College Towns: Eugene, Oregon

Learn more about Eugene, Oregon - home of the University of Oregon.


The Town: Eugene, Oregon

With over 156,000 residents, Eugene is second only to Portland as the state’s largest city. Called “A great city for the arts and outdoors,” it mixes a burgeoning scene of local musicians and artists with a backdrop of gorgeous evergreen fauna. There are more than 500 distinct species of trees in the surrounding area, giving Eugene its nickname of “the Emerald City.”

Only 50 miles from the Oregon coast, Eugene enjoys mild weather year-round. While you can expect four distinct seasons, winters and summers won’t get too cold or too hot, making it a relatively comfortable living environment.

The School: University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is a mid-sized public university, with 19,500 undergraduate and 3,800 graduate students. It’s the only university in the state with an accredited school of architecture program and it has one of the oldest and most prestigious journalism and communication programs.

Although the football team has enjoyed great success in recent years, playing in the national championship in 2010, Eugene is known as “Track Town USA.” One of the only colleges that can claim track and field is the most popular sport, the school has won a total of 12 national championships in cross country and indoor/outdoor track and field.

What to Do

Autzen Stadium is known as one of the loudest and most intimidating atmospheres in college football. But for a truly unique experience you should attend one of the many track meets hosted at legendary Hayward Field throughout the year. With facilities rivaling the best in the world, Eugene is home to many Olympic-caliber athletes, and in any given year you’ll have multiple opportunities to watch athletes chase American and world records.

Owning up to the “outdoors” portion of the city slogan, Eugene has the largest running trail system in the United States, highlighted by Pre’s Trail, a six-mile loop in honor of Olympian and Oregon alumni Steve Prefontaine.

Where to Eat and Drink

Take in some of the local flavor at Herbies, which specializes in delicious vegan cuisine. The owner of the same name can be seen talking to the patrons, and he’s easy to spot with his traditional hippie garb: long hair and tie-dyed T-shirts.

Each February is the KLCC Microbrew Festival. The Pacific Northwest is famous for having many local microbreweries and craft beers, and you’ll get to sample the best of the best.

Did You Know?

Nike was founded in Eugene by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman, two University of Oregon alumni with ties to the cross country and track and field programs.

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