The Honest Pros and Cons of Living in Bend

Bend is a wonderful place to live. However, it’s not for everyone and it’s important to know what you’re signing up for before you make the move.


  1. If skiing and snowboarding are your thing, there is no better place to live than Bend, Oregon. With Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort 21 miles from Downtown, heading up to the mountain before work or during lunch to sneak in a few runs is always an option.
  2. Surrounded by the Cascade Mountains, Bend is a favorite for hikers, mountain bikers, mountain climbers, and those who love to camp under millions of stars in total darkness and silence. Within a 20-minute drive, you can be out in the wilderness connecting with nature.
  3. With endless amounts of lakes and rivers, you will find some of the best fly fishing in Central Oregon. Several species of salmon, trout, and bass to name a few that jump out of the water just asking to be caught.
  4. The Deschutes River runs through the City of Bend and is a popular spot for kayaks, paddle boards, floats, and an intense, swimming workout.
  5. Bend is as dog friendly as you will find. Within 20 minutes from Downtown, you will find numerous fenced in dog parks and off leash dog trails where you and your dog can walk in the forest or along the river for hours. Restaurants have outdoor seating with dog bowls filled with water, and gas stations and your local drive-thru have treats for your pup as you wait.
  6. Bend is considered the High Desert making the air clean and dry. Say goodbye to the cold and wet humid air that will chill you to the bone. When the sun is out it warms up very fast but when it goes down, there is a definite chill in the air. Layering is always recommended as a form of attire here.
  7. People are friendly, the pace is slower, and quality of life is the priority. The importance of kindness and community are evident almost everywhere you go, becoming infectious when you live here.
  8. Flying into the Bend/Redmond Airport is a dream. Located 20 minutes from Downtown, the small airport awards you the luxury of avoiding long lines and waiting endlessly for your luggage.
  9. The tap water in Bend rivals any bottled water hands down. Trickling down from the mountains, there is a clean, fresh and pure taste that will make you want to stay hydrated!
  10. There is an abundance of school options to choose from. Whether you prefer a traditional public school, private, charter, magnet, or alternative, the Bend-La Pine School District has it all!
  11. Bend proudly keeps their Downtown stores and restaurants local. An adorably intimate area to wander through art galleries, shop in small, charming, clothing boutiques, reminisce in old-fashioned candy shops, and eat in delicious, locally owned, restaurants.
  12. Looking for bigger chain stores like the Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Zumiez, or Banana Republic? You are in luck! The Old Mill shopping district is almost exclusively big, brand name retail stores.
  13. Festivals, parades, fairs, and farmer’s markets galore! Especially during the summer, there is so much to do especially on the weekends. One of the reasons why it’s so easy to become part of the community in Bend is because there is so much to do and a ton of groups to join to meet your peeps!
  14. As more people move here from larger cities where there is access to more culture and activities, Bend is being forced to up their game to satisfy the needs of the residents and they are hard at work! A new public library with co-working spaces, a children’s discovery zone, and a creative DIY zone is currently in the works to be completed in early 2026. Several new shopping centers, walking bridges, bike paths, and an RV park are only a few examples of great things to come.


  1. Although the population in Bend continues to grow, the diversity in Bend still feels pretty “white bread”. If living in a city where diversity of race, religion, culture, gender…is important to you, living in Bend may be an issue.
  2. If museums, the theater, professional sports, and global culture are your thing, Bend is lacking in that department. We do have some impressive musicians performing at the Hayden Amphitheater during the summer, the Bend Film Festival is always a favorite amongst locals, and the Bend Elks baseball farm team is a great place to watch a game with younger kids. We have the Tower Theater Downtown that hosts local plays, and a vast array of festivals. However, the closest place to see a Broadway show, visit a museum, or watch a professional sports game is over 3 hours away in Portland.
  3. There is an abundance of restaurants to choose from in Bend, but the quality and diversity of the cuisine is still limited. You will find plenty of options for staples like Mexican, Steakhouses, Thai, Chinese, and American. A handful of fine dining restaurants have opened some of which are delicious and worth every penny, others not so much.
  4. The summers are short, and the winters are long. Bend is not a good place for avid gardeners who need a longer growing season. Our last frost is usually in mid-June, and you can expect frost to return in mid-September.
  5. Bend is very remote. In the best of conditions (not the winter), it takes at least 3 hours to drive to Portland, over 4 hours to the ocean, and over 5 hours to get to Seattle. This makes it difficult for a quick, weekend getaway.
  6. Though the Bend/Redmond airport is a pleasure, it’s very small, and the direct flights are limited to San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and depending on the time of year, sometimes Portland and Chicago. Know that trips across the country will take a whole day and that traveling to international destinations will require several legs and hours of travel.
  7. The infrastructure in the City of Bend was built based on a small population. No one could have known how quickly it would grow and the city is feeling the growing pains while trying to play catch up. There is road construction everywhere to expand highways, install roundabouts, update underground utilities, and add accessibility to places that have been newly developed. This construction can be inconvenient and often causes traffic and detours. 
  8. With rapid growth in population comes a need for rapid housing. Though it is inevitable, more and more of our “open spaces” in the city limits are being replaced with tract housing and condos. So much of the charm of Bend is the older neighborhoods with mill bungalows, and the quaint neighborhoods with unique architectural flare. Tract housing is fast to construct and more cost efficient, but it lacks personality and unfortunately, has started to dominate the Eastside of Bend.
  9. Bend is really lacking in summer camps. Maybe it’s because I am from the East Coast where day camps and sleep away camps are abundant. Bend Park and Rec offers a variety of summer camp classes, but they fill up quickly in the spring and most classes are only for a few hours at best. You will find some week-long sports camps but if you are looking for someplace to send your kids for the summer, that simply does not exist in Bend.
  10. Though remote working has helped, the job market in Bend is very limited. If you dream of having your kids start their career in Bend when they are older, unless you own a business, start a business, or have connections, it is almost impossible for kids to find employment that will pay for the high cost of living here.
  11. The cost of living in Bend is higher than you might think. Real estate is high, groceries are high, restaurants have become more expensive, and the cost of activities are high. Partly because this is a city that relies heavily on tourism, partly because of supply and demand, and partly because the prices for renting retail space have skyrocketed and all these factors are reflected in pricing. This may not be an issue for those moving from cities or affluent towns. However, this should be factored in when considering your move.