A Newcomer’s Guide to Running through Eugene

Welcome to Eugene. Here’s how we’d have a good time.

Welcome to the land of Animal House. Or is it the city that was so kind to Dolly Parton that she wrote a song about us? Or is it the birthplace of the Nike waffle shoe? Or is it the land of hippies, Birkenstock sandals and granola? Eugene is also home to a range of musicians, from two-time Grammy winner Mason Williams (think “Classical Gas”) and five-time Grammy winner Robert Cray to the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and the Oregon Bach Festival.

However you know Eugene, you’re here for the World Athletics Championships, and it’s TrackTown USA for 10 days. 

By now, you’ve probably spent some time in the University District area near Hayward Field, grabbing a scoop (or three) of ice cream at Prince Pücklers, a pizza at Hey, Neighbor! or a burger at Agate Alley.  Or maybe you’re the type to shop at the Nike store for the newest releases and eat sushi at the nearby 5th Street Public Market. 

Whatever you’re into, we’re here to show you some fun and where to get good food — and you probably don’t need a car to get to these spots. So be the Frodo to our Gandalf and take our hand. We’ll take you through the Silicon Shire that we call Eugene-Springfield. And like the Lord of the Rings, we will return with a sequel next week. 



Start at Broadway and Willamette

So you looked at the long line outside of Voodoo Doughnut and are wondering what to do now. We love Voodoo as much as the next person (we’re thinking about “The Homer” right now and are drooling), but if you’re looking for something to do to wait for the line to go down, downtown Eugene is the place to be. 

As you wait for peak doughnut time to pass, check out Broadway Metro. The Metro doesn’t just show indie hits and marquee wonders but also has the lowest-price popcorn, chuggable mixed drinks and the comfiest recliners. Just make sure you pick a movie with subtitles so you don’t fall asleep. 

If you’re out of the movie theater and need more time to kill, walk over to Civic Winery, a few blocks away from downtown core. Oregon grows the best pinot noir grapes in the world. (OK, we may be biased here). Whether you’re a connoisseur or weekend wine warrior, Civic Winery has a wide variety of local and regional selections to give you a snapshot of what makes wine so good here. Civic also features Shalosh Levantine Cuisine, created by chef Corey Wisun, who explores his Jewish roots through food, creating menus from the Levant region of the southeast Mediterranean and Middle East.

And if you’re downtown on a Saturday, you’re in luck for a very Eugene experience: the Saturday Market. From 10 am to 4 pm, some of the area’s most creative people sell their artisanal goods, from paintings to blown glass to (make sure you buy a joke book from Frog and tell him we say, “Hi”). And while you’re in the area, visit the city’s brand new Farmers Market Pavilion, the place to buy the freshest produce and foods in town. 

A trip at Eugene’s downtown isn’t complete without a nighttime visit to its “Barmuda Triangle,” a historical area of enjoyable chaos, including HorseHead Bar, Jameson’s Bar, The Drake Bar, Spectrum Queer Bar, Cowfish, John Henry’s and Luckey’s Club. Those are a lot of bars to hop, but if you’ve just spent all day watching the triple jump, you might be inspired to sit and have a drink. 

And once you’re done at the Barmuda Triangle, crawl over to Party Bar , Eugene’s accessible upscale restaurant. It’s a must-visit for those who love oysters, though the fried chicken slider will dance all over your taste buds. 

After all this fun, you may look at your watch and worry that Voodoo is closing. Well, unless it’s after 1 am on a weekend night (or 10 pm any other night), you’re safe. And after all that walking and exploring, a little sugar rush might be the pep you need. But if you’ve had a bit too much to drink, the wait for a taxi or rideshare driver is far cheaper — and better for your fellow drivers — than a DUII.

Voodoo Eugene is at 20 E. Broadway; VoodooDoughnut.com. BroadwayMetro is at 888 Willamette Street; BroadwayMetro.com. Civic Winery is at 50 E. 11th Avenue; CivicWinery.com. Saturday Market is at 8th and Oak; EugeneSaturdayMarket.com. Barmuda Triangle’s heart is at 8th and Olive. Party Bar is 55 W. Broadway; PartyEugene.com. 


Willamette Street: 

Begin at 18th Avenue, end at 11th Avenue

OK, before we get started, here’s some of the best advice we could give you to avoid looking like an outsider: Willamette, as in the river and the fertile valley that surrounds it, is pronounced by rhyming the two syllables with “dammit.” It’s the Willamette, dammit. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s how to have fun on one of Eugene’s most commercially active streets. 

Don’t listen to the California transplants who you may come across here in Eugene. We have had great Mexican food options for several years. One of them is 1960 Cocina. Sure, it’s a little on the pricier side, but the restaurant offers some of the highest quality tacos in town, featuring locally sourced meats. 

While on Willamette, throw back a few drinks at its bars. Finding your pour at The Bier Stein can take some time since it has so many different options on tap. And if you’re looking for some bottles to either take back to where you’re staying during Oregon22, The Bier Stein has hundreds of bottled and canned beers in its shelves, and you’re bound to find something you’ve never tasted before. Of course, The Bier Stein’s food menu is also impressive; it’s one of the few places in town to buy a Cubano sandwich. 

For those who admire the art of bartending, head over to Bar Purlieu. The French bistro has a full bar menu, filled with creative cocktails, including the bourbon revival, a Eugene classic created years ago by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, who’s now a world renowned bartender. While you’re sipping a cocktail — or two — you’ll have to give into temptation and order from the restaurant, whose menu is among the best in Eugene. 

And if you’re feeling like letting your Irish side out, Pint Pot is your place. The pub’s Irish food menu is a reminder that corned beef is fun to eat every day, not just on St. Patrick’s Day. Of course, being Irish-focused, the whiskey flows. The pub has a big selection of whiskeys, including from Ireland, Japan and the U.S. 

Leaving Hayward after one of the late night events? Head to Mandy’s Family Restaurant to grab homestyle diner food, with options for meat eaters and vegetarians. In 2019, after eating around various restaurants, EW ranked Mandy’s as home to some of the best French fries in town, the same year it won Best New Restaurant in our Best Of reader’s poll. 

And if you’re too excited to sleep from track and field, spend a few hours at Big City Gaming, with arcade options from skeeball to modern day console video games of the latest titles. 

1960 Cocina is at 1810 Willamette Street; 1960Cocina.com. The Bier Stein is at 1591 Willamette; theBierStein.com; Bar Pulieu is at 1530 Willamette; BarPurlieu.com. Pint Pot is at 165 E. 17th Avenue; PintPotPublicHouse.com. Mandy’s Family Restaurant is at 1491 Willamette Street; MandysFamilyRestaurant.com. 



Start at 5th and Blair

The University District and downtown may be where all the money is, but the Whiteaker is the soul of Eugene. And it may be on your list of places to visit, especially if you’re a fan of beer and want to drink at what’s likely Eugene’s most popular brewery: Ninkasi. And the Ninkasi Better Living Room is a place where you can pick up merchandise, new beers and eat one of the best locally sourced cheeseburgers in town. 

But there’s so much more to the Whit. 

Let’s start with coffee and breakfast, easily the most important part of the day after a long night. Equiano Coffee is a Black-owned business, and the owners of the shop sources its coffee beans in countries such as Ethiopia and Vietnam, and then roasts in-house. After your cup of coffee, cross the street to New Day Bakery, a neighborhood staple. New Day’s breakfast menu has all of the classics — such as omelets and scrambles — and if you’re there at that weird time where an early lunch is justifiable, the sandwiches feature its fresh baked bread. 

And speaking of breakfast, Nelson’s Taqueria food cart was voted by readers in EW’s Best Of 2021 as Best Latin American and Best Food Cart. The cart’s breakfast burritos are popular for a reason — every bite is heavenly. Our advice for the meat eater? Get the machaca burrito. Nelson’s in the Whit, just a few feet away from the cart, is worth a return trip to the neighborhood for dinner. The restaurant is located in the historic Tiny Tavern, which was once a blue collar bar, then became an anarchist hang out and a dive. Today, it’s home to fresh Mexican food and margaritas. 

Speaking of dinner, you won’t be short of options. 

You’ll likely see a huge line outside of Tacovore. Don’t worry, the line moves fast and the restaurant has high quality street tacos and a wide range of housemade hot sauces, but it’s the margaritas that really steal the show. Right across the street from Tacovore is My Soul Hot Chicken, a place for hotheads to find a Nashville hot chicken sandwich that could change your life. If you’re a fan of the ginger drinks and fine cuisine, make sure you grab a seat at Izakaya Meiji. The restaurant offers small plate meals of Japanese comfort food, from skewered meals to locally sourced pork belly and kimchi (buta kimchi). All of the food is worth the trip there, but the drinks are the delightful icing on the cake. EW’s favorite is the bourbon ginger, a perfect drink for a summer night. 

Not too far from the heart of the Whiteaker is Thinking Tree Spirits, a women-led craft distillery, mixing running with its drinks — and mocktails for those watching their booze intake — during Oregon22. From 2 to 11 pm Saturday, July 16, the distillery will have festivities including a Steve Prefontaine lookalike contest, a $2 Stevie ‘Stache cocktail special with a live DJ, food from Sammitch Food Truck — and more. And from 7:30 to 10 pm Saturday, July 23, some of Eugene’s drag stars will perform, under the stars. The event has a $10 cover and features Karress Ann Slaughter (a frequent EW’s Best Drag Queen winner), Edd Zackly, Titsa Kimbo and host Maliena Bitchcock. Visit EugeneWeekly.com to see the distillery’s live music lineup. 

No venture into Eugene’s soul is complete without a night of booze and video games at Blairally Vintage Arcade, which offers not just a full bar but rows of pinball machines, classic arcade games and occasional dance nights. It’s a throwback to a simpler time when happiness was a sack of quarters. 

Ninkasi Better Living Room is at 155 Blair Boulevard; NinkasiBrewing.com. Equiano Coffee is at 300 Blair Boulevard; EquianoCoffee.com. Nelson’s Taqueria is in the parking lot of 394 Blair Boulevard; find on Facebook. Nelson’s in the Whit is at 394 Blair Boulevard; NelsonsInTheWhit.com. Tacovore is at 530 Blair Boulevard; TacovorePNW.com. My Soul Hot Chicken is at 541 Blair Boulevard; find on Facebook or Instagram. Izakaya Meiji is at 345 Van Buren Street; IzakayaMeiji.com. Thinking Tree Spirits is at 88 Jackson Street; ThinkingTreeSpirits.com. Blairally Vintage Arcade is at 245 Blair Boulevard; find on Facebook. 



Main Street

If this were The Simpsons, Eugene would be the stuck-up neighbor city Shelbyville to Springfield, where Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson are up to their wacky adventures. And Springfield — where the late novelist Ken Kesey (Sometimes a Great Notion, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) grew up — has leaned into its identity of being “the real Springfield.” 

It’s a quick jaunt to Springfield from the Hayward Field area. If you’re using the EmX, go east until you hit the downtown station. If you’re going by foot or bike, head north toward Autzen Stadium (where the Ducks play football and often break its fans’ hearts) and go east on the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System all the way to Springfield’s Main Street, an area filled with Simpsons murals. 

Main Street has several places to eat, as it’s mostly a food- and drink-centric place, though antique store fans and those searching for tattoo parlors will feel at home. You can’t go wrong with eating at PlankTown, a gastro-pub that has everything on its menu from tacos to salads to burgers and even brews its own beer. But it’s a popular joint, so there may be a wait. If you walk a block or two north, you’ll run into a converted church called Public House, which has several beers on tap and a variety of restaurants, including Fisherman’s Market’s fish and chips, Moi Poke’s Asian-inspired food, NW Burgers Annex’s fresh burgers, Pizza Cue’s cast iron-cooked pizza and Squacho’s gourmet chili and nachos. For the cyclists who brought their steed to Springfield, grab a meal at The Pedaler, which celebrates all things bikes. It has indoor parking (the downside of bike friendly towns is that theft happens), a repair station and community rides. Oh yeah, there’s also a menu that can satisfy any appetite after a long ride. 


Monkey's Paw's Teren Baker makes the Scorpion Bowl. Photo by Wesley Lapointe.

Springfield’s main drag used to be filled with strip clubs and bars, but there are still places to have a stiff drink — it’s just much fancier than the old days. Swallowtail Spirits is one of Oregon’s best distillers of vodka and gin, and its tasting room is on Main Street. Its food menu pairs well with the cocktail menu, but what ties the whole establishment together is the outdoor patio on a summer night. Oregon’s idea of dressing up is closed toe shoes, jeans and a collared plaid shirt, but if you have your suit and tie, dress up (or not, it is an easygoing town) and grab a drink at Tavern on Main Street, where every night is a party that Jay Gatsby would be envious of. And if you’re yearning for an island getaway, The Monkey’s Paw Tiki Room is your place. The tiki room has B-movies on TV, pinball machines and sweet but strong drinks. And there are a few food carts outside in case you get the drunkchies. 

If you’re visiting during the day, head to Dorris Ranch to stroll through a hazelnut tree orchard or to walk along the McKenzie River, a mighty stream depending on the weather. 

PlankTown is at 346 Main Street; PlankTownBrewing.com. Public House 418 A Street; PublicHouseHub.com. Swallowtail Spirits is at 111 Main Street; SwallowtailSpirits.com. Tavern on Main is at 338 Main Street; TavernonMainSpfd.com. Monkey’s Paw is at 420 Main Street; find on Facebook. Dorris Ranch is at 205 Dorris Street.


South Eugene: 

Begin at Martin Street Trail and end up at 24th and Hilyard

Looking to spend a day in south Eugene? Start with an early morning hike up Spencer Butte, and if you want to hike the whole trail (about 3.5 miles one way), begin at Martin Street Trail, right off Eugene’s Rexius bark trail near Amazon Drive. 


Martin St Trail

The full Spencer Butte trail doesn’t bore and has sights of lush trees and greenery. When you’ve reached the peak, you’ve got spectacular views of Eugene, Springfield and parts of Lane County. You should even be able to see Autzen Stadium and Hayward Field (or at least the giant tower standing outside of it that we like to call the Phildo). 

After the hike, grab breakfast at Barry’s Espresso, Bakery and Deli, whose breakfast sandwiches are some of the best in town. Scarf your food down and wash it down with coffee and walk over to Tsunami Books to grab some reading material (or buy some rare and first edition books for your personal library) to keep you busy in between track and field events at Hayward Field. 

If you need to grab some health-conscious snacks to keep you going, Sundance Natural Foods doesn’t just have a steller hot and cold food deli but also a ton of snacks and drinks. Plus, a stroll through the store gives you one of the best snapshots of south Eugene’s characters.

Martin Street Trailhead is near Canyon Road and Martin Street; find full trail maps at Eugene-or.gov. Barry’s Espresso, Bakery and Deli is at 2805 Oak Street; Barrys-Eugene.business.site. Tsunami Books is at 2585 Willamette Street; TsuanamiBooks.org. Sundance Natural Foods is at 748 E. 24th Avenue; SundanceNaturalFoods.com. 


Lace Your 

Running Shoes

Running in a city is one of the best ways to sightsee, and you’ll have many opportunities to run with Eugene’s stellar running community. 

Eugene Running Company has its events front-loaded for Oregon22, and will also offer fans a chance to meet athletes. The running store’s events begin 9 am Friday, July 15, with the Asics Uplift Oregon Fan Arrival. The running gear company’s van will drive cross country from its Boston headquarters to Eugene Running Company and fans will be able to meet Asics sponsored athletes, as well as try out its newest shoes. 

The biggest event, the store tells EW, is the Nike 50th birthday party at Eugene Running Company. There will be free food and drinks, a jumbotron to screen the Oregon22 games, prizes, the historic 1972 Nike bus and Nike sponsored athletes. And after the marathons, 9 am Sunday, July 17, and 9 am Monday, July 18, Eugene Running Company will host the Nike Oregon waffle feed, both events will feature special guest appearances from Nike. 

While you’re at Eugene Running Company’s Oakway Center location, visit Oregon Track Club and support the organization that provides year-round running events for the community. It won’t have run/walk events during Oregon22, but it will be selling merchandise in the Oakway Center courtyard.  

Eugene is the birthplace of Nike (though the company’s home is now Beaverton), and the local store in the 5th Street Market has some running events planned. At 7 am, Saturday, July 16, and Tuesday, July 19, through Sunday, July 24, (and 8 pm July 17 and 18) Nike By Eugene has community runs with the local Team 5 am Running Madness, as well as special guest appearances. And at 2 pm Saturday, July 16, and 2 pm Thursday, July 21, Nike has its “Athlete Inspirational Huddles,” which will feature conversations with those who have been a part of moving track and field forward and the women trail blazing their future.

KIDSPORTS is one of Eugene’s most beloved institutions, and for you NFL fans, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert said a few years ago that it’s where he learned how to lose. The local nonprofit hosts a Track & Field Inspired Summer Camp at the brand new Civic Park from Monday, July 18 to Wednesday, July 21. Visiting and local youth can learn to take part in track and field activities, using equipment donated by Nike. The camp ends with a showcase event Wednesday, July 21.


RUN HUB NW. Photo by Pamela Bilyeu

Run Hub NW has several events organized for Oregon22 welcoming all paces. Among the running series is 10 days of community runs, and runners and walkers who complete at least one-half of the runs will get a free Run Eugene T-shirt — empty running passports are available at the store and hotels and businesses downtown. And while you’re in Eugene, why not support the next generation of runners? Run Hub’s Asics Uplift Oregon Tailgate Party is a fundraiser for its gear grants program, which helps outfit K-12 runners. The event, featuring a pint glass, beer and wood-fired pizza, is 2 pm Saturday, July 16, at Run Hub’s store and costs $20. 

Eugene may be TrackTown, but if you leave the city, Oregon has some of the most beautiful trails in the country. Run Hub will have two community trail runs during Oregon22: 9 am to 5 pm Friday, July 22, is the McKenzie River run and raft, which meets at Run Hub and carpools are available; 8 am Saturday, July 23, is Ridgeline Trail run to Mt. Baldy, and the group meets at Frank Kinney Park for a two- to five-mile run. 

Eugene Running Company is at 116 Oakway Center. For more information, visit EugeneRunningCompany.com. Nike by Eugene is at 590 Pearl Street; find more events at Nike.com. KIDSPORTS’ camp is at  2054 Amazon Parkway; KidSports.com. Run Hub NW is at 515 High Street. For more information on Run Hub’s events or to register, visit RunHubNW.com. 


Monroe Park Area: 

Begin at Monroe and Broadway

Getting to the Monroe Park area from Hayward Field isn’t difficult — just take the EmX to the downtown station and walk a few blocks west — and the neighborhood scenery will make the trip worthwhile, with tons of food to choose from and a place to stock up on toys to keep your children, or yourself, entertained. 

In the days of the historic Hayward Field, Evergreen Indian Cuisine was near the UO, so it may look familiar for those who’ve been to Eugene for previous track and field events. The restaurant had to move, so the UO could build its Phil Knight-funded science center. But Evergreen is still going strong. The menu is based on the Punjab area of South Asia, though it also has a south India menu section, too. Evergreen doesn’t disappoint. Whether you’re getting the tandoori chicken, biriyani or karai, the dish will knock your taste buds out of the park. 

Or maybe you’re in the mood for something else. The 8th and Blair plaza has a few options that can satisfy everyone in your party or justify a return trip. Falling Sky Brewing’s pastrami sandwiches will make you think you’re in Los Angeles or New York, but a sip of one of its in-house brewed IPAs will remind you where you’re at. Laughing Planet’s menu of bowls, burritos and salads taste so good that you’ll forget it’s healthy. And Mama Mayra’s Home Made Mexican Food, whose menu never disappoints, will make you ask to be adopted by the family that runs the restaurant. 

Once upon a time, foodie legend Guy Fieri visited Eugene for Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. Sadly, a few of the restaurants that were awarded the FlavorTown seal of approval have closed down. But two remain: the vegan Cornbread Cafe and Fisherman’s Market. Cornbread Cafe, a Eugene staple, has a comfort food-centered menu and you’ll be able to imagine a world where your favorite meals won’t have to have animal products. The Fisherman’s Market’s fish comes from the Oregon coast, and has a menu featuring fish tacos, fried fish sandwiches, a dozen variations of fish and chips — and so much more. So for those of you who pledge allegiance to all things Fieri, you owe it to your FlavorTown heritage to visit these two restaurants.

Wherever you end up for dinner, save room for dessert at Sweet Life Patisserie. Sweet Life’s desserts range from cake to pie to cookies and have items that work with dietary restrictions, including gluten free and vegan.

Before you leave the area, pay a visit to the Eugene location of Bricks and Minifigs, which sells used and new Legos. Maybe you’ve got a child who needs to have some fun in between heats, or like some of the EW staff there’s an adult in your group who’s got a bit of a Peter Pan complex. Either way, a trip to the store is a fun way to stock up on Legos or admire model sets of Star Wars spaceships, Batmobiles, Harry Potter sets and more.

Evergreen Indian Cuisine is at 907 W. 7th Avenue; EvergreenIndianRestaurant.com. Cornbread Cafe is at 1290 W. 7th Avenue; CornbreadCafe.com. The Fisherman’s Market is at 830 W. 7th Avenue; EugeneFishMarket.com. Falling Sky Delicatessen is at 790 Blair Boulevard; FallingSkyBrewing.com. Mama Mayra’s is at 764 Blair Boulevard; MamaMayrasKitchen. Laughing Planet is at 760 Blair Boulevard; LaughingPlanet.com. Sweet Life Patisserie is at 755 Monroe Avenue and 1609 E. 19th Avenue; SweetLifeDesserts.com. Bricks and Minifigs is at 780 Blair Boulevard; BricksandMinifigsEugene.com.