Thinking About Moving To Bend?

Thinking About Moving To Bend?

So, you’re thinking about making the jump and moving to Bend. Congrats.

Read everything below from Catrina, then hop over to our most recent version of “Thinking About Moving To Bend?” (Coming soon, we promise… Sign up to get the latest eBGTB posts in your inbox. It’s easy, and in our sidebar to the right. Do it and don’t miss out on Bend!). Also, check out basic facts about Bend here and do tell us what YOU want to know about Bend Oregon before you actually move here. Like a few of you asked us what winter in Bend is like, so we wrote about it. And then we wrote a little about spring in Bend. Basically, just ask us more things and we’ll probably write about them, too.

After you’ve read this post, if you’re moving to Bend from a more metropolitan city, you probably want to read my latest advice (April 2014) for people considering making the move here. And, if you’re planning a Bend vacation or just want to come check things out before actually moving, read about one of the most badass places to stay in Bend, book it, then get your travel on.

Yes, Bend Oregon is sunny and beautiful, and there are a million outdoorsy options, but what’s it really like to live here?

Living in Bend Oregon

Well, everyone is really friendly. It’s one of my four favorite things about living in Bend. When I moved here, it confused me. Strangers would say good morning and then tell me how a pipe burst in their house that morning and that they were worried about their collection of Good Housekeeping magazines in their basement and how their daughter really loves the back issues of GH… random stuff like that. They’ll chat you up about whatever is on their mind. I thought these people wanted something from me at first. I kept waiting for them to get to the point and present me with a “business opportunity” that sounded suspiciously like a multi-level marketing scheme. Nope, they didn’t want anything, they just wanted to chat.

Just don’t expect a Southern welcome where they invite you over for a backyard barbecue. That doesn’t happen. Bend can be a lonely place until you find your groove, your people, your tribe.

moving to bend for bike culture
Yeah, we got a buttload of bike tribes here in Bend.

Moving to Bend and -ing

If you’re passionate about an “-ing,” you’ll be fine: skiing, kayaking, snowshoeing, climbing, road cycling, mountain biking, hunting, trail running, etc. You’ll find your people based on your mutual obsession. Or maybe you’ll find your tribe via your kids or your work. Even so, it can take awhile, so unless you have a ready-made group of friends, be prepared to be a little lonely at first. I’m told it doesn’t last forever, and that patience is required. Someone explained it to me like this: Finding your circle in Bend is like a tree putting down roots in a lava bed. It seems futile, hard to find a purchase, but then one day randomly, you find your vein, and it’s rich and fertile, and suddenly… growth happens.

There’s a good mix of conservatives and liberals around here, it’s not like a big city that way, with conservatives hiding in the closet. Bend politics is all about liberals and conservatives living side-by-side in peace (mostly). You can tell this from the bumperstickers on cars.

Bend isn’t exactly a diverse town (Oregon is super white in general), but don’t equate a lack of ethnic population with racism. It’s not a racist place at all, it’s just a white place. Most residents see people as people without prejudice. While you may be a bit of a novelty if you’re Asian or Black or Hispanic, you’ll be hard pressed to find locals who assume you have certain traits just because of your heritage.

If you did your research and decided that out of all the places in the country, Bend is for you, you’re not alone. I meet people every day who came to the same decision, made the move to Bend (sometimes sight unseen), and across the board, they love it here and never plan to leave.

Moving to Bend Oregon: Random Stuff that No One Tells You

Geese are sort of the rats of Bend. They’re noisy, and omnipresent and they poop up the parks along the river, and any decent-sized green space they can find. Your dog will find inevitably find their leave-behinds and assume it’s snack time. But don’t worry, unless you have riverfront property, they probably won’t hang out in your yard.

move to bend drake park
Where the geese poop (Drake Park). A lot.


  • There is one freeway in Bend, the 97, and the speed limit is 45 MPH. For real.
  • There is a Trader Joe’s, but no Apple Store (Portland is the nearest place to get your get your fried hard drive fixed under warranty).
  • There are actually a number of really good Bend Oregon coffee shops that make really good espresso, including Palate Coffee Bar and Backporch Coffee.
  • The growing season for gardening in Bend is about 80 days. Yep. Locally-grown year-round produce is hard to find. The Bend farmers markets run June – September. That’s it. If you’re a locavore, you’re going to have to expand your definition of ‘local’ to include the Willamette and Hood River valleys. Otherwise you’ll starve in the winter.
  • Whole Foods is waaaaaaay over on the Eastside for some unknown reason. If you do not live over there, shopping at WF will be a special occasion and you will routinely be disappointed by their wine selection. You will fall in love with Newport Market instead. (And their wine buyer rocks.)
Even More Random Bend Oregon Info…

-Northwest Crossing is Bend’s version of suburbia. It gives big-city suburbs a run for their money in terms of competitive homogeneity. Even in Bend, you cannot escape the ladies who lunch (only here, it’s the ladies who yoga, and lunch and latte).

-They’re not kidding when they call it the high desert. Your water consumption and lotion and lip balm usage will probably double or triple.

-You can and should do an Oregon Badlands hike (and/or mountain bike out at Horse Ridge) in THE SPRING. Not so much in the summer.

-Deer will probably visit your yard at night. There will usually be one with a bum leg from a past altercation with a car.

-Things Bend has a ton of: parks, breweries, and puffy jackets.

-Things Bend doesn’t have much of: French wine by the glass, local commercials with high production values, or high-end shopping (if you want a Chloe handbag, or a bespoke suit, you’ll have to drive to Portland — not that you need either of those in Bend).

-People here are really serious about proper roundabout etiquette. Yeah, Bend has a lot of roundabouts and people have very strong opinions about how you should approach, enter and exit these bad boys.

-Everyone’s all in an uproar about two things at the moment (or rather ongoing moment): Mirror Pond and the new OSU campus. If you’re into small town politics, Google can fill you in.



58 thoughts on “Thinking About Moving To Bend?

  1. we’re headed to bend right now, our eta is in fact 20 minutes from right now. i’ve loved perusing your bend tips and laughing hysterically at your posts. bummed to see if you haven’t posted in a bit, hope it’s because you’ve been busy french white wine with your recently found tribe!

  2. After living in AZ, FL, and MI, this MN native talked his(MY) girlfriend and cousin into packing our stuff, and making a move… In planning stage now. Can’t wait!

  3. Thanks for all of your posts, and for keeping it real. my husband and i feel strongly that we will move to Bend within the next year! we are so excited!!

    1. Did you end up moving to Bend? If you did can you tell me about your experience. My husband and I are planning on moving to Bend by the start of the summer. Thanks

      1. We moved to Bend Oregon on December 1st and WE LOVE IT. We moved from the glorious Napa Valley (which isn’t as glorious as it used to be) and we have found Bend to be very considerate, kind, generous and gorgeous!

        I sold real estate in California for 27 years, but for reasons of safety and concerns about crime (yes even in Napa Valley) we were looking for a safer, kinder place to be and Bend is certainly it! my sister in law and I have started a real estate company here, and things look great for values going up for the foreseeable future here since everyone appears to have the same idea.

        There’s no sales tax here, maximum state income taxes are lower and it’s just about the most fun place I could imagine.

  4. Updates:
    1) There is a beautiful new Apple Store in the Old Mill District Mall.

    2) The Bend/Redmond area consists of about a dozen small towns, (within a 50 mile radius), with a population of approaching 200,000 people and growing fast.

    The towns include: Bend, Redmond, Sunriver, Lapine, Terrebonne/Crooked River Ranch, Prineville, Sisters, Madras, Camp Sherman, Tumalo, Metollius, Millican, Gilchrist, Crescent, Chemult, Silver Lake, Christmas Valley & Millican.

    3) Facebook & Apple Computers have recently built Major Computer Server Centers in Prineville, Oregon.

    1. Is there a market for holistic therapies? I am a private business owner – holistic psychotherapist and body-centered therapy/nutrition – wondering if I could make a living here. I am still looking for a longer grow season for my garden but am willing to explore bend too. Thank you!

      1. Hm. I’m not sure if there is ONE specific market for “holistic therapies,” but holistic medicine is big here and there are markets that definitely cater to this. You could check in with some of the other alternative medicine businesses in town. Aside from giving great massages, Action Dynamix Massage or Glow Medicine might know more about where to go for what you need. Good luck.

  5. I really appreciate the honesty of this post. I agree about meeting people. My husband and I have been here for 2.5 years and feel like we are barely making friends… so thanks for the words of wisdom. Maybe we’ll stick it out a little longer.

    1. Pamela, The newcomers club is a great way to meet people and volunteering is also a great way to meet. There is a website for volunteering at volunteer A lot of people walk in their neighborhood and you can strike up a conversation. Our neighborhood is very small and a group of women get together every couple of months especially in the winter. We first began by watching Downton Abbey. We would have a pot luck dinner and then watch the show. That was too late at night for most of us so now we get together for pot luck tapas and play games. Through the Parks & Rec. there are groups you can join to hike, snow shoe etc. If you like to knit Whole Foods use to have a group that would get together there or Gossamer has classes and group times. Volunteering is a great way to meet people and give back to our small community.

      1. Hello Susan,

        Can yo tell me more about the The newcomers club? Also, would like to start volunteering. My husband and I are planning on moving to Bend by the summer of this year. We are going to start coming over there this month to start looking at what Bend has to offer. Thanks for your time

  6. My boyfriend and I are packing up and moving there in just a couple weeks. I am not an avid hiker, skier or biker but I have faith that I will fall into the same hobbies as everyone in Bend! Bend seems like a great place to escape.

  7. Living in Floriduh had enough of living in a red state.Are there enough liberals in Oregon to keep it blue for the next 20 years. Does Bend have a lot of snow in the winter time ?

  8. Hi Everyone,
    We’re moving to Bend in October. So far I haven’t had any luck on rental properties. We’re a family of 6 including our dog Rocco with 3 young kids aging from 11yrs.old, 9yrs.old and 7 years old. My husband and I are both in our mid 30’s. The reason for our move is to mainly just start over. After living in Wisconsin for almost 4 years we sold our house and decided to move back to our hometown in California almost two years ago to be closer to family but unfortunately things didn’t turn out the way we expected. After many sleepless nights, and tears we decided it will be best for us to start over somewhere new. My husband is a retired Marine and I have a background as a Medical Assistant. Hopefully it wont be to difficult to find a job in that field or any job for that matter. Because we’re use to moving due to my husband’s job we don’t have a problem trying to fit in. We’re good people, always willing to help our neighbors and our kids our great not to mention a very friendly dog name Rocco.:). With that said, we’re looking to rent a 3bd, 2ba…with a nice size yard and a reasonable rent most importantly a great school district. Thank you in advance for your response.

    1. Hi
      I live in Hawaii and seaching for information in 2-3 states to move out soon as we can . And one in our list is Bend, Oregon. Just reading your Messages. If you don’t mind, I would like to keep in touch. Good luck with your new move. Thanks

    2. Rentals are usually aplenty beginning in May. Most folks wait until springtime when the snow melts to put their homes up for rent or for sale.

      Also given your husband is a veteran, there are more VA home buying options here even with new homes being entirely VA qualified.

      We are loving Bend and we also made the move in blind faith. It’s working for us even in the short time we’ve been here.

    3. Hi Amy, your post sounds just like us 🙂 we are a family of four and we have moved around a few times and when we moved back from Eugene Oregon to Florida, my husbands mother passed away since we wanted to be closer to family and it didn’t help any matters for my husband mentally. My husband is Retired Army, he’s 31 years old and I am 26. We are planning to move to Bend sometime in June of 2017. We started looking for a place in Oregon besides Eugene and fell in Love with Bend and how theres so much to do outdoors. We are very caring, friendly people that have both been through a lot and would love to get to know new people. Let me know if you are interested exchanging numbers. 🙂 Melissa

    4. Finding a job here as a medical assistant should be fairly easy. Finding a job here that pays good as a medical assistant is a whole nother ball game. I recently moved here and ended up buying just south of bend off spring river. You get way more for your money and not nearly as expensive as buying in bend.

  9. Hello! I am a mother of 2 young children. The husband and I have been wanting to get the family out of the Bay Area! We feel that we could never own a home here…. Even though we make decent money, it’s not enough! Bend strikes my interest and i wanted to ask you your opinion on how well a master hair stylist and a construction worker would do over there?? I have been doing hair for almost 10 years and my husband specializes in house remodel and custom cabinets. But he knows about electrical and a lot other stuff to do with construction. Please help! Would love to get out of this bubble in California!! Thank you

    1. Hi Samantha – funny my husband and I have lived in the Bay area for many years and currently in Sonoma County. We too are looking to move to Bend. I hear that it is a trend these days. Maybe we will meet up in the future.

  10. Hi and hello-
    As a Central Oregon native-yes I was born here-Bend to be exact-I cringe to my soul when I hear,read or see anyone moving or wanting to move here! Don’t get me wrong now-I LOVE IT HERE-I’ve lived in a few other places-Portland O-NC and even Washington state but NOTHING AND NOWHERE compares to Central O-my home. My issue is this-as a native it is very difficult to see all these houses being built and for sale yet none of us can afford to rent or buy them! The property management companies have taken over and make it more than extremely difficult to just find a place-and the competition is insane when applying! It’s to the point that natives are being forced out of the area because of this! Property taxes go up and up etc. It angers me to the point that I and most natives here want to tell you all to get the hell out! Find somewhere else to ruin! We DONT want ANY of you here! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE STOP MOVING TO CENTRAL OREGON! GO AWAY! You have destroyed our beautiful area and way of life here! JUST LEAVE LEAVE LEAVE!

    1. sorry to hear that, but not all people are bad. this same thing your talking about happened to our town, so now me ‘ a finish carpenter’, my wife “a trauma unit er rn’ and our 2 kids 5&7 our moving away from family and friends that we love dearly to create a better life for our kids. we have been to bend and have friends that have been there 15+ years and love it. we will be there this summer as well. I can under stand where you are coming from for sure, but what you are asking will never happen. so please try and find a way to embrace whats happening here. most cases these are good people looking for better places.

    2. I understand your frustration. I lived in Bend the winter of 1995 and 1996 but left to pursue a more diverse place. I currently live in Seattle and have watched this place explode over the past 20 years. Therefore, I’m moving back to Bend. Does it count if you move back? Or do you only want newcomers to not move?

    3. You know… if you don’t like the way your county is raising property taxes and allowing builders to run rampant getting involved with your local politics would be the more productive thing to do. I’m from Austin and looking at Bend. Same thing happened to my beautiful town that many generations of my family have lived in and around. Instead of telling people to stay away and get out, help make it the kind of place you want it to be. Just remember, the entire world population keeps increasing so you’re not going to change that. And you’re lucky you weren’t born and raised somewhere more crowded or it would be someone else telling you to stay away. I’m sure you wouldn’t like that one bit.

      1. Apologies for the delay, Austin Native. And, you’re right! But I didn’t write this blog post. This was Cat’s take on Bend years ago, before she moved elsewhere and passed this blog on to myself and another gal (see transition post: While we have had a different experience of Bend than Cat did, we aren’t about to take down her posts. Google loves them. We will, however and as time allows, continue to update and build upon them. Oh, and the two folks who currently run this blog were indeed born and raised in NJ, which means loads of people everywhere, all the time. We actually LOVE cities and don’t mind seeing Bend become one by healthy and progressive means. Cheers to that, and enjoy Bend if you end up here!

  11. Hello! My husband and I are moving us and our 2 little kiddos to Bend this July. We are born and raised in San Diego and looking for a change. Don’t get me wrong, Southern California is a wonderful place to raise a family, if you’re a millionaire. Which, unfortunately we are not. We have been visiting Bend on and off for the last couple of years and completely fell in love. I know the main adjustment will be the change in weather (60 degrees is cold for us) but I was wondering if it’s absolutely necessary to have a 4 wheel drive car if you’re living in Bend? I was hesitant to tell people where I’m coming from because from what I can see on past comments, Californians aren’t really well liked up north. But hopefully we can win them over ( or just say we’re from Kansas). My husband and I we’re hoping to to get some perspective, insight, and resources before we head up there. While we are very excited for this new chapter, we are also terrified becuase we literally do not know one soul in Oregon. We have been looking on the usual websites for houses to rent (Zillow, Craigslist), but I was wondering if calling real estate agencies would help find us a rental. Also, my son is very into his baseball and soccer…is there little league baseball and AYSO soccer in Bend? Any advice will be helpful, execpt for the dude above me who told us all to go away. 🙂


    Clueless Californian

    1. Hi Kaylee,
      Did you end up moving? I just happened to run across your post looking for ayso soccer for my son here…which I don’t think there is any but there is a ton of soccer options through the city. My family & I just moved here from Central California in May & we have 3 littles so let me know if you’d like to het together!

    2. Hahaha, that guy is an ass and just jealous. Same thing happens everywhere, and has happened, forever, as migrations occur, as populations increase, etc. Next thing he will be telling people to stop having children, stop immigration, stop visiting new places…the world evolves dude. People come and people go. And each new person has something special to contribute to the community, probably more than he does. Great thread, highly entertaining! Love Bend!!

    3. Dear Clueless,
      Can you tell me if you moved and how’s your experience so far?
      My husband and I are native San Diegains and seriously contomplating a retirement to Bend. Can you tell me any negatives, things you didn’t realize until later. We’ve been visiting Bend for many years and we also have family there.
      Sincerely, Curious

  12. Kaylee Knapp,
    I’m in SD County. And we’re moving this year to the Bend area as,well. Don’t allow bullies like above to worry you. I’ve been going to Bend frequently over the last 41 years. I used to go ever Summer from the age of 4 months to 17 years old and continued after that and I can assure you the people are very nice. If you have any questions or concerns you should contact the Chamber of Commerce. Best of luck to you and your family.

  13. I am an older single woman thinking of moving to Bend. It is frightening to think of moving somewhere where I do not know anyone. After reading some of these posts, it seems as though it is difficult to make friends. I’m wondering what others have experienced.

  14. My family and our 20 year old daughter moved here from Alaska, and everyone is super nice here, they will stop and lightly chat but that is the extent of it. Finding friends here is difficult. I live just outside of sun river. Anyone with any inside suggestions on how to meet people, I would really appreciate it..

  15. Flying in from Florida to have a look around Bend for a pick up and move situation with my family of 5. I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. We currently reside in Orlando, FL and the friends thing has been a bit of a problem here. We’ve made friends only to have their nuclear family units implode with nasty or even friendly divorces. It makes for awkward friendships moving forward. But enough of that. Any updates anyone? Suggestions on how to get a good feel for the town on a quick fly by? I’ll be in Bend, then Medford, Eugene and back to Bend. Or that’s the theory anyways. I’m hoping to do a fair amount of Facetiming of my family who cannot come this first trip.

  16. HI, I plan on moving to Oregon summer of 2017 with my 2 girls. I was wondering if Bend is color friendly? We live in arkansas now and just ready for a change.

    Thank you

  17. Arkansas is generally a warm humid climate so be prepared to dress warmly as Central Oregon has a cold dry climate for 7 – 8 months of the year. Bend is also expensive to live and to buy a home, and $200 to $350 dollars per square foot is not uncommon in Bend. Wages are low here compared to the cost of living, and most jobs available in Bend are low paying or minimum wage. You should have a self sustaining income or a job lined up before you move here, as it is hard to get a job. There is also a serious shortage of rental properties here, and rents are escalating big time, and rental properties are few and far between.
    ◦In Bend 92.13% of the population is Caucasian.
    ◦In Bend 0.56% of the population is African American.
    ◦In Bend 1.92% of the population is Asian.
    I hope this helps. Good Luck.

  18. My husband and I are planning our early retirement and considerating Bend. We are active cyclists and hikers and want to be around like minded people. I’ve been tracking the weather every day and think we could adapt to snow in December and January. What is the weather like in March? Is this year’s weather pattern typical? Are people cycling in March and April? How is the wind? And finally- are the passes south kept well maintained?

  19. Hi:
    My husband got a job in SunRiver and we are moving out to Bend in a few months. We have two young girls. We are in sunny Florida now. We’ve never lived in snow but do enjoy weather that is sunny and 70-85 in day and 50-40s at night. I am trying to get a good feel for Bend. What’s weather really like? What kind of stores and restaurants are in Bend? Are there any high end hair salons or groceries stores? What is the expenses like to live in Bend? Typical water, electric, and other living bill’s? Are there neighborhoods that are family oriented so my kids will have friends? I know I’ve posted many questions but as you can tell I am nervous. I hear good and bad about the area and don’t want my family to be miserable. Any information related to the above that you can share is greatly appreciated. Thank you

  20. Hey Bev. We’re planning a move to Bend for end July from Central Florida. I’m from Anchorage, Alaska originally. 3 kids. Youngest daughter is 5.

    I don’t think you will have anyone give you those answers here? Just drive around Bend using Google maps on a decent computer. Bend has everything you could want. I went to visit and will be going back with entire family. Google searches will easily answer any question you have. There’s lots of money in Bend so of course there are high end salons. There are EXTREMELY nice mansion sized homes going up, trust there is high end everything.

    You can bundle against the cold. Get to REI Coop or similar and they can assist you ahead of time in proper clothing or wait until you are there. You will be in for an awakening: it’s mid 30’s right now lows in single digits and so you will need to brace for that. It means you layer to spend any time in it and prepare to have a car that needs to heat up before the outside chill comes off. It’s not immediate like air conditioning. A car needs a couple minutes to pump out heat. In the meantime it’s like you’re driving while outside (no wind). Lol. You can and will get used to it with an open mind. New tech fabrics are amazing as is silk and tech Merino wool blends. It’s dry so the cold won’t pierce you like a knife as 4O’s will in FL.

    Where in FL? Get to a proper outfitter to look at options. REI does tend to hire people in the know who’ve likely lived in cold climates. In orlando area you have Travel Country.

  21. Central Oregon has long, cold, dry, mostly sunny winters for a minimum of 6-7 months per year. Even in the Summer months, it gets cold here at night. Rain fall in Central Oregon is only about a foot, (+/-), per year, because it is considered to be “High Desert”, and humidity is low. It has been a very snowy winter this year with about 6+ feet of snow. The growing season here is about 90 days here. Summers are glorious and balmy here, and You learn to adapt the mostly cold weather after a while. The coldest times are usually in winter at night. I have seen it 20+ below freezing, but this is not an everyday occurrence in the winter, and It usually happens once or twice per year. You should keep water running in the house during the coldest times so that your pipes don’t freeze. For you it would be like moving from a sunny warm humid climate into a mostly cold dry and sunny mountain climate. But, all in all, we love it here!

  22. I just found this Beginner’s Guide and think it’s very helpful to those considering a move to Central Oregon. I moved here in 1990 from the East Coast for a job by myself at the age of 30 and didn’t know anyone. I love living here and sharing this wonderful area with others. I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: