With masks, distanced seating and disinfectant on hand, many of our favorite Eugene destinations are back in business. If you’re new to town or want to expand on your list of regular stops, here is what the Emerald recommends.
Best restaurant: Beergarden
If you enjoy dining out, visit Beergarden! It’s one of my favorite spots. From campus, it’s about a 10-minute bike trip, depending on how fast you ride. They have food carts with options from melt-in-your-mouth mac-n-cheese and burgers to fresh poke and grilled Hawaiian food. Not to mention, if you’re 21, they have a long list of beers from extra hoppy to light.
The patio is covered by a huge tent, which makes this a laid back and casual experience because of the euphoric vibe. If you appreciate music, head to Beergarden on Thursdays when live bands perform. Rain or shine, it’s a great dining spot to gather with friends, from a distance of course, to eat delicious food.
Beergarden is open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. every day and is at 777 W 6th Ave. Food cart hours vary.
Best Movie Theater: Broadway Metro
C. Francis O’Leary
Located in the heart of Eugene is the city’s premier movie theater. The Broadway Metro has a range of viewing options, from one showing per day in several auditoriums, to ensure time to clean between showings, to the Metro@Home service, which allows members to borrow unlimited DVDs and Blu-rays for $6 per month.
As an avid moviegoer, I’ve missed going to the theater recently. So, for my birthday, my girlfriend rented an auditorium for a private showing where my friends could share an experience while keeping a safe distance apart.
The theater also has the best popcorn in town. It’s not even a close competition.
Broadway Metro is open for public and private showings and is at 43 W Broadway. Schedules for showings are available on broadwaymetro.com.
Best Entertainment Center: Putter’s Pizza & Family Entertainment Center
Nestled in what’s mostly an industrial part of Eugene is Putters, where a kid — or an adult kid — can go enjoy a beer, pool tables, an arcade, laser tag and mini-golf.
The mini-golf is my favorite because it isn’t your typical, whimsical mini-golf with silly obstacles or characters along the way. Instead, their brick-lined and rock-filled course is more adult-friendly and is proportionately more difficult.
Another great feature of Putters is the pool room. There, you pay-by-the-hour and have access to a digital jukebox. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get a kick out of playing Iron Maiden’s 13-plus-minute-long odyssey that is “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” back-to-back.
For those with younger kids, there’s a huge playroom in the back with two playgrounds.
Putter’s Pizza & Family Entertainment Center is closed until further notice due to the pandemic. It’s usual hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It’s at 1156 OR-99.
Best Thrift Store: Eugene Jeans
I found Eugene Jeans on East 13th Avenue over the summer when I was attempting to reinvent myself through my wardrobe, one of many pandemic-fueled existential crises. As a student doing her best to live frugally and sustainably, I hit all of the used clothing stores in Eugene. No spot stole my heart like Eugene Jeans did.
Don’t let the name fool you; Eugene Jeans on 13th has so much more to offer than just denim. Their selection of previously loved clothes rivals that of a boutique vintage store, but with much better prices and a lot more charm. The store consistently has a great selection of all the classic staples like jeans, leather boots and graphic tees, but you will also find a lot of fun, unconventional pieces. There is definitely not a lack of color here.
Incredible clothes and a totally unpretentious vibe makes Eugene Jeans feel like a relic of the past in the best possible way.
Eugene Jeans is open 12 to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and is at 132 E 13th Ave. It’s closed on Sundays.
Best Bar: Rennie’s Landing
Hands down, the best bar for UO students in Eugene is Rennie’s Landing. I recommend a table on the upstairs patio, especially because of COVID-19. Rennie’s does not mess around with the coronavirus, which is nice for a bar that often becomes crowded during the school year. The tables are at least six feet apart, there’s plenty of outdoor seating and you can only order drinks from your table.
Speaking of drinks, their cocktails are the best, and every day there is some sort of happy hour. You can never go wrong with the Mango Madness, Tropical Left Turn or loaded tots. Did I mention they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Rennie’s has a pool table instead of a dance floor, which is great for those who enjoy a low-key atmosphere. The best part is, it’s right off campus, which means you can easily walk there if you live around school and don’t want to drive.
Rennie’s is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and it opens 8:30 a.m. on weekends. It’s at 1214 Kincaid St. Its happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. daily.