The Bistro. It’s Willamette’s No. 1 spot to meet friends, study and grab a cup of coffee. The student-run shop offers traditional goodies — such as specialty drinks, homemade entrees and plate-sized chocolate chip cookies — and a treat found only at Willamette: Buzz Bars, iconic peanut butter and chocolate bars named after Richard “Buzz” Yocum ’49.
Star Trees. Near Waller Hall, step into a grove of giant Sequoias planted by the Class of 1942 to honor the university’s 100th anniversary. View the Star Trees at their most stunning in mid-December, when the university lights the trees as part of its annual holiday celebration.
The trees have grown to have a sweet significance, too: according to campus legend, couples who kiss under them will get married.
Mill Race stream. Undergraduates start their college journey at Willamette by floating candles down the stream — the moving points of light represent their unique paths.
At various points during the year, find students using the Mill stream for a class or packed in throngs along its edges, studying and hanging out with friends.
Hearths. Described by one Willamette professor as embodying the ideal of a residential liberal arts college, Willamette’s academic hearths are specific gathering spaces — located anywhere on campus — for faculty and students to connect, discuss and collaborate.
Martha Springer Botanical Garden. Tucked behind Sparks Athletic Center, the garden consists of 12 micro-gardens — including a butterfly, herb, alpine rock and ethnobotany garden — that border the Mill Race stream and host several native species. The garden was named after a biology professor and botanist who entered Stanford University as a teenager. Benches and picnic tables are available for anyone to enjoy.
The Japanese Zen Garden is also nearby. Behind the Art Building on the northwest part of campus, a stone and gravel path leads to the small garden that features Japanese native plants. It’s named after Willamette Professor Germaine Fuller, who along with her students designed the garden in 1991.