West University – Eugene, OR

When people think of the West University neighborhood, they think of the University of Oregon. This neighborhood houses a high percentage of college students and was once the location of student riots in the past. As its namesake suggests, the neighborhood lies adjacent to the university, close to the center of the city. This area seeks to provide local and sustainable restaurants and markets and to promote the arts. With a high demographic of college students, numerous bars, venues, record and music stores, and other specialty shops thrive in the West University area.

Schools in West University

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

West University fills up its streets with restaurants that rival each other with sushi, vegan options and local eats. You can even walk to many of these places or take a short drive to one of Eugene's prime hotspots. The Cannery lies two blocks from the heart of the neighborhood. This small restaurant takes pride in being a full bar serving craft beer, wine and speciality cocktails. The Cannery also utilizes local products throughout its menu. The sandwiches here keep people coming. Featuring a Blackened Snapper BLT on a toasted brioche bun and house-made mayo and homemade falafel that surpasses Mediterranean restaurants, The Cannery can do it all. Check out the bloody mary, and choose one of three distinct spice levels. This establishment began as a local favorite but transformed into a must-stop for visitors. Beginning as a food cart, Cornbread Cafe expanded into a restaurant after high demand. This eatery thrives not only for using 90 percent organic ingredients but for providing vegan comfort foods that even meat-eaters adore. The menu allows you to build your own meal, picking any one of the signature entrees and pairing it with two sides. Though the Barbecue Seitan will satisfy your Southern meat cravings, the Mac Uncheese, made with an award-winning, cashew-based sauce, continues to give Cornbread Cafe acclaim. Step into this diner-like restaurant for hard-to-find and delicious meat alternatives. If you're looking for a dive frequented by locals, then step into New Max's Tavern. Featuring more than just good drinks and live music, New Max's Tavern gives away fresh popcorn and table games available upon request. This place fills up with college students after 11 p.m., which appeals to those looking for crowds but results in a longer wait time at the bar. Drinks also increase in price as the night progresses. New Max's Tavern sits less than a block away from the West University neighborhood making it an easy place to visit, but be wary of walking home too late.

History & Culture

Called Eugene City until 1889 when the town shortened its name to Eugene, this neighborhood began as a small trading post. In the 1970s, a student protest resulted in the Oregon Experiment, making Eugene famous for community involvement in city planning. Since 1960, hippie counterculture thrived here. This desire to promote local business, the arts and outdoor activities has given credit to Eugene's slogan: “A Great City for the Arts & Outdoors.” The Saturday Market began in 1970 and runs from April to November every year. Vendors bring their own grown or created items to sell, making it the best avenue to show and see the local arts community. Located on the university campus, find the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Come to learn about Oregon's history via geological, sculptural and mixed-media exhibits. Enter for $5, or ask about family rates.


Eugene's community-based city planning results in bike lanes throughout the city. Business locations also cater to pedestrians, with grocery stores, restaurants and shopping areas placed within walking distance. To travel over a mile, residents utilize the Lane Transit District, which receives awards for being one of the most outstanding public transportation systems. The Lane Transit District operates during the day only and has routes to and from West University to your destination of choice. A day pass costs $3.50, and the LTD also offers 10-ride, monthly and 3-month bus passes. For special community or university-related events, the Autzen Express Shuttle gives round trip rides from nine major stops for only $3.50. Though the West University area has several taxi cabs companies within a 1-mile radius, Bio Taxi receives the best reviews for reliability. Try out Cascadia Cabs for a unique experience on one of its pedicabs, a ride powered by a cyclist to your desired location. You can also use the Uber app to locate a driver.


West University's cost of living towers 8 percent over the Eugene city average. If you ride your bike along one of the city's many bike lanes, you can travel to the city center for free. A bus ride will cost you $3.50. A one-bedroom residence rents for about $607. A pint of beer will cost between $4 to $6, while gas prices sit about 8 percent over the national average.


Though specialty shops, boutiques, antiques stores and other shopping areas sprinkle the Eugene map, several shops sit only half a mile from West University. Passionflower Design treats the city with jewelry, books, accessories, housewares and gifts. This store also specializes in designing flower arrangements. Passionflower Design features pendants modeled after small vintage magnifying glasses and body parts and real butterfly wing earrings and necklaces. Quirky gifts such as flasks in the shape of fish, seed-saving kits, sets of butterfly wings, essential oil mixes and homemade jams line the shelves of this shop. A loft above the store contains the clothing section, with styles and designs that continue the out-of-the-ordinary feel of the entire store. Only two blocks away from the heart of West University, House of Records holds one of the most diverse and extensive collection of records in Eugene. Consisting of mainly underground and classic music, this record store caters to musicians. The staff delights in answering most questions about music. Residents visit several grocery stores, but the closest to the neighborhood include Little's Market, the Kiva, Market of Choice and Growers Market. Little's Market achieved popularity for its walkable location and late-night hours. More of a convenience store, this place contains very basic groceries and a beer and wine section. Market of Choice and Grower's Market sit nearly a mile away, but many locals favor the Kiva. The Lane County Farmers Market splits into five different markets placed in three separate locations determined by day, each open according to its own monthly hours of operation. The Thursday Market runs from June until September, while the Saturday Market runs from April until November. Be aware of this, and check the website for which markets are in season before heading out to stock up on farm-fresh produce and flowers.


Though originally shut down after high instances of crime, University Park remains a classic spot for recreation. This small park features a basketball court, picnic tables, playground and a field large enough for Frisbee or football. Once called West University Park, the name changed when the original park was moved to a location with better visibility. About a mile north of West University lies Skinner Butte Park, one of the more frequented spots of the city. Called the “birthplace of Eugene,” this park supplies a large playground for the kids, walking and biking trails, a community garden and encourages rock climbing and hiking for the more athletic. Dogs must remain on leash. As one of the nicest parks in Eugene, patrons sometimes come to just sit and enjoy the natural beauty. This park even hosts concerts. Alton Baker Dog Park allows your dogs to run free off-leash. Let your dogs run between two large enclosed areas with kiddie pools and grass. Owners should clean up after their pets, but rock walkways provide patrons with wheelchair accessible paths free of animal waste. This park lies within the Alton Baker Park, which provides patrons with BMX, walking and cycling trails, scenic areas, disc golf course and open fields for game play. Children come for the Eugene Children's Science Museum, also located in the park, which features a planetarium, computer lab and rotating exhibits.
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