Things To Do In Ashland Oregon
The following is a “must-see/do” list for things to do in Ashland Oregon for first-time visitors. By exploring these options, we feel confident that you will leave Ashland with a much better feel for it – and that you will sincerely enjoy your visit. This list could be much longer as there is so much to do and so much to love about Ashland – so we cheated a bit and added some additional “Alternative Options” to our 10 items. We hope you have the time to see and do as many things to do in Ashland Oregon of these as possible…enjoy!
Visit Lithia Park
Lithia Park typifies what makes Ashland such a unique and incredible town as it offers an abundance of natural beauty, a wide variety of things to do, and a spot for cultural activities to boot. Centrally located just south of the town plaza, Lithia Park has miles of walking and hiking trails, as well as duck ponds, tennis courts, a playground, picnic tables, and a wide variety of identified plants – from English Holly to Giant Sequoias and Redwoods. And there’s so many things to do in Ashland Oregon. The park is set at the valley floor within the Siskiyou Mountains, and it features a Japanese Garden, a Sycamore grove, a bandshell for musical performances, and an ice skating rink in winter. As Central Park is to New York City, or Golden Gate Park to San Francisco (Lithia Park happens to be designed by the same landscape architect as the latter), Lithia Park is an oasis in town that is not to be missed. Alternative Options – Take a walk through Hald/Strawberry Park or North Mountain Park.
Catch a Play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Ashland has earned its reputation as a theatre town largely due to the success and high quality of theatre performed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). One need not travel to Broadway or to the bright lights of a big city to see top notch performance art, as Ashland is fortunate to have the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in town. If you are in town during the OSF season, which runs from February to November, be sure to add one of their fine shows to your itinerary – you won’t be disappointed! Alternative Options – Catch a show at the Oregon Cabaret Theater here in Ashland or at the Camelot Theater Company in Talent.
Take a Hike
We mean this in the nicest of ways, of course! Hiking is another one of all the great things to do in Ashland Oregon. Ashland is surrounded by two mountain ranges and the amount of hiking in and around town is virtually endless. A large benefit to Ashland hiking is that hiking is available right from town. Furthermore, it’s available from the south, central or north ends of town. So while jumping in your car or on your bike can expand some of the opportunities, it certainly isn’t a necessity. This wouldn’t necessarily mean quite as much if the hiking wasn’t good. But it is, and it’s great. The nature is gorgeous and the trails are relatively lightly tread yet well kept. Being a town hours away from big cities does have its advantages! Alternative Options – Try one or more of the following at nearby Mt. Ashland – downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking or trail running.
Grab a Meal on the Ashland Creek
Ashland’s restaurants and cafes offer delicious, fantastic food and varied cuisine options. One of our favorite places to eat in Ashland is along the Ashland Creek, beneath the green trees and to the sound of the flowing creek. A series of restaurants start just north of Winburn Way on the opposite side of the street from Lithia Park on Guanajuato Way and they extend beyond Main St. by Bluebird Park. It’s a wonderful location to eat well while enjoying the scenery and peacefulness of mother nature. Alternative Options – Eating on the outdoor patio at Standing Stone Brewery with views of the mountains or in the outdoor gardens at The Peerless or Dragonfly.
Enjoy the Finer Things in Life at the First Friday Art Walk
If you are in town on a Friday evening, a great way to explore the town and neighborhoods is by meandering from art gallery to art gallery, sampling some wine and snacks, listening to live music, chatting with artists and enjoying some of the great, local art on display. “First Fridays” take place from 5:00 – 8:00pm and you can find a map at galleries in town or at the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. Alternative Options – Visit the Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University or the Lithia Artisans Market on Calle Guanajuato.
Visit a Local Winery
A fun way to spend an afternoon is by visiting a local winery and sampling some of the fruits of the land. Wine tasting has become, in recent years, one of the favorite things to do in Ashland Oregon. The views of the nearby mountains, along with sipping on some fine wine, certainly can soothe the soul. Consider visiting the Tuesday or Saturday Farmer’s Markets in town and stocking up on some food for a picnic to pair with your wine tastings. Alternative Options – Sample a tasty variety of local beers at the breweries in town.
Partake in Self Care at a Yoga Class
There are many ways to treat yourself and your body, mind and spirit. If you are into yoga, you will definitely want to add this to your list of things to do in Ashland Oregon. One way that Ashland excels is via the many yoga studios in town that provide a variety of styles of yoga, including vinyasa, Iyengar, Bikram, Kundalini, and Anusara. Any given class is not for everyone, but with the diversity in studios and teachers’ styles, there is a class for everyone’s yogic taste. We provide a more detailed run down of the Ashland yoga studios in this blog entry. Alternative Options: How about getting a massage at Blue Giraffe Spa on Ashland Creek in downtown Ashland?
Take a Day Trip to Crater Lake
If you have an extra day in Ashland, one of the best uses of your time would be to take a trip to the amazing Crater Lake National Park – the only national park in Oregon. A two hour drive to the northeast, this destination’s scenic splendor is simply awe inspiring. Crater Lake was created some 7,700 years ago when the volcano, Mt. Mazama, exploded. The top was blown off the mountain and a large, deep caldera was left, which is where the deep, blue lake now remains. The lake itself is 5 miles long and 6 miles wide, with a maximum depth of 1,949 – which makes it the deepest lake in the United States. The lake has two beautiful islands and is surrounded by cliffs. Simply put, this spot is not to be missed if you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting it yet. Alternative Options: Take a day trip to Mt. Shasta or to the Redwood Forests, the Smith River and the Pacific Coast in California and Oregon.
Enjoy Music and Scenery at the Britt Festival
Music has been a central part of the human experience to countless cultures and is commonly known as “good for the soul”. When combined with a mountainside, trees, and views of nature, one can go to deep levels of pleasure and satisfaction. The Britt Festival is located in the nearby historic and quaint town of Jacksonville. The festival offers a wide variety of acts, from classical, jazz and country, to rock and pop. One of the great features of the Britt Festival is that it allows patrons to bring alcohol and food into the venue, so it doubles as a place to picnic while you enjoy the music and outdoor setting. Alternative Options: Catch a show at the Historic Ashland Armory.
Soak Up Some Healing Waters
Ashland is well-known for its healing waters due to the famous lithia water (water that has lithium salts) in the region. The lithia waters are purported to have healing properties and are quite rare, but you can try some for yourself at the water fountain in the main plaza. Be forewarned though, the taste of the water leaves something to be desired! Another, less distasteful way to enjoy some healing is by soaking up some mineral water at Lithia Springs Resort or at Jackson WellSprings. These hot springs spas bring not only the enjoyment of being in water, but the healing of sitting in mineral water. They are at the top of relaxing things to do in Ashland Oregon. According to The Lithia Springs Resort webpage, these waters can “help the body heal itself from skin diseases, digestive disorders, arthritis, sore muscles and poison oak, in addition to relieving stress, rejuvenating and bringing a sense of calmness into your whole system.” Alternative Options: Enjoy the “zen” scene and baths at Chozu Bath & Tea Gardens in Ashland’s Railroad District.
Things to Do in Ashland Oregon
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