Corvallis has been my home for the past six years. I came here for college, fell in love (with the town), and never left. Bloggers usually do guides for big cities, and I’d like to do ones for Portland and Bend eventually, but for now, I’ll highlight the place I know and love. It’s about an hour and a half south of Portland, ten miles west of I-5 (or “the 5” for my Californian readers).
For a little background, Corvallis, nestled in the Willamette Valley, is a town of about 50,000 people. I never know if that includes the Oregon State University population which is about 25,000 students. Now that I write that, I think it does include students, which means it’s infinitely more quiet in the summer. Corvallis is (according to a billboard right outside of town) the best college town in the Pac-12 and it’s big enough that it has two high schools, but small enough that it doesn’t have a Target, much to my chagrin. That said, there’s lot to do and eat and explore, and I’ll do my best to share my faves.
Where to eat:
First Alternative Co-op: The co-op has two locations in Corvallis, one on 29th and Grant, and the other on HWY-99 in South Corvallis. Both are equally full of local, organic goodness. I grocery shop here, but their salad and hot bar is to die for. They also have fresh-baked desserts and pastries with plenty of gluten-free and vegan options. Grab food here and take it to one of 750 parks (exaggeration) in Corvallis for a picnic.
Frankie’s: Though this restaurant is ~technically~ in Albany, the next town over, it deserves a place on this page. It is a farm-to-table restaurant featuring seasonal menu items and almost exclusively locally sourced ingredients. The menu changes often, but the classics (Bistro Burger and sweet potato fries, y’all) are what bring me back. Also, the head chef/owner competed on an episode of Chopped and won so…
Sky High Brewing: Brewpubs abound in Corvallis, and Sky High might seem like standard pub fare, until you see on their menu that most of their food is locally sourced. The food rivals the views from the rooftop, where you can see most of Corvallis along with the Willamette River. I’m not a beer drinker, but rumor is their beer is pretty bomb.
Gathering Together Farm: Okay it doesn’t get more farm-to-table than this. This restaurant is quite literally on a farm. The menu is different daily, and features whatever produce is seasonal and fresh. There are vegan and vegetarian options, and their wood-fired pizza always draws me in.
White Winds Superfoods: One word– smoothies. Okay and juice. Though the decor isn’t my style, the smoothies definitely are. They have a big menu with lots of superfoods and fruits, but are also totally open to customization. I even bring my own protein powder and they mix it into my smoothie. Golden milk lattes, kitchari, and wellness shots are also featured here.
Corvallis Farmers’ Market: The Corvallis Farmer’s Market is every Wednesday and Saturday from 9:00-1:00 down on 1st street (from April to November). Dozens of local vendors sell plants, produce, local honey, grass-fed meat and more. The Saturday market is much larger and has more vendors but there are plenty of gems at the Wednesday one as well. This is also a prime dog-petting location FYI.
Other honorable mentions: Bellhop, Benny’s Donuts, Caves Bier and Kitchen, Fireworks, Block 15, Nearly Normal’s
Where to explore:
Mary’s Peak: A short drive out of Corvallis, this is the highest point in the Oregon Coast Range, and the views from the top certainly confirm that. I’ve done this hike more times than I can count. If you start from the Conner’s Camp Trailhead, you’ll have about a 5 mile hike round trip, with 1,500 ft elevation gain. This hike is tough, but absolutely worth it. Mary’s Peak also makes an appearance on my Favorite Oregon Hikes list.
Dimple Hill: This hike is located in the McDonald-Dunn Forest and is basically in town. You can either start from the Lewisburg Saddle for a more established trail and gentle incline, or from Chip Ross park for a more rugged and much longer hike. I’ve done and love them both. The top gives you great views of Corvallis.
Bald Hill: Bald Hill Park is a great spot on the west side of town. There are several miles of trails, but you can get to the top of Bald Hill fairly quickly, depending on the steepness of the trail you choose. The park also has a 1.5 mile paved trail around the base of the hill, perfect for running or rollerblading, and an off-leash area for dogs.
Peavy Arboretum: Located just a bit north of town, Peavy boasts a ton of trails. It is managed by the OSU College of Forestry and a lot of work has been put in to creating and maintaining trails. My personal favorite is the Section 36 loop, which is just over 3 miles and ends in a logging sports competition arena and a lake (pond?) where there are always puppers swimming.
Where to workout:
OrangeTheory: I’m a member at OrangeTheory and workout there religiously twice a week. The coaches and front desk staff are so friendly, and I love the diversity of body shapes and sizes I see there. Take a class with Ellen to have your butt particularly kicked.
barre3: I was super skeptical of barre workouts before a friend took me to barre3, but after one class I was hooked. It’s a mixture of pilates, yoga, and ballet/dancing. It seems intimidating, but I haven’t met an instructor there that I didn’t love. They’re all accommodating, challenging, and kind. And let’s be real, it’s one of two places in Corvallis that you can buy Lululemon gear.
Willamette Valley Power Yoga: Ah yes, the other Lululemon retailer in town. WVPY has locations in Corvallis and Albany and they are a Baptiste (think hot power vinyasa) yoga studio. Classes are varying lengths, and they will always leave you breathless, sweaty, and yet refreshed. This is the place that made me fall in love with yoga and their aesthetic is on point. They also host workshops fairly often, such as True North Alignment, Yin Yoga, and Explicit Handstands (handstands with explicit music, yup).
Live Well Yoga: This is a lower key yoga studio on the north side of town that hosts a variety of different yoga styles and teachers. Honestly, I haven’t been there in a few years, but I remember fondly the gentle staff and the diversity of class offerings. Lately, the class times haven’t worked with my schedule which is why I’ve found myself at other workouts.
Where to shop:
Restyle: I can (and have) dropped so much money at this store. Think modern minimalism with plants and more candles, journals, and crystals than you could ever need. They mostly feature dreamy home decor, but also have clothes, stationary, kitchen supplies, and more.
Many Hands Trading: This store is my go-to for buying gifts. They have everything from hand-painted vases from India to handmade silver jewelry from Africa. All items are ethically made and fairly traded. There are tons of cookbooks, scarves, home decorations, and more.
Peak Sports: It’s Corvallis’s own mini-REI! I go there for any outdoor gear I might need, from hiking socks to water bottles to Patagonia fleeces. A block down from their main location, they have a separate bike shop and outdoor gear consignment store.
Where to get coffee/matcha:
Tried & True: The vibe here is reason enough to come. Their matcha is good (sorry y’all, I’m not a coffee drinker, but my boyfriend loves cold brew from there) but their decor is unbeatable. They have a location downtown and in South Corvallis. If you’re trying to get work done, I’d recommend the South Corvallis location as it is much larger with more seating.
Coffee Culture: Meet my favorite matcha in town. There are several locations in Corvallis, including one about a block from my house. They feature Holderness coffee and plenty of teas.
I hope you get the opportunity to visit the place I call home. If you live here, let me know if I did a good job summing it all up. If you visit and love one of these places, let me know too!
I sometimes gripe that it’s hard to be into wellness in a small town without Soulcycle and Sweetgreen, but then I remember that wellness is about all aspects of life, not just fitness and nutrition. Here, my soul is happy. I get to be outside all the time, and I’m near the people that I love. If that ain’t wellness, what is?
Thanks for reading! Check back soon.