Ashland's downtown is very pedestrian friendly and from the Bard's Inn you can enjoy it to its fullest.
Included in the downtown corridor are The Plaza featuring fine dining, shopping and easy access to the Bowmer Theatre, Main Street with its great selection of dining, shopping and small town character, The Railroad District rich with railroad history, galleries and dining opportunites and Lithia Park the jewel of downtown Ashland with lush gardens and ponds and Ashland Creek running through its core. There are just too many things to list them all so get out and explore. When you get hungry here are some nearby choices.
Ashland's historic Plaza, just two blocks from the Bard's Inn, is the nucleus of the Ashland scene. From here, it's a casual stroll to Lithia Park, the Shakespeare Festival, or the Main Street shopping district. The plaza itself is home to shops, restaurants and pubs. Sign up for a a rafting adventure with Noah's River Adventures, or rent yourself some skis at the Ashland Mountain Supply. Or, if knitting is more your thing, the Web-Sters sell everything to do with spinning, weaving, and knitting, including some exceptional finished wares. There are also a toy store and a book store. Behind the plaza shops runs Calle Guanajuato, a spacious and shady creekside walk which is host to Ashland's Saturday Market. On the plaza itself is a large drinking fountain connected to a natural spring of Lithia Water, fizzy carbonated stuff which takes the whole concept of "sparkling mineral water" to a new level.
Main Street / Lithia Way
From the Plaza up to 3rd Street, Ashland's Main Street is a boutique shopping district where you can buy anything from fossils to fiddles. Truly, there is something for everybody in this eclectic mix. Stop in for homemade, all-natural ice cream at Zoey's Cafe, or take in a movie at the Varsity Theatre. Wander among the Ashland Art Center's three floors of artistic studios and galleries. Cripple Creek Music Co. has musical instruments for all occasions, and the Ashland Outdoor Store gives access to the great outdoors of Southern Oregon. The shopping district spills over onto Lithia Way (one block north of Main), and even into the alleys between the two streets. For a meditative treat, walk the Labyrinth at the corner of Lithia Way and 2nd Street. Ashland's Library is located at the east end of the district, at 3rd Street.
Just three blocks north of East Main Street, you come to A Street, which fronts the railway. The warehouses and depot buildings which used to serve Ashland's rail stop have been repurposed as eclectic shops, art galleries, spas and cafes. Ace Hardware (aka Ashland General Hardware) on A Street carries a fine selection of art and office supplies in addition to being a full-service hardware store. Natural and organic foods, including daily hot-deli specials, are available at the Ashland Food Co-op. Pet supplies and feed for most any domestic animal can be had at the Grange Co-op. At the West end of A street, near the railroad tracks, is a small park with a playground.
In Summer the Park is a shady refuge. In Spring and Fall, riots of foliage and color reflect in the crystalline pools of Lithia Creek. Year round, Lithia Park is a delight; a network of easy trails amid views of the creek, interspersed with duck ponds, fountains and sculpture, decorative gardens and plants, and various secluded picnic areas. A large playground is situated in Lithia Park, about a block from the Plaza. A nearby section of Lithia Creek is terraformed into a large wading pool. A little further on, The Lithia Park band shell faces a spacious lawn amphitheater, where live music and other performances take place. The park also features tennis courts, and at the far South end of the Park is a swimming reservoir perfect for hot sunny days. Breathtaking views of the hills reward the persistent hiker who enters the network of trails and vehicle-free roads south of Lithia Park.
Our Favorite Walkable Places to Get Something to Eat and Drink
Kobe: Owner and Chef Billy Harto had a vision of Modern Japanese cuisine in a Southern Oregon setting. To ensure a world-class authentic dining experience, Billy hired Chef Ibong, formerly sushi chef at Nobu in Miami. The Nobu group of restaurants are considered by many to be the world's foremost purveyors of sushi, and Chef Ibong brings the benefit of that experience to his role as Chef de Cuisine at Kobe. Kobe's sake selection is also unsurpassed, thanks to the consulting help of Marcus Pakiser, the only sake master working for a U.S. distributor at the present time. At Kobe, the finest traditions of sushi and sake combine with the dynamic excitement of Modern Japanese cuisine to make for an unforgettable dining experience. Kobe Modern Japanese Cuisine
Liquid Assets Wine Bar: Liquid Assets is the only wine bar in Ashland to feature twenty or more wines by the glass, as well as an extensive selection of bottled wines. An enticing menu of French-inspired cuisine (with some Italian and Spanish influences) is served daily from fresh, choice, and whenever possible local ingredients. Liquid Assets also doubles as an art gallery, featuring contemporary traditional and contemporary fine art, photography, and wall sculptures from the best of Ashland's thriving artist community. The elegant setting is sometimes host to live acoustic music performances. Liquid Assets Wine Bar
Thai Pepper: Subtle blends of flavors, colorful presentation, and the freshest of ingredients make dinner at the Thai Pepper a wonderful treat. The restaurant has won numerous awards including Best Thai Food, Most Romantic, and Best Outdoor Setting. Signature dishes include Indonesian Grilled Lamb: a splendid, savory dish. The flower-bedecked dining area is below street level, sheltered from sun and wind on the banks of Lithia Creek. The Thai Pepper is a real Ashland gem and one of our favorite restaurants. The Thai Pepper
Brothers: Open from 7AM to 2PM, Brothers' Restaurant serves breakfast all day, with lunch and cocktails at lunchtime. Choosing from the many tempting offerings on Brothers' eclectic menu can be a challenge! The menu ranges from twenty varieties of omelettes, to raspberry lemonade mimosa. Everything is delicious, with fresh ingredients sourced locally whenever possible. The upstairs seating area overlooks the kitchen, and the whole place has an upbeat, friendly vibe. Brothers' Restaurant
Caldera Tap House: Tap into Oregon's beer culture at the Caldera Tap House, open daily at 2PM. With twenty handcrafted Caldera ales and lagers on tap, the Caldera Tap House offers frothy, bubbly delights for any palate. Live bands often perform on the Tap House stage. Hungry patrons can choose from a menu of freshly-made appetizers, salads, burgers (including vegan and seafood choices) and sandwiches, with names ranging from the Tap House Burger to The Stinky Hippie (which tastes far better than you might expect). Caldera Tap House