The walkable heart of this Willamette Valley city brims with new gastronomy and artistry. Head northwest from the University of Oregon to explore 20 delightful blocks.
SIGHTS AND EVENTS First Friday ArtWalk On Nov. 4 and Dec. 2, tour selected art venues in downtown Eugene with a guide or visit up to 40 spots on your own. Find smaller pieces at prices perfect for gift giving. Hult Center for the Performing Arts From Dec. 9 to 11, the center welcomes Ballet Fantastique and its rock gospel version of the Book of Esther. On Dec. 31, the Eugene Opera presents a fully staged production of excerpts from three classics. 1 Eugene Center (Willamette Street and West Seventh Avenue). Light Up Downtown Garlands of tree lights in Park Blocks plaza are illuminated on Nov. 18; musical performances accompany the ceremony. Oak Street and East Eighth Avenue. Shelton McMurphey Johnson House Eugene’s grand old lady hosts “A Very Victorian Holiday” with candlelight tours and a family craft day on Dec. 3. Book ahead for Christmas tea, Dec. 9–11 and 16–18. 303 Willamette St. Enter on Pearl Street and West Third Avenue.
SHOPS Holiday Market Live music and a bevy of arts vendors move from downtown’s Saturday Market to the Lane Events Center to spread holiday cheer even when it’s rainy. Weekends from Nov. 19 to Dec. 24. 796 W. 13th Ave. J. Michaels Books This exquisite literary nook has specialized in rare and used volumes for more than four decades. 160 E. Broadway. Passionflower Fancy an embroidered blouse, fresh flowers, glittering gemstone pendants, or letterpress holiday cards? Eugene’s artisan wonderland has you covered. 128 E. Broadway. Provisions Market Hall The newest venture from Marché restaurant, a local favorite, will thrill foodies with its kitchenware, specialty pantry goods, imported charcuterie, and wines. 296 E. Fifth Ave.
EATS Belly Taqueria Viva the city’s witty “Taco Belly,” a colorful dining room fragrant with crispy pork belly and braised octopus. The place serves tasty margaritas, too. 454 Willamette St. Izakaya Oyazi A round of sake with grilled whole squid or chicken meatball skewers lifts spirits in the cozy wood booths at Eugene’s newest izakaya, a Japanese-style pub and eatery. 259 E. Fifth Ave. Noisette Pastry KitchenStart the morning right with bostock, the house specialty: brioche soaked in almond syrup and orange blossom water, baked with almond cream, and topped with sliced almonds. 200 W. Broadway. Party Downtown The cuisine at this hidden gem shines in creative small plates. Seasonal cocktails pair beautifully with Thai-style son-in-law eggs drizzled with caramel or smoked beet salad with sweet-and-sour delicata squash. Don’t miss the fried chicken on Wednesday nights. 64 W. Eighth Alley (off West Broadway between Olive and Willamette Streets).
SIPS Barn Light The downtown outpost of this woodsy, artsy coffee-and-cocktail den encourages laptops during the day, with lattes giving way to gin and house-made tonic with a side of Frito pie in the evening. 924 Willamette St. Eugene Ale Trail Pick up a passport at various venues, including the Downtown Eugene Visitor Center (754 Olive St.), for a guide to 18 tasting rooms around town. Be sure to get a stamp at the newest addition to the craft brew scene, the inviting ColdFire Brewing Company, not far from downtown (263 Mill St.). Oregon Wine LAB Thanksgiving weekend brings revelry to this wine bar with a twist. Visitors can sample releases from the house label, William Rose, or offerings from myriad smaller family vineyards in a casual, art-filled tasting room. Check the website for live music and other holiday events, including an Urban Wine Circuit with nine downtown wineries. 488 Lincoln St.
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