Community Gems: Lithia Park

Settled in the 1850s’ as a milling center, the city of Ashland grew to become what we all know it as today: the diverse and cultural heartbeat of Southern Oregon. Whether because of Lithia Park, and the beauty and creativity it inspires, or simply because of the melting pot community, Ashland is and will remain one of the region’s gems.

Lithia Water, praised for the healing properties supposedly found in its minerals, is something everyone should try at least once. After you’ve experienced the delightful taste…you’ll convince all your friends to sample the historic mineral water as well (whether as a joke or sincerely, it’s up to you to decide). Lithia Park itself is fed by the Ashland Creek Watershed, which is bordered by miles of hiking trails that lead into the park. Described by the City of Ashland as “a hundred-acre vista of emerald lawns, tennis courts, a sand-pit volleyball court, picnic areas, and colorful landscaping,” Lithia Park is definitely a scenic place for an afternoon stroll. In 2014, the park was even designated by the American Planning Association as one of the top ten Great American Spaces. During the winter months, Lithia Park puts up an outdoor ice rink, which attracts skaters from all over the valley. And during the spring and fall, the park becomes every nature photographer’s dream, with miles of colorful trees, ponds, and creeks.

If you visit Lithia Park around any of the holidays, there are numerous events ranging from Christmas markets, to Independence Day celebrations. Also, in May of each year, the Ashland World Music Festival brings international performers to the Butler Band Shell. The community joins together for frequent ‘movies in the park’ or local music concerts. Even silent disco has grown in popularity (especially if you decide to people-watch without wearing the disco headphones).

Over the next hundred years, Lithia Park will undergo renovations to make sure it remains the jewel of Ashland. The Lithia Park Master Plan Committee already has a plan written out for future city project managers to follow through. Although a hundred-year-plan is almost strange to think about, the community of Ashland wants to ensure that Lithia Park will hold the same appeal in the coming centuries, as it does today. It should be noted that Ashland culture resounds with the sustainability effort, so you can be sure that any changes or improvements made to the park will focus on protecting and spotlighting the natural environment for many more generations to enjoy.

In addition to the events at Lithia Park, the city of Ashland almost always has activities going on, including the Lithia Artisans’ Market (every weekend, displaying homemade crafts), monthly First Fridays (which have music and art galleries that keep people out late), the Saturday Growers’ Market (which closes down an entire street), and the acclaimed Ashland Independent Film Festival (which draws in crowds during a weekend every April).

Most Ashland residents will agree that Lithia Park and the multitude of community events are what tie the city together. Whether congratulating high school graduates at their ceremony in the park, or cheering on ultramarathon runners as they set out on a run that takes them up the side of Mt. Ashland, there always seems to be something people-oriented taking place around the city.


Additional Sources:

City of Ashland (2019). Lithia Park. Website:

National Park Service (2019). National Register of Historic Places, Ashland, OR. Website:


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