Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Medford, OR

  • Published 2023/04/17

Medford is one of our top small cities in the United States.

It lies in Oregon and boasts of being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA.

It also lies near the wonderful Rogue River and is situated inside Rogue Valley.

Imagine sunny vibes and windy roads as you smooth down the roads teeming with fine architectural structures.

With comparatively warmer climates throughout the year, this is precisely what Medford has to offer.

This place is indeed one of the best places for a much-needed road trip with your family and friends.

Now let’s look at the 25 best things to do in Medford, Oregon:

Enjoy Water Sports at the Rogue River

Picnic table near the Rogue River

Jesse Stephens /

The majestic Rogue River that runs through Medford is home to many different water sports you can enjoy.

From white water rafting to fishing, it has something for everyone.

You can also rent a canoe or kayaks with your group and go kayaking.

There are also spots where the flow is relatively calm, where you can do some leisurely fishing.

The waters of Rogue River

Jesse Stephens /

The river itself is vast and divided into three sections – the upper section, middle section, and lower section.

The lower section is trendy among tourists, where everyone can also enjoy some sports with assistance from the locals.

Apart from this, you can also go trekking or hiking on the nearby rocky terrains of the river or the mountains and hills nearby.

Enjoy a Good Read at JCLS Medford Library

In addition to conventional books, journals, and periodicals, the Medford Branch of Jackson County Library Services (JCLS) provides more than 200,000 residents and tourists with various literary resources, including multimedia and newspapers.

The library has a variety of educational activities and seminars for residents and visitors alike, including book discussions, book signings, symposiums, outreach initiatives, art exhibitions, courses, reading clubs, and storytelling.

Shop at The Village

The Village at Medford Mall, formerly called The Medford Center, is a 420,000-square-foot regional retail hub in eastern Medford.

It is one of the United States’ oldest and vastest malls.

It is home to the biggest movie theater in southern Oregon called Cinemark Tinseltown USA and numerous stores and services, such as Ashley Furniture, Red Robin, Ralph’s, Rite Aid, and International Fitness.

Many restaurants, food trucks, and coffee shops dish up a range of casual fare, and musicians in the center on the weekends, creating a laid-back and relaxing vibe.

Shop Till You Drop at Downtown Medford

Aerial view of Downtown Medford

Ahturner /

All shopaholics rush to Downtown Medford, be it locals or globals.

It’s the best place to buy some antiques and clothing.

Scour through boutiques and do some quaint-eyed window shopping at the various shops.

Buildings along Downtown Medford

Ian Poellet, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Coop de Ville here is great to find some rustic antiques to take back home.

There are also various shops selling souvenirs for friends and relatives.

The Rogue Valley Growers Market on Thursday mornings is also a great shopping place.

Shops at Downtown Medford

Ian Poellet, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Catch a Theatrical Production by the Collaborative Theatre Project

A performing arts center hails from the Village at Medford Center called the Collaborative Theatre Project, which hosts high-quality theater plays and programming for all ages.

To encourage local artists and offer a platform to display their talents, the Collaborative Theatre Project brings professional actors, musicians, dancers, and artists together to perform full theatrical performances for the community.

They also organize public events and offer a wide variety of educational activities, including camps, classes, workshops, and outreach projects for the community.

Have Fun at the Medford Railroad Park

This huge park is spread over a large area of seven acres!

With various miniature train models and cabooses, this place gives you a real-time feel of how the railways looked like back then or how they used to work.

It is also very family-friendly, where you’ll have a great time with your kids.

Travel a fun train ride with them and make some beautiful memories.

Though the trains are miniature models, the scaled size is still vast and authentic.

The park is also a great example of recycling wastelands since it was constructed on sewer plant land.

The railroad park pavilion situated in the center hosts many elite clubs and parties.

But remember: The park is open only on the second and fourth Sundays of each month.

Explore the Natural Bridge Loop

Waters of Natural Bridge Loop Medford

JMcQ /

This exhilarating hiking trail is famous since it crosses as many as three natural bridges.

It is located in the Upper Rogue section and extends for two miles.

The first bridge you will hike on is called the Sipapu Bridge.

It is one of the most beautiful natural bridges and the second-largest natural bridge in the world.

This is what makes this hike more special.

So enjoy a short but excellent trek with your friends and family here.

Attend the Britt Music & Arts Festival

Groove to some great hip hop and rap music in this free festival.

It is usually held in the amphitheater and in the open air.

The Britt Music & Arts Festival has many historical buildings to visit.

There are also various cafes and restaurants, where you can try out some great burgers and fries.

The city is also great for shopping, as it has some high-end boutiques and local souvenirs to bring back home.

Luxurious Wine-Tasting at the DANCIN Vineyards

All the alcohol connoisseurs should definitely visit this alcoholic heaven to get a dose of some of the finest wines and alcohols in the world.

From Burgundian-style pinot noirs and chardonnay to Italian-inspired varietals, such as Barbera, Sangiovese, Syrah, and Zinfandel, you can have fun here at DANCIN Vineyards.

The tasting room has a great gallery overlooking some natural beauty.

Moreover, it is located very close to the rogue valley, making it a very accessible place.

It also has its own vineries and farms, where they source its organic produce.

They also serve some delicious dishes made of fresh produce you can try.

Watch a Show at the Craterian Theater

Outside View of  Craterian Theater

Ian Poellet, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Craterian Theater was one of its kind when it was first opened to the public before getting ruined during the Multiplex and Television times.

But, as more people started enjoying theater again, it was restored and reopened for the public in 1997.

The theater today is back with a bang and serves you a variety of theater styles on its platter.

You can watch a children’s musical, a Russian ballet or comedy shows as per your liking.

Music lovers might also love the acoustic music concerts and symphony shows hosted here.

Make sure you try to attend at least one of the shows at this regal theatre.

Stay Active at U.S. Cellular Community Park

One of the most advanced athletic facilities in the country, the U.S. Cellular Community Park has multiple world-class sports fields.

These include a professional-sized baseball field and two junior-sized ones, four softball fields, a professional soccer field, and two general sports areas for field hockey.

To date, it has hosted over 47,000 child and adult soccer games.

More than 1.5 million square feet of artificial grass are installed in the park, making it the largest municipal FieldTurf installation in the U.S.

Witness the Start of the Holiday Season in Winter Lights Festival

If you’re around Medford in the first week of December, it may be worth your time to attend this festival.

Gather the entire family and make the drive downtown to Pear Blossom Park for the yearly Winter Lights Festival.

Have your kids take photos with Santa, join a coloring contest, catch performances from area choir groups, and take part in the annual Candy Cane Hunt!

And what about the main event?

The traditional Tree Lighting Ceremony in downtown Medford officially kicks off the holiday season.

Have Fun at the Bear Creek Park

Foliage at Bear Creek Park

BrittneyLiffick /

The area is spread over almost 113 acres with plenty of fun things to do!

Since it is a dedicated wildlife refuge, three acres of the park are home to many cute and seasonal species of animals and birds.

The Bear Creek Park itself is also a fun place and great for a family outing.

Trail at Bear Creek Park

ZabMilenko at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

It has a skate park, an outdoor amphitheater, a BMX track, and many mountain biking and hiking trails where you can enjoy some sporting activities with your kids.

Also, the park is open all year round, so you do not have to worry about finding the right time or seasons to visit.

Picnic at the Prescott Park

The huge Prescott Park is one of the largest parks and is present on the East of Medford.

It spreads over an area of 1700 acres and is lovely for unwinding.

Plan a nice family picnic here or pack some beers and spend time reminiscing about old times with your friends.

There are hiking and biking trails too.

The major attraction of the park is the Roxy Ann Peak.

One of the largest and tallest peaks, it stands at the height of 3,576 feet.

People hike up to the top of this massive giant and get some great views of the breathtaking scenery.

The park remains closed during monsoons and dry seasons, so you should plan in advance if you don’t want to miss picnicking here.

Dine at Some Fine Dining Restaurants

Drinks and pizza are always a great combo, and even more so when combined with some picturesque interiors.

Kaleidoscope Pizzeria and Pub offers you this exact delight.

From wood-fired pizza to hand-crafted beers, this pub provides you with delicious food and drinks.

Order from a wide set menu has soups, salads, starters, calzone pockets, and more.

The best part? These are all made from local produce.

It is locally owned, and the restaurant itself is very rustic and has a charm to it.

Wooden ceilings and stained glass windows beautify the look.

There’s also a patio in the front.

The bar has a variety of wines, cocktails, mocktails, and craft beers in store.

Let loose, and don’t count your calories while here.

Another recommended restaurant is the Pomodori Bistro & Winebar.

Enjoy some authentic Italian fare, such as Bruschetta, Caprese salads, and different types of pasta.

Medford is thus an eclectic balance of sporty and aesthetic.

Make sure you visit this beauty in Oregon the next time you plan a trip with friends.

Throw Some Axes at Cascadia Axe Company

If you’re looking for something fun to do with your friends and family, Cascadia Axe Company is a great place to enjoy and bond together.

Whether you’re a new thrower learning to throw an axe or want to improve your throwing skills, the venue accommodates anyone with any skill level.

They have 12 targets, a viewing deck, and a full lane specifically for big axe throwing.

When you arrive, you’ll start with a safety briefing and be given some tips on how to throw the axes in several ways.

You’ll have more fun over the weekends when the Glow Throw sessions start after 6:00 p.m.

You can also pack lunch or bring snacks to the venue for some food to enjoy after the games.

Cascadia Axe Company is located at Crater Lake Highway #4.

Take the Kids to The Children’s Museum of Southern Oregon

Little ones will have tons of fun while learning at The Children’s Museum of Southern Oregon.

Right on West Main Street, this attraction offers several exhibits that encourage kids to both learn and grow through play.

The museum started in 1998 and was originally known as Kid Time, which eventually became Southern Oregon’s only museum dedicated to children’s early education in 2019.

Let your little ones crawl, touch, and learn at Lyn’s Little Learners, create their own art at The Makery, build something at the Tinker Bar, or just enjoy exploring The Gathering Grove.

Get your kids to discover the wonders of science at the Water, Wind, Sound, and Light Labs.

The Carrico Family Foundation Grand Hall features other fun interactive exhibits you can enjoy with your kids like the Farm to Table chain, the Safe + Sound Medical Center, Adventure Mountain, The Lookout, Lumber Yard, and Wildlife Rescue.

You can visit The Children’s Museum of Southern Oregon from Tuesday to Saturday.

Have Fun Leisure at the Rogue Rock Gym

Ready to scale the heights? Test your grip and accept the challenge at the Rogue Rock Gym.

This indoor wall-climbing facility is located at Samike Drive with a friendly staff to assist and give you a tutorial on how to use the equipment.

Get a day pass and have access to the climbing and workout gyms for the entire day.

You can also sign up for their climbing classes including Lead Classes to help you level up from top roping and on to lead climbing.

If you want to learn basic belay skills like putting on a harness, tying a rope, and belaying with a partner, try enrolling for the Belaying Class.

For more advanced climbing, the Technique Class gives you personalized instructions like footwork, movement, body positions, strategies, and strength training.

Rogue Rock Gym also offers youth programs like Intro to Climbing, Junior Program, Everest Club, and Team sessions.

Strike the Pins at Roxy Ann Lanes

For another fun family activity, you can head to Roxy Ann Lanes near Exit 27 just off Interstate 5.

The iconic business has been around since 1959 and remains one of Rogue Valley’s best local destinations for family fun and events.

This 24-lane bowling venue offers you a modern and clean place to enjoy some great bowling games.

You can also check scheduled leagues, play lottery games, and enjoy some drinks and food at the bar and grill.

Relax and have a great family time at Roxy Ann Lanes.

Grab a Cup of Coffee at Mellelo Coffee Roasters

Have some full, bold coffee brews to perk up your day at Mellelo Coffee Roasters.

This cafe brand was created by Salvatore Mellelo in 1992 and started as a coffee cart in the downtown Medford District.

From that humble beginning, this cafe now has two retail locations, with one located on West Main Street; the business is still true to its commitment to serving quality and truly unique coffee blends for more 20 years.

Order popular items on the menu like Dancing Elephant Shake, Espresso Madness Shake, or a Caramel Mocha Granita.

They have a variety of hot and iced coffee drinks along with non-coffee drinks like hot teas and cocoa.

If you like something cold, you can try some espresso milkshakes and assorted blended beverages, and iced drinks.

Likewise, get refreshed with smoothie flavors like Four Berry or Piña Colada, or have their signature Mellelo Energizers, made with all-natural plant-based energy drinks served iced or blended.

You can also get tasty food items like delightful coffee cakes, Cheese Pocket and Praline Danish treats, and delicious Bear Claw and Fudge Ganache Brownies.

If you want to bring home a taste of Mellelo Coffee Roasters, you can purchase assorted organic, decaf, and conventional coffee flavors in retail coffee bags, with your choice of grounded or whole beans.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Relax at the Applegate Lake

Aerial view of Applegate Lake

Victoria Ditkovsky /

This is a great place to cool off if you happen to visit Oregon in the summer.

Applegate Lake is near to California and frequented by many locals to have some fun and recreation.

The lake itself was named after the legendary pioneers, Lindsay and Jesse Applegate, who had crossed the Applegate River when they were making the Southern Emigrant Trail in the 1840s.

The waters of Applegate Lake

Drew Atkinson /

You can enjoy a wide array of activities in its cool waters, like swimming and fishing, as well as some trekking and hiking near the river banks.

The lake itself is beautiful and has some scenic locations around for the perfect photoshoot.

Visit the Crater Lake National Park

Scenic view of Crater Lake National Park

Bill45 /

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in this country and one of the huge natural lakes ever created.

It was formed because of a 7000-year-old volcanic eruption, and it rests today as a scenic spot.

Even then, it provides for some great trails to go trekking or hiking.

A gorgeous waterfall at Crater Lake National Park

Jnjphotos /

There are also excellent camping facilities available here where you can spend the night.

Light up a bonfire and have fun here as you drown your sorrows away.

View of Crater Lake National Park

Zhukova Valentyna /

Visit the Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve

View inside Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve

Eugene Kalenkovich /

Though it is located a little far away, Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve is worth a visit.

Filled with many natural wonders of rock formations and crevices, it will leave you enthralled with its beauty.

This subterranean world has a great underground location, and you have expert guides to walk you through the different rocks and formations.

Rock formations in Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve

Jeffhollett, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The adults can try out the popular discovery tour while there are other tours specially designed for kids.

There is a special site called the Cave Creek Campground, which has 17 sites.

The service is strictly on a first-come-first-serve basis, so make sure you plan ahead of time.

Stalactites formation in Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve

Eugene Kalenkovich /

Fish at Diamond Lake

The waters of Diamond Lake

AsiaTravel /

This lake was named after its discoverer, John Diamond, after he paced the Diamond Mountain.

Spend some leisurely time lazing on the lakeside and having a picnic.

Pack some sandwiches and cola and you are all set.

A dock on Diamond Lake

Checubus /

You can also combine this with low-paced fun activities, like fishing, swimming in the lake, horseback riding, hunting, and mountain biking near the banks.

You can also do some low-key canoeing and kayaking in the waters.

If you visit Medford in the winter months, you can also enjoy some great winter sports like cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, Alpine and Nordic skiing, and sled dog racing on the snow-covered lands.

Boats at Diamond Lake

Bookieman /

Hiking on the Upper and Lower Table Rocks

Daytime view of Table Rocks Medford

Sherri R. Camp /

The famous Upper and Lower Table Rocks are one of the most prominent features of the rogue valley.

It has huge monolithic rocks located near the Rogue River.

These flat-based rocks are jutted out from the river bank and situated uphill.

Landscape of Upper and Lower Table Rocks

Sherri R. Camp /

It provides for a great and refreshing hike to the top of the mountain, where the view is breathtaking — a favorite among tourists.

These majestic monolithic mesas were formed almost seven million years ago due to a massive volcanic eruption.

These were critical factors that shaped the culture and traditions of the indigenous tribes.

Lower rock trailhead at Upper and Lower Table Rocks

Little Mountain 5, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

When you visit Medford in Southern Oregon, you’ll discover that the alternatives for things to do are virtually limitless.

The center of the Rogue Valley provides a diverse range of natural environments and a strong sense of community.

The regional tastes are sure to please your taste senses.

Southern Oregon’s world-class hiking, fishing, and rafting are all waiting for you out in the great outdoors.

Explore what Forbes has dubbed a “global wine destination” and so much more!

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