Is Bend a Good Place to Live? 10 Pros and Cons to Consider

Updated on March 17th, 2023

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Nestled among the mountains in the heart of Central Oregon, Bend is a picturesque city known for its stunning natural landscapes, outdoor recreational activities, and popular food scene. The city has become a popular destination for those seeking a high quality of life in a beautiful natural setting. With a thriving arts and culture scene and a mild, sunny climate, living in Bend offers many benefits for residents. However, like any city, there are also drawbacks. So, is Bend a good place to live?

If you’re thinking of buying a house in Bend or renting an apartment in the city, read on for 10 pros and cons of living in this outdoor haven. Rest assured, there’s something for everyone. 


5 pros of living in Bend

Bend is famous for its scenery and weather, but there’s a lot more to the city than that. Here are five reasons why Bend can be a good place to live.

1. Beautiful scenery

Bend is located in the gorgeous high desert of central Oregon, providing residents with access to stunning natural scenery, including snow-capped mountains, crystal clear rivers, and verdant forests. It’s a perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Every season also offers something new. Summers are warm and dry, while winters are cool and often snowy. Living in Bend allows you to experience all four seasons to their fullest. 


2. Endless outdoor recreation

Bend offers an array of outdoor recreational activities in every season, such as cross-country skiing, snowboarding, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, and camping, and more. 

Consider exploring the nearby Newberry National Volcanic Monument, which features unique geological features such as lava tubes and volcanic craters. If you’re into golf, tee off at one of the city’s many championship courses. Thrill-seekers can even try their hand at zip-lining or bungee jumping. There’s something for everyone in Bend.

3. Mild, sunny weather

Bend boasts over 300 days of sunshine per year, and generally has a mild and dry climate. Summers average in the 70s, with warm days and cold nights. Winter days are typically in the 30s and may be snowy, although the area receives less snowfall than other parts of Oregon. 

4. Thriving arts and culture

Bend has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries, museums, and music venues, showcasing local and national artists, musicians, and performers. 

The Bend Art Center offers workshops and classes in various mediums, while the High Desert Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of the region. The Tower Theatre hosts a variety of performances, from music and theater to film and comedy. The Old Mill District features outdoor concerts and events throughout the summer, and the Bend Film Festival draws filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts from all over the world. There is no shortage of things to do in Bend during every season of the year. 

5. Lively food scene

Bend has become a destination for food and beer lovers, with over 20 breweries and taprooms serving a variety of craft beers. Additionally, the city’s farm-to-table restaurants and food carts offer a diverse and delicious culinary experience. In the fall, the city’s famous ale trail attracts beer enthusiasts from all over the world. 


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5 cons of living in Bend

Like with any city, there are cons of living in Bend. Here are the five most important for you to know.

1. High cost of living 

Bend’s popularity has driven up the cost of living, particularly in terms of housing, healthcare, and transportation. In fact, house prices in Bend are higher than in Portland, which is already an expensive city. The median sale price for a house in Bend is $679,450, which is over $200,000 higher than Portland and nearly double the national median. This has made it difficult for some residents to afford a home in the city. 

If you’re looking for affordable housing in Bend, renting might be your best option, as rent prices in Bend are similar to Portland and below the national average. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Bend is $1,550, while the average in Portland is $1,587. In addition, Bend has fewer housing options than large coastal cities, allowing for fewer options for different budgets. 

If you’re thinking of relocating to Bend, keep house prices in mind and make sure you know the steps to buying a house

2. Traffic congestion

With a growing population and a limited road system, Bend is experiencing increased traffic congestion, particularly during peak tourist seasons, which can lead to longer commute times.

To alleviate some of the traffic congestion, the city has taken steps to improve public transportation options, including increasing the number of bus routes and introducing a bike-sharing program. Additionally, the city has implemented measures to encourage alternative modes of transportation, such as walking and biking, including expanding bike lanes and building more pedestrian-friendly intersections. 

3. Wildfire risk

There is a risk of wildfire in Bend. The city is located in a wildfire-prone region, and they are a concern during the summer and early fall. In recent years, several wildfires have caused significant damage to the area, resulting in evacuations and destruction of homes and businesses. 

The city is working to mitigate the issue through forest thinning and clearing to reduce fuel for fires, creating defensible space around homes and buildings, and establishing emergency evacuation plans. 

harsh winter

4. Harsh winters

While Bend offers numerous winter activities, the climate can be harsh for those unaccustomed to cold temperatures and heavy snowfall. Winter storms can cause road closures, power outages, and other inconveniences.

To prepare for Bend’s harsh winters, it’s important to invest in proper winter gear, including warm clothing, boots, and a heavy coat. Additionally, if you bought a new home, make sure to winterize it to prevent heat loss and protect against potential damage from snow and ice accumulation. Residents may also want to invest in a generator or other backup power source in case of power outages.

5. Distance from larger cities

Bend is located several hours away from larger cities like Portland and Eugene, which can make it challenging for residents to access certain amenities and services. Job opportunities may also be harder to come by, as commuting to a nearby city isn’t an option.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Jamie Forbes

Jamie is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about home trends, finance, and climate. His dream home is a small, modern, and minimalist forested home where he can hear the wind blowing at night.

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