I just received the 40th Anniversary “Best Towns” issue of Outside Magazine and before opening it up, I asked my husband, “Where will Bend be?” It’s not even a question of will Bend, OR be on the list anymore, it’s where in the list will it be and for what reason? This year, Bend, Oregon earned the title of Best Multi-Sport Town, and for good reason.
It would be nearly impossible to name all of the outdoor recreational opportunities but some of the options include Mount Bachelor, of course, which expanded its downhill bike park and got a new chair lift last winter, Smith Rock State Park and its hundreds of climbing routes just 30 miles north of Bend, a whitewater park on the Deschutes River, trail running so good that ultramarathoners come to Bend to train, world-class mountain biking trails, and I think naming any more would get ridiculous.
People tend to get awfully thirsty after all of that outdoorsiness and fortunately, Bend has a plethora of craft breweries. You may have heard of a few of these: Deschutes Brewery, 10 Barrel, Boneyard, Silver Moon, Sunriver Brewing Co., Three Creeks, Crux Fermentation Project, and again, I could go on but, ridiculous.
Outside Magazine describes Bend, Oregon as “the kind of place where you can do the nine-to-five job thing – and actually earn a living – then do the five-to-nine fun thing, no problem.” As far as the job thing goes, Bend now has close to 80 outdoor-related businesses, including Hydro Flask, Ruffwear, SnoPlanks, BlackStrap, and Cairn. As of the date this blog post was written, Bend is home to the only dedicated startup incubator for the outdoor industry, Bend Outdoor Worx. Oregon State University-Cascades will soon offer a degree in gear design and marketing. We’ve even got a booming high tech industry for a city of our size and great resources for entrepreneurs and startups. It’s no wonder Bend is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.
Outdoor Magazine listed Bend’s population at 90,000 (the U.S. Census Bureau reported it at 87,014 in May 2016) and it listed the median home value $271,000. Unfortunately, the median home price is actually around $380,000 so keep that in mind if you’re considering a move to Bend, Oregon.