12 Best Places to Live in Oregon

by Jem
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For nature lovers, Oregon is a desirable place to visit and call home. From its misty coastline to its lush forests and vibrant cities, the Beaver State offers a rich tapestry of living options and natural beauty. But given its varied landscapes, finding your dream home here can be a challenge. That’s why I’ve crafted this guide to help you discover the best places to live in Oregon.

I’ve roamed Oregon from corner to corner, and I can vouch for its incredible diversity. From the craggy coastlines of Cannon Beach to the tranquil vineyards of Willamette Valley, and from the tech-savvy atmosphere of Portland to the outdoor adventures in Bend, Oregon’s range of experiences is second to none. Whether you’re captivated by the hiking trails, the burgeoning wine scene, or the cultural richness of cities like Eugene and Salem, there’s a slice of Oregon that’s tailor-made for you.

So, where should you begin? The perfect spot is different for everyone. Some may prioritize proximity to nature, others may seek excellent educational facilities, and for many, affordability is key.

Join me as I delve into the top cities to call home, based on what matters most to you. Having explored Oregon’s multifaceted charm, I’m here to navigate you through the best living options. I’ve pored over articles, analyzed data, and conversed with locals to assemble a list that accommodates every lifestyle and budget. This post will answer what are the best places to live in Oregon. Let’s get started!

The top places to live in Oregon right now

The Best Places to Live in Oregon        

Eager to explore the most enchanting places in Oregon to call home? Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon has a locale that’s as diverse as it is beautiful. Continue reading to uncover the top places to live in this captivating state.

Searching for your ideal Oregon home? Whether you have specific plans or are open to possibilities, Oregon has a spot that will meet your criteria.

  • Best for suburban feel: Beaverton
  • Best for outdoor activities: Bend
  • Best for education and research: Corvallis
  • Best for sustainability and green living: Eugene
  • Best for riverfront living: Grants Pass
  • Best for family life: Happy Valley
  • Best for tech jobs: Hillsboro
  • Best for coastal living: Lincoln City
  • Best for wine enthusiasts: McMinnville
  • Best for healthcare access: Medford
  • Best for arts and culture: Portland
  • Best for state capital amenities: Salem

Here are the best places to move in Oregon you must-know to consider for your new residence:

1. Beaverton

If Silicon Valley vibes are what you’re after, look no further. Beaverton, just a stone’s throw from Portland, is home to tech giants like Nike and Intel. The city offers a unique blend of suburban tranquility and tech-driven dynamism. Looking for the best places in Oregon to live? Beaverton should be on your radar, especially if you’re in the tech industry or have a family.

The city is not just about work; it’s about quality of life. With top-rated schools and a plethora of parks, it’s a haven for families. The public transport system is efficient, making the commute to Portland or other nearby areas a breeze.

Beaverton also offers a range of housing options, from modern apartments to spacious family homes. The city’s diverse community adds a cultural richness, making it a great place to live in Oregon for anyone looking for a balanced lifestyle.

So, whether you’re a tech guru looking for the next big thing or a family seeking a community-oriented environment, Beaverton offers the best of both worlds.

Tech behemoths like Intel and Nike call Beaverton home.
Tech behemoths like Intel and Nike call Beaverton home.

2. Bend

Craving the great outdoors? Bend is your playground. Known for its stunning landscapes, this city is a magnet for those who love to be active. Skiing, hiking, and mountain biking are just a few of the Bend activities that make it one of the best Oregon towns to live in for nature lovers.

The city is more than just an outdoor haven; it’s a community. With a bustling downtown filled with local boutiques, craft breweries, and farm-to-table restaurants, Bend offers a vibrant lifestyle. The Deschutes River runs through the city, providing scenic beauty and opportunities for kayaking or paddleboarding.

Housing options are diverse, ranging from cozy cabins to modern condos. The city’s schools are highly rated, making it a good place to live in Oregon for families as well.

In Bend, you’ll find a harmonious blend of outdoor adventure and community spirit, making it a top choice for those looking to embrace the best of both worlds.

Among the many things to do in Bend are mountain biking, skiing, and hiking.
Among the many things to do in Bend are mountain biking, skiing, and hiking.

3. Corvallis

Picture a town where academia and community spirit coalesce. That’s Corvallis for you. Home to Oregon State University, this city is a buzzing academic hub. With a low unemployment rate and bike-friendly streets, it’s one of the best areas to live in Oregon for students, faculty, and anyone who values education.

Don’t mistake it for just another college town. Corvallis offers a rich cultural scene with art galleries, theaters, and music venues that keep the city vibrant. The local farmers’ markets and craft breweries add to the community feel.

When it comes to housing, Corvallis offers a mix of options. From student apartments to family homes, there’s something for everyone. The city is also committed to sustainability, making it a nice city to live in Oregon for those who are eco-conscious.

In Corvallis, you’ll find a unique blend of academic excellence and community engagement, making it an ideal place for both the mind and the soul.

Imagine a village where academics and local pride coexist.
Imagine a village where academics and local pride coexist.

4. Eugene

Think of a place where culture and sports collide in the most harmonious way. Eugene, home to the University of Oregon, is that place. It’s a city where you can attend a Shakespeare festival in the morning and a Ducks football game in the afternoon. Best cities to live in Oregon? Eugene is a top contender, especially if you’re a sports enthusiast or a culture vulture.

While the city is known for its athletic prowess, thanks to the university, it’s also a hub for the arts. Murals adorn the walls, and live music is a common occurrence. The city’s numerous parks and green spaces offer a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively.

Housing in Eugene is as diverse as its residents. You’ll find everything from student housing to luxurious estates. The city’s public transport system is efficient, and its bike lanes are some of the best in the state, making it a best Oregon city for those who prefer a car-free lifestyle.

In Eugene, you’ll experience a dynamic blend of athletic energy and cultural richness, making it a destination that caters to a wide range of interests and lifestyles.

Imagine a location where sports and culture mingle most harmoniously.
Imagine a location where sports and culture mingle most harmoniously.

5. Grants Pass

Ever dreamt of a life where the river is your backyard? Grants Pass makes that dream a reality. Known for the Rogue River that winds through it, this city is an adventurer’s paradise. Whitewater rafting, fishing, and jet boat tours are just a few of the activities that make Grants Pass one of Oregon’s best places to live for thrill-seekers.

But the river isn’t the only star here. The city’s downtown is a charming blend of historic architecture, local boutiques, and cozy cafes. It’s a place where community matters, evident from the numerous festivals and events that take place throughout the year.

When it comes to housing, Grants Pass offers a variety of options that suit different budgets and lifestyles. From riverside cabins to modern apartments, there’s something for everyone. The city’s schools are well-regarded, making it a best area to live in Oregon for families as well.

In Grants Pass, adventure and community go hand in hand, offering a lifestyle that’s both exciting and nurturing.

An adventurer's dream fulfilled is Grants Pass.
An adventurer’s dream fulfilled is Grants Pass.

6. Happy Valley

Imagine a place where tranquility and modern amenities coexist. Welcome to Happy Valley, a suburb that offers a peaceful lifestyle without sacrificing urban conveniences. With top-rated schools and a plethora of parks, it’s one of the best towns to live in Oregon for families seeking quality education and outdoor activities.

The community vibe here is strong. Neighbors know each other, and it’s common to see families picnicking in the parks or attending community events. The local farmers’ market is a weekend staple, offering fresh produce and artisanal goods.

Housing in Happy Valley ranges from modern condos to spacious family homes, catering to various budgets and preferences. The suburb is also just a short drive away from Portland, making it convenient for those who work in the city yet prefer a quieter living environment. It’s a nice part of Oregon that offers the best of both worlds: suburban peace with city access.

In Happy Valley, you’ll find a harmonious blend of community spirit and modern living, making it an ideal choice for those who want a balanced lifestyle.

Happy Valley is a suburb that provides all the comforts of the city with a tranquil lifestyle.
Happy Valley is a suburb that provides all the comforts of the city with a tranquil lifestyle.

7. Hillsboro

Step into a world where the future meets the past. Hillsboro is a tech-centric city that hasn’t forgotten its roots. Home to tech companies like Intel, it’s a hub for innovation and job opportunities, making it one of Oregon’s best cities to live for career growth.

Yet, Hillsboro offers more than just a thriving job market. The city’s downtown is a charming area filled with historic buildings, local shops, and eateries that serve everything from gourmet burgers to international cuisine. The cultural scene is equally vibrant, with art galleries and theaters offering a touch of sophistication.

Housing options are as diverse as the city itself. Whether you’re looking for a high-rise apartment near the tech campuses or a cozy home in a quiet neighborhood, Hillsboro has it all. The city’s schools are highly rated, and the public transport system is efficient, making it among top cities in Oregon to live for families and professionals alike.

In Hillsboro, you’ll find a unique blend of technological advancement and small-town charm, offering a lifestyle that’s both progressive and comforting.

Though it is a tech-driven community, Hillsboro is not blind to its history.
Though it is a tech-driven community, Hillsboro is not blind to its history.

8. Lincoln City

Picture waking up to the sound of waves crashing against the shore. In Lincoln City, this dreamy scenario is everyday life. Known for its stunning coastline, this city is a haven for those who love the sea. From beachcombing to kite flying, the activities are endless, making it one of the best Oregon cities for ocean enthusiasts.

Don’t be fooled by the city’s laid-back vibe; there’s more to Lincoln City than meets the eye. The culinary scene is a hidden gem, with seafood restaurants serving the freshest catches. Add to that the local art galleries and you’ve got a city that’s as cultured as it is relaxed.

When it comes to housing, Lincoln City offers a range of options. Whether you’re looking for a beachfront property or a home tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, you’ll find it here. The city’s schools are well-regarded, making it a best place to live in Oregon for families as well.

In Lincoln City, you’ll find the perfect blend of coastal beauty and cultural richness, offering a lifestyle that’s both relaxing and stimulating. This makes Lincoln city the best city to live in Oregon.

This idyllic scene is real life in Lincoln City.
This idyllic scene is real life in Lincoln City.

9. McMinnville

Ever thought of living in a place where vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see? McMinnville is that idyllic setting. Known as the heart of Oregon’s wine country, this city is a paradise for oenophiles. With over 700 wineries in the vicinity, it’s one of the coolest places to live in Oregon if you have a penchant for fine wines.

Yet, wine isn’t the only thing on the menu here. The city’s historic downtown is a treasure trove of antique shops, boutiques, and farm-to-table restaurants. The annual UFO Festival adds a quirky charm, making McMinnville a city that knows how to have fun.

Housing options are as varied as the wine selections. From charming cottages to modern apartments, there’s something for every taste and budget. The city’s schools are highly regarded, making it a best area to live in Oregon for families who prioritize education.

In McMinnville, you’ll experience a lifestyle steeped in both wine and culture, offering a unique blend of leisure and learning.

Oenophiles is like a heaven in this city, one of the best places to live in Oregon.
Oenophiles is like a heaven in this city, one of the best places to live in Oregon.

10. Medford

Craving a life where outdoor adventures are just a stone’s throw away? Medford is your answer. Located near the California border, this city serves as a gateway to some of Oregon’s most breathtaking natural wonders. From Crater Lake National Park to the Rogue River, Medford is a best place to live in Oregon for those who love to explore.

But don’t think Medford is all about the great outdoors. The city boasts a vibrant arts scene, complete with theaters, galleries, and live music venues. The annual Art in Bloom festival is a highlight, transforming the city into an open-air gallery.

When it comes to housing, Medford offers a variety of options to fit different lifestyles and budgets. Whether you’re looking for a vacation home or a downtown apartment, you’ll find it here. The city’s schools are well-regarded, making it a good place to live in Oregon for families as well.

In Medford, you’ll find a balanced lifestyle that offers both natural beauty and cultural richness, making it a destination that caters to a wide range of interests.

This city is the starting point for some of the most amazing natural beauties in Oregon.
This city is the starting point for some of the most amazing natural beauties in Oregon.

11. Portland

Ever wondered where creativity and urban flair meet sustainability? Look no further than Portland. Known for its eclectic neighborhoods, food trucks, and a strong sense of community, it’s one of the best cities to live in Oregon for those who crave a vibrant urban life.

For me, Portland’s nightlife and craft beer scene are top notch. Add to that its offbeat restaurants and quirky shops, and you’ll see what makes it such a desirable destination.

Portland’s not just about its bustling downtown and hipster vibes. The city is a green haven, with numerous parks and bike paths encouraging an active lifestyle. The iconic Powell’s Books and Voodoo Doughnut are must-visits, adding to the city’s quirky charm. This makes Portland especially fun for kids!

Housing in Portland is as diverse as its residents. From trendy lofts in the Pearl District to cozy bungalows in East Portland, there’s something for everyone. The city’s public transport is top-notch, making it a great place to live in Oregon for those who prefer to go car-free.

In Portland, you’ll experience a unique blend of urban excitement and eco-conscious living, making it a city that truly offers the best of both worlds.

For those who long for a bustling urban lifestyle, it's among the greatest places to live in Oregon.
For those who long for a bustling urban lifestyle, it’s among the greatest places to live in Oregon.

12. Salem

Imagine living in a city where history is not just a subject in school but a part of daily life. Salem, Oregon’s capital, offers just that. With its historic sites like the Oregon State Capitol and Willamette Heritage Center, Salem is a best Oregon town to live for history buffs.

Don’t mistake Salem’s rich history as a sign that the city is stuck in the past. Quite the opposite. Salem is a growing hub for tech companies and startups, offering ample job opportunities. The city is also home to several colleges, making it a vibrant place for young adults.

When it comes to housing, Salem provides a wide array of options. From historic homes to modern apartments, the city caters to various tastes and budgets. The public schools are highly rated, adding to Salem’s appeal as a best town to live in Oregon for families.

In Salem, you’ll find a harmonious blend of historical richness and modern amenities, making it a city that offers a well-rounded lifestyle.

The greatest Oregon town for history aficionados to call home is Salem, one of the best places to live in Oregon.
The greatest Oregon town for history aficionados to call home is Salem, one of the best places to live in Oregon.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Oregon  

Interested in learning more about top residential spots in Oregon? Here are frequently asked questions about the state’s best living areas. These questions will help you decide where to live in Oregon.

Where is the best place to live in Oregon?

The “best place to live in Oregon” can vary depending on individual preferences, lifestyle, and needs. However, based on the listicles I’ve started to write, here are some top contenders for the most livable cities in Oregon:

  • Portland: Best for those who love a vibrant urban life combined with eco-conscious living.
  • Salem: Ideal for those who appreciate a mix of history and modernity, along with a family-friendly environment.
  • Medford: Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who also enjoy a touch of arts and culture.
  • McMinnville: A haven for wine lovers and those who appreciate a small-town feel with big-city amenities.

What is the most beautiful place to live in Oregon?

The “most beautiful place to live in Oregon” is subjective and can vary from person to person, depending on what you find beautiful. However, some commonly cited places for their natural beauty include:

  • Bend: Known for its stunning landscapes, including mountains, rivers, and forests. It’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Ashland: Famous for its scenic beauty and outdoor theaters. The city is surrounded by mountains, forests, and a beautiful lake.
  • Cannon Beach: Offers breathtaking ocean views, especially around Haystack Rock. It’s a small coastal town with a lot of charm.
  • Hood River: Located in the Columbia River Gorge, it offers stunning views of both the river and Mount Hood.

Where in Oregon should I move to?

The best place for you to move to in Oregon depends on various factors like your lifestyle, career goals, and what you’re looking for in a community. Here are some suggestions based on different criteria:

  • Career Opportunities: If you’re in tech, healthcare, or other booming industries, Portland or Beaverton could be ideal.
  • Outdoor Activities: For those who love the great outdoors, Bend or Medford offer a plethora of options from skiing to hiking and river rafting.
  • Family-Friendly: Salem and Hillsboro have excellent schools and family-friendly activities, making them great options for those with kids.
  • Affordability: Places like Grants Pass and Eugene offer a lower cost of living compared to Portland, without sacrificing quality of life.
  • Retirement: Lincoln City and McMinnville are popular among retirees for their slower pace and beautiful natural settings.
  • Cultural Activities: If you’re into arts and culture, Ashland, known for its famous Shakespeare Festival, might be the place for you.
Oregon is a land of contrasts, providing a wide variety of lifestyle-friendly living experiences.
Oregon is a land of contrasts, providing a wide variety of lifestyle-friendly living experiences.

What city in Oregon has the lowest crime rate?

The city with the lowest crime rate in Oregon can vary from year to year, but generally, smaller towns tend to have lower crime rates compared to larger cities. As of my last update in January 2022, cities like Lake Oswego, West Linn, and Sherwood often rank low in terms of crime rates according to various studies and statistics.

It’s important to note that crime statistics can be influenced by various factors, including population density, economic conditions, and local law enforcement practices. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check the most recent data and perhaps even visit a place to get a feel for the community.

Is it a good idea to move to Oregon?

Here are some considerations to help you decide if moving to Oregon is a good idea for you:

Pros of Living in Oregon:

  1. Natural Beauty: Oregon is known for its stunning landscapes, including mountains, forests, beaches, and rivers. It’s ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, biking, skiing, and water sports.
  2. Environmental Consciousness: Oregon, particularly Portland, is known for its strong environmental focus and sustainability efforts.
  3. No Sales Tax: Oregon is one of the few states in the U.S. that does not have a sales tax, which can be financially beneficial.
  4. Quality of Life: Many people find Oregon offers a high quality of life with a balance between urban and outdoor living.
  5. Cultural and Recreational Activities: Oregon cities, especially Portland, offer a vibrant cultural scene with a variety of dining, arts, music, and recreational activities.

Cons of Living in Oregon:

  1. Cost of Living: Some areas, particularly Portland and its suburbs, have a high cost of living, especially in terms of housing.
  2. Income Tax: While there’s no sales tax, Oregon has one of the higher state income tax rates in the U.S.
  3. Weather: The climate can be a drawback for some, as parts of Oregon, particularly the western region, experience a lot of rainfall and overcast days.
  4. Job Market: Depending on your profession, the job market can be competitive, especially in popular urban areas.
  5. Rural vs. Urban Divide: There’s a significant cultural and political divide between urban areas like Portland and the more rural parts of the state.

Where is the cheapest place in Oregon to live?

The cost of living in Oregon varies significantly across the state, with some areas being more affordable than others. Generally, smaller towns and rural areas tend to be cheaper than the larger cities or popular coastal and mountain towns. Here are a few areas in Oregon that are often considered more affordable:

  1. Klamath Falls: Located in Southern Oregon, Klamath Falls offers a lower cost of living, particularly in terms of housing costs. The city is known for its outdoor recreational opportunities.
  2. Roseburg: This small city in the Umpqua River Valley offers affordable housing and a cost of living that’s lower than the Oregon average. It’s surrounded by natural beauty and is known for its wineries.
  3. Coos Bay: As the largest city on the Oregon Coast, Coos Bay has a relatively low cost of living, with housing prices below the state average. It offers a coastal lifestyle with a small-town feel.
  4. Pendleton: Known for the famous Pendleton Round-Up rodeo, this city in Eastern Oregon offers affordable living and a strong sense of community.
  5. Prineville: Located in Central Oregon, Prineville is more affordable compared to nearby Bend and Redmond. It offers a small-town atmosphere with access to outdoor activities.
  6. Ontario: Situated in Eastern Oregon near the Idaho border, Ontario offers a lower cost of living, particularly in terms of housing. It serves as a commercial hub for the surrounding agricultural area.
  7. Grants Pass: While the cost of living is rising, Grants Pass is still more affordable than many other Oregon cities. It’s known for its access to the Rogue River and outdoor activities.

What is the most common crime in Oregon?

As of my last update in January 2022, property crimes like theft, burglary, and vehicle theft are generally more common in Oregon compared to violent crimes. This trend is similar to what is observed in many other U.S. states. However, it’s important to note that crime rates can vary significantly from one city or region to another within the state.

Drug-related crimes, including possession and distribution, have also been a concern in various parts of Oregon. Again, these trends can change over time and may be influenced by a variety of factors, including economic conditions, law enforcement practices, and social issues.

For the most current and localized information, it’s advisable to consult the latest crime reports or statistics provided by local law enforcement agencies or state departments.

Is it expensive to live in Oregon?

The cost of living in Oregon can vary widely depending on the area. Generally speaking, larger cities like Portland tend to be more expensive, especially in terms of housing and certain amenities. However, there are also many areas in Oregon where the cost of living is relatively moderate or even low compared to the national average.

  • Housing: In cities like Portland, Beaverton, and Hillsboro, housing can be quite expensive. However, in smaller towns and rural areas, housing costs are generally more affordable.
  • Taxes: Oregon has no sales tax, which can be a benefit. However, it does have relatively high income taxes.
  • Utilities and Transportation: These costs can also vary but are generally in line with the national average.
  • Healthcare: Oregon’s healthcare costs are around the national average, but this can vary depending on the location and the specific healthcare services.
  • Groceries: The cost of groceries can be higher in more remote areas due to transportation costs but are generally average in larger cities.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Oregon  

Oregon is a state of contrasts, offering a diverse range of living experiences that cater to all kinds of lifestyles. From the bustling tech hubs to serene coastal towns, there’s a slice of Oregon that’s perfect for everyone. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a career-driven individual, or someone looking for a peaceful retirement, you’ll find a community here that feels like home.

While the cost of living can vary, the state offers options for every budget. And let’s not forget the added perks of no sales tax and a plethora of natural wonders right at your doorstep. With its unique blend of urban and rural, modern and historic, Oregon truly offers a quality of life that’s hard to beat.

So, if you’re pondering where to live in OR, consider what’s most important to you—be it low crime rates, career opportunities, or natural beauty—and you’ll find a place that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. After all, finding the right spot in this Pacific Northwest gem is all about aligning your lifestyle with the diverse options Oregon has to offer.

The top places to live in Oregon for all
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