Ashland, Oregon: 5 Things We Love

Come for the Bard, stay for the beauty—on the trails, in the galleries, and on the plate.

Allen Elizabethan Theatre's outdoor stage at dusk in Ashland, Oregon, picture
The Shakespeare Festival has produced plays for 83 years.
T. Charles Erickson

Famed for its Shakespeare Festival, Ashland draws 125,000 travelers yearly. But the play’s not the only thing in town: Wise visitors will save time for the amazing art, parks, and food.

1. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival produces the Bard’s classics alongside modern works, so you never know just what will be on the playbill. This year, you might catch Othello, Oklahoma!, or the world premiere of Manahatta. Book a backstage tour, and you could learn about blood jam and wig calls.

2. Adventure into the outdoors on the Alice in Wonderland trail system. Nicknamed after the original Alice Trail, which ran through a tunnel of brush near town, the 13 miles of paths honor Lewis Carroll characters. The White Rabbit Trail offers views of the verdant Rogue Valley framed by rumpled golden peaks.

3. Photos and drawings by some 80 southern Oregon artists pack the windows and walls at the Ashland Art Center. Explore three floors of galleries and studios, and you might see anything from welded sculptures to paintings inspired by microorganisms.

4. Chef-owner Billy Harto bought Thai Pepper in 1992, and he’s still bringing the heat, with Thai-Indonesian fusion dishes such as mouth-melting Evil Jungle coconut curry. Post-curry, cool down with a lychee sour on the creekside patio.

5. For 25 years, Jennifer Streit has been collecting vintage props and furnishings from around the globe. See the results at her boutique, Prize, where imported French signs and tea towels share shelf space with fine jewelry and Dutch chalk licorice.