"University Town, and more" Corvallis by glabah

Corvallis Travel Guide: 27 reviews and 119 photos

Corvallis has for a long time been a "college town", as it was decided to put the educational institution that later became Oregon State University there. At one point in time there was a plan for it to become a significant economic center as a railway from the coast through the Cascade Mountains to the east was to make Corvallis a crossroads of two important railway lines. It was never to be, and early on the various railway lines became branches of the much more heavily traveled main line through Albany, some 10 miles away.

Due to its small size, the entertainment and recreational options are somewhat limited, and into the early 1990s there were T-shirts sold by an underground Oregon State University group featured a comment on the problem: "Happiness is seeing CORVALLIS in your rearview mirror" it said.

Yet, there is more to Corvallis than just the university. It is close to the Coast Range to the point of being nestled among the foothills, and various recreational opportunities there. For example, just a little north of Corvallis, there is the Peavey Arboretum / McDonald State Forest which offers a number of forest walking trails. Several significant commercial employers, including Hewlett Packard and a reasonably sized lumber mill, are located in Corvallis as well, but those aren't worthy of tourist mention here.

Corvallis also has a cultural reputation: it was the first city in Oregon, and only the 21st nationally, to have a local arts council to help promote local arts and keep the city a unique and beautiful place. The Arts Center is a very interesting place to visit from time to time to see what is going on, and The Arts Center Store has a number of interesting craft items from all over the Willamette Valley.

There are some nice parks in Corvallis, including Central Park, but Riverfront Commemorative Park is a nice place to get exercise, and unlike certain other cities (Salem and Portland, for example) there isn't a busy high-traffic street forming a barrier between downtown and the park along the river. Thus, the outdoors and the downtown restaurants flow more naturally into eachother than some of the other cities in Oregon that have such a waterfront park.

At the same time, it should be noted that Corvallis is still a small town, which may be a bad thing for those looking for the major entertainment opportunities of a major urban area. At the same time, Corvallis is also not far from Eugene, which also offers a range of activities.

Yet, perhaps there are good things about being in such a small town. For those who are creative, they can create their own entertainment. Some eccentric creations you will find here in Corvallis will not be found in cities with more activities that keep people occupied.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fairly small town with a reasonable arts community, plus lots of energetic young people due to Oregon State University campus.
  • Cons:Does not have the extensive facilities that a larger city has.
  • In a nutshell:Nice little community with some interesting attractions in it and around it.
  • Last visit to Corvallis: Apr 2008
  • Intro Updated Feb 24, 2011
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Reviews (15)

Comments (4)

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Jul 24, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Nice looking place.
    I actually just looked it up ause i finsihed yet another Jon krakauer book and thought i would see what the place he grew up looked like.

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2010 at 4:30 AM

    I love wetland areas with boardwalks Glenn! .... Looks lovely :o) Hugs, Ann.

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    Nice tips. Some of the parks look spectacular.

  • christine.j's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2008 at 7:58 AM

    Frogs on the wall and amphibious cars on the streets - a truly special place!


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