A small town with family fun
Known as the home of Western Oregon University, Monmouth, Oregon, is located 20 minutes southwest of the state capital. The quaint town has must-visit culinary experiences, historical attractions and family fun.
One of the oldest universities in the state, Western Oregon University was founded in 1856. The university has undergone a series of name changes through the years, but a walk through campus reveals a handful of historic buildings, including the Gentle House. This 19th century home is named after the family who lived in it for nearly 70 years, adorned with furnishings from the 1920s. The property’s gardens are lush with century-old plants and trees that predate the home. Free tours are available by appointment.
You can almost always catch a show or art exhibition at Western Oregon University. From July to August, enjoy a free musical performance every week at Main Street Park and grab a bite to eat at the neighboring food trucks.
If you’re coming to Monmouth, you’ll want to come hungry. Pair an IPA with classic pub fare at Grain Station Brew Works or pick up a one-of-a-kind pizza pie at Yeasty Beasty. Top off your dining experience and immerse yourself in small-town charm at Main Street Ice Cream Parlor or Rick’s Place Coffee.
New to town is Craft Bar West, pairing flatbread pizzas, grilled sandwiches and a diverse drink menu with craft workshops. If crafting is not for you, take a seat at the bar to enjoy a meal and a drink. Shop next door at The Find, a boutique with hand-picked clothing items and other unique finds.
South of town, Sarah Helmick State Recreation Site lies along the Luckiamute River and provides an oasis of trees, plant life and wildlife. It also happens to be Oregon’s first state park. Its establishment in 1922 is thought of as the birthdate of the Oregon State Park system.
Pack your bags for a night away at Mamere’s Guest House. Built in 1891, the bed and breakfast is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Each room has its own theme and a savory, homemade breakfast is served every morning.
If you’re hoping to explore Oregon Wine Country, Monmouth is an ideal starting place. Family-friendly Airlie Winery is all-welcoming and looks forward to the presence of dogs and children on its sprawling estate. At nearby Emerson Vineyards, you’ll find a family-operated vineyard paired with the Willamette Valley’s famous Pinot Noirs and less-common Viognier. Taste other locally-crafted wine at Crush Wine Bar or hop on one of the bar’s weekend wine tours.