Travel

15 reasons Eugene, OR is the best college town in America

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Everyone thinks their college is the best college. And while no college is outright BAD, some are certainly better than others. And from there, it reasonably follows that one college -- and the town that makes it what it is -- must be the finest of them all.

Over the course of many tireless months working much harder than actual college students, we’ll be conducting our noble Search for America’s Best College Town. Now keep in mind, we’re not really talking about academics at all, and in some ways, even sports are only a small part of the formula. It’s the everything else -- the bars, the burgers, the bars, the buildings, the lovable famous weirdos on the streets, the weather, the bars -- that build a college town’s case. Get ready to re-enroll.

Next up: Eugene, home of the University of Oregon. From top-notch athletics to world-famous bars, here are 15 reasons why the Emerald city tops every other college town in the country.

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Eugene is home to Nike

Have you heard of Nike? Oh, you have. Cool. Nike lives here. Incubated on the tracks of the famous Hayward Field, former Oregon track athlete Phil Knight has left his mark -- or should we say swoosh -- on the city of Eugene. That relationship comes with perks: exclusive gear, plush sporting facilities, and the random celebrity athlete traipsing around the city. Example: Lebron James and his buddies from USA basketball recently visited. Did LeBron and his crew come to your town?
 

The Olympics come to us

Eugene gave birth to jogging as an activity, so it’s no surprise world-class runners have paid homage for the last hundred years. Legends like Steve Prefontaine and current decathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton call Eugene home, so it makes sense that the last two track and field Olympic trials have been held here and are returning again in 2016.
 

Universal Pictures

Animal House was shot here

The most iconic party movie of all time chose Eugene as its setting. Animal House didn’t just rewrite the book on party movies; it changed the way fraternities partied around the nation. Toga! Toga! Toga!
 

Two words: dollar beers

Rivaling Friday and Saturday for the wildest night of the week, Wednesday at Taylor’s Bar and Grill is a long-standing Eugene tradition. With brews for only $1, you need to get there early before the bar hits max capacity, and plan on double-fisting drinks for max efficiency.

The real Moe’s Tavern from The Simpsons is here

Imagine if the bar you frequented every weekend was on a nightly cartoon rerun. Meet Max’s Tavern, the real-life influence for The Simpsons’ Moe’s Tavern. Three blocks off campus, beer flows freely as a usual last stop for fellow ducks. Try Max’s famous hard cider coupled with the all-you-can-eat salty popcorn and sing the night away arm-in-arm to Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” before last call.
 

We’re totally cool with our surroundings

In this case, what’s on the outside counts, too. Head north of Eugene and you’ll hit Portland, the beautiful hipster capital. West will lead you to the Oregon coast, one of the state’s hidden gems. Get your snowboard fix by trekking east and shredding on some of the best powder around at Mount Bachelor. If vitamin D is more your thing, a trip south will land you at Lake Shasta, a house-boating haven dubbed by many students as the greatest weekend of their lives.

You need a month to try every calzone at The Dough Co.

Unless you’re a total glutton, that is. With a choice of more than 30 mouth-watering calzones and freshly baked cookies, The Dough Co. is the go-to place of place for after-hours drunchies. Everything on the menu is made on-premises, from scratch, with love. Did we mention they deliver until 3am, seven days a week?
 

We like to get wet

It doesn’t just rain in Eugene -- the clouds open up and the whole sky dumps out. If you can endure walking to class during a downpour, you can conquer anything. The reciprocating effects of the rain make it worthwhile. Result: Eugene and University of Oregon’s campus is as green as the football team’s candy-apple uniforms… and that’s pretty green.
 

We’ve got more beer than you

Beer drinking -- it’s basically a college minor. Well, Eugene is like the beer library for your studies, home to 41 breweries in the Willamette Valley region alone. The beer flows as freely through Eugene as its two rivers.

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Oregon’s mascot could probably beat you up

A pushup for every point scored at home during football games has turned Oregon’s mascot, Puddles, into an iron menace. With a total 1,629 pushups last year, Puddles bullies other mascots for fun. Don’t believe it? Check out when he decked the University of Houston Cougar during a game.
 

We put a Duck on SportsCenter every day

Watched by millions each night, SportsCenter’s Neil Everett is recognized as one of the best anchors on the show with memorable lines like “Howzit!” and “Bartender, Jack!” The Oregon alum does his best to give shout-outs to his alma mater while on air… just another reason why the Ducks are always on SportsCenter Top 10.

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Our football team is like a video game

With more jersey combinations than “Uncle Phil’s” got zeros in his bank account, the Ducks put video games to shame with their gaudy stats. Lead by Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota, Oregon plays at a lightning pace on offense, making them one of the most entertaining teams to watch in college football. Don’t be surprised if Oregon just scored while you read this. Cue Puddles pushups. 
 

The Track Town Pizza special will keep you full for a long time

Since 1977, Track Town pizza has been holding it down as one a staple of college student diets. For only $7, the all-you-can-eat student special is a self-induced pizza coma of more than 10 different varieties of pizzas. It’s hard keep yourself from wolfing down the signature pies with handmade sauce and dough from scratch. Nom. 

Oregon’s sports facilities make everyone else’s look like child’s play

Mathew Knight Arena, a building that looks more like a futuristic spaceship, sports one of the most unique basketball court designs in the nation. O yeah… and don’t forget about the new $68 million football performance center, all-inclusive with its own barbershop and ventilated lockers. NFL teams are jealous, and other colleges just look like high schools.
 

Ducks. Ducks everywhere.

Ever wondered what it feels like to stand next an airplane engine? Now you can. Recorded at 127 decibels, Autzen Stadium is known for being the loudest in college football. Bring a pair of earplugs if you’re a first timer.
 
 
Luc Hancock attended the University of Oregon and firmly believes it was THE best decision of his life. He still craves the pesto chicken calzone from Dough Co. on a nightly basis.