Where To Eat, Where To Drink, and Things To Do in Eugene
Whenever people ask me about my trip to Eugene, I tell them that I got whiffs of hops and weed almost everywhere we went, and I’ve never seen so much tie dye in my life!
This three day guide to Eugene covers the restaurants, breweries, markets, parks, and more that I visited during a late summer weekend. It was my first time in Eugene even though it’s not far from Portland. The summer heat didn’t slow us too much, and we packed a lot into three days. What are your favorite places to visit and things to do in Eugene? Chime in in the comments below!
Check out my Instagram Reel recaps of Where To Eat, Where To Drink, and Things To Do in Eugene, Oregon. What are your favorites in Eugene?
Visiting Eugene from Portland
If you’re driving to Eugene from Portland, expect a two hour drive. If you’re taking the train, which runs between Portland and Eugene multiple times per day, your journey will be almost 3 hours long. When booking on the Amtrak website, double check if you’re selecting a train or bus. We accidentally booked a bus for our return trip, which was comfortable, but the train would have been preferable.
When I researched accommodations in Eugene, I found a couple more spendy hotels like Graduate Eugene and The Gordon (shockingly, more expensive than my hotel stay last time I was in Seattle), and then a ton of budget friendly motels… some of which had reviews mentioning bedbugs (yikes!). For the dates we were visiting, we didn’t find anything on Airbnb that was a good fit in terms of location and price.
We ended up booking a private room at the funky, hippie dippie Eugene Lodge and International Hostel in Whiteaker. Our room was on the ground floor of the treehouse lodge with two shared bathrooms and the kitchen on the same floor. Unfortunately, our room had been repainted a couple days before we checked in, so we had to leave windows open to air out the paint fumes. The room and bathroom were clean and comfortable enough, but being on the ground floor was a major downside when people were smoking and listening to music on the porch after midnight. Also, it was frustrating when other guests would spend up to 45 minutes getting ready in the bathroom.
Eugene Day 1
Our first stop in Eugene was the Morning Glory Cafe, conveniently located right by the Amtrak station. I loved the welcoming, homey vibe of the cafe and ordered Little Bear’s vegan omelette — a shredded potato and veggie hash fashioned into an omelette shape that comes topped with herbed tofu sour cream. Instead of toast, I asked for avocado slices.
After checking in at the hostel, we made our way to Owen Rose Garden, where the roses were in their second bloom. From there, we wandered through the parks along the Willamette River toward Coldfire Brewing for a bright and juicy hazy IPA. Next stop, Oregon Wine Lab for a wine tasting flight, where the pours arrive in lab beakers. For dinner, we enjoyed a fantastic New Haven style pie topped with red sauce, tempeh sausage, herb cashew cheese, and arugula at The Wheel Apizza Pub.
Eugene Day 2
I had planned to start the day with brunch at Eugene’s most well known vegan restaurant: Cornbread Cafe. Unfortunately, they announced a temporary closure just days before my visit. Nooooo. I’ll be back though!
My revised itinerary for Day 2 kicks off with coffee and tea at Equiano Coffee. I had a lovely chai with creamy cashew milk. We popped into Red Barn Natural Grocery Store for a quick peek at their goods before heading to downtown.
The Eugene Saturday Market is the place to be on a Saturday. Everyone was out and about eating and shopping. The market is adjacent to Lane County Farmers Market, where you’ll find beautiful fruits, veggies, and flowers. I enjoyed the temtumo (red split lentils with berbere spices) with injera from Makeda Ethiopian Cuisine. We found a tasty tofu satay salad slathered with peanut sauce at Bangkok Grill. Wildcraft elderflower quince cider was perfect for a sunny day.
For dessert, we got soft serve at Viva Vegetarian Grill. (The food cart is known for its sausages and hot dogs, but they were out of those due to supply chain issues.) Next, we visited Tea Chai Te for some tea.
Up until this point, we had been exploring Eugene on foot, but we called a Lyft to get to Hendrick’s Park. Instead of a parking lot drop off, the Lyft driver’s directions brought us to the middle of a trail, which was a bit confusing. We still got some urban hiking in though.
For late afternoon drinks, we visited the Ninkasi Brewing Better Living Room. Decked out with quirky, retro furniture and the brand’s turquoise and mustard color palette, this is one of the most memorable taprooms I’ve visited. The beers come with Pokemon style cards depicting a Ninkasi dinosaur.
Many people had recommended Izakaya Meiji, and it did not disappoint. They don’t take reservations, but you can sip cocktails on the patio while waiting for a table. We ordered almost every vegan dish on menu: rayu chili oil edamame, torched vegetable miso onigiri, tofu skewers, spinach gome ae (favorite of the evening), fried eggplant, potato kinpira (they weren’t kidding about the spice level), tsukemono pickles, and mushroom udon with a velvety curry broth. Across the street, someone was juggling with fire pins, so we caught show with dinner too.
Dinner at Izakaya Meiji
Eugene Day 3
For breakfast, we visited Glass House Coffee for coffee, tea, and vegan breakfast sandwiches. Next stop was Acorn Community Cafe, a non-profit vegan cafe and resource that provides healthy meals to the community. They were out of the strawberry shortcakes that I had been eyeing on the menu, but the biscuits with mushroom gravy sure were tasty. We popped into Sweet Life Patisserie, but didn’t spot many vegan goodies that day.
After double breakfast, we ventured through the University of Oregon campus to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, where we caught the final day of the Remember This: Hung Liu at Trillium exhibit. I also enjoyed exploring the museum’s beautiful and peaceful courtyard.
At Heritage Distilling, you can build your own flight so I got a couple summery cocktails and a taste of the chocolate whisky. Next, we visited a food cart pod for snacks. I had vegan ramen from Kai Asian Street Food and got a vegan sushi burrito from Subo Sushi Burritos for later.
We walked through Fifth Street Public Market and visited local watering hole Jackalope Lounge for one last beer before heading back to Portland.