Explore Eugene, Oregon: One of the Best College Towns in America

There isn’t any one reason in particular Eugene, Oregon is considered one of America’s top college towns – it’s a combination of many factors. The University of Oregon’s winning sports programs, scenic campus, laid-back attitude, and a serious commitment to academics have woven themselves into the fabric of this 160,000-resident city in the Pacific Northwest.

The University of Oregon is the flagship campus of the state’s public university system and one of the largest colleges in the state, in terms of enrollment. Its 295-acre campus is the centerpiece of Eugene, featuring some of the city’s top cultural attractions, architectural highlights and top visitor destinations. Given the array of things to do in Eugene, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed. Use our University of Oregon visitors guide to plan your next stay at Red Lion Inn & Suites Eugene.



Athletics is a cornerstone of the U of O experience. Beginning with the university’s fabled track and cross country squads (Nike was founded by Oregon alums) and progressing to the modern-day renaissance of the school’s football program, the school has a history of success in its athletic endeavors. Hayward Field and Autzen Stadium are home to most of the athletic action in Eugene, including track and football, respectively.

The Ducks football team has won four of the past six conference titles, and is coming off of its most successful season in 2014 – a stellar 13-1 season that concluded with a narrow loss in the College Football National Championship game. The team is primed for yet another successful campaign in 2015, led by running back Royce Freeman. View the full 2015 Oregon football schedule.

The Ducks’ track and field program is equally exceptional, boasting legendary athletes and coaches such as Bill Bowerman, Alberto Salazar, Galen Rupp and Steve Prefontaine. Hayward Field hosts the annual Prefontaine Classic track meet, the USATF Outdoor Championships, and the upcoming 2021 IAAF World Outdoor Championships. It’s no surprise Eugene is known as Track Town, USA.



The University of Oregon – and Eugene as a whole – stands as one of the cultural gems of the Pacific Northwest. Several of the city’s top cultural attractions reside on or near the University of Oregon campus, including a well-curated art museum, a major natural history museum, and multiple galleries.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is the university’s most prominent art museum. Housed in an ornate building designed by Ellis F. Lawrence circa 1930, the museum offers a wide variety of exhibitions and a solid permanent collection. Current and upcoming exhibitions include the woodblock print series “Japanese Impressions from the Vault: The Rare, the Beautiful, and the Bizarre” and a photo collection, “Brett Weston in Oregon.”

The University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History studies and displays archaeological and ethnographic collections and research, with a local focus. Located on the southeast side of the U of O campus, the museum is planning 2015 exhibitions such as the nature-centric “Explore Oregon” and mixed-media creations of Shayleen Macy in “Tradition Keepers.”

The campus is also home to a collection of smaller galleries, including White Box, the LaVerne Krause Gallery, and the Washburn Gallery. These spaces showcase forward-thinking student work. Learn more about art at the University of Oregon.



The relaxed aura, well-manicured spaces, and architectural splendor of the typical college campus gets an upgrade at the University of Oregon. Eugene’s lush landscape lends itself to stunning scenery, and the school’s physical presence blends seamlessly into its surroundings.

The school’s first building, Deady Hall, lives on today after more than 140 years. The tree-shaded three-story building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, recognizing its importance and ensuring its ongoing preservation. The campus’ other landmarked structure is Villard Hall. The Second Empire Style building dates to 1886 and features a mansard roof.

Red Lion Inn & Suites Eugene is among the most convenient and affordable hotels near the University of Oregon. Our hotel is located several blocks from campus and exactly one mile from Hayward Field, making campus visits and weekend trips easy.