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Living in Eugene, Oregon

One of the best reasons to pursue an education at the University of Oregon is Oregon.

Eugene’s central location in the state is one of the best reasons to become a resident. Nestled in the lush Willamette Valley, Eugene is located between the coast and the Cascade mountain range. Just an hour from the beach and less than two hours from adventures in the mountains, Eugene is close to the best of everything the state has to offer in outdoor beauty and recreation — no matter what the time of year. From whale-watching to snowboarding, it’s all within a two-hour drive of campus.

The Cascades offer several ski areas where snow-lovers can choose from a multitude of winter sports, including back-country, downhill, and cross-country skiing. The mountain range includes Mt. Bachelor, a popular ski area, the Three Sisters wilderness area, and Three-Fingered Jack, all of which provide a breathtaking view in winter and summer. In spring, melting snow uncovers an enormous summer playground, revealing an extensive system of hiking, horse, and mountain-bike trails. Nearby Smith Rock offers world-class rock climbing routes. An abundance of lakes, creeks, and rivers create a paradise for anglers and bird watchers. Crater Lake, just three and a half hours southeast of Eugene, is one of the world’s marvels — a deep pool formed after the explosion of Mt. Mazama seven thousand years ago. It is the deepest lake in the lower forty-eight states at 1,932 ft.

Nearby rivers offer abundant opportunities for angling and boating. The Willamette River runs right through the center of Eugene, joining the McKenzie to the north of the city. Both of these rivers offer calm and fast water. For those with an affection for white water, the Umpqua, Deschutes, and Rogue Rivers challenge the most accomplished river runner within a two- to three-hour drive of Eugene.

The coast offers the allure of sandy beaches, whale watching, spectacular views, art galleries, boutiques, and exceptional clam chowder. Rugged headlands, tide pools, and magnificent forests contribute to an enticing setting for a weekend excursion near the water.

Near the rivers and mountains, you may happen upon a multitude of fauna, including black bears, elk, deer, bald eagles, and bobcats. You don’t have to leave town to see the wild things, however. It’s common to see Red-Tail Hawks, Great Blue Herons, Canada Geese, and Black-Tailed Deer within the city limits. Eugene’s forested neighborhoods and nearby waterways provide habitat for humans and other wild creatures. With 13 national forests and 230 state parks, there is plenty to explore in Oregon.

Besides its proximity to the great outdoors, Eugene has an active social calendar. Annual city festivities include the Eugene Celebration, a three-day party in September, which includes live music, food, art, and other events. The annual Oregon Bach Festival features British conductor Matthew Hall and famous performers in June and July.

The Hult Center for the Performing Arts hosts concerts, opera, dance, and theater performances all year long. The university’s Robinson Theatre provides regular theater and dance performances throughout the academic year. The art scene includes the university’s Museum of Art, famed for its Asian collection; numerous private art galleries in Eugene display the works of an active artist community.

Naturally, a highlight of the social scene in Eugene is track and field. Some of the world’s greatest stars live and train in Eugene, and many attended the university. A recreational runner is likely to run alongside Olympians, while jogging along the numerous running trails that curve through town. Hayward Field, the university’s track, has been host to great events and stellar athletes and remains a central gathering place for locals and visitors.

Sixty-seven track-and-field athletes from the UO have competed in the Olympics. Together they won twelve medals. Spectators pour out onto Hayward Field to watch famous track athletes from all over the world break records and flex their muscles as the UO hosts numerous events each year, including the upcoming 2016 Olympic Trials.

The UO football and basketball teams also have the devotion of students and residents alike. Fans pack Autzen stadium and the Matthew Knight Arena to cheer the Ducks to victory every season – and they rarely leave disappointed.

Eugene’s love of sport and fitness is evident in the city’s bike-path system. The small size of the community and mild temperatures, which average 53oF, make bike commuting an easy and pleasant way to get around town.

Those who occasionally crave big-city life need only travel two hours north to Portland, the largest city in Oregon. This metropolitan area offers many of the amenities you would expect to find in a big city — concerts, nightclubs, theaters, art galleries, shopping, and numerous festivals. But returning to Eugene’s quiet streets and slower pace is always welcome after a visit!

Learn More About Eugene Online:
City of Eugene Website:
Travel Oregon Online:
Chamber of Commerce:
Welcome to Oregon:
Convention & Visitor’s Association:
The Register Guard (local newspaper):
Oregon Bach Festival:
The Eugene Weekly: