Set at the junction of Oregon’s McKenzie and Willamette Rivers, Eugene is a university city with recent history rooted in the hippie movement and counterculture. The Eugene Saturday Market and the Oregon Country Fair are hippie institutions that continue to thrive into their fifth decade, and help perpetuate progressive ideas like ethical sourcing, knowledge-sharing, gifting and environmental awareness. The arts are also taken seriously in Eugene, as the imposing Hult Center and its busy calendar will prove. Beyond Eugene the Willamette Valley is one of America’s most expansive and idyllic wine regions, home to hundreds of vineyards.
1. Eugene Saturday Market
Proof positive that the counterculture lives on in Eugene, this craft market at Park Blocks has been around since 1970 and is held all day long on Saturdays from April to November. It’s as much a social gathering as a commercial enterprise and you can easily make a day of it, catching some live music, getting a bite at the international food court and browsing the wares of the 200 local artisans who pitch up here. Not strictly part of this market, but just across the street is a weekly farmers’ market, where you can buy fresh produce cultivated in the Willamette Valley.