25 Best Things to Do in Springfield, OR

Springfield, OR
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Springfield is a city in Lane County, Oregon.

As the third-largest city in the state, after Portland and Eugene, it recorded a population of 63,365 in the 2016 census.

Springfield is home to Lane Community College and the University of Oregon's Springfield campus.

There are plenty of things to do in this vibrant community.

Here are the best things to do in Springfield, OR:

Take a Scenic Drive Down the McKenzie River

The waters of McKenzie River
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The McKenzie River is a beautiful drive in Oregon.

The river starts from the high peaks of the Cascade Mountains and flows down to Eugene.

There are many spots to pull off and take a break or go for a hike.

The McKenzie River is also a great place for fishing.

Rocky waters of McKenzie River
Rhianna Brandon / Shutterstock.com

This river hosts a lot of fish, from small trout to large salmon.

There are also plenty of places to camp, making it the perfect destination for an overnight trip.

The McKenzie River begins in the Cascade Mountains and flows for about 50 miles until it joins the Willamette River.

An old man sailing on his boat in McKenzie River
Jamie Hooper / Shutterstock.com

Along the way, there are several waterfalls and swimming holes to enjoy.

You can also hike, bike, or paddleboard on the river.

View Art Exhibits at the Emerald Art Center

If you love visual arts, a visit to the Emerald Art Center is a worthwhile trip for you.

This art center is on Main Street and provides opportunities for artists to share their works through several programs.

Originally known as the Emerald Empire Art Association which started in 1957, the institution now has a growing art collection, more art exhibits, a more interactive art community, and greater opportunities to encourage kids to take interest in arts.

They also offer free open studios both for members and non-members.

Catch the Second Friday Art Walk hosted by the center and take a self-guided tour to see various artists while enjoying the music and some refreshments.

You can also sign up for Art Classes, Workshops, and let your kids join the Youth Art Camps during the summer.

By the way, don’t forget to take a picture of the Springfield's Simpson Mural and pose for some photos on the Simpson's Couch inside the Emerald Art Center.

Enjoy Fun Water Activities at Lively Park’s Splash!

For fun pool activities you can enjoy with the family, you can head out to Splash! at Lively Park.

Right on Thurston Road beside Lively Park, this indoor water park features several pool areas where you’ll have lots of splashing fun.

Ride the waters at the 7-deep wave pool or zoom down the water slide.

Little ones aged six and under will have a great time at the shallow Kiddie pool.

If you’re an expert swimmer and want to go for some laps, the six-lane pool is perfect for practicing those strokes.

The water park also has an adult spa if you want to relax; likewise, you can also enjoy sunbathing on the outdoor sun deck.

Take your family to Splash! at Lively Park.

Go for an Adventure Hike along Thurston Hills Natural Area

Trek your way to Thurston Hills Natural Area’s scenic trail routes.

This 665-acre attraction is accessible from the North Trailhead just south of McKenzie Highway east of the city.

Opened to the public in 2017, the area was dedicated to outdoor recreation and the restoration of surrounding habitats.

Today, the growing trail system spans more than 6 miles providing a scenic trail for hikers, nature enthusiasts, and mountain bikers.

If you’ll go mountain biking, there are two trails you can access for a downhill ride; the trails are the first natural surface trails in the region and are good for both beginner and intermediate mountain bikers.

While hiking, observe the different habitats which include oak savannas and prairies, conifer forests, mixed forests, and oak woodlands, along with cliffs and rocky outcrops.

These habitats are home to plenty of plant species native to the area and wildlife like the Western bluebird and Lewis’ woodpecker.

Thurston Hills Natural Area also offers several amenities on the trailhead like restrooms, picnic tables, a water station area, an information kiosk, and a bike cleaning and repair station to help you on your trail adventure.

Visit the Historic Dorris Ranch

The Dorris Ranch is recognized as the country’s first commercial filbert nut orchard that still runs to this day.

This living history farm has the same name on its street and also serves as the west entry point of the four-mile Middle Fork Path.

It was also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

You can see the rows of filbert trees that survived for decades along with historic buildings used during the time George Dorris established the orchard.

Stroll the trails and enjoy the picturesque nature area from several viewpoints.

You can also enjoy a picnic with your family here, and learn a thing or two about the orchard at the History Village.

The Dorris Ranch is also a popular venue for special events like weddings.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Springfield Mill Race

The Springfield Mill Race offers you more nature sites and outdoor activities to explore.

This waterway spans almost three miles and begins along the Willamette River forest on the east side of the city going to the northwest areas passing through the agricultural, industrial, and downtown areas, then back again to Willamette River on Island Park.

There are four areas where you can access the location including the 14-acre Mill Race Park which features an open play area and a boat ramp to launch your boat for fishing.

The Booth-Kelly Trailhead to Mill Race Path runs more than two miles long and offers trailheads for hiking.

Another trail is the Jasper Road Trailhead to Mill Race Path, which is also an ideal hiking and biking route.

Likewise, the Clearwater Park area gives other opportunities for outdoor activities like disc golf, viewing scenic spots, fishing, and access to the Equestrian trail.

You’ll surely spot some wildlife and find an array of plant varieties along Springfield Mill Race, too.

Make Several Stops at Springfield’s Downtown Art Alley

You wouldn’t get enough of the city’s artsy vibes with over 30 art stops at downtown Art Alley.

Feast your eyes on larger-than-life artworks from colorful murals to outdoor sculptures, funky storm drain art, along with interesting gallery exhibits.

Made possible by the efforts of the Springfield Arts Commission, the City Council, along with several public and private institutions, you’ll have a glimpse of the city’s life and culture through these artworks.

Check out some of the murals like “The Sun” by Mary Beth Llorens on Pioneer Parkway East and South A Street, or “The SUB Mural” by Vesta Snyder and “The Patriot” by Mike Rickard, which are both on Main Street, and there are several more along the downtown streets.

Take some steps along C Street and G Street to see the UpStream Art storm drain murals.

Then, appreciate the artistic sculptures on South A & South Mill Streets like Devin Laurence Field’s “Drift Boat” or the old Statehood Memorial created by Charles Forrester built during the 1960s.

Likewise, you’ll get to catch the “Rain Funnel” by Linda Ethier and Meyer/Reed on the LTD Station, along with eight other sculpture pieces dotted around the area.

There are more art pieces to see at Springfield’s Art Alley with exhibits and collections displayed at Emerald Art Center, Malerische Gallery, City Hall & Young Artists Galleries, Springfield Museum, the Tronson Gallery of Contemporary Art, and Ditch Projects.

Taste a Variety of Delicious Food and Drinks at PublicHouse

Hang out with your friends and family any time of the week at PublicHouse.

This food and bar joint is located on a former church building on A Street and offers indoor and open-air dining.

The place is also pet-friendly so you can bring along your furry family member, too.

Find what suits your craving from food pods serving a variety of good eats, grab beers at the hall and outdoor bar, or get a drink at the Whiskey Lab.

If you love seafood, Fisherman’s Market serves you mouth-watering seafood favorites like Clam Chowder, Cajun Crawfish Pie, and Lobster Mac; your furbabies will also enjoy some House-Smoked Salmon Skin Treats.

Try Asian-inspired and poke dishes by Moi Poki Grill like Thai Basil Chicken and Tofu, Korean Barbecue Ribs, or servings of Malaysian Curry and Tofu, and so much more.

Likewise, NW Burgers’ are always a hit, made with fresh local beef and homemade dressings and sauces.

Have delicious hot pizzas with homemade pizza sauces, then cooked and served in cast-iron pans by Pizza Cues, or get Squacho's gourmet chili, loaded chili fries, and other Tex-Mex specialties.

You can also enjoy other food items at PublicHouse like O’My! Mini Donuts’ hot and fresh donuts and drink creations by Sweet Bay Shaved Ice.

Catch Entertaining Shows at the Richard E. Wildish Community Theater

Enjoy an array of entertainment shows featured at the Wildish Community Theater.

This 283-seat theater venue is located on Main Street and was opened in 2006.

The theater is also home to the region’s most popular arts organizations namely The Academy of Ballet Fantastique, Chamber Music Amici, Rose Children’s Theater, and Swing Shift Jazz Orchestra.

Catch amazing stage productions, musical concerts, and band performances at the theater.

Relax and enjoy watching with the theater’s comfortable seating and excellent acoustics.

To see upcoming events and show schedules and purchase your tickets, you can check out their website.

You can also contribute by making donations to the Richard E. Wildish Community Theater.

Play Hours of Golf at Pine Ridge Golf Club

Book a tee time and enjoy rounds of golf at Pine Ridge Golf Club.

This 18-hole golf venue is on Sunderman Road and features a covered driving range, putting green, and a practice area.

At any skill level, you’ll enjoy playing on the fairways with different challenges to level up your game.

You’ll also have a relaxing, scenic backdrop that makes your golf game more pleasurable.

Need lessons to improve your swings? You can inquire and schedule golfing lessons at the Pro Shop.

While you’re at the shop, you can also check out the wide range of quality golf equipment and apparel to complement your game.

After the game, it’s time to relax and enjoy delicious gourmet meals at the Mohawk Bar and Grill.

You’ll definitely have a wonderful golfing experience at Pine Ridge Golf Club.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore Skinner Butte Park

People strolling around the Skinner Butte Park
Jamie Hooper / Shutterstock.com

Skinner Butte Park is located in the heart of Eugene, Oregon.

It's an excellent place for a picnic, a hike, or to relax and take in the area's natural beauty.

There are also great views of the city and the Willamette River.

The park is named for Judge Jesse Skinner, an early advocate for Eugene's parks and open spaces.

A man cling the Vertical column rock at Skinner Butte Park
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The park offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside.

The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

A lonely bench with beautiful autumn leaves in the background at Skinner Butte Park
Jamie Hooper / Shutterstock.com

There is no admission fee, and parking is free. Dogs are allowed in the park but must be on a leash at all times.

The park was created in the 1970s and has been a popular destination.

Check Out the Oregon Caves National Monument

The view inside Oregon Caves National Monument
Eugene Kalenkovich / Shutterstock.com

Oregon Caves National Monument is a United States National Monument and the only National Monument in Oregon.

The caves are in the Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon, about 20 miles (32 km) east of the California border.

The monument consists of two units, the Oregon Caves Historic District and the Chateau at the Oregon Caves.

A party of settlers from nearby Jacksonville discovered the caves in 1874.

It became a tourist destination soon afterward.

Rock formations in Oregon Caves National Monument
SamanthaZurbrick / Shutterstock.com

Citizens built the first road to the caves in 1903.

The park was established on August 21, 1923.

The Oregon Caves Historic District, which includes the caves and the associated visitor facilities, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The Chateau at the Oregon Caves, a National Historic Landmark, is a stone building from 1932 designed as a residence and tourist facility for the caves.

The National Register of Historic Places added it to the record in 1978.

Closer details of Oregon Caves National Monument's rock formation
Eugene Kalenkovich / Shutterstock.com

Spend a Day at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts

Exterior of Hult Center for the Performing Arts
User:Cacophony, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hult Center for the Performing Arts was established in 1982.

Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen designed the world-class performing arts center in Eugene, Oregon.

Eugene is home to great arts organizations, including the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Opera, and the Eugene Ballet Company.

The center also hosts a variety of other performances, including concerts, plays, and dance recitals.

Daytime view of Hult Center for the Performing Arts' exterior
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The center hosts performances from the Eugene Symphony, the Eugene Ballet, the Eugene Opera, and the Oregon Bach Festival.

The Silva Concert Hall and the Soreng Theatre also house two theaters.

If you're looking for an exciting and unique experience, catch a show at the Hult Center.

There's always something new and exciting happening there, so you're sure to find a performance that interests you.

Go Hiking in Skinner Butte Park

A rock climber at Skinner Butte Park
Underawesternsky / Shutterstock.com

Skinner Butte Park is a great place to go hiking.

The park is also a popular spot for bird watching and picnicking.

The park is in Eugene, Oregon, and offers a variety of trails that range from easy to complex.

The park is also close to downtown Eugene, so it's easy to get to.

Children's playground at the bottom of Skinner Butte Park
Jamie Hooper / Shutterstock.com

The park has many different trails that you can hike, and it's a great way to get some exercise and enjoy nature.

The park has a playground, a basketball court, and a dog park.

The park is also home to the Lane County Farmers' Market every Wednesday from May to October.

It is also the location of Eugene's City Hall and public library.

Skinner Butte Park is definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a great place to go hiking.

Curvy road at  Skinner Butte Park
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Visit the Willamette Valley Wine Country

Scenic view of Willamette Valley Wine Country
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The Willamette Valley is in the northwestern corner of Oregon and is world-renowned for its wine production.

It is home to over 250 wineries and produces some of its best pinot noir wines.

The valley's rich soil and temperate climate make it an ideal place for grape cultivation.

The first vines were planted in the Willamette Valley in the 1840s.

Arrow sign of Willamette Valley Wine Country
Gustavo Frazao / Shutterstock.com

Then, the wine industry began to flourish in the 1960s.

Today, the valley is one of the most famous wine-producing regions in the world.

The valley's wineries are known for their high quality and innovative wines.

Top view of Willamette Valley
Pernelle Voyage / Shutterstock.com

The Willamette Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) is the largest wine appellation in Oregon, encompassing more than 1,900 square miles.

The valley’s climate and soil are perfect for growing Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and other grape varietals.

Final Thoughts

There are so many great things to do in Springfield, OR!

From hiking and biking in the beautiful countryside to enjoy an evening out in the charming downtown district, there's something for everyone in this welcoming city.

Spend some time here if you're looking for a fun and vibrant small town to explore.

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