25 Best Things to Do in Ashland, OR

Ashland Oregon skyline
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Situated in the Rogue Valley and bestowed with endless greenery and natural beauty, Ashland is the artistic and cultural hub of southern Oregon.

This city has majestic mountain ranges, dense forests, breathtaking lakes, broad crystalline rivers, beautiful creeks, magical waterfalls, and a countless variety of wildlife that provide access to numerous outdoor recreational activities.

Ashland also hosts festivals and cultural programs all year round, making it one of the best travel destinations around the globe.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 25 best things to do in Ashland, Oregon:

Catch a Show at Oregon Shakespeare Festival

A crowd at Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Chris Allan / Shutterstock.com

The world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival dates back to 1935 and is one of the biggest events in Ashland.

This eight-and-a-half month-long event features 11 plays from classical and contemporary playwrights.

theatre where the Oregon Shakespeare Festival takes place
Manuela Durson / Shutterstock.com

Offering close to 800 plays annually, this event attracts about 400,000 visitors each year.

It is scheduled from February to October, with spectacular performances six days a week.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is on every tourist’s itinerary in Ashland.

Explore Lithia Park

Scenic view of Lithia Park
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This 100-acre park is one of the top tourist hotspots in Ashland.

This historic park features Ashland’s creek, centuries-old historical landmarks, a Japanese garden, picnic spots, duck ponds, tennis courts, an ice staking rink, a volleyball court, a rose garden, and miles-long hiking trails through the woods.

view of stream and bridge at Lithia Park
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It gets its name from lithium oxide, which is present in the waters of the mesmerizing Ashland’s Creek.

The park was built on Ashland’s first building, a 19th-century flour mill.

Indeed, Lithia Park is a must-visit in this city.

sign at Lithia Park
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Visit Schneider Museum of Art

Front view of Schneider Museum of Art
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This contemporary art museum is affiliated with the Oregon Centre for the Arts.

It has a rotating exhibition and a permanent collection of thought-provoking art.

The museum displays artworks by various well-known artists from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Entry to the museum is free for everyone, and it is open all year round.

Guided tours are provided on Tuesdays.

Trip to Emigrant Lake County Park

Scenic view of Emigrant Lake County Park
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This lake is a popular site for various kinds of outdoor recreational activities, such as camping, rock climbing, fishing, boating, swimming, picnicking, kayaking, hiking, and bonfires.

The park has a 300-foot waterslide, several camping sites, a playground, picnic tables, and a snack bar.

bench and lake view at Emigrant Lake County Park
Jesse Stephens / shutterstock.com

The lake’s site has two camping areas, an RV park and Oak Slope Campground.

The former is open all year round with a charge of USD 35 per night.

The latter, on the other hand, offers a more natural camping experience and is open from March to October for USD 22 per night.

Camp here and experience southern Oregon’s breathtaking natural beauty.

Cool Off in the Rogue River

View of a man in Rogue River
Sherri R. Camp / shutterstock.com

The Rogue River provides countless opportunities for a broad array of water adventures such as white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing, boating, and more.

These recreational water sports let you experience the incredible  Rogue valley wilderness.

The river offers magnificent views of richly forested surroundings and crystalline water.

Businesses providing these water sports services are Noah’s River Adventures, Momentum River Expeditions, and Indigo Creek Outfitters.

Visit ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum

This museum aims to help its visitors learn various science concepts through a multitude of fun, innovative, and interactive methods.

It caters to all age groups and tries to make learning easy by using practical demonstrations and entertaining activities.

ScienceWorks also offers educational programs and hosts events and parties.

This is truly a great place to visit if you’re traveling with family.

Have some Winter Fun at Mount Ashland

Two people skiing at Mount Ashland ski
maciej / shutterstock.com

The Mt. Ashland ski area is located 20.4 miles ( 32.8 kilometers) from Ashland city.

In winters, it provides great opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, snowshoeing, sledding, cross country skiing, snow hiking, and many more winter recreation activities.

snow covered Mount Ashland portrait
Connor Ehlers / shutterstock.com

This becomes a popular destination for weddings, reunions, hiking, and stargazing in the summers.

This place offers picturesque views in all four seasons.

Have Some Wine Tours

View of ashland winery
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A wine tour in Ashland is one of the most popular tourist activities in this city.

Enjoy a relaxing day exploring vineyards and tasting delicious wine.

The best wine tours in Ashland are provided by Main Street Adventure Tours, Wine Hopper Tours, Dana Campbell Vineyards, The Oregon Wine and Farm Tour, and  Bravo Outings.

Go Hiking at Lithia Park Hillside Trail

Aerial view of Lithia Park Hillside Trail
Chris Mayhew / shutterstock.com

Ashland has a multitude of invigorating hiking trails that will allow you to experience the region’s vast wilderness.

The Lithia Park hillside trail is a 5 miles long uphill hiking trail featuring a swimming hole, a beautiful creek, towering trees, granite boulders, turkeys, and a herd of deer on the way.

It offers stunning views of Ashland’s flora and fauna.

The Grizzly Peak Trail is 6 miles long, and the trailhead is 12 miles (19.3 kilometers) from Ashland city.

The hiking path is covered with brightly-colored wildflowers in summers, pine trees, and fir trees.

The summit has magnificent and unparalleled views of the Cascade Mountain range, Ashland city, Mount Shasta, and the region’s sprawling greenery.

The White Rabbit Trail is 5 miles long and offers panoramic views of the richly forested Rogue Valley.

This trail traverses the Siskiyou mountain range.

Other popular hiking trails include Oredson Todd Woods, Alice in Wonderland trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail.

Stay Hydrated with Lithia Spring Water

Lithia Spring Water
TFoxFoto / shutterstock.com

Lithia water is natural spring water rich in lithium salts.

This mineral water is known for its healing benefits and bad taste.

It is made available to the public through the water fountains installed in Ashland.

There are two fountains with Lithia water, one is located in the downtown Plaza and the other one in Lithia Park.

Stop by Ashland Artisan Emporium

This is a marketplace selling all things local.

It is owned by an Ashlander and is close to a decade old.

Ashland Artisan Emporium offers a variety of goods made by over 200 regional artists and artisans, including furniture, paintings, home décor, apparel, fiber art, books, body care, candles, jewelry, glassware, and more.

This is the perfect place to get souvenirs and a glimpse of the region’s culture.

It is located in Ashland Shopping Centre and is open seven days a week.

Pay a Visit to North Mountain Park Nature Centre

North Mountain Park Nature Centre is located by the beautiful Bear Creek.

It has beautiful gardens, ponds, a playground, soccer fields, hiking trails, picnic areas, baseball fields, and softball fields, making this place home to several turtles, fishes, and ducks.

This is a perfect place for a nice summer’s picnic, hiking, and swimming.

The grounds are open every day from dawn to dusk, and the nature center is open on weekdays from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm.

Drive to Crater Lake National Park

Aerial view of Crater Lake National Park
Pung / shutterstock.com

It is located 77 miles (124 kilometers) from Ashland city, and it takes around 1.50 hours to reach there by drive.

It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in entire southern Oregon and attracts several thousands of visitors each year.

Crater Lake National Park view of lake and mountain
Bob Pool / shutterstock.com

This is the deepest and clearest lake in the whole country.

It is also one of the world's deepest lakes and is known for its deep blue and crystalline waters.

The lake was formed about 7,700 years ago when a mountain collapsed after a volcanic eruption forming a crater that was later filled by rains and melting snow.

The area offers great scope for various recreational activities such as camping, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, cycling. Note, though, that swimming is possible only in designated areas.

The hiking trails provide surreal panoramic views of the lake and the gorgeous sunsets.

This is a must-visit tourist spot of this region.

Browse Art at the Gathering Glass Studio

This is a glass art gallery by Keith Gabor.

It exhibits the works of art by the owner and provides lessons and demonstrations relating to the process of glassblowing.

The studio also takes customized orders from visitors.

This is a tourist-loved spot that provides an enjoyable learning experience.

Stay at Ashland Springs Hotel

Ashland Springs Hotel at Ashland, OR
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This historic hotel dates back to 1925 and is located less than half a mile away from Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Oregon Cabaret Theatre.

Formerly named the "Lithia Springs Hotel," it is a well-recognized landmark in southern Oregon.

It is a three-star hotel that offers scenic views of Ashland and the magnificent mountain ranges.

The rooms are exceptionally clean and aesthetically pleasing.

Other popular places to stay in Ashland include Ashland Hills and Suites, The Winchester Inn, Plaza Inn & Suites, The Peerless Hotel, Lithia Springs Resort, and  Best Western Windsor Inn.

Visit Oregon Centre for the Arts

This center is a division of Southern Oregon University. s

It organizes various artistic live performances throughout the year such as musical concerts, plays, short film screenings, and more.

These events are popular among Ashlanders and tourists.

Attend Ashland Culinary Festival

This festival takes place every year for four days in November.

It aims to celebrate southern Oregon’s chefs, winemakers, restaurants, brewers, chocolatiers, and farmers.

It is participated by the regional culinary professionals, restaurants, and culinary students.  

It includes events such as junior chef competition, local restaurant cook-offs, mixology competition, top chef competition, wine tours, award celebrations, and more.

It is a fun-filled learning and entertaining event, which attracts tourists and locals alike.

Visit Ashland Library

Ashland Library
Underawesternsky / Shutterstock.com

The Ashland Public Library, located in Oregon, features a wide variety of published books, self-help guides, encyclopedias, and many more literary sources.

In addition to its collection of hard copies, the library also offers e-books and other popularly known digital documents available to library visitors.

The library's database is intended for readers of all ages and serves other functions such as educational outreach programs and book club events throughout the year.

All community members are welcome to register and utilize the Library's varied database services.

So whether you’re looking for a new book or just want somewhere quiet to study after school or work, Ashland Library has got you covered.

The librarians are super friendly and willing to help you with anything you need.

If you get lost (or if you just don’t know where any of these places are), just ask a librarian at Ashland—they won’t steer you wrong!

Shop at Lithia Artisans Market

This is a weekend outdoor artisans’ market in downtown Ashland, located near Lithia Park.

It has over 35 stalls selling handcrafted jewelry, pottery, glasswork, fiber art, home décor, photographs, sketches by regional artists and artisans.

It also features live music and live sketches.

The market is open every Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, and from 11 am to 5 pm on Sundays.

Enjoy a Cabaret Act

In downtown Ashland, Oregon, Cabaret Theatre is located in a renovated 20th-century church, popularly known as “the Old Pink Church.”

The theatre dates back to 1986 and currently presents close to 300 performances annually by extremely talented artists.

Open from February to December, this theatre schedules six shows per week.

This is the perfect spot for a wonderful evening’s entertainment and delicious food.

Have a Movie Marathon during Film Festivals

Varsity Theatre at Ashland, OR
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ashland Independent Film Festival is organized every year in April for five days.

It presents over 100 domestic and international short films, documentaries, and features.

The festival is hosted at three venues: the Varsity Theatre, the Historic Ashland Armory, and the Ashland Street Cinemas.

Every year thousands of movie fanatics flock to these theatres to attend this event.

The festival includes Q&A sessions with producers and directors, award ceremonies, and several parties.

Another popular film festival in Ashland is Varsity World Film Week, which lasts for seven days in October.

Pay a Visit to Long Walk Vineyard

Long Walk Vineyard and Valley View Orchard are under the ownership and management of Kathy and Tim O’Leary.

In 2002, Kathy and Tim added Long Walk Vineyard to their Ashland property.

The vineyard specializes in producing elegant rosés and fine wines such as Zinfandel, Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignane, and Grenache.

Growing grapes has been a family tradition for the O’Leary’s.

In 2018 they expanded their company by including winery tours and tastings, which prove to be very popular around the area.

The onsite Long Walk Vineyard tasting room overlooks a beautiful open field in downtown Ashland, next to the Rogue River and surrounded by towering trees.

Have Some Delicious Delicacies

Greenleaf Restaurant at Ashland, Oregon
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Popular diners and restaurants in Ashland include Greenleaf Restaurant, Peerless Restaurant and Bar, Alchemy Restaurant and Bar, Larks Home Kitchen Cusine, Smithfields Restaurant and Bar, Caldera Brewery and Restaurant, Martolli’s Hand Tossed Pizza, Amuse Restaurant.

It is guaranteed that here in Ashland, you'll have your tummy filled.

Taste More Fine Wine at Belle Fiore Winery

Just outside Ashland sits a stunning winery that caters to those who appreciate classic wines and Mediterranean countries.

The Belle Fiore Winery is decorated with vineyards and gardens throughout the property.

Immerse yourself in an altogether new culture, indulging your palate with divine Italian wines while live musicians serenade you from the pavilion nearby.

Whether it's dinner at the vineyard's winemaker paired dinner or simply enjoying some wine out of their garden terrace on a balmy Oregon evening, Belle Fiore has something to offer for everyone!

At Belle Fiore Winery, they take pride in growing the beautiful grapes that give exceptional character to their wines.

This winery's wines are reminiscent of the French, Italian and Spanish origins of their family and their traditional land.

They grow grapes specifically for each wine type and customize their processes based on each individual grape variety to achieve vintages that are classically balanced with a delicate level of tannin.

Some of the high-quality flavors range from oak nutmeg and cinnamon to apple, cranberry, blackberries from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Petit Verdot.

Final Thoughts

Ashland is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and the adventurous and curious alike.

The natural environment, breathtaking views, activities on offer, homey and quaint atmosphere all add to how hospitable this city truly is with every step you take.

Reference this actionable list of top activities to try so your time is well spent and the unforgettable memories you have will not go unseen!

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