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Marci Sischo | 03/08/2021 | Arts and Culture, Itineraries, Restaurants

2 Hours in Corvallis: the Corvallis Museum & Common Fields

Situated right between I-5 and HW99, and the Oregon Coast, Corvallis makes the perfect pit stop on your way out to visit the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. Be sure to plan for an hour or two to stop as you drive through - there's plenty to see and do as you pause to stretch your legs.

Start with a tour of the brand new Corvallis Museum, the distinctively angular and modern gem located in downtown Corvallis at the corner of Second Street and Adams Avenue, right by the Courtyard by Marriott Corvallis. Be sure to wave hello to Bruce the Moose - a taxidermied moose and the museum's mascot - stationed in the lobby, on your way in.

The Benton County Historical Society purchased the property for the museum in 1990 and after two decades of careful planning and fundraising, completed the building in 2019. The museum was meant to open in April 2020, but that was delayed due to the pandemic. Finally, in February 2021, the Corvallis Museum was able to open its doors to small groups.

The museum boasts four galleries, which showcase both art exhibits and themed displays of artifacts from the Historical Society's collection of over 120,000 items, including some 60,000 pieces from the Horner collection, formerly held by Oregon State University.

Enjoy an interactive gallery of photos in the first floor of the museum, or peruse more photos from the Historical Society's archive from the nearby bank of iPads, before heading up to the main galleries on the second floor. There you can browse "Hats and Chairs," which includes, among many other items, Governor James Douglas McKay’s Stetson hat and the organist’s bench from the Whiteside Theatre; "A College Town," which features OSU artifacts like the university's first typewriter; and "Benton County," which offers the homemade goat costume that wildlife photographer William L. Finley used to get close to the animals he photographed, as well as maps and other artifacts.

Exhibits will rotate in and out of the museum eventually, but visitors can expect to see these shows through 2021.

After a tour of the Corvallis Museum, a quick walk south on Second Street, west along Western Boulevard, and around the corner on Third Street will bring you to one of Corvallis' newest culinary pleasures, Common Fields.

Common Fields is Corvallis' new food cart pod and taproom. There you'll find your choice of delicious meals from Benton County food trucks, local craft beers in the tap room, a covered, outdoor play area for the kids, and a covered outdoor seating area where you can enjoy your food. (Indoor seating is also available, when Oregon's COVID safety measures allow.) Hungry travelers can usually count on at least two or three food trucks to choose from, which can include tasty BBQ, Mediterranean delights, burritos, Hawaiian food, coffee and pastries, and more. The taproom offers a rotating tap list of craft beers from around Benton County and beyond.

The outdoors seating area is heated in cooler weather - included heated benches at tables - and enjoys breezy fresh air in warmer weather. Common Fields is also dog friendly, so don't be afraid to pop in if you have your four-footed family members along, too.

Refreshed and refueled, it's easy to head from Corvallis and out to the beautiful Oregon Coast. From either the Corvallis Museum or Common Fields, just head south on Fourth Street to the overpass, where you can enter on HW20 and enjoy a leisurely drive west through Philomath and then continue on to the Oregon Coast on either HW20 or HW34. We recommend taking HW34, also known as the Marys Peak to Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, if you have a little extra time. It's a lovely drive, and there's plenty to see and do on your way.

1. Common Fields

Common Fields is a community taproom and food truck pod with covered seating, heated benches at tables, and a wide variety of area food trucks. Options often include local favorites like Zia Cuisine, Terra's Tastee Treats, Kalamata Bistro, and more. The taproom features local and regional craft beers from breweries like Block 15, Dirt Road Brewing, and Alesong Brewing.

Common Fields is located at 545 SW 3rd Street in Corvallis (map). It's kid friendly - with a covered, outdoor play area for children - dog friendly, and open from 11 p.m. to 8 p.m. Learn more on their website and at Facebook.

2. Corvallis Museum

The Corvallis Museum recently opened to the public. It features four galleries showcasing art and artifacts from the Benton County Historical Society’s substantial collections, including the legendary Horner Collection, formerly at Oregon State University.

The museum is located at 411 SW 2nd Street in Corvallis (map), and is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is $5, and appointments are currently required. Make an appointment here.

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Please Note: All Oregonians and visitors over the age of five, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks in indoor public settings and in outdoor settings in which individuals from different households are unable to consistently maintain physical distance. Click here to learn more.
113 SW 3rd Street, Alley Suite 101
Corvallis, OR 97333
(Entrance facing 2nd St public parking lot)
800-334-8118 | 541-757-1544
Monday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Closed Saturdays and Sundays