McMinnville, or, as we call it, Mac
McMinnville is the quintessential small college town and centrally located to take advantage of all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
Incorporated in 1876 and named after founder William T. Newby’s hometown of McMinnville, Tennessee, “Mac,” as the locals call it, is home to nearly 33,000 people, the thriving Willamette Valley wine industry, Evergreen Aviation and the second largest UFO festival in the country.
When students get restless on campus, downtown McMinnville is just a short 15-minute walk north of campus and features shopping, movies, and restaurants serving nearly all world cuisines. Favorites include pizza at 3rd Street Pizza, sushi at Kame, brunch at Crescent Café (serving local and sustainable food) or the flavors of southeast Asia at Thai Country Kitchen. If you are in the area, check out our list of local restaurants.
Other entertainment in McMinnville includes:
- Three theatres – the first-run multiplex, a second-run theater and the larger than life IMAX
- Nearly 250 acres of city parks, including a skate park at Joe Dancer Park and disc golf course at Wortman Park
- Bowling at Walnut City Lanes
- Learning the history of flight and space exploration at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
- The Wings & Waves Water Park, featuring 10 indoor water slides, four of which start in a Boeing 747 airplane parked on the roof
- Miles of road and path for bike rides and casual runs
- Thursdays are great for strolling downtown to check-out the summer Farmer’s Market featuring local fresh food
- The McMinnville Public Market, open each Saturday in the Granary District
When they want to hit the road and head outside of Mac, students can easily explore the following destinations:
Salem: 30 minutes southeast
Oregon Coast: 45 minutes west
Portland: 1 hour north
Mount Hood: 3 hours east
Bend: 4 hours southeast
Seattle: 4 hours north
Vancouver, B.C.: 7 hours north
San Francisco: 10 hours south
Fun McMinnville Trivia:
- The world’s second largest UFO festival occurs each May in McMinnville with guest speakers, an alien parade and much more to celebrate a local farming family who caught the presence of a UFO with their camera in 1950.
- The Spruce Goose, designed and built by Howard Hughes during World War II resides at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. Actually made of birch, it is the largest flying boat ever built and has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history. It was also featured in a recent episode of the TNT show, “Leverage,” which was filmed in Mac.
- Every summer, McMinnville hosts the world’s largest turkey barbeque as part Turkey Rama! In addition to the BBQ, Turkey Rama includes a street fair, carnival rides and 5k fun run!
- Children’s author Beverly Cleary, whose best known characters include Henry Huggins, Ramona and Beatrice “Beezus” Quimby, Ribsy and Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse was born and raised in McMinnville until she was six years old, when her family moved to Portland.
- In 1983, Helen Hunt stared in the “Quarterback Princess.” Filmed primarily in McMinnville, the movie is based on the true story about the struggles of a teenage girl who wants to play quarterback for the high school football team. Look out for Dave Hansen, professor of Economics and former Dean of Students, cheering in the crowd.
- The world-renowned International Pinot Noir Celebration takes place each summer on Linfield’s campus. The IPNC is a three day event showcasing esteemed chefs and wines from the Pacific Northwest and around the world.