Words by Delaney Rea | Photo by Trevor Meyer

With your UO student ID card, there comes access to some extra perks. You might have heard about these, including free access to many UO events and free fare on Lane County’s transit system, but have you really explored the options the card gives you? You can go as far as 53 miles away from Eugene with the card. So whether you want to see more of the city or get the hell out of it, you can access all of Lane Transit District’s routes with your student ID card.

McKenzie Bridge

McKenzie Bridge is a small town on the outskirts of Lane County. It sits on the McKenzie River, and a trip down to the surrounding area on one of the many upcoming bright spring days makes for a great day trip. It’s a truly beautiful area located just outside town. Bring a bike along for the ride, and you’ll be able to further expand your reach into the outdoor offerings of McKenzie Bridge. The route runs from Eugene Station (Bay G) at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, where you can take the route all the way to McKenzie Bridge.

The Whiteaker

The Whiteaker is the perfect place to visit if you miss Portland. With tons of trendy restaurants like Board, Papa’s Soul Food and more, this neighborhood helps you get away from the campus vibe of greater Eugene. Much of the area is residential, and a stroll through the neighborhood reveals an array of interesting mid-century modern housing that seems a world away from the cookie-cutter apartment buildings so common around campus. If the UO vibe is getting stale, check out the Whiteaker by taking the EMX to Eugene Station and hopping on bus 40.

Skinner Butte

For scenic views within city limits, Skinner Butte is a great spot. Located on north edge of downtown Eugene, the hill looks out over the Willamette River. Skinner Butte is one of our city’s most famous local landmarks, and also is home to Skinner Butte Park, a municipal park. There are plenty of hiking trails surrounding Skinner Butte, both official and trail-blazed, so there’s always a new route to hike through. Skinner Butte can be reached via bus 51 from Eugene Station.

Ridgeline Trail

The Ridgeline trail system forms a circular path around the southern perimeter of the city. Through a series of large, semi-connected parklands, the trails are a favorite for the Eugene community because of the recreational possibilities it offers. With sprawling open spaces and a natural habitat, the Ridgeline system is accessible through a network of more than 12 miles of trail. To get to the first of seven trailheads, take bus 73 from Eugene Station.

Valley River Center

If you’re looking to spend the money burning a hole in your pocket, Valley River Center has the shopping experience you need. Many refer to it affectionately as “VRC,” and it’s definitely the mall with the broadest options in Eugene. With clothing stores, a movie theater, hobby shops and dining options, Valley River Center is a great place to waste an afternoon. Getting there is simple – just jump on bus 66 from Eugene Station.