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Ultimate Guide: Best Places to Live in Oregon for Families - Schools, Fun & Safety Ranked

Oregon's got a little bit of everything for families looking for a new place to call home. From the bustling streets of Portland to the quiet, tree-lined avenues of Bend, there's a perfect spot for every family to settle down.

Tobi Miles
April 4, 2024
Ultimate Guide: Best Places to Live in Oregon for Families - Schools, Fun & Safety Ranked

What makes a place great for families? Think good schools, plenty of parks, and a community that looks out for each other. We've scoped out the best spots in Oregon that tick all these boxes and more. So, if you're dreaming of a move to the Beaver State, you're in the right place to start your search.

Key Takeaways

  • Oregon offers a diverse range of living options suited for families, retirees, and young adults, with cities like Portland, Beaverton, Eugene, and Bend standing out due to their unique benefits such as top-notch schools, vibrant communities, and a plethora of outdoor activities.
  • Portland is a prominent choice for families who value education and community involvement, albeit with a higher cost of living, while Beaverton appeals to those seeking a suburban environment still close to city amenities and jobs.
  • Eugene provides a dynamic mix of urban perks and outdoor activities, alongside a progressive and inclusive atmosphere suitable for families, retirees, and particularly young adults due to its vibrant nightlife and affordable cost of living.
  • Bend is celebrated for its outdoor paradise setting, family-friendly vibe, and growing job market, making it a versatile choice for different life stages, from families and young adults to retirees, while also boasting an inclusive community.
  • Climate preferences can significantly affect one's choice within Oregon, from the milder weather in Salem to the sunnier southern parts, offering residents the chance to select a location based on their weather tolerance.
  • Overall, whether one's priorities lie in education, job opportunities, cultural activities, or simply enjoying nature, Oregon's cities each provide unique attributes that cater to diverse needs and preferences, underlining the importance of considering personal and family priorities when choosing where to settle.


When you're thinking about settling down or perhaps seeking a fresh start in Oregon, you're in for a treat. Oregon's got it all, from bustling city vibes to serene, nature-filled landscapes. Here’s the ultimate guide to finding your perfect spot in this incredibly diverse state, tailored to various needs and interests.

For Families: Portland and Beyond

  • Portland: Imagine living in a city where you can find top-notch schools, an array of parks, and a community that emphasizes sustainability and creativity. That's Portland for you. While it's a bit on the pricier side, the community and opportunities here are worth every penny.
  • Beaverton: Just a hop away from Portland, Beaverton offers a more suburban feel with the perks of city life within reach. It's ideal for families looking for a bit more space while still having access to excellent schools and community resources.

Retirees' Haven

  • Bend: With its slower pace of life, stunning scenery, and a plethora of outdoor activities, Bend is a retiree's dream. Plus, the health-care facilities are top-notch.
  • Ashland: Known for its vibrant arts scene and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland is perfect if you're looking to enjoy your golden years surrounded by culture and natural beauty.

Young Adults' Playground

  • Eugene: Home to the University of Oregon, Eugene is buzzing with energy, innovation, and nightlife. Plus, the city's focus on sustainability might just align with your values.
  • Portland's Pearl District: If urban living is your jam, the Pearl District's trendy lofts, art galleries, and eateries will have you swooning.

Considering Climate

  • Salem: If you prefer mild weather, Salem offers a balanced climate with less rainfall than the coast and moderate temperatures year-round.
  • Southern Oregon: For those who love sunny days, cities like Medford and Grants Pass enjoy more sun and less rain compared to the northern part of the state.
  • Portland: It's hard to beat Portland when it comes to festivals and activities. From the Portland Rose Festival to countless beer, food, and music festivals, there's always something happening.
  • Hood River: If you're into windsurfing, kiteboarding, or just love a good brew with a view, Hood River is the place to be


Eugene's got something for everyone, no matter who you are or what you're looking for. Nestled in the Willamette Valley, it's a paradise for folks who love the great outdoors, yet it's packed with all the urban perks of a big city. Let's break down what makes Eugene a top contender for different demographics looking to call Oregon home.

For Families

  • Schools: Eugene's schools are some of the best in the state. Your kids are gonna get a top-notch education here.
  • Parks and Rec: With over 130 parks, your family's weekend plans are sorted. Think picnics, hikes, and bike rides!
  • Community Vibe: Expect a tight-knit community. It's the kind of place where neighbors know each other and look out for one another.

For Retirees

  • Quiet Neighborhoods: Looking for peace and quiet? Eugene's got plenty of serene neighborhoods that are perfect for enjoying your golden years in tranquility.
  • Cultural Scene: From art galleries to music events, there's always something happening. It's a great way to stay engaged and active.
  • Healthcare: With top-rated healthcare facilities, you're in good hands in Eugene.

For Young Adults

  • Vibrant Nightlife: Whether you're into live music, bars, or nightclubs, Eugene's nightlife won't disappoint.
  • Job Opportunities: The city's economy is booming, especially in the tech and green energy sectors. Perfect for kickstarting your career.
  • Affordable Living: Compared to other major cities, Eugene is relatively affordable, making it easier to enjoy life without breaking the bank.

Considering Gender

Eugene is known for its progressive values and inclusive environment, making it a welcoming place for all genders. You'll find plenty of support and community groups here, regardless of your background.

Best Weather

Sure, Oregon is known for its rain, but Eugene strikes a nice balance. Expect warm, dry summers and mild winters. If you're into that sort of climate, you're gonna love it here.

Avoiding Crowds

Prefer a laid-back lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle? While Eugene has its busy spots, there are plenty of quiet, secluded areas just a stone's throw away from the city's center.


Next up on your radar for the best places to live in Oregon, especially if you're scouting out a spot perfect for families, should be Bend. Nestled in the high desert with the stunning Cascades as its backdrop, Bend is a little slice of outdoor paradise with a family-friendly vibe that's hard to beat.

For Families

  • Top-Notch Schools: Bend boasts some of the best schools in the state, making it a no-brainer for families prioritizing education.
  • Outdoor Activities Galore: From skiing at Mt. Bachelor to hiking the Deschutes River Trail, your family will never run out of adventures.
  • Community Events: The city is famous for its array of family-oriented events like the Bend Christmas Parade and the Balloons Over Bend Festival.

For Retirees

  • Peaceful Living: With its serene landscapes and slower pace of life, retirees find Bend a perfect place to relax and enjoy their golden years.
  • Active Community Life: There's a vibrant community of retirees in Bend engaged in everything from golfing to volunteering, ensuring you're never bored.
  • Healthcare: Bend has excellent healthcare facilities, with St. Charles Bend Hospital providing comprehensive services.

For Young Adults

  • Thriving Job Market: With a growing tech scene and a bustling startup ecosystem, young professionals have ample opportunities to kickstart their careers.
  • Lively Nightlife: Despite its laid-back vibe, Bend's downtown is lively with breweries, restaurants, and music venues to explore.
  • Affordable Living: Compared to Portland, Bend offers a more affordable lifestyle, making it ideal for young adults looking to save without sacrificing quality of life.

For All Genders

  • Inclusive Community: Bend is proud of its diverse and inclusive community, where everyone is welcomed with open arms regardless of gender.
  • Supportive Networks: There are numerous organizations and groups offering support and friendship across all walks of life.

Best Weather

  • Four Seasons: Experience all four seasons in Bend, from snowy winters to warm, sunny summers - perfect for any weather enthusiast.
  • Outdoor Lifestyle: The weather in Bend encourages an outdoor lifestyle, keeping you active and healthy year-round.
  • Spacious Neighborhoods: Even though Bend is growing, it still offers spacious neighborhoods and plenty of quiet spots away from the crowds.
  • Nature Escapes: The surrounding nature reserves and parks provide


Alright, let's dive into why Beaverton might just be the spot you're looking for, especially if you've got a family in tow. Nestled just a stone's throw away from Portland, Beaverton offers a more relaxed vibe while still keeping you close to the big city perks.

Why Families Love It Here

  • Top Schools: Education's a biggie when you're picking a new place to call home. Beaverton's schools are some of the best in the state. You're looking at high graduation rates and a bunch of extracurriculars for the kiddos.
  • Parks and Rec: If outdoor fun's your family's jam, Beaverton's got you covered. Think parks, bike paths, and sports fields where the little ones can run free and you can relax or join in.
  • Community Vibe: It's got that small-town feel where neighbors know each other, but with all the amenities you need nearby. There’s a real sense of community here, making it super welcoming for new folks.

Not Just for the Kids

But hey, it's not all about the kids, right? You'll be happy to know that Beaverton's perfect for parents too.

  • Job Opportunities: Thanks to its location near Portland, job opportunities are plentiful in various sectors like tech, retail, and healthcare. That means less worrying about the commute and more time with the fam.
  • Eating Out: Foodies, rejoice! From cozy cafes to international cuisine, Beaverton offers a taste of the world without having to travel far.
  • Safety First: One of the top concerns for any family is safety. Beaverton ranks as one of the safer cities in Oregon, giving you that extra peace of mind.

Activities for Everyone

Got a diverse troop? No problem. Beaverton's packed with activities for every interest.

  • Festivals and Events: The city hosts several family-friendly events throughout the year. Whether it's a cultural festival or a holiday celebration, there's always something going on.
  • Nature Escapes: With the Tualatin Hills Nature Park and nearby mountains, nature lovers can get their fill of the great outdoors anytime.
  • Arts and Culture: The Beaverton Arts Program and local galleries offer ample opportunity to soak in some culture and maybe inspire some budding artists in the family.


Beaverton truly stands out as a gem for families looking to plant roots in Oregon. With its blend of educational excellence, outdoor adventures, and a welcoming community, it's a place where you and your loved ones can thrive. Whether you're drawn by the job prospects, the culinary scene, or the safety and friendliness of the neighborhood, Beaverton meets your needs. Plus, the array of activities ensures that there's never a dull moment for anyone in the family. So if you're on the hunt for a family-friendly city that promises a rich, fulfilling life, Beaverton might just be your next home sweet home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Beaverton, Oregon, an ideal place to live for families?

Beaverton is celebrated for its excellent educational institutions, a wealth of outdoor recreational activities, and a firm feeling of community. These characteristics make it an ideal place for families seeking a balanced and enriching living environment.

Are there job opportunities in Beaverton for parents?

Yes, Beaverton offers a rich job market across various sectors, providing parents with ample opportunities to find employment that meets their skills and career goals, ensuring a stable environment for their families.

How diverse are the dining options in Beaverton?

Beaverton boasts a diverse culinary scene, with dining options ranging from casual eateries to high-end restaurants. This variety caters to all tastes and dietary needs, making it a gastronomic delight.

Is Beaverton considered a safe city?

Yes, Beaverton is recognized for its safety, making it a conducive environment for families to live and grow. The city’s safety initiatives and community policing efforts have contributed to a sense of security among residents.

What kind of activities can families enjoy in Beaverton?

Families in Beaverton can enjoy a plethora of activities, from engaging in outdoor adventures at local parks and sports fields to exploring arts and culture through various family-friendly events and nature escapes. There's something for everyone to enjoy.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
April 4, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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