These are the best things to do in Ashland, Oregon to get a good overview of the city and all it has to offer.
I think I’ve already raved enough about Ashland on this blog that you guys should know how much I’ve enjoyed my time there. It is a one-of-a kind place and easily a favorite city of mine in Oregon.
I’ve only visited Ashland twice, so I’m by no means an expert on the place, but I did want to share with you my top 7 things to do in Ashland, Oregon with the time that I’ve spent there.
Let’s dive into Ashland!
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Where is Ashland, Oregon?
As much as Oregonians don’t like to be associated with California, Ashland is so far down in Oregon that it is almost in California – it’s only a a 30 minute drive from the border.
And because of its location, you will notice much more Californian influence than in other parts of Oregon that are further up the state. With that said, Ashland has its own unique vibe and atmosphere that is completely its own and worth experiencing for yourself.
Related: Jet Boating the Rugged Rogue River
What to Do in Ashland, Oregon
Go to an Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is the main attraction in Ashland during the summer, and it’s definitely something not to miss!
I was enamored with the shows I saw while I was in town – Guys & Dolls and Head Over Heels. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival world renowned festival, and even if you’re not a theatre fan it’s hard to not enjoy their shows, with their energetic cast and high quality productions.
Tip: If you do have a chance to go to a play or two make sure to see at least one in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre – it’s all part of the Shakespeare experience.
Explore Lithia Park
I spent a half day driving the loop around the expansive Lithia Park, making little stops along the way to check out picnic spots, creeks, and hiking trails.
It is a peaceful place to get lost and spend a day enjoying nature. If you’re able to drive the loop around the park, you’ll be rewarded with grand views looking out over golden hills and lush forests.
Tip: Take a book or a picnic down to the lower duck pond to the left of the path when you enter from the front entrance.
This is where you’ll find the picturesque Lithia waterfall and a reflective pond with friendly ducks and many benches circling around it. Bonus – it’s right next to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, so go here before a play to unwind and enjoy the scenery.
Go on a Mini Craft Beer Journey
Although Ashland doesn’t have a craft beer scene comparable to Bend, Eugene, or Portland, there are still some great breweries and brew pubs to check out in town! It is Oregon after all, it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to beer.
Start off at the well-established Caldera Taphouse or Caldera Brewery, both located in Ashland.
The taphouse is right in downtown Ashland, but their other location is the actual brewery that is off I-5. It’s meant to be a tad more scenic, although less convenient to get to than the taphouse.
Caldera was the first craft brewery on the West Coast to can and brew their own beer, so that interesting claim to fame is enough to make a visit.
Tip: Caldera has quite a few unique beers so I would recommend trying a tasting paddle. You could taste any of the following interesting brews that they usually have on tap: Alcoholic Hibiscus Ginger Beer, Roasted Hatch Chili Golden Ale, No Grain No Pain Gluten-Free Beer, Mother Pucker Raspberry Sour, and the Mogli Bourbon Oak-Aged Chocolate Imperial Porter.
Next head over to Standing Stone Brewing Co., probably the most popular brewery in Ashland and one that is known for its sustainability practices. The bartenders are really friendly here and the chilaquiles are delicious.
Tip: I had the I ♥ Oregon beer and would highly recommend it if you enjoy cascade hops as much as I do. The Milk & Honey Ale also seemed to be one of their more popular beers
Lastly, check out the local favorite, Swing Tree Brewing. They call themselves “Ashland’s Friendly Neighborhood Brewery” and from the amount of recommendations I received from locals, I would have to say that name fits perfectly.
If that still isn’t enough beer for you, Granite Taphouse doesn’t brew their own beer but they offer a wide variety of Oregon, California, and international breweries on tap, and a great view looking out over the city.
Window Shop the Boutiques in Downtown Ashland, Oregon
I was surprised at how many cute boutiques there are in Ashland, especially near Lithia Park. Although a tad overpriced in my opinion, which is why I only went window shopping, they’re still worth checking out if you want to get some aesthetically pleasing Pinterest-friendly ideas for home decor.
There are also quite a few art galleries around town that are worth checking out if you love looking at local art.
Tip: Grab lunch at Brickroom, one of the best restaurants in Ashland, Oregon, and head downstairs to the boutique store underneath it. I can’t remember that name of it, but it was one of the cutest store I’ve seen in awhile.
Also, if you’re a fan of bookstore cafes, Bloomsbury Coffee House is the place to go. It was my first stop when I arrived in town and I was impressed with the friendly service, hearty organic coffee, and make-your-own bagel options.
Try the famous “Lithia Water”
Lithia water is a very unique experience to have while you’re in Ashland. The name Lithia is thrown around so much in the city because of the famous Lithia mineral springs that were found in the area.
Lithia water is named as such due to the presence of lithium salts, producing a very interesting and intense mineral flavor.
Tip: Try the water from the Lithia fountains near the visitor’s center next to Lithia Park, and expect a one-of-a-kind experience on your taste buds.
Read more: 6 Unique Things to do in Grants Pass, Oregon
Get Your Caffeine Fix at Noble Coffee
I couldn’t stop talking about Noble Coffee after I left Ashland. It’s a place I highly recommend visiting if you’re a coffee fiend or simply enjoy sitting in cafes.
Their coffee is some of the best I’ve found in Oregon (and yes, that’s including Stumptown Coffee in Portland), and the service was phenomenal.
Tip: Ask the staff for recommendations on which brew to drink, they’ll lead you to the best coffee for your unique palate.
Take a Drive through the Countryside
I accidentally took a drive through the countryside when I got lost one day looking for the Caldera Brewing location off I-5. It ended up being the best part of my day, stumbling upon miles of beautiful scenery just outside the city.
I found myself on Hwy 66 and passed by multiple hiking trails and possible day trips. It made me wish I had more time in Ashland, there are so many hidden places just waiting to be discovered.
So, do yourself a favor and get lost in the Ashland countryside. You won’t regret it, because no matter where you find yourself, the surroundings will draw you in and make you never want to leave.
Have you ever been to Ashland or Southern Oregon? Is there anything else you would recommend experiencing in the city?
Recommended Experiences Near Ashland
Where to Stay in Ashland, Oregon
Whether it’s an Ashland bed and breakfast or one of the cozy boutique Ashland hotels, there are plenty of options for accommodation in Ashland, no matter your budget.
Flagship Inn of Ashland
One of the most popular budget hotels in Ashland, Oregon, Flagship Inn offers air conditioned rooms featuring floral decor and work desks. There is also a swimming pool and La Casa Del Pueblo restaurant on-site, serving up Mexican cuisine and cocktails. Only a 5 minute walk from Southern Oregon University.
Ashland Hills Hotels & Suites
I stayed at the Ashland Hills Hotels & Suites while I was in Ashland and was very happy with my stay. The hotel is situated a little ways outside of downtown, so best to stay at only if you have a car. Think 70’s inspired decor that is clean and modern. Also features a refreshing outdoor swimming pool, decent breakfast, and panoramic mountain views.
You can read my full review of this hotel here.
One of the most popular Ashland hotels to stay at for those who are in town for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Bard’s Inn is only a 6 minute walk from the Shakespeare festival, right in downtown, and offers both a pool and hot tub to soak in after shows. There is also a quality free breakfast included every morning.
Part hotel, part bed & breakfast, the Winchester Inn is one of the better luxury stays you can have in Ashland. Besides the comfy and spacious rooms with down feather beds that include 600 thread count sheets, there is an on-site bar and restaurant with an open patio, free parking, coffee bar, and a free 2-course gourmet breakfast in the mornings.
PRACTICAL INFO FOR ASHLAND
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