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Free Things To Do in Eugene Oregon

Updated on October 21, 2017
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Welcome to a fun filled city that has a variety of free and cheap things to do in Eugene Oregon. Whether you prefer adventure or a quiet walk in a garden surrounded by rhododendrons and azaleas, Eugene will keep you entertained. If you travel to Eugene you will find that it is a small city filled with ancient artifacts to entertain the historian, amazing museums that feature internationally acclaimed artists, entertaining and educational fun for all ages, gold star vineyards, and un-fine art of vinyl records.

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Eugene Saturday Market

  • Located between Oak Street and East 8th
  • Reopens on April 2, 2011 through mid-November, Rain or Shine
  • Hours: 10 am - 5 pm

One of the free things to do in Eugene Oregon is the Saturday Market. It claims to be the oldest weekly Saturday Market festivals in the U.S.A. In fact, many people travel from afar to either show their wares or go shopping.

It is an energetic and outdoor marketplace that has hundreds of local crafts artisans, great food, live music, and a Farmers Market that features several organic produce vendors. The live music plays all day, usually current upbeat local artists. A great place to put on a hat and tie die shirt to enjoy the festivities.

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The University of Oregon Campus

If you plan to travel to Eugene the U of O is a great place to visit, especially for free. It has 250 acres offers ivy-covered buildings, some dating back to the 1870s. It is a campus full of footpaths lined with trees and remarkable landscaping. It offers an array of museums and culture.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

  • 1430 Johnson Lane
  • 541.346.3027
  • Admission: free
  • Open: Tuesday 11 am - 5 pm, Wednesday 11 am - 8 pm, Thursday - Sunday 11 am - 5 pm

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art has 3,769 Asian artifacts mostly from China, Japan, and Korea. Chinese collections include thrones from the Forbidden City in Beijing, to hanging scrolls from the fifteenth through the twentieth century, and one of the best Chinese costumes displays in America. The museum has an amazing collection of Asian fine and decorative arts and a major collection of Pacific Northwest Art which includes more than 500 works by Morris Graves. Past shows included French artist Auguste-René Rodin, famous for his sculpture “The Thinker”.

The U of O Museum of Natural History

  • 1680 East 15th Ave
  • 541.346.3024
  • Exhibit Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 11 am - 5 pm
  • Free admission to the public: The First Friday of the Month
  • Seniors (62+) - $3
  • Youth (3-18) - $3
  • Families (2 adults and up to 4 youth) - $10
  • Children (2 and under) - Free
  • MNCH Members, UO Students, Faculty, and Staff - Free with ID

A free museum filled with a wide variety of culture and history; from native American basketry, archaeology research programs, and a cosmic menagerie of mixed media etchings. It has an influx of art and ever changing showcase.

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Eugene Museums

Visiting a variety of museums is one of the many free things to do in Eugene Oregon. If you plan to travel to the area or even if you are a local there are a variety of museums you can visit:

The Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House

  • 303 Willamette Street
  • 541.484.0808
  • Admission: free
  • Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 10 am to 1 pm, and weekends 1 to 4 pm
  • Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children, with a discount for AAA members

Built in 1888 and is named after the three families lived there over the years. It is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. The house is now open for public tours and pre-arranged private events. This Queen Anne style house has guided tours, a book club, high noon tea, and lectures about the history.

Conger Street Clock Museum

  • 730 Conger Street

Note: In February of 2016 the Conger Street Clock Museum was closed after serving Oregon for more than 30 years.

Take a walk back into time. Over 20 window exhibits featuring recollections of the past.
Miniature pedal cars, trains, tractors, and clocks dating back to 1551 (the Water Clock).

The Telephone Pioneer Museum

  • 112 E. 10th Avenue
  • 541. 688.3211
  • Admission: free
  • Open Thursday from 10 am to 2 pm

Discover the history of the telephone. Walk through the displays of time from 1874 to present day. View replicas of Alexander Graham Bell's original telephone, switchboards, and climbing tools.

Lane County Historical Museum

  • 740 West 13th Avenue: Next to the fairgrounds
  • 541.682.4242
  • Open: Tuesday - Saturday 10 am to 4 pm
  • Admission: Adults $3.00, Seniors $2.00, Youth (15 - 17) $.75
  • Free unlimited admission for Society members

Established in 1951, this museum offers an Oregon Trail Exhibition, antique cars, historical period rooms, archives and special collections, antique photographs, and a children’s area. Although it is not free it is well worth a visit.

The Maude Kerns Art Center

  • 1910 E 15th Avenue
  • 541.345.1571
  • Admission: free
  • Hours: Monday to Friday 10 am - 5.30 pm, Saturday 12.00 pm - 4 pm

A historical church built in 1895 and established in 1950 by a group of local artists including Maude Irvine Kerns. The Center has a wide array of activities and art through major exhibitions, art classes, lectures, workshops, outreach programs, and performances.

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Vineyards

Eugene's surrounding area is a great place to discover Oregon wines. Travel for a day and visit the many vineyards is an amazing adventure. Willamette Valley has a wide range of New World wine château’s. Most of the vineyards are located just a few miles out of Eugene. There are several different types of tasting rooms and wines that will delight the palette and soothe the soul.

King Estate Winery

  • 80854 Territorial Hwy
  • 541.685.5189
  • Admission: free
  • Tour hours: Monday-Sunday 12 pm -5 pm

This winery is a must see. Named “Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and as one of the 2010 Wineries of the Year by Wine & Spirits Magazine. Established 1991 by the King family, committed to producing exceptional quality using certified organic methods. King Estate has a selection of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and limited amounts of Chardonnay. This is a European-style winery. There is also an on-site restaurant that features regional food using organic ingredients whenever possible. The estate has a 30 acre organic garden and orchard.

Pfeiffer Vineyards

  • 25040 Jaeg Road Junction City OR
  • 541.998.2828
  • Admission: free
  • Open Year Round Wednesday -Sunday 11am to 5 pm

One of the oldest vineyards in Oregon, established in 1983. A seventy acre vineyard with quality reserve Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Muscat. A Tuscan style tasting room with a fireplace. An outdoor delight can be shared in a gazebo, by a waterfall, or in the vineyards.

Benton-Lane Winery

  • 23924 Territorial Highway, Monroe, OR
  • 541.847.5792
  • Admission: free
  • Hours: March to up to Christmas:
  • Daily 11am to 5 pm, Jan - Feb Monday - Friday 11am - 5 pm

The Benton-Lane winery is located in Oregon's Willamette Valley. A family owned 138 acre vineyard that is very relaxing and peaceful. The Pinot Noir is a favorite. There is also Pinot Noir Rosé, Pinot Gris, and small amounts of Pinot Blanc. Currently Benton-Lane wines distributes in 46 states and many international markets. They are certified under L.I.V.E (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) and have been recognized under the Salmon Safe program. 

Sweet Cheeks Winery

  • 26961 Briggs Hill Road
  • 877.309.WINE (9463) or 541.349.WINE (9463)
  • Admission: free
  • Open: Daily 12 pm - 6 pm
  • Friday Twilight: From 6 - 9 pm free Oregon artisan cheese paired with award winning wines

This winery is filled with mood and character. There are 65 acres of vineyard located in heart of Willamette Valley. Sweet Cheeks Winery has over 15 wine awards from silver to gold. Selections of wine range from Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, to Riesling.

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Eugene Day Trips

There are a wide array of day trips in the area that can be quite enjoyable. Some are a few hours travel but worth the ride. Below are a few suggestions to get you started on the free things to do in Eugene.

Hendrick's Park Rhododendron Garden

  • Location: Summit and Skyline Drive

A beautiful park to visit, especially in the spring. A world-renowned 12 acre rhododendron garden located in a 78 acre mature forest. Picturesque wonders of rhododendrons, azaleas, and many other breathtaking flowers. A great place for a picnic and it is located close to downtown Eugene. Its 78 acres include a mature forest, a world-renowned rhododendron garden, and now a new native plant garden.

Willamette Pass

  • Milepost 62, Highway 58: About an hour southeast of Eugene on HWY 58.
  • 541.345.7669

An enjoyable place for winter sports, a great place for activities. The Willamette Pass Resort offers snowboarding, Telemark and cross country skiing, snowshoeing, alpine skiing, and many places for snow tubing or sledding. In the summer delight in a spectacular view of the Cascade lakes and nearby volcanoes, watch autocross races or disc golf tournaments, hike groomed trails, and tour the back roads on a mountain bike.

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Lane County Fairgrounds

The Lane County Fairgrounds offer numerous events year round for which many are free. Below are some of the events and things to do in Eugene at the Lane County Fairgrounds.

  • 796 W. 13th Avenue
  • 541.682.4292
  • Hours vary according to event

The Black Sheep Gathering

  • When: June 24th, 25th, and 26th, 2011

The Lane County Fairgrounds has what is called the black sheep gathering. There are workshops and classes, barns filled with sheep and goat shows, a trade show that features many fiber arts exhibits, and the Wheeler Pavilion teeming with hundreds of fleece. There black sheep, white sheep, goats, alpacas, and even rabbits. This is the place to go if you love wool. People from all over the world attend the gathering of spinners, weavers, and knitters.

Other Lane County Fairground Events

  • Motocross
  • Free Concert Series
  • Artisan Craft Shows
  • Boat and Sportsman Show
  • Microbrew Festival
  • Annual Asian Oregon Celebration

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Mount Pisgah Arboretum

  • 34901 Frank Parrish Road
  • 541.747.3817
  • Hours: From dawn to dusk, every day of the year
  • Admission: Free with a $3 parking fee

Mount Pisgah Arboretum is a 209 acre living tree museum, one of the many great places to visit while in Eugene. There are quiet riverside trails, evergreen forests, open wildflower meadows, and a water garden crowded with life. Events such as “Play in the Rain Day” for family fun; over 1,000 people are expected this year at the Arboretum. There are also programs for all ages that include environmental education and photography workshops.

Museum of Unfine Art and Record Store

  • 537 Willamette St
  • 541.683.7357
  • Open: Word is that they are open 9 am - midnight daily

An offbeat place that has vinyl records of very unique and hard to find recordings as well as newer artist selections. This unique store has featured more local artists in the last 8 years than any other gallery in the State. It is easy to spend an hour looking at the walls filled with photographs. They also stock DJ equipment such as turntables, mixers, and headphones, plus guitar strings. If you are not in the market for vinyl records, CD’s are also available. The shop is always renewing its display of artifacts, so it's a great place to revisit.

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Science Factory Children's Museum & Exploration Dome

  • 2300 Leo Harris Pkwy
  • 541.682.7888
  • Admission: free
  • Open: Wednesday - Sunday 10am - 4pm

While you travel and explore the area visit this amazing children's museum. The factory features offer a wide variety of interactive hands-on exhibits which are rotated throughout the summer. They have Bernoulli blowers (an air cannon with an air table), brain teasers, a place to create a long chain of dominoes, and an outdoor area to take nature photographs. There is an Exploration Dome that offers constellation shows full-dome videos on a variety of science and technology topics.

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Oregon Air and Space Museum

  • 90377 Boeing Drive
  • 541.461.1101
  • Admission: free for members. Adults $7, Seniors (62 & over) $6, Ages (6-17) $3 & Ages 5 and under Free. There are also group discounts
  • Open: Closed on some major Holidays. Please call ahead to confirm hours

If you plan to travel to Eugene, the Oregon Air and Space Museum is a "must see". The Oregon Air and Space Museum opened in August of 1991. It is devoted to the acquisition and exhibition of various aircraft's. There are well over 600 history artifacts of aviation and space technology. The Museum was awarded the 1997 Civil Air Patrol National Award For Education. Aviation events include fly-ins, dinner speakers, and open house air fairs.

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    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 3 years ago

      Thanks fore updates. They are well appreciated!

    • profile image

      Museum of Natural and Cultural History 3 years ago

      Hello and thank you for listing information about the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon. It looks like the information has come from an older source, so please allow us to provide some updates:

      The U of O Museum of Natural History

      1680 East 15th Ave

      541.346.3024

      Exhibit Hours: TUESDAY - Sunday 11 am - 5 pm

      General Admission: $5

      Free admission to the public THE FIRST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH

      Seniors (62+) - $3

      Youth (3-18) - $3

      Families (2 adults and up to 4 youth) - $10

      Children (2 and under) - Free

      MNCH Members, UO Students, Faculty, and Staff - Free with ID

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 3 years ago

      Hi WannaB Writer

      Leme know where you went. :-)

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 3 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Maybe when I get to Eugene next time I'll find some time to try some of these places. I usually don't get there except on business for a day or two.

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Amy

      If you go to their website this is what it says:

      Admission: free for members. Adults $7, Seniors (62 & over) $6, Ages (6-17) $3 & Ages 5 and under Free. There are also group discounts

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      Amy 4 years ago

      The Science Factory only offers free admission to members and kids under age two. I volunteered there in 2007, and they charged admission at that time, too, so this isn't a recent development. http://www.sciencefactory.org/visit/

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Hi sbunny

      Thank you for the heads up, it used to be free!

    • profile image

      sbunny8 4 years ago

      The Oregon Air and Space Museum isn't free. It costs $7 for adults, according to their website.

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Thanks for the heads up Toddzeewadzee.

      I have had this post up for a long time too. TY again

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      Toddzeewadzee 4 years ago

      "Deady Hall" @ UO, not "Deadly Hall"... although the place does have a rather spooky presence. BOO!

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Hi Ghost32

      Thank you for such wonderful info. Sounds like you enjoyed Eugene while you were there. I also spent a lot of time in the downtown park during lunch breaks. It was a great way to get away from the office grind.

      Yeah on the Sportsmanship Trophy!

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      Ghost32 4 years ago

      My mother's family was based in Eugene for many years. As an adult, I lived there briefly as well (1973-74) and found a couple of free things to do, too:

      1. On my lunch breaks from the office, I could "disappear" from the madding crowd by dropping out of sight down the riverbank to watch the water and the skater bugs while eating my sandwich and maybe getting in a few minutes of contemplation before getting back to the grind.

      2. We had an office basketball team that didn't cost anything, except for proper attire. True, we also had a perfect record, 0 wins and 9 losses, but we DID with the Sportsmanship Trophy, down by 35 points and still full court pressing at the final buzzer. (Eugene is one tough, competitive town when it comes to sports.)

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Thanks vibesites, for the votes up. It is well appreciated

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 4 years ago from United States

      Wow, never knew before that "The Kiss" is actually exhibited here in our country. I'd like to go there someday! Voted up and interesting/beautiful/awesome. :)

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Hi Mama Kim 8

      How could I forget the Owens Memorial Rose Garden. Thanks for the heads up.

      As well, many thanks for the bunch of votes!

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      I live in Eugene and I didn't know about all these ^_^ Although you missed the Owens Memorial Rose Garden. Great hub voting a bunch

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Hi alocsin

      I am glad that you found the Hub useful. Yes, Eugene is a great place to visit. Let me know how your trip turns out. :-)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I'm often in Oregon to visit relatives but never thought to visit Eugene. You've provided so many interesting things to do there, for free, that it may be worth a weekend stop for us on our next trip. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 5 years ago

      @ juneaukid: Cool. A great place to visit. However, a better place is Whitefish MT.

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 5 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      You've convinced me to see Eugene and spend some real time there!

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 5 years ago

      Hi carol7777

      I have spent a lot of time in Newport. Still have family there. Strange how things turn out. Hope you enjoy it there.

      Thank you for feedback.

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 5 years ago

      Thank you jcevans2009. Yes the Arboretum. In your travels you should definitely go up the North Umpqua river if you get a chance. Off of I5 take Hwy 138 from Roseburg. I have been in Oregon off and on since 1979, I think thi9s is the most beautiful area in the state. There are waterfalls (many sizes) that you can view right from the road and some you can hike in to. The area has camping sites and great fishing.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      We sold our house in Newport. Too difficult keeping two residences. I miss the beach and cool weather a lot. We had to make a decision and this seemed to be the best. We often went to Eugene. Actually a funny thing I almost moved there many years ago with my first husband.

    • jcevans2009 profile image

      Judith C Evans 5 years ago from Boise, ID

      I enjoyed reading this hub because I may be traveling to the Pacific Northwest soon. The Arboretum sounds lovely!

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 5 years ago

      Thank you for the feedback. I am so glad you found it useful. Are you living in Newport now or are you in Eugene/

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      We just moved back from Newport, Oregon. I love Eugene. You did a great job in tempting people to make a detour and see what the city has to offer-free!

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 5 years ago

      @ MargaritaEden: You are welcome.... TY for the feedback. Eugene is a great place to visit, not a good place to live

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 5 years ago from Oregon

      Wow, I had no idea Eugene had so many attractions, I must visit it one of those days, thank you, great information!

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 5 years ago

      Cool... Not a good place to live but a great place to visit!

    • Amethystraven profile image

      Amethystraven 5 years ago from California

      Eugene is one of the places on my list of things to do before I die. Pictures do a little bit of justice, but I have a feeling seeing it in person is going to be breathtaking :-)

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 6 years ago

      Yeah!!!! I am glad to hear you found a place. The southeast hills are great! Congrads and have fun in school. :-)

    • stacebird profile image

      Stacey M Hollis 6 years ago from Washington DC

      Hey Mecheshier, so I was accepted to U of O! I managed to find a great room to rent from a beautiful house in the Southeast Hills!

    • mecheshier profile image
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      mecheshier 6 years ago

      Hi stacebird. Thank you for the wonderful feedback. Housing is pretty easy to find there, it is the job market that is really bad; the worst in the state of OR. Stay clear of the West side, drugs, etc. Around the U of O isn't too bad.

    • stacebird profile image

      Stacey M Hollis 6 years ago from Washington DC

      This is a great post, thanks! It was especially nice to read imagining that I might be living there next summer. I applied to the UofO for grad school and I hear back in a few weeks...if I get picked and decide to go, I might be looking for you to write a "where to rent in Eugene"!