Eugene Neighborhood Guide
Eugene is nestled in the southern reaches of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, with the Coastal range to the west and Cascades range to the east. The Willamette has long been renowned for its agriculture, producing a sizable portion of the world’s hazelnuts and grass seed. In recent years, a growing number of vineyards are making it a wine region to rival the Napa Valley’s finest.
Eugene’s neighborhoods can basically be divided into two quadrants: North Eugene and South Eugene. South Eugene, and in particular the Southeast, is the city’s cultural heart with Downtown, the University of Oregon, and Eugene’s renowned Whiteaker District. North Eugene is the place to head for a more typical suburban living experience, with the Southernmost reaches of town provide abundant hills, trees, and seclusion. Take a look around with us as we guide you through Eugene’s neighborhoods.
(Want to know our picks for Eugene’s Top 5 Neighborhoods? Click here and we’ll let you know.)
Looking for a neighborhood with great walkability and easy access both to shopping and nature? This one’s for you!
The neighborhood’s most prominent feature is Amazon Park, one of Eugene’s largest city parks. It features a swimming pool, community center, dog park, paved bike and walking paths, and bark-mulch trails popular with runners. Amazon Creek, with headwaters located in the hills to the south, flows through the park and onward into downtown and out west. There are shops and restaurants along 24th Avenue, and South Eugene High School, consistently ranked as one of Oregon’s top public high schools, is just north.
Property values are a little steeper than other areas, but the above amenities make homes here well worth the asking price.
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The Bethel neighborhood, one of Eugene’s largest, is home to a diverse range of properties. More affordable homes, suitable for first-time homeowners, are located closer to the main traffic arteries, but you’ll also find pockets of higher-end properties.
Townhouses also represent a significant portion of Bethel real estate. On the whole, prices are somewhat below the median for Eugene. Don’t overlook Bethel in favor of glitzier locales, though. Especially for young families, this is a neighborhood worth your consideration.
About a quarter of Bethel’s residents are married couples with children, and the area features several larger parks and a handful of smaller ones. Golden Gardens Park to the north features ponds, walking paths, and natural scenery. Willamette High School is centrally located, while the nearby Echo Hollow Park features a pool, tennis courts, and all the features you’d expect from a good-sized city park.
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The Churchill neighborhood feeds into Churchill High School, one of Eugene’s five public high schools. The flatlands to the north of the school feature neighborhoods with a secluded, somewhat suburban feeling.
These homes are perfect for families who want slightly lower than median property rates in a pleasant setting away from the bustle of the city center. At the same time, Eugene’s longest shopping corridor, West 11th Ave., is located just to the north. So is an extensive bike and pedestrian path following Amazon Creek east and west.
Going up into the hills, one finds condominiums, some slightly older houses, and a number of more recent housing developments on the luxury end of the spectrum. Descend to the south and you’ll find idyllic country roads perfect for longer-distance cycling and larger rural plots of land. This area is also home to some of the region’s finest wineries, contributing to the Willamette Valley’s growing viticultural presence.
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The Cal Young neighborhood on the north side of the Willamette River is one of Eugene’s largest and also most desirable neighborhoods, especially for families. This is a place to live the American dream while still having easy access to the amenities and unique culture of the urban center further south.
Cal Young features Oakway Center, one of Eugene’s most popular shopping complexes and a site of several excellent restaurants, as well as Valley River Center, the city’s only shopping mall and home to its cinema multiplex. Paved paths along the Willamette River are a haven for cyclists and dog-walkers, while a number of parks, open spaces, and even several golf courses provide plenty of opportunities for recreation. Sheldon High School and sports park are centrally located.
South of the Beltline Highway lies the Ferry Street Bridge neighborhood, one of Eugene’s most popular among young families with plenty of homes available in the $300 and $400k range. You’ll also find pockets of more exclusive homes along the river and the Eugene Country Club. To the north, you’ll find North Gilham, which features new developments more on the luxury side of the spectrum along with less expensive homes.
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Along the central southern side of Eugene lies a woodland wonderland separated from the urban bustle by high hills and lush trees. You’ll think that you’ve driven far out in the countryside, but really, the heart of the city is just a few minutes’ drive away.
Here, you’ll find some homes with a more rustic aesthetic, seeming to blend right into the woods, and others with a more modern, elegant look. For hikers, there’s easy access to the Ridgeline trail system. Prices tend toward the higher end of Eugene properties, but more affordable houses do come up every now and then.
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Looking for an urban living experience without some of the pitfalls of larger cities, like crime, heavy traffic, and a fragmented community? Downtown Eugene may be just the place for you.
Through the past few years, developers and city planners have poured a ton of energy into revitalizing downtown, and their efforts show. Younger singles and new parents are moving here in increasing numbers, while new restaurants, shops, bars, tattoo parlors, movie theaters and food carts have brought more and more pedestrians downtown.
The 5th Street Market is great for somewhat higher-end shopping, restaurants, and salons. Eugene standbys like the Saturday Market, the Hult Center for Performing Arts, and numerous theater companies, art galleries, music venues and event spaces continue to enliven the whole city. Eugene Station provides a public transportation hub for all of Eugene, Springfield, and beyond, and the public library just across the street is one of the state’s finest.
Living downtown doesn’t just give you access to Eugene’s urban center though. You’ll also have close access to the Willamette River, with its many riverfront parks, and Skinner’s Butte to the north, perfect for catching views of the whole city. Non-rentals, though, are pretty hard to come by, and when they do come up, tend toward the pricier side of Eugene real estate.
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Consistently ranked as one of Eugene’s top neighborhoods, the Fairmount neighborhood’s focal point is Hendrick’s Park, an example of an urban park that feels nothing like an urban park. A system of unpaved trails provides secluded walks along the southern section, while the park’s north side features a renowned rhododendron garden, a must-see in late Spring. As if that wasn’t enough, there are three smaller parks scattered through the neighborhood.
Homes are generally priced toward the higher-end, but fixer-uppers can sometimes be snagged for less. Want to step out of the woods and into the bustle? The University of Oregon campus is just a short hop west, and you’ll have easy access to the Matthew Knight Arena, home of the UO basketball team and venue for world-renowned musical acts and other performers.
The section just south of the University is home to some of the city’s finest homes, popular with U of O professors and administrators and quite secluded from the student housing vibe further west. Franklin Boulevard to the north provides access to restaurants and a Market of Choice, a well-loved Oregon chain of higher-end supermarkets.
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Far West Neighborhood
The Far West neighborhood is no longer as far or as West as it was in the mid 1900s, when this was the very edge of the city. But the name has stuck, as has its reputation as a working-class neighborhood.
Recent years have seen property values rising, and young families are moving into the area in increasing numbers, but prices still fall well below average for Eugene. It would be a shame to overlook the neighborhood though, even if you aren’t necessarily on a budget. Statistically Eugene’s most diverse neighborhood, the Far West features a tightly-knit group of neighbors and a high proportion of working families.
Westmoreland Park, just to the south of the neighborhood, has a playground, sports fields, tennis courts, and a frisbee golf course. Nearby bike paths running both east toward downtown and west provide convenience for cyclists, while public transportation runs down 18th Avenue toward downtown and the University of Oregon campus. While the area doesn’t have a high concentration of stores and restaurants, an Albertsons, Bi-Mart, and several eateries are easily accessible along the neighborhood’s perimeter.
One of Eugene’s up-and-coming neighborhoods, the Friendly neighborhood features a popular organic grocery store, tea tasting room, several food carts with an outdoor pizza oven, and an experimental townhouse mini-community. In the neighborhood’s center is Washington Park, a medium-sized park with a baseball field, tennis courts, water park and community center.
Median home prices are slighly below the average for Eugene, but College Hill to the east and the hills to the south feature higher-end properties with a more secluded vibe. Wherever you land, and whether you’re on foot, bicycle, or in a car, it doesn’t get much more central than the Friendly neighborhood.
The University of Oregon campus is just east, while downtown is just to the north. To the southeast, a plethora of shopping opportunities await along Willamette Street with close access to Amazon Park, one of the city’s largest parks.
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Located just to the north of the University of Oregon and Willamette River, the Harlow neighborhood is not to be overlooked in any Eugene home search. The city’s largest public park, Alton Baker Park, is located here, with easy access to the Willamette River bike and pedestrian path. For shopping, Eugene’s only mall, Valley River Center is just west.
Like college football? Then you’re probably familiar with the Oregon Ducks. Their home, the renowned Autzen Stadium, sits on the south side of the Harlow neighborhood, so you can avoid the hassle of parking or just enjoy the ambiance from your house. Harlow also features the lowest population density of any area in Eugene, which means plenty of open space, but also prices moving toward the higher end of what Eugene has to offer.
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Why choose between the convenience of an urban city center and the close-knit community of a neighborhood when you can have both? If you’re looking for proximity to downtown and all that it has to offer without actually being downtown, the Jefferson Westside neighborhood might be the destination for you.
There’s a definite walking and biking vibe here, with several dedicated biking streets and a bike path heading west from downtown along Amazon Creek. Several smaller parks provide playgrounds and open spaces for frisbee, badminton, or picnics, and the northwest side of the neighborhood features restaurants and Eugene’s best-loved patisserie, Sweet Life. Jefferson Westside features many of Eugene’s oldest homes, with prices ranging along a wide spectrum suitable for first-time home buyers and professionals alike.
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Don’t be fooled by the name: though the Industrial Corridor neighborhood is indeed home to some of Eugene’s industries, the area is typified more by open spaces and a population density less than half of the city average. A whopping one third of homes are owned by married couples with children, making this a great space for young families seeking a more suburban living experience.
The Eugene City Airport is located just to the northwest, making flying out and picking up visitors a snap, and Fern Ridge Lake to the west is a boater’s, swimmer’s, or fisher’s dream. Easy access to Interstate 5 also lets you beat some of the city traffic heading north toward Corvallis, Salem, and Portland. Real estate prices range from below average to a bit above average for Eugene.
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Laurel Hill Valley
Tucked into the hills on the easternmost portion of the city, the upper sections of Laurel Hill Valley feature some of the most exclusive real estate in Eugene. Hendricks Park, one of Eugene’s largest and most beautiful, is accessible just to the west.
Go closer to Franklin Boulevard and the Eugene/Springfield boundary however, and there are certainly more affordable homes to be found, with property values well below the average for Eugene.
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River Road follows, appropriately enough, along the Willamette River. It’s a popular choice for working families, featuring properties on the more affordable end of the spectrum but with a strong sense of the Eugene vibe.
Going further north toward the Santa Clara neighborhood, you’ll find larger lots with a handful of communal housing projects, urban farms, and spiritual communities. The river to the east features a bike path offering easy access to downtown, several large riverfront parks, and Valley River Center, Eugene’s only shopping mall. To the west, you’ll find plenty of shopping and restaurants.
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Eugene’s northernmost neighborhood definitely has a more suburban feel. Just to the north, the city gives way to countryside with a number of organic farms.
That doesn’t mean Santa Clara is isolated, however. Two bus routes provide easy North-South access to the heart of the city, and the neighborhood features some of the best biking in Eugene. Dedicated bike lanes along River Road take you from the north end of the neighborhood to the south and beyond, and nearby River Loop #1 route provides some of the loveliest rural cycling in the whole region. Several developed and undeveloped parks, open spaces, and creeks running through the area further enhance the quality of life.
There’s plenty of shopping along the south section and North Eugene High School to the southeast. Homes somewhat below the average price for Eugene are available, but so are spendier properties. Whether you’re raising a family or just looking to get closer to the land, Santa Clara may be the neighborhood for you.
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Buyers looking to head for the hills without sacrificing easy access to the shops, restaurants, and parks of South Eugene would do well to consider the Southeast neighborhood.
The neighborhood’s main artery to the west is Fox Hollow Road, ascending toward the base of Eugene landmark Spencer’s Butte. Relatively affordable homes can certainly be found closer to the city-facing side of the neighborhood, while more seclusion, thicker forests and larger lots lead to higher-end properties deeper in the hills.
Dillard Road to the east has an even more rural feeling, while Spring Boulevard on the northeastern side features some of Eugene’s most luxurious homes, with easy access to Lane Community College and Interstate 5 but minimal noise.
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In a sense, “trainsong” is a polite euphemism: the trains that pass through this corridor do blow their horns, but locals will tell you that you quickly get used to it. And the close—but not too close—presence of railroad tracks makes for property values well below the median for Eugene.
Young families and first-time buyers could find their perfect home here. The Bethel neighborhood just the west contains a number of schools, a community center, shopping, and some of Eugene’s finest parks. The Willamette River, with its own parks and cycling and pedestrian paths, is just east.
The West Eugene neighborhood consists mainly of commercial and smaller-scale industrial real estate with sprawling wetlands, but there is a residential presence here too. The area has some of Eugene’s lowest population density, making for sizable lots, and properties can be had for well below the city average.
Access to shopping and restaurants is a given here, but you’ll also find several smaller parks and a paved bike path along Amazon Creek. Eugene recently installed a rapid-service bus line running east and west along West 11th Avenue, making access to downtown to the east and shopping to the west a piece of cake.
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The West University neighborhood is, in brief, a college neighborhood, with a number of investment properties selling at well above the area average. Late night weekend parties and an itinerant population probably aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but “investment” is a key word here. If your own offspring are starting school at the University of Oregon, finding a property west of the university not only takes care of their student housing but provides a potentially lucrative income stream, with housing prices continuing to climb.
At the same time, the neighborhood could also be perfect for single professionals or university employees who care about walkability and access to mass transit. An ever-growing and ever-diversifying assortment of restaurants line 13th avenue on the neighborhood’s northern flank, while 18th Avenue to the south features restaurants and a supermarket. Downtown is easily accessible just to the north.
“One of the weirdest neighborhoods in America” is a phrase national media use to describe the Whiteaker, or “Whit” as locals call it. Intrigued? Good, because there’s a whole lot here that you likely won’t find in a single place most anywhere else.
From food carts to cooperative housing, organic grocery stores, pot shops, cafes, hole-in-the-wall eateries, pedal-powered beer tours, a Japanese-style whiskey bar and restaurant, impromptu art installations, and nationally renowned microbreweries such as Ninkasi Brewing, the Whiteaker is not only unique, it’s one of the most happening places in Eugene. It’s also one of Eugene’s most diverse neighborhoods.
The neighborhood’s southern flank, along 6th Avenue, features larger grocery stores, including a Mexican supermarket, and other shops and chain restaurants. The Willamette River, with its many riverfront parks is just north, and paved riverside bike and walking paths provide easy access to downtown to the east. With its growing cultural cachet, property values for the neighborhood as a whole are on the rise, though inexpensive housing can still be found on the outskirts of all the action.