy to help. They might also encourage you to rent a wacky costume to wear around just for fun. Don't worry. No matter the costume, you'll still fit right in with the people of Eugene. 

10. Oregon Axe

Can you stick it? Learn to throw an axe like a true Oregonian at this indoor club. Oregon Axe is a lot of fun and just a little bit challenging. By the end, their "axeperts" will have you throwing bullseyes. 

Oregon Axe by Colin Morton
Oregon Axe by Colin Morton
 

11. Top Golf

The Top Golf Swing Suite at the Graduate Eugene in downtown is a perfect place to improve your swing in the off-season. Non-golfers are sure to love it too and everyone will agree that the zombie dodgeball is a blast. Even though it never rains at Autzen, you might enjoy watching the Duck games from the comfort of the warm swing suite where you can play at your leisure and order food and drinks from Poindexter Coffee and The Firs bar also located in the Graduate. 

The Graduate Eugene Hotel by Melanie Griffin
The Graduate Eugene Hotel by Melanie Griffin

 

12. Escape the Room

The whole crew will need to work together to Escape the Room before the time is up. Search for clues and solve the riddles in the themed mystery rooms as a team and win. 

13. Northwest Ninja Park

Train like a ninja at Northwest Ninja Park. This massive facility features many of the well-known obstacles from the hit show American Ninja Warrior. Test your grit running these obstacles or just have some fun during the open gym hours. 

14. Climbing Gyms

Crux has been the go-to playground for climbers in Eugene since 1994. There are easy walls for beginners and more challenging routes for the advanced climber.  Elevation Bouldering Gym offers next level rock climbing for all ages. Both gyms are located at the foot of Skinner Butte where, on sunny days, climbers can be seen scaling the natural basalt columns.

Willamalane Climbing Wall by Chris Pietsch
Willamalane Climbing Wall by Chris Pietsch

 

15. Coffee & Teahouses

Brew DR. Teahouse is located in the heart of Eugene and is a popular spot to sip tea, kombucha or even to try their house-made spirits. Oolong Bar near the University of Oregon campus offers fine teas and the option to include CBD in any drink. Coffee lovers will enjoy the beautiful downtown coffeehouse and wine bar, Perugino where you can sit and watch the rain fall with a latte or a glass of wine. For something different, try a bowl of kava or a healthy vegan meal downtown at LovaKava. Kava is a drink from the Pacific Islands known for bringing full-body relaxation without making the user feel sluggish. Explore all of Eugene's most popular coffeeshops.

Townshend's Teahouse by Melanie Griffin
Townshend's Teahouse by Melanie Griffin
 

16. Spirits

Thinking Tree is a craft distillery in the Whiteaker neighborhood. Do a tasting of their incredible gin, rum or vodka or enjoy a cocktail in this intimate space full of art.  Heritage Distilling Co. is known for its delicious Brown Sugar Bourbon but also offers flavored vodkas, rum, whiskey and gin.  The Whiskey Lab at PublicHouse hub in Springfield is the ultimate rainy day food & drink destination. Here, you can enjoy a cocktail, grab food from one of the many food vendors (from German cuisine to Hawaiian and even edible cookie dough) or a craft beer all in a renovated church with beautiful stained glass and a covered and heated outdoor seating area. 

Thinking Tree Spirits sampler by Melanie Griffin
Thinking Tree Spirits sampler by Melanie Griffin
 

17. Beer & Wine

Falling Sky Brew Pub is a great restaurant and brewery but the discount on beer anytime it rains is the best reason to add it to your schedule.  The Bier Stein is one of the largest beer halls in Oregon with more than 20 beers on tap and 1,000 bottles in the cooler. Shop the different beers from around the world and find a favorite to enjoy by the fireplace. Civic Winery & Wines is one of the newest wineries in downtown Eugene. Taste a wine made in clay pots as the ancients did in an urban tasting room which includes a graffiti wall. Head out into wine country on a rainy day for a cozy tasting experience at a winery like King Estate where the views are incredible as is the food and wine. 

Civic Winery by Colin Morton
Civic Winery by Colin Morton
 

18. Food

Embrace the cool weather and choose something warm and spicy at Eugene's favorite Thai restaurant Sabai Cafe & Bar. Or pretend like it is summer in Eugene with a visit to McMenamins North Bank restaurant and tiki bar. Downtown Eugene and the Whiteaker neighborhood are culinary treasure troves, where you can savor farm-to-table comfort food while the rain plinks against the windows.

19. Surprise Art

An added treat for venturing downtown in the rain is the Rain Play Art on the streets. These magical sidewalk installations only appear when the ground is wet. So stay alert for rainy day art as you move between shop to barcade to theater.

Swimmers Rain Play Art Downtown by Melanie Griffin
Swimmers Rain Play Art Downtown by Melanie Griffin

 

Top photo: Moon Rock Record Store by Melanie Griffin
 
 
Author: Melanie Ryan Griffin

Melanie is a University of Oregon graduate who studied Cultural Anthropology and Cinema. After finishing school, she worked as a touring concert photographer for many years before expanding into writing concert and album reviews for online publications. Melanie is now the Tourism Marketing Coordinator for Travel Lane County. She has lived in Eugene for more than a decade. She has also lived in California, New Mexico, Florida, Spain and Slovakia. 

Melanie enjoys exploring the vibrant arts and culture scene in Eugene.  She also loves painting, cooking for friends, dancing, hiking and buying too many house plants. Follow her Instagram for Lane County's best kept secrets.