Show your family the best of Eugene when they visit for graduation
So you’re graduating. Congratulations! As a senior myself, about to end my four years at the University, I understand the excitement, the stress and the terror of graduating — parties, finals, moving out, getting a job, the works. It’s a pretty crazy time.
And on top of all of that, we have to worry about graduation announcements and visiting relatives. By this time, hotels are probably booked June 15-19. You might have family members traveling across state lines to see you off, and even if it’s just your parents and siblings, you want to have a good time.
To make the celebration and merging of college life and family easy, here’s a basic guide of what to do and where to go when your relatives are in town. There’s enough stuff packed in this list to fill a weekend worth of time before commencement, so pick a few things and have fun. You deserve it.
If you’re not a hotel’s-complimentary-breakfast type of family, don’t worry. There are plenty of places in Eugene to take your parents or a large group of relatives out to brunch.
If sweet, hearty carbs are your food of choice, The Original Pancake House, located on 782 East Broadway, might be your best bet. It serves a variety of pancakes, everything from buttermilk and potato to Swedish and coconut. There are also waffles, omelets and more on the menu, so you can find something for everyone in your party. Open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant takes reservations before 9 a.m.
Studio One Cafe specializes more in creative omelets and egg creations. Try the Zorba, the Greek specialty with tomato, onion, spinach, pesto, Kalamata olives and feta cheese with three scrambled eggs. Or go for the crab cakes, one of the eggs Benedicts or a great sandwich. Located at 1473 East 19th Ave., the restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and serves breakfast food all day.
At the heart of the campus area at Alder Street and East 13th Avenue is everyone’s favorite, Glenwood Restaurant. Glenwood serves a fun mix of Eugene cuisine (as you might know), and is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
With family in for the weekend (or even just Sunday before commencement), you know what that means: There are people who will buy you things. And you deserve it, as a soon-to-be college graduate. So steer your relatives to these prime shopping spots.
The Duck Store is the ideal place to stock up on University regalia. You probably won’t live as close to a Duck Store ever again, so get your mom to buy you some T-shirts, your dad to get you that shot-glass collection and some sweatpants, a jersey and Shady Peeps. You have to rep your alma mater as alumni, right? It’s basically mandatory (at least, that’s the excuse you can give your parents).
Eugene’s Saturday Market is also a wonderful place to wander around with your relatives. At 8th Avenue and Oak Street in downtown Eugene, the market is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it is full of artisan-made jewelry, decorations, clothing and more. There’s also the adjacent Farmers Market and a food-court area, so you can spend the whole morning and afternoon there, soaking up some great Eugene vibes and supporting the local economy.
Another nice shopping district is 5th Street Public Market. Full of local shops and eateries, the market is a little upscale and full of boutiques, home decor, cafes and more. Retail shops are open at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday.
Campus Area Tour
For something inexpensive and fun to do, take your family on a walking “tour” of campus and the surrounding area. Point out your favorite spots and enjoy the beautiful landscaping of the University.
If you’re a fan of “Animal House,” be sure to stop by the EMU Fishbowl and Johnson Hall. And if you want to impress, drop this nugget of knowledge: the Pioneer sculpture, located between Friendly and Fenton, faces directly across from the Pioneer Mother, located between Hendricks and Susan Campbell Hall. Johnson Hall may divide the two bronze sculptures, but they provide a nice mirroring effect.
If sports are more your thing, peruse along 15th Avenue by Hayward Field and talk about the upcoming Olympic Trials. Or make a leisurely walk to Autzen, crossing over the Willamette River, and enjoy the (hopefully) nice weather.
An outdoorsy family will relish a hike up Spencer Butte (which is easy to get to in your parents’ car). Or if the outdoors isn’t your thing, visit the John E. Jaqua Academic Center or the Ford Alumni Center and ask for a free tour. The architecture and design details of both buildings are a great way to show off the campus to visitors.
Located at 898 Pearl St., Cafe Zenon is an international bistro that serves dishes from around the world in a casual, family-friendly setting. Dinner entrees are priced around $20, and popular menu items include the vegetarian squash enchiladas and the herbed lamb loin with pea and carrot risotto. The restaurant takes reservations and has a happy hour Friday from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Taking your parents to Beppe and Gianni’s Trattoria, located across the street from Prince Puckler’s on 19th Avenue, is another treat you shouldn’t pass up. Starting the meal with the roasted garlic, warm bread and cambozola cheese appetizer and a bottle of wine will set the right celebratory mood. Then you can enjoy a range of soups, salads, pastas or meat dishes. Open Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Sundays 5 to 9 p.m., the restaurant takes reservations for parties of eight or more.
Belly is a restaurant that will impress anyone from out of town. Its new location on 30 East Broadway is in the center of downtown (and close to Voodoo Doughnut). It serves rustic European farmhouse food with a rotating seasonal menu. Open Friday and Saturday 5 to 10 p.m., the restaurant allows reservations for parties of four or more early in the evening (so plan ahead).
Places to Grab a Drink with Your Parents
You can bring your parents to the campus bars if you want, though that merging of University night life with family might be a little too much for some. However, there are some great spots around town to grab a drink with your parents (hey, you’re 21 now. Enjoy it!)
Esquire magazine ranked Sam Bond’s Garage as one of the best bars in America. Located at 407 Blair Street in the Whiteaker District, Sam Bond’s has that rustic Eugene flavor we all know and love — right down to the Mason jars used to serve drinks. So grab a wooden seat and enjoy the live music, whether it be folk, rock or jazz.
Izakaya Meiji Company serves up a great mix of authentic Japanese food and country-western whiskey. The Sunday special is one burger, one bourbon and one beer all for $10. Located at 345 Van Buren Street, the restaurant is open 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. every day, doesn’t take reservations, and is 21 and over after 10 p.m.