11 Best Things to do in Ashland, Oregon

Martina Rosado
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Ashland Library

The city of Ashland was founded after an 1855 petition for a major station was granted by the Northern Pacific Railway. Unlike other cities that were founded before they were connected to a railroad, this one was founded before the railroad came through and it grew up around the railroad.

Around a quarter of the city’s electricity costs are from hydroelectric generators located deep underneath the city, near its historic downtown. It is also home to the Lane County Fairgrounds and Heritage, the annual home to the Ashland Folk Festival, as well as a long-standing tradition of award-winning local theater.

Ashland has been home to generations of actors, songwriters, artists and performers who have not only made a home there, but whose talents have also helped to make it a landmark in the world of Oregon, and American, arts and history.

The Boyd Library is a vibrant cultural center, and one of the best things to do in Ashland, Oregon. It houses the city library as well as a lighting and sound-equipped recording studio, film and video production suite, rock band practice rooms, audio-visual classrooms, a branch of the Oregon State University library and two computer labs.

It’s visited by students, artists, musicians, writers and other culture-related professionals, but it welcomes the public to use its computers, digital film and video production and lighting studios, and classrooms.

Hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail

For optimal coastal scenery.

White-water rafting on the Rogue or Klamath rivers

The Klamath River is one of the two main tributaries feeding the Rogue River.

White-water rafting on the Rogue is a great way to see wilderness coastlines, take in breath-taking views, and get a little action. Some of the most beautiful stretches of the Rogue run through the tributary, but

For the full experience you have to take a raft and paddle the Class III-IV white water of the Klamath River.

Since it’s a shorter river, it’s easier to set up a family trip with children and inexperienced paddlers. Most of the rapids on the Klamath are Class IV, so it’s easier to plan a play-cation for beginners with the views along the way. It’s also a shorter trip, only a few days versus The Rogue River’s six-day, four-night excursion. The Klamath even has a couple island campsites where the kids can run around and play in the river.

New Moon Beach is a popular weekend day trip destination. With a shallow beach accessible by a 1/4-mile walk down the beach, this spot is the ideal place for people seeking to relax in nature with their significant others.

Lake of the Woods

Ashland has been getting a lot of attention lately. The city has been named as being among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., and the population is increasing at an almost exponential rate. It was named Best City in Oregon as well as being one of the top ten Best Places in the U.S. for Outdoor Living.

Ashland, Oregon, with a population of 34,000, is located in southern Oregon, which is close to the California border. It’s located between the Rogue and Applegate Rivers at an elevation of 1,800 feet above sea level.

As its name implies, Lake of the Woods, which is the largest lake in Oregon, is located in Ashland. Although the lake is a few miles outside of the city, and has been the focus of numerous vacation cabins, it’s still conveniently located just blocks from Ashland’s central business district.

The lake has a lot to offer, from fishing to boating to camping to water recreation. It’s the perfect place for a family trip to the mountains, and it’s definitely worth a visit.

ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum

The ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland, Oregon is a fun and unique place full of interactive exhibits that will help you understand some of the the wonders of science. It offers a variety of programs for all ages, such as summer camps, summer science camps, field trips, and your own personal educational adventures.

The natural sciences are a focus here with activities for older kids such as the Campbell Center Science and Aerospace Academy where students explore the human body and the earth sciences.

There are even tours available for kids of all ages that explore the changing seasons and how it affects Strawberry Fields, the museum’s adorable mule. There are also a number of interesting, interactive spaces here.

You can explore the campus and take a trip into the past by touring the original Pilgrim’s Wilderness Survival Museum and its displays of old weapons used by the original Pilgrims.

There are also plenty of interactive hands-on exhibits that will help you better understand the world around you and improve your knowledge of science.

Here are a few of them:

Pillars of Creation

This is one example of a hands-on exhibit that takes place outside the building in the local Central Oregon wilderness. You will meet a mentor guide who will help you understand the importance of the preservation of the urban wilderness. You will also learn about the natural wildlife and wildlife management.

Oregon Cabaret Theater

The Oregon Cabaret Theater is located on the corner of Broadway and Grant Streets in Ashland, Oregon. The theater hosts over twelve shows annually including comedies, recitals, ballet and musicals, and, most importantly, a show featuring The Emeralds, the only girl band marching band in the world.

The Emeralds are a "freak show" band who's members include dwarves and midgets and the band has been a part of the Oregon Cabaret since it opened in 1981. Situated inside the historical Broadway Theater, a live band performs while the crotchety-yet-clever Emeralds (made up of about six members) march.

The Oregon Cabaret has been featured on the TV show Ghost Adventures.

Wilsonville Flea

The Wilsonville Flea Market is a large outdoor market featuring over 20 acres of vendors. The market also hosts food trucks, a beer garden featuring local micro brews, and live music during market hours.

During the summer months, from May through September, the Wilsonville Flea Market is open every Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm.

The market has a stage where local music groups such as the Steel Wheel Street Band and Spin Circus perform. The "Feast of 5 Farmers" Food Challenge

Take a Wine Tour

If wine tours are new to you, they’re a great way to get to know the vineyards and wineries of the area where you are located. They are typically offered by local wineries, so you can enjoy the tour at a winery as well.

Ashland is a city in the U.S. state of Oregon. It is actually the terminus of the Historic Columbia River Highway|Historic Columbia River Highway]], also known as the “Grande Ronde Highway.

To the west lies the magnificent Crater Lake (Crater Lake National Park|Crater Lake National Park]], arguably the most beautiful lake in the world. Crater Lake has been called one of the top ten locations in the world and, considering that it’s only 50 miles away, is certainly a must-see when in the area.

If you’re out looking for some wine and a bite, you’re in luck. Some gourmet wine shops have started to open in nearby town of Sweet Home.

Mount Ashland

Mount Ashland is a ski resort located in southern Oregon offer trails for beginners through to advanced skiers.

They have over 45 lifts in 6 areas, waiting spaces for 7 lifts, chalets, rental stores and restaurants, surface parking lots, and 30 to 40 off-road cross-country and Nordic ski trails.

You can take the chair lift to the top of the mountain and ski down or take a trail on the way down.

They also have one of the largest backpackers camps for skiers who don’t want to stay in a hotel room eating room service and waken up by the sound of an alarm clock.

They have their own first-class dining room, a tour desk, and offer a shuttle to the town of Madras.

At Mount Ashland, you can get to know your fellow skiers, enjoy the views of the Pacific Northwest, and breathe in fresh mountain air. Yet once you’re back at the lodge, you can pop into the bar and enjoy a nice dinner or stop by the shop to buy a souvenir.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. The deepest spot on land in the world is Lake Baikal in Siberia, which is over 1,600 feet deep. Crater Lake, however, is deeper than the deepest part of Lake Baikal.

Crater Lake really is stunning. The day my wife and I visited it we had light drizzle and misty rain. Our trip to Crater Lake was brief, but it was the most amazing thing I have seen in my life. The colors on the inside of the crater, which were a vibrant red, green, and blue, really were astonishing. I would go back anytime.

Moose Meadows

Located within Crater Lake is a meadow where a herd of elk live. When we arrived, we were able to drive right up to them. We only saw them from a distance, but we could see that they breen an adult bull, adult cows, and calves.

Outer Limits Lookout

If you are visiting Crater Lake, take time to explore some of the other things that are nearby. The best thing to do if you are not an extreme hiker or mountain climber is to make your way to the Outer Limits Lookout. It is an old Army Ranger lookout, but is also open to the public. From here, you will be able to see the entire lake and the surrounding area.

Lithia Park

The Lithia Park is a 39 acre public park located in the heart of Ashland Oregon. The park has trails which meander through a self-guided tour of history, nature, and art. The Lithia Park is considered by some to be one of the best places to go in the region for outdoor vegetation, boasting well over 40 varieties of trees alone. This park also attracts local bird species that you may never have seen.

Lithia Park also offers a popular venue for cultural activities throughout the year including occasional concerts, art shows, and even movie nights.

The park’s exhibits feature historical paintings, sculpture, and quotations from famous writers and thinkers. This experience is free, and offers a great opportunity for all to enjoy some peace and quiet in nature with the addition of recreational benefits.

The park also boasts their very own 22 acre pond, which is a great view for many birds, willows, and ducks.

The Lithia Park has a number of trails to choose from, ranging from easy for the youngest to difficult for the most experienced. This provides a good level of off-street exercise and park activity for all. The park also sports an outdoor amphitheater as well as a picnic area for visitors.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Known as “the season in the city,” the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) gives Shakespeare, as well as the Bard’s contemporaries, the chance to shine at venues throughout the Ashland, OR area. You can see everything from classic comedies to thrilling tragedies at this festival.

And, if you’re brave enough to stay up late to see a play, each June, they host the Globe Theatre Project, where professional companies from around the country perform several contemporary works at the OSF.

One-time shows are also offered throughout the year, so keep checking their schedule.

The OSF was founded in 1935 by an entrepreneur named Lee S. Olcott.

In that time, the festivals he inspired have become some of America’s premier cultural events, drawing hundreds of thousands of people a year to Ashland.

In addition, the festival has presented exclusive music, dance, and theater events such as the Ballet Oregon, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Shakespeare Festival on Film.

The festival is open for 10 weekends from June through early November. For tickets, head to the OSF’s website, or pick up a brochure at the festival box office. The 2012 festival will run from June 15 to October 14.