September travel itinerary for Eugene, Oregon

The picturesque views of the Pacific Northwest are often associated with well-known metropolises like Portland and Seattle; but travel isn’t always about trekking the well-worn path, is it?

Eugene, Oregon is home to the University of Oregon (that’s right, the Ducks) and around 24,000 college students. Just as green and far more earthy than Portland or Seattle, Eugene and the Oregon campus have enough sites to see and restaurants to frequent and outdoor spaces to explore that’s it’s worthy of a diversion to the road less traveled.

One of the most beautiful times of the year to visit Oregon is during the fall. Here’s a snapshot of what a trip to Eugene might look like (based on the week of Sept 12-18, 2011).

First things first, the University of Oregon (UO) campus:

Tuesday, Sept. 13

Schedule a campus tour to become acquainted with your surroundings. The tours run six days a week and are at 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. They last 90 minutes.

After your tour wraps up, spend some time back at the tour headquarters, The Ford Alumni Center, the newest and most innovative building on campus.

This new building is unlike any other campus welcome center across the nation and tells the story of the university, past, present and future in an interactive and engaging way that is unparalleled by alumni or welcome centers at other universities.

Highlights include:

  • More than 75 square feet of interactive touch surfaces including six fourteen-foot-high touch-screen panels telling stories through more than 4,500 content elements of images, video and artifacts
  • A dynamic three dimensional mapping feature
  • A fully interactive, touchable and searchable Alumni Table, featuring more than 210,000 UO alumni

In the Interpretative Center, you will see Oregon stories come to life – past, present and future – via the unparalleled technology. Even someone without a direct connection to the UO can appreciate viewing the interactive stories of famous alumni like Ann Curry and Phil Knight (founder of Nike) on larger-than-life touchscreens or seeing artifacts like a manuscript of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey ’57, the jacket worn by actor Jared Leto in the movie about international track star Steve Prefontaine or a replica of the soap from the movie Fight Club, along with a signed copy of the book written by Chuck Palahnluk ’85. Duck or not, it’s truly an experience worth visiting on a trip to Oregon or the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, Sept. 14

Check out the art scene at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, also located on the UO campus. The museum is one of only six in the entire state that is accredited by the American Association of Museums, and features art of the Chinese, Japanese, Korean and American persuasion.

Tip for the day – have lunch at the museum cafè and receive $1.00 off of your admission, or better yet, visit on a Wednesday because from 5 p.m.-8 p.m., it’s pay-what-you-wish!

Thursday, Sept. 15

Enjoy the green scene of Eugene and hike in one of the city’s oldest parks, Skinner Butte Park. This gorgeous foot trail leads you around the park, which is located along the Willamette River, just north of downtown. Bring a picnic and enjoy what is sure to be gorgeous September weather.

Friday, Sept 16

After a long day of hiking, a visit to the Natural History Museum on campus will be a welcome break from the great outdoors. Visiting during September offers a special Oregon-specific exhibit, “A Canopy of Briars: Visual Considerations on Reclaiming the Land.”

For lunch, a must-not-miss is McMennamins East 19th St. Cafè. Truly capturing the “latter-day hippie vibe” of the university, this campus hang out is a great way to catch the spirit of the community. Be sure to check out one of the first original peace poles outside, and see if you can figure out the saying on the front, which is translated into four languages.

Saturday, Sept. 17

For the avid sports fan, the Oregon Ducks are an ideal team to worship.

Not only does the football team have a record of 12-1 for the 2010 season with bragging rights to beating California powerhouse teams like UCLA, USC and Stanford, but going to a game gives duck fans the chance to tailgate with friends at the stadium, cheer until they’re hoarse and experience a sense of campus unity. On September 17th, take in a home game against Missouri State.

Visit the Oregon Ducks athletic site for details on how and where to buy tickets.

Hint: for a hearty pre-game breakfast, hit up Glenwood. They have every morning dish your heart desires- and then some.

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