10 things to do in Eugene during the summer

Every student should spend at least one summer in Eugene. Why? Well, the weather is beautiful, the rain is nonexistent@@not true@@, weekends are wide-open and campus is half-populated and laid-back. If you’ve already (no doubt) made plans for the summer, keep this in mind for next year. And for those of you who have chosen to stay in Eugene, be it to take some summer classes or just live out your apartment’s lease, you’ve chosen wisely. And this list is for you.

1. Attend the 2012 Olympic Trials.

If you’re in Track Town during the trials and you don’t go see them at least once I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with you. The summer Olympics happen every four years, and having track and field trials at Hayward Field on campus is amazing. So buy tickets and cheer on your favorite athlete.

2. Go to Oregon Country Fair.

Music, the Eugene spirit and less clothing all around — what’s not to love? Located in Veneta, Ore., about 13 miles west of Eugene, the Oregon Country Fair started in 1969 and is an annual three-day festival featuring a wide variety of music, theater, comedy and juggling performances. You’ll run into parades, puppets, face painting, stilt walkers, jazz, bluegrass, slam poetry, an array of different cuisines and tons of artisan crafts. The fair is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and runs July 13 to 15. Tickets are available online and at the EMU ticket office.

3. See a concert at the Cuthbert Amphitheater.

Located at the edge of Alton Baker Park near Autzen Stadium, the Cuthbert Amphitheater is an outdoor music venue, and the best time to see a show there is in the summer. Pink Martini will perform with Storm Large on July 1, Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw are coming to town August 31, and there are tons of other acts in between. The venue also provides bench and grass seating, food booths and beer gardens. It’s a great environment for enjoying superb music. @@http://www.thecuthbert.com/@@

4. Go wine tasting.

Seriously, it is a lot of fun. There are tons of wineries in the Eugene area, and it can be a great day trip to take with friends. For example, take King Estate, one of the largest wineries in the area: a short car ride away, an absolutely amazing view, outdoor seating, a seasonal food menu, free winery tours and — of course — there’s the wine itself. Other great wineries near Eugene include Sweet Cheeks, LaVelle Vineyards and Chateau Lorane.@@http://www.southwillamettewineries.com/category/sweet-cheeks-winery/@@

5. Float the river.

The McKenzie River is cold and refreshing in the hot months of summer. Tons of people float it in boats, rafts and even inner tubes. Hit up your friends for a lazy, fun day on the water. And don’t forget some sunscreen.

6. Get cultured and go to the Oregon Bach Festival.

You must have seen the banners. The Oregon Bach Festival is held every year in Eugene, with performances at the Hult Center, the School of Music and Dance’s Beall Hall on campus, and other venues in town. The festival celebrates the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, hosts large array of guest artists, has educational activities and holds many chorale and orchestral performances. This year, the festival’s 42nd season, runs from June 29 to July 15, and tickets are available online. @@http://oregonbachfestival.com/@@

7. Attend a Summer in the City event.

Put on every year by the city of Eugene, Summer in the City events are free and happen almost every day. They include live music, different events downtown at Kesey Square, and free movies in the park like “The Adventures of Tin Tin,” “The Little Rascals” and “Hugo.” The venues are varied and spread out, so be sure to plan ahead. Check out www.eugene-or.gov/SummerintheCity for more information.

8. Take to the trails and go hiking.

This one might seem like a no-brainer. You go hiking in Eugene all the time, right? And while the view from Spencer Butte is super majestic in the summer, take these months off from the daily grind of typical school to explore some other trails around Eugene. Check out Mount Pisgah, a trail seven miles away that offers a great hike and view of the Southern Willamette Valley and a 209-acre arboretum. Another great place to hike or mountain bike is the McKenzie River Trail. About 45-minutes east on Highway 126, the trail features waterfalls and lava fields, and it ends at Clear Lake, a great spot for fishing and altitude scuba diving. @@http://www.mckenzierivertrail.com/@@

9. Visit Florence.

Rev up your car, grab your closest friends and take a day trip to the beach. The drive to Florence takes about an hour and fifteen minutes, so you’ll get there in no time. Enjoy the sand and surf, check out those quaint little tourist shops, and don’t forget to eat some seafood and salt water taffy.

10. Throw a barbecue.

Since the weather in Oregon in the summer months is amazing, barbecues are a must. Sit back, throw some hotdogs and veggies on the grill, and sit chatting with some friends. Big or small, a barbecue always feels fun and special. And it’s a great way to enjoy fresh food and the lazy summer vibe of Eugene.


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