Bad Yogi City Guide: Eugene, OR
Eugene means different things to different people. It’s a college town for sure, but it’s also full of older hippies, travelers, lifelong Oregonians, and Portland-spillover hipsters and young professionals. This combination makes it a pretty perfect destination for yogis, good and bad 🙂
Balanced Hot Yoga is everything to me. Most classes are heated, but there are some non-heated restorative options too. More important than the temperature is what else they’ve got: the best teachers in the city, an adorable studio and changing room space, and just an overall friendly vibe. Nice touches like stones to put at the top of your mat if you’re open to adjustments and aromatherapy towels during savasana are icing on the yoga cake.
Eugene Yoga is another great option. They’ve got two locations and an incredibly comprehensive class and workshop schedule. If you’re looking for pilates, MELT, Feldenkrais, or anything else with a (™) behind it, they probably have it. Their south location is in a wellness center that has a saltwater pool! They also do out-of-the-studio events like SUP yoga, classes at breweries and wineries, and other fun stuff! If you’re on a budget, Everyday People Yoga is donation-based and also has a good variety of classes.
Eat & Drink
Oregon has a law that requires places that serve alcohol to also serve food, and it’s without exaggeration the best thing that has ever happened to me. They’re not phoning it in with greasy bar food either — some of the best meals are at bars! Since the line between bar and restaurant is fuzzy at best, this is a combo category of places where you can eat and drink.
The Barn Light is a chill coffee shop/student hangout by day and a pretty neat bar by night. Karaoke on Thursdays at the east location fills up, especially when school’s in session, but it’s by no means a campus bar. It’s sophisticated and fun and has great food in its own right, but also shares a building with Sizzle Pie (open til 4am!) if you need more options. Jiffy Wine & Deli offers a similar set-up in a more family-oriented area, so expect smaller crowds and quieter nights.
Many places have vegan options here, but there are tragically only a few all-vegan places. Cornbread Cafe is a vegan diner with delicious breakfast that isn’t even pretending to be good for you. Lotus Garden is your classic Chinese food, with a vegan twist, and Viva! Vegetarian Grill has delicious soft serve, sandwiches, etc. out of a cart.
Wandering Goat is the hometown coffee hero, but coffee options abound, so don’t get boxed in! If you’re more of a tea-drinker (kombucha counts!), Townshend’s Teahouse is a must. Oh and um, lots of beer! Ninkasi is a popular one, but don’t miss Falling Sky’s brewpub either. They also have a handy fermentation shop if you’re into homebrewing.
I could go on forever (can you tell?) but my last recommendation if you’re looking for the best sushi ever is Mame. It’s tiny, so be sure to make a reservation!
This is Track Town, so there are plenty of places to go running. Or biking or hiking or whatever you like to do outside. Amazon Park on the south side of the city is huge and fun and has a great dog park and outdoor pool. Spencer Butte is a great hike without leaving the city too. Eugene has lots of bike paths and trails, so it’s an easy place to bike for fun and transportation. The Willamette River runs through the city a bit north of downtown, and there are pedestrian bridges and paths all around it. There are a lot of not-so-experienced cyclists around though, so watch for people going the wrong way or skipping the safety gear. Don’t let that be you! Collin’s Cycle Shop and Arriving by Bike are two of many options for getting properly outfitted to ride.
Or Maybe Stay In
Two indie movie theaters help me get out when the weather is not so great: The Broadway Metro and the Bijou. They play most of the big indie films and have some special events. The Bijou is an old church that’s refitted as a movie theater, and it’s as cool as it sounds.
There are about one million bodyworkers and alternative healers in Eugene, and I honestly have too many favorites to list. Acupuncture for the People is a sliding scale community acupuncture spot that also houses a couple massage therapists. The Pearl is a spa and massage center to get relaxed or get some serious bodywork done, and there are lots of individual massage therapists with offices set up around town. Sora Therapies is one of my favorites.
We’re also in the heart of legalized recreational marijuana, and we have plenty of dispensaries to show for it. Moss Crossing and Serra are great suppliers of whatever you need in that arena, but you’ll hardly be able to walk a few blocks without stumbling into a dispensary!
Saturday Market is famous for food, arts, crafts, drum circles, all that sort of thing. The Whiteaker Community Market is a bit smaller and hipper (and happens to be in a very hip neighborhood) but has the same kind of wares for sale. Markets tend to be a bigger deal during the summer since it’s pretty rainy the rest of the year, but Sundance and The Kiva are great natural food options year-round. Friendly Street Market is a grocery/deli crossover that also has a weekly trivia night.
On the spiritual side, Stargate’s got you covered. If you’re into more witchy rituals, Keven is an amazing little shop too. Homesteaders love Down to Earth and Mountain Rose for herbs, gardening supplies, and everything else you need to DIY it all.
The Oregon Coast is only a couple hours away! Florence and Newport are great towns if you want to spend a weekend at the beach. We’re also just a couple hours from Crater Lake, Bend, and Portland, if you want to get your national park, desert, or hip big city on, respectively. Eugene’s location makes it a great home base for seeing all of beautiful Oregon! I truly could go on forever about all the fun stuff there is to do in and around my adopted city, but I’ll let you see the rest for yourself 🙂
P.S. Love this series? Be sure to check out all our city guides and our interactive map of our writers’ favorite spots!