Eugene/Springfield supports a broad array of musical activities - professional symphony and chamber orchestras, opera and ballet companies, musical theater groups, numerous jazz ensembles, as well as a steady stream of nationally and internationally known guest artists. School of Music and Dance faculty and students play a prominent role in many of these activities, thus gaining valuable experience and exposure in their profession. In addition, the School of Music and Dance offers the community a wide variety of concerts, classes, workshops, and other events. Eugene is also the home of the highly regarded Hult Center for the Performing Arts.
Eugene is paradoxical: It's a mid-sized city (population 142,185) with big-city culture and a relaxed, small-town feel.
Eugene is natural and beautiful: Lush and green, the city nestles between two mountain ranges at the junction of the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers, with an abundance of parks, trails, tall trees, flowers, and rippling water.
Eugene is cultural: The Hult Center for the Performing Arts brings in performers such as Riverdance, Itzak Perlman, Sawyer Brown, the Indigo Girls, and Tracy Chapman. The Hult is also the performance home for the Dance Theatre of Oregon, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene Concert Choir, Eugene Opera, Eugene Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, Oregon Festival of American Music, and Oregon Mozart Players. Cuthbert Amphitheater in Alton Baker Park is the venue for popular music concerts on warm summer evenings. Museums, theaters, art galleries and festivals, music clubs, and concerts in the parks provide ample diversion.
Eugene is multicultural: The birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated with a long list of events. The Oregon Asian Celebration, Fiesta Latina-Cinco de Mayo, the Asian Kite Festival, and the Japanese Obon and Taiko Drum Festival are all held in Eugene, while Springfield hosts the Ukrainian Day festival and Junction City, the Scandinavian Festival.
Eugene is active and athletic: Bodies are in motion hiking, biking, skating, canoeing, rafting, kayaking, running, swimming, rock climbing, and fishing . . . and that's just in town. Sailboats and sailboarders zip across the water at nearby Fern Ridge Reservoir, while skiers and snowboarders test the powder at Willamette Pass, about an hour away. When people slow down long enough, they watch the UO Ducks play football at Autzen Stadium and cheer the basketball team at Matthew Knight Arena. Track-and-field enthusiasts check out Olympic contenders at Hayward Field, while baseball lovers follow the Eugene Emeralds at Civic Stadium.
Eugene is quirky, colorful, fun, different: A Slug Queen reigns over the Eugene Celebration, a weekend when downtown streets are blocked to traffic for a parade, exotic food booths, music, art, and athletic events; it's a time for celebrating life in all its diversity. The open-air Saturday Market is a mini-celebration from spring through fall, with arts, crafts, music, and food. Tiedyed attire is optional.
Eugene is convenient, Part I: All the local fun stuff is within easy reach of campus by foot, bike, or bus. The bus system is free to UO students, and Eugene is bike friendly. Other cities have a rush hour; Eugene has a rush minute.
Eugene is convenient, Part II: The Pacific Ocean—with miles of unspoiled public beaches, rocky cliffs, tidepools, sand dunes, sea lions, and migrating whales—is about an hour's drive west. The Cascade Mountain Range—with ancient forests and wild rivers, elk and eagles, and hiking and ski trails—is about the same distance east. Portland, home of the Trail Blazers, is about 110 miles north, and the Eugene Airport provides direct service to Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, and Reno.