Mt. Bachelor

Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon (Photo by McKayla Crump on Unsplash)

From stunning views to heart-pumping recreational activities and invigorating all-four-seasons-in-a-day weather, Oregon has something for everyone. The Pacific Northwest, known for its proximity to the beach and mountains, its breathtaking landscapes, great breweries and granola vibes — oh, and its rain — is a great place to settle down. If you’re considering a move, check out our top five list of the best places to live in Oregon, according to experts!

In Oregon smoking marijuana is legal, and according to one study conducted there, most people believe smoking pot is safer than drinking alcohol. If you are over the age of 21, you may partake in recreational marijuana in Oregon. Dispensaries are relatively abundant and easy to find. Oregon is also among the states considered to be “most prepared” in the event of a zombie apocalypse … in case you’re wondering about that.

When it comes to experiencing nature, growing your own veg or driving an electric car, there’s no place like the green state of Oregon. If you’re hoping to slow down, breathe the fresh air, explore the great outdoors and reduce your carbon footprint, it might just be the place for you.  And if you’re worried about the rain, true Oregonians would say … don’t. It doesn’t rain as much as you might think, often a rainy day is only rainy for a couple of hours, and you don’t have to let the rain deter you from your plans.

So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty! Looking to make a move out west? Find your new home sweet home and check out these expert picks of the top five best places to live in Oregon. Don’t see your favorite on the list? Let us know in the comments!

The List: Best Places to Live in Oregon, According to Experts

1. Bend

Looking for sun in Oregon? Bend may be the place for you! Owing to its relatively nice weather, vibrant outdoor scene and growing opportunities, Bend is one of Oregon’s top places to relocate.

A lodge alongside a roaring river in Bend, Oregon
A lodge alongside a roaring river in Bend (Photo by Jeff Finley on Unsplash)

Rival Realty Group says, “A small city on the Deschutes River, Bend is one of the fastest-growing cities in Oregon. This outdoorsy, craft-beer-loving town offers plenty of opportunities for families, young professionals, and small business owners to thrive.”

“Considered by many to be one of the best places for living in Oregon, Bend is located in Oregon’s high desert just on the east side of the central Oregon Cascades. In recent years, this beautiful city has become a very popular place in Central Oregon to move to due to the dozens of nearby lakes, hundreds of miles of mountain bike and hiking trails, many shopping options, and the high desert climate,” writes That Oregon Life.

Movingist touts its safety rating, writing, “The best thing about Bend is its safety. This city ranked #6 in terms of the safest cities in Oregon.”

2. Corvallis

Corvallis is a little university town that has a lot going for it. Bankrate likes its bike-friendly reputation: “If you spend a lot of time on your bike, you might just want to pedal to Corvallis and set up shop forever. The home of Oregon State University is the most bike-friendly city on our list, and edged Portland out of our top spot this year.”

Oregon State University Reser Stadium
Reser Stadium at Oregon State University in Corvallis (Photo by Porter Raab on Unsplash)

NewHomeSource says Corvallis residents are dog people: “With an emphasis on arts and culture — three annual art and music events, three major galleries, and the Corvallis-OSU Symphony — this creative region leans liberal and loves dogs. Speaking of dogs, Corvallis boasts at least nine dog-friendly spots for pups and their owners to take in the sights — along with a meal and drink.”

Livability writes, “Corvallis is recognized as a Tree City USA and features 47 public parks, while several art galleries and museums also add to the quality of life. Major employers include Samaritan Health Services, Siga Technologies and Hewlett-Packard.”

3. Ashland

If you were to say you’d never heard of Ashland, we wouldn’t be surprised. This small town located near breathtaking Crater Lake is one of the most underrated places to live, offering arts and culture, a fun foodie scene, and fantastic outdoor recreation, all packaged in a prospering university atmosphere.

A river otter in Bear Creek in Ashland, Oregon
A river otter in Bear Creek in Ashland, Oregon (Photo by John Yunker on Unsplash)

 “The region also has an under-appreciated wine scene that is its own designated American Viticultural Area. To complement the wine, Ashland has a thriving gastronomy scene, with chic coffee houses, high-end dining and craft cocktail bars,” claims Apartment Guide.

Nomadlawyer writes, “The place gets almost 300 days of sunshine annually and Lithia’s 93 acres of forested canyon land offers a host of outdoor recreation activities.”

Only in Your State says it’s one of the best places to retire in Oregon. “Ashland is home to the wonderful Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and it’s also a fantastic place to retire. This lovely city has mild weather, access to great outdoor activities, a charming downtown, and it’s very pedestrian friendly…”

4. Eugene

Another university city, Eugene offers stunning landscapes and plenty of outdoor recreation, plus temperatures that allow one to enjoy it. Apartment List says, “The area is situated near the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers’ confluence that opens up to dazzling views. There are endless opportunities for kayaking, rafting, and cycling to explore its landscape and rivers. Eugene is also ideally situated for day trips. It’s roughly an hour’s drive to the Pacific Ocean. Eugene’s coastal climate is unusual for the Pacific Northwest. It offers a more temperate climate throughout the year. The temperature rarely dips below the 40s or gets above the mid-80s. That creates outdoor recreational opportunities for locals.”

The Administration building at Oregon University in Eugene
The Administration building at Oregon University in Eugene (Photo by Casey Olsen on Unsplash)

LOHR Real Estate touts family-friendly neighborhoods not far from the city: “Keep in mind that the Eugene metro area does have upwards of 200,000 people and isn’t immune to the problems that plague most cities that size. Downtown Eugene isn’t exactly an urban center, but it does have some of that feel … You won’t need to venture too far from Eugene’s city center, however, to arrive at some of the city’s most family-friendly neighborhoods.”

“As the home of the University of Oregon, Eugene is rich in cultural and outdoor recreational opportunities. The popular and long-running Eugene Saturday Market, open every Saturday, April through mid-November since the 1970s, offers a fun glimpse into this thriving university town’s art, music, and food scene,” writes HomeiA.

5. West Linn

You’ll pay more to live in West Linn, but you’ll benefit from low crime and high-quality education as a tradeoff in this great place to raise a family. HomeSnacks raves, “Go ahead, check out the rest of Oregon, but the 3rd best place to live in the state, West Linn, knows that when you’re done traveling The Beaver State’s concrete rivers you will choose to settle down inside its city limits. How does West Linn know? Well, it has consistently been putting up some of the best numbers in the state for safety and education.”

“Located in the northwestern corner of the state in Clackamas County, the small city of West Linn sits just south of Portland. If you are looking to be near nature’s beauty while not too far from the big city life, West Linn is a great choice. With a population of 26,500 people, it offers a suburban vibe that’s perfect for families,” says Visit Oregon.

Budget Travel Buff says although expensive, West Linn offers many opportunities for work, “West Linn’s median home value is $465,000, and it has a good job market which makes it an ideal place for young adults.

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About Lynne Riffenburgh

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  1. Izzy says:

    Not sure why this is in “Study Finds”. It is more like an advertisement, or at best someone’s personal opinion. Anyhow, my concern would be that all the mentioned towns would look like Portland in five years. Property values would certainly suffer if they did. Another odd note of this article is that it touts that recreational marijuana is legal. Just another reason to avoid it. Now you have one cause for impaired drivers, in addition to cell phones and alcohol, to watch for while driving. Real studies have found that marijuana use by young adults and teens can tip the development of their brain into schizophrenia if they have a genetic propensity for the disease.

  2. Linda says:

    As a former Oregonian of 20 years I strongly disagree with this. Bend and Ashland maybe, but a big no to the other three.

  3. Snickerdeedoodle says:

    Um, why?