10 Best Things To Do In Ashland, Oregon

Top Destinations May 2, 2024

Ashland stands out as a city that effortlessly combines a vibrant cultural scene, stunning natural landscapes, and a history steeped in depth and diversity. This enchanting town invites visitors to explore its myriad attractions, from captivating theater performances to scenic outdoor adventures and historical sites that echo the past. As you delve into the myriad things to do in Ashland, you'll discover an experience that caters to every interest and age group.

One of the cornerstones of the Ashland experience is its famed Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a testament to the city's commitment to cultural enrichment and artistic excellence. This festival is not just for lovers of Shakespeare; it encompasses a variety of performances that span genres and epochs, making it a highlight among the activities in Ashland Oregon. The festival's ability to blend classical and contemporary theater makes it a magnet for theater enthusiasts from across the globe.

Ashland Oregon
Source: Vogue

Beyond the footlights, Ashland's natural surroundings offer a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. The city is a gateway to breathtaking landscapes, including Lithia Park. This sprawling haven of greenery provides a serene backdrop for leisurely strolls, picnics, and nature observation, further enriching the selection of fun things to do in Ashland Oregon. The park, with its meticulously maintained trails, streams, and gardens, mirrors the city's harmony with nature and its dedication to providing spaces for relaxation and recreation.

Ashland presents a blend of cultural richness, natural beauty, and historical depth that makes it a unique destination. Its attractions cater to a broad spectrum of interests, ensuring that every visitor finds something that resonates with their preferences.  

1. Crater Lake National Park:

Crater Lake National Park is a jewel in Oregon's crown, drawing visitors from across the globe to marvel at its deep blue waters and pristine surroundings. This natural wonder is more than just a lake; it's an adventure playground for those who appreciate the great outdoors. For individuals looking for an array of nearby things to do around Ashland Oregon. There are a plethora of options that complement the Crater Lake experience, ensuring your adventure doesn’t end at the park’s boundaries.

Crater Lake National Park
Source: Conde Nast Traveler

Visiting Crater Lake provides an unparalleled opportunity to immerse oneself in nature's splendor. The lake, formed by the collapse of Mount Mazama over 7,000 years ago, presents a canvas of breathtaking beauty that changes with the seasons. While the lake itself is a centerpiece, the park's diverse landscapes offer various activities. From hiking trails that weave through ancient forests to panoramic vistas accessible by car, there's something for every type of explorer. For those who have ticked off the main sights within the park, and are looking for what to do in Ashland, they are introduced to a variety of cultural and recreational activities just a stone’s throw away, enhancing the overall experience of the region.

2. Emigrant Lake County Park: 

Emigrant Lake County Park, a jewel in the heart of the scenic landscapes surrounding Ashland, offers a multitude of recreational activities that cater to every kind of outdoor enthusiast. This lakeside destination is not just a park; it's a gateway to a day or weekend filled with adventure, relaxation, and the beauty of nature. When exploring things to do in Ashland this weekend, the park's offerings are diverse, appealing to families, solo travelers, and groups looking for a memorable escape into nature.

One of the park's main attractions is its boating opportunities. With a spacious reservoir, visitors can bring their own boats or rent available ones to glide over the lakes near Ashland oregon making it a perfect setting for both leisurely sails and exciting water sports. For those interested in fun things to do in Ashland that involve a bit more adrenaline, the lake's conditions are ideal for water skiing and wakeboarding, providing endless fun for thrill-seekers.

Emigrant Lake County Park
Source: Tripadvisor

3. Oredson-Todd Woods and the Siskiyou Mountain Park: 

Oredson-Todd Woods and the Siskiyou Mountain Park offer an adventure-packed destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in nature's beauty, right in the heart of Ashland. These areas are celebrated for their extensive trail networks that cater to both hiking enthusiasts and mountain biking aficionados, making them perfect for a wide range of outdoor activities. For anyone looking up Ashland Oregon activities, exploring these trails should undoubtedly top the list. 

Oredson-Todd Woods
Source: Ashland Trails

The trails in Oredson-Todd Woods and Siskiyou Mountain Park weave through lush forests, offering breathtaking views and a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. These paths cater to various skill levels, ensuring that everyone, from beginners to seasoned hikers and bikers, can find a route that suits their abilities. Adding these destinations to your 'Things to Do in Ashland' itinerary allows for personalizing your adventure, whether you're in the mood for a leisurely stroll or a challenging ride.

4. Oregon Shakespeare Festival: 

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival stands as a beacon for theater enthusiasts, drawing visitors from around the globe to the charming town of Ashland. This festival not only honors the legacy of William Shakespeare but also embraces contemporary works, making it a vibrant hub for theatrical innovation. Ashland, thus, becomes a key destination for those seeking cultural enrichment, with "Things to Do in Ashland OR" often highlighting the festival as a must-visit.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Source: Variety

A visit to Ashland for the festival allows theatergoers to immerse themselves in a diverse array of performances. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival's commitment to presenting both Shakespearean classics and modern plays ensures that every visitor finds something that resonates with their tastes. For those compiling a list of activities in Ashland Oregon, attending a play at one of the festival’s three theaters—the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre, the Thomas Theatre, and the Angus Bowmer Theatre—ranks highly. 

5. Belle Fiore Estate & Winery: 

Belle Fiore Estate & Winery stands out as a premier destination for those exploring the vibrant offerings within the things to Do in Ashland circuit. This esteemed winery not only captivates visitors with its exquisite local wines but also enchants them with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. A visit to Belle Fiore is a must for any itinerary focused on experiencing the best of Ashland's attractions.

As you plan your adventures, Belle Fiore offers a unique blend of sensory delights. The estate's selection of wines is a testament to the rich viticultural heritage of the region. Each glass served is a journey through the nuanced flavors and aromas that characterize the local terroir. The winery's commitment to quality and the art of winemaking is evident in every sip, providing guests with an unparalleled tasting experience.

Belle Fiore
Source: Here Comes the Guide

Moreover, the panoramic views from Belle Fiore Estate & Winery are a crucial part of the allure that makes it a standout among things to do in Ashland. The estate's strategic location allows visitors to immerse themselves in the serene beauty of the area, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a moment of tranquility amidst nature's splendor. The picturesque landscape serves as the perfect backdrop for enjoying a glass of wine, making it an unforgettable part of any visit to Ashland.

6. Dana Campbell Vineyards and Irvine & Roberts Vineyards: 

Dana Campbell Vineyards and Irvine & Roberts Vineyards stand as beacons for those eager to explore the rich tapestry of flavors that Ashland's wine culture has to offer. These vineyards, each with its unique charm, invite visitors into the world of winemaking, where the taste of Ashland's finest wines becomes a journey in itself. Set against the backdrop of the picturesque Cascade Mountains, these estates offer more than just a sip of wine; they provide an immersive experience that marries the art of viticulture with the beauty of Southern Oregon's landscape.

A visit to Dana Campbell Vineyards opens up a panorama of rolling vineyards and the opportunity to taste wines crafted with passion and precision. The vineyard's approach to winemaking focuses on creating memorable flavors that reflect the area's unique terroir. Their welcoming tasting room and outdoor patio areas are perfect for relaxing while enjoying stunning views and engaging in conversations about the nuances of their wines.

Dana Campbell Vineyards
Source: Oregon Wine Board

Irvine & Roberts Vineyards complements this experience by offering a deep dive into the cultivation of wine grapes in Ashland's distinct climate. Their dedication to sustainable farming practices and the meticulous care given to each vine come through in the complexity and elegance of their wines. The tasting experience here is designed to educate and enchant, with knowledgeable staff guiding visitors through each glass, sharing stories of the vineyard's history and the characteristics that make their wines stand out.

7. Peerless Hotel Restaurant & Bar and Alchemy Restaurant & Bar: 

Ashland, a vibrant town renowned for its cultural richness and artistic flair, offers a plethora of engaging activities, among which dining out holds a special place. One of the highlights for those exploring the things to do in Ashland is undoubtedly a visit to the esteemed Peerless Hotel Restaurant & Bar and Alchemy Restaurant & Bar. These establishments don't just serve meals; they craft experiences that linger in your memory long after you've left the table.

Peerless Hotel Restaurant & Bar takes the concept of fine dining to an elevated level. With a menu that celebrates the region's bounty, guests can expect dishes that are as visually stunning as they are delicious. The ambiance, characterized by its elegance and a touch of historic charm, adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the dining experience. It's not just about eating; it's about reveling in a moment that encapsulates the essence of Ashland's culinary scene.

Alchemy Restaurant
Source: Hotel Oregon

Alchemy Restaurant & Bar complements this dining landscape with its own unique flair. Known for its innovative approach to cuisine, Alchemy delights diners with unexpected flavor combinations that challenge and excite the palate. The bar’s mixologists craft cocktails that are both classic and avant-garde, perfect for those looking to explore the artistry behind their drinks. The warm, inviting atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for a romantic dinner, a celebratory meal, or a casual drink with friends.

8. Schneider Museum of Art: 

The Schneider Museum of Art offers an immersive experience into the realms of contemporary and student art exhibitions, making it a vibrant part of the Southern Oregon University campus. This unique museum plays a pivotal role in the cultural landscape of Ashland, providing visitors with an opportunity to engage directly with the creative processes and innovative visions of both emerging and established artists. One of the highlights of exploring Ashland is the chance to dive into its rich artistic environment, and the Schneider Museum of Art stands out as a must-visit destination for those looking to enrich their cultural palette.

As a hub for artistic expression, the museum showcases a wide range of mediums and styles, reflecting the diverse voices and perspectives within the art world. From captivating paintings and sculptures to thought-provoking installations and multimedia projects, the exhibitions are carefully curated to inspire, challenge, and engage audiences. The museum also places a strong emphasis on educational programming, offering lectures, workshops, and guided tours that deepen the visitor's appreciation and understanding of contemporary art.

Schneider Museum of Art
Source: Schneider Museum of Art

For students at Southern Oregon University, the museum serves as an invaluable resource, offering a platform to exhibit their work and engage with the broader art community. This interaction not only nurtures their development as artists but also fosters a dynamic cultural exchange between the university and the Ashland community. 

9. ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum: 

ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum stands as a vibrant beacon for curious minds of all ages, inviting families into a world where science is not just observed but experienced firsthand. This dynamic space in Ashland, Oregon, transforms the abstract concepts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into tangible, interactive exhibits that ignite the imagination and inspire a deeper understanding of the world around us. 

A visit to ScienceWorks is more than just a day out; it’s an adventure into the realms of physics, biology, and beyond, where each exhibit is designed to challenge and engage visitors, encouraging hands-on participation and discovery. It's an essential destination for those exploring 'Things to Do in Ashland,' offering a unique blend of educational enrichment and entertainment. From the youngest explorers who marvel at the wonders of the bubble room, to the aspiring astronomers gazing through the lens of a powerful telescope, there’s something to spark interest across generations.

ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum
Source: Which Museum

One of the museum’s core strengths is its commitment to making science accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Interactive displays are thoughtfully crafted to cater to a wide range of ages and educational backgrounds, ensuring that each visitor, regardless of their prior knowledge, leaves with a greater appreciation for science and its impact on our daily lives.

10. Ashland Library:

Ashland Library stands as a testament to the enriching blend of resources and architectural beauty, serving as a central hub for the community's intellectual and cultural pursuits. This library is more than just a place to check out books; it's a vibrant center for learning, creativity, and community engagement. With an extensive collection that spans various genres and formats, including digital resources, anyone with a curiosity or a love for reading can find something to suit their tastes.

The architecture of the Ashland Library itself is a draw, with its thoughtfully designed spaces that invite visitors to linger, explore, and relax. Large windows fill the interior with natural light, creating an inviting atmosphere that enhances the reading experience. Comfortable seating areas, study nooks, and accessible facilities ensure that every visit is both enjoyable and productive.

Ashland Library
Source: Friends of Ashland Library

For those interested in local history or genealogy, the library offers specialized resources that provide deep dives into the past, making it a valuable resource for researchers and history buffs alike. Additionally, the library's programming goes beyond the shelves with workshops, author talks, and storytelling sessions that cater to all ages. From young children to seniors, the library fosters a love for reading and learning through its diverse events.


Ashland emerges as a beacon for those yearning for a blend of cultural sophistication, natural beauty, and gastronomic excellence. This city, far from just a stopover, has carved a niche for itself on the map of Oregon as a place brimming with activities and experiences that cater to an array of interests and preferences. At its heart, the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival dazzles with performances that span from time-honored classics to contemporary pieces, illustrating the city's deep-rooted appreciation for the arts.  

Source: Eater Portland

The city's culinary scene is equally impressive, with an array of dining establishments that showcase local produce, artisan cheeses, and fine wines from the surrounding Rogue Valley. This commitment to local sourcing not only enhances the dining experience but also strengthens the community's bond with its land and producers. For those intrigued by the process behind their favorite vintages, a tour of Ashland's wineries reveals the meticulous craft of winemaking, set against the picturesque landscape of southern Oregon.


1. Where can I find a secret garden to unwind in Ashland?

Lithia Park is well-known, but many visitors miss the secluded Japanese-style garden near the upper duck pond. It's a peaceful spot perfect for reflection and a break from the bustle.

2. Ashland is famous for its Shakespeare Festival, but are there any unconventional theatre experiences here?

Outside of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland offers immersive theater experiences through the Ashland New Plays Festival and interactive performances at smaller venues like the Cabaret Theatre. These provide a more intimate setting and innovative storytelling techniques.

3. I love outdoor adventures. What’s an unusual outdoor activity to try in Ashland?

For a unique outdoor experience, try nighttime stargazing hikes organized by local astronomy clubs. The clear skies in Ashland’s surrounding areas offer breathtaking views of the stars.

4. Can I experience any unique local foods or drinks in Ashland?

Absolutely! Beyond the typical fare, Ashland has a burgeoning craft cider scene. Local orchards offer tastings and tours, where you can learn about cider production and sample unique blends.

5. Are there any hidden art spots in Ashland?

Yes, aside from the well-known galleries, there are several hidden art spots around town. Keep an eye out for alleyways and courtyards in the downtown area, which often host pop-up art installations and guerrilla art shows.

6. What’s the best way to experience Ashland’s natural beauty without crowds?

The Oredson-Todd Woods trail is a less-traveled path that offers serene forest walks and views of the city from a different perspective, away from the more popular trails.

7. Is there a place in Ashland where I can learn about local folklore and legends?

The Southern Oregon Historical Society occasionally offers tours and talks focusing on local lore, including tales of early settlers, indigenous stories, and Ashland’s ghost legends.


Emily Carter

With over 10 years of experience, Emily has extensive experience planning bespoke tours across the United States and Canada, specializing in eco-tourism and adventure travel.