Bend Neighborhood Guide
Bend sits along the eastern edge of Oregon’s Cascades mountain range, following the flow of the Deschutes River north and south. Highway 97 is the city’s central artery, dividing Bend into two two distinct quadrants: West Bend and East Bend.
Basically speaking, homes tend to be pricier on the West side. At the same time, there are plenty of micro-neighborhoods with varying styles of construction, access to amenities, and views of the mountains. So when it comes to your Bend home search, it pays to look around. We’ve prepared this guide to help you do just that.
A considerable part of Bend’s charm comes down simply to this: it’s located amid jaw-droppingly beautiful mountains. With that said, nowhere are the views more impressive than on the northwestern side of Awbrey Butte. The south side features great views of downtown Bend and also Pilot Butte, which means you can enjoy 4th of July fireworks from the comfort of your own home. Each subsection of the neighborhood has its own unique aesthetic, with larger than average lots and extensive tree coverage.
Naturally, this is one of Bend’s more exclusive neighborhoods, with homes ranging from higher than average for Bend toward the luxury end of the spectrum. But that doesn’t mean that people keep to themselves. Awbrey Butte neighbors love to get together, and many belong to one of several of the area’s country clubs. Several nearby parks, including Sylvan Park and Summit Park, walking trails, and several golf courses mean that you needn’t go far at all to enjoy the outdoors.
Boyd Acres is Bend’s northernmost neighborhood, home to a few somewhat older homes but mostly featuring new constructions. The mountain views are fantastic, and the neighborhood is home to so many parks, we’d be skeptical if this weren’t Bend. Just bordering Boyd Acres to the east is Pine Nursery Park, one of the city’s largest, with a disc golf course, dog park, and athletic fields. Wilderness just outside the city limits provides close access to trails and mountain lakes.
Boyd Acres isn’t all outdoor attractions though. There’s plenty of shopping along Highway 97, including the Cascade Village Shopping Center. Property rates range from average to somewhat lower than the median for Bend making this a great choice for first-time home buyers and working families. Residents have a reputation for being friendly and engaged, and ongoing infrastructure improvements aim toward making the neighborhood as walkable and bikeable as Bend’s finest.
The Century West neighborhood should be at the top of the list for adventurers and anyone seeking heavily-treed seclusion and larger lots with fantastic views of the Cascades. The Cascade Lakes Highway snakes up toward Mount Bachelor and its renowned ski slopes. On the way, there are plenty of places to stop off for hiking, fishing, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and more. The Phil’s Trail system provides some of the finest mountain biking around.
Century West is home to exclusive gated communities, golf courses, townhouse communities, and some of the most exclusive real estate in Bend. There are, however, less expensive condominiums to be snagged if the neighborhood’s charms prove irresistible.
It’s no secret that Bend real estate is expensive. The reason is simple: people want to live in Bend. But if you’re feeling priced out of the trendier west side of town, consider looking at properties in East Bend neighborhoods such as Larkspur. Plenty of properties can be found well below the city’s median, but the area still features many of the amenities which help make Bend such a special place to live.
Scattershot development in the past made the neighborhood somewhat of a patchwork. In contrast to many areas of Bend, commercial and residential real estate are interwoven, which does make for easy access to shopping. But in recent years, the Larkspur Neighborhood Association has pushed to make the area among the most walkable, bikeable and runnable in Bend. Larkspur Trail follows south from Larkspur Park to Pinewood Park along an open canal.
Located to the northeast of Pilot Butte, the Mountain View neighborhood is now Bend’s most populous. With an abundance of apartments and condominiums, Mountain View is a popular spot for new arrivals to Bend and the site of many of Bend’s more recent developments, including at least one experimental cohousing community.
But traditional homes are to be found in the neighborhood as well. Lower than median property values make this a neighborhood worth looking at for young families. The area’s concentration of hospitals and medical facilities make it a great choice for anyone in the medical field. Mountain View’s handful of city parks make for plenty of places to bring the kids or walk your dog, while nearby Pilot Butte provides hiking and fantastic views of the whole city and Oregon Cascades to the west.
This is the cultural and historical heart of Bend, a haven for out-of-town visitors but also one of the city’s most desirable residential neighborhoods. Downtown itself features a handful of penthouse-style condos, while the area around downtown has some of the city’s oldest buildings, including cottages and larger craftsman and colonial-style houses.
Some smaller fixer-uppers can be had for affordable prices, but expect to pay a premium for close access to downtown amenities. So, what does downtown have to offer? It might be better to ask, what doesn’t it have to offer? Old Bend is a slice of heaven for anyone with a zest for life, offering nationally-renowned restaurants, award-winning microbreweries, art galleries, coffee roasters, gelato shops, boutiques, and idyllic walks along the Deschutes River.
Drake Park and Mirror Pond, with riverfront paths, open grass, an outdoor stage, and even several resident great horned owls provides easy access to recreation on 13 acres. Then, of course, there’s the river itself, perfect for summer kayaking, swimming, and inner tubing.
Old Farm District
As the name implies, the Old Farm District is on the outskirts of town to the southeast. The population density is lower than most other parts of town, with half-an-acre lots predominating, and traffic is certainly much lighter than the city center. Great views and inexpensive real estate make this an obvious choice for anyone seeking access to Bend’s many charms without having to pay top dollar and deal with the bustle.
At the same time, Bend is growing quickly, and all signs point toward this as an up-and-coming neighborhood for future development. The City of Bend plans to develop a 37-acre parcel of land toward the south end of the district into a park, and mixed-used development nearby could make the area a new town center. Additional trails and bike paths are also in the works.
Located just east of the city center, the Orchard District offers easy access to downtown amenities with significantly lower real estate prices, particularly as you head north and east. At the same time, properties both well above and below the median for Bend are available.
Older homes predominate toward the south end of the neighborhood, while you’ll find newer homes and townhouse developments to the north. The Midtown area to the southwest toward downtown is an up-and-coming hub for retail stores, restaurants, while the Highway 97 corridor has your day-to-day shopping needs covered.
Wherever you land in the Orchard District, you’ll have easy access to parks, with about a half-a-dozen scattered throughout the neighborhood. Pilot Butte is the star attraction, though. Rising close to 500 feet above the neighborhood, it’s hard to miss, and it’s a great site for hiking, dog-walking, and views of the whole city and Cascade Mountains to the west.
Fun fact: Pilot Butte is an (extinct!) volcano, making Bend one of only 4 U.S. cities to have a volcano in their boundaries.
Located just across the river from downtown with portions just north of the city center, River West is one of Bend’s most desirable neighborhoods. It’s close enough to all the action to offer the full Bend experience, and the neighborhood has plenty of its own cafes, retail stores, concert venues, outdoor shops, food carts and fantastic restaurants.
River West is certainly a haven for craft beer lovers, home to half a dozen of Bend’s finest brewpups and microbreweries, mostly centered around the Galveston Avenue corridor. Central Oregon Community College gives the area something of a collegiate feel, but it’s a small school so there’s not too much of that feeling.
What’s even better is that all of this is easily accessible by foot or by bike. River West is perhaps Bend’s most walkable and bikeable neighborhood. Pageant Park and Harmon Park off Mirror Pond offer riverside recreation, while Hillside park offers a forested space with trails, great for dog-walking.
Bungalows and Craftsman-style homes are the most common real estate here. Expect to pay a premium for properties throughout the neighborhood, especially those close to the Deschutes River. Listings are up for only a few days on average, so grab your dream home while it’s hot.
Located at the very edge of town, Southeast Bend offers a window into the not-so-distant past when Bend was a sleepy little mill town. The neighborhood is Bend’s second least-populated and has the lowest property density in town, offering some of the finest remaining acreages and small ranchettes anywhere in Central Oregon.
1 to 2.5 acre lots are common, all the way up to 80 acre working farms. Many southeast region properties come with irrigation rights and, naturally, a side of lush, beautiful countryside. Cattle, sheep, horses, and llamas are familiar sights throughout the area. More traditional housing is available too, with sub-neighborhoods featuring smaller but still sizable lots. Inexpensive homes well below Bend’s median are certainly here for the taking, but there are plenty of pricier properties as well.
There are a few businesses on the south end of 3rd Street, but the area is largely devoid of commercial real estate. All the same, this is Bend we’re talking about, which means growth is not too far on the horizon. The city’s recent urban growth boundary extension provides developers with a number of new options in the southeast. A 40 acre neighborhood park is in works, as are numerous infrastructure improvements.
Home to the Old Mill District, Southern Crossing is one of Bend’s most happening neighborhoods. Spanning both sides of the Deschutes River just south of downtown, the area is Bend’s premier destination for shopping, restaurants, entertainment, and… whitewater kayaking and river surfing.
That’s right: Bend Whitewater Park features human-made rapids with courses of varying difficulty. For more conventional outdoor recreation, there’s the amusingly-named Farewell Bend Park, with a boat launch, riverfront trails, and natural wetland space. Then there’s Riverbend Park, with a sandy beach area and even a dog park with special dog-only river access. And we haven’t even mentioned Les Schwab Ampitheater yet, one of the Northwest’s premier concert venues.
Southern Crossing isn’t just about entertainment though: with the recent opening of OSU Cascades, a satellite campus of Oregon State University, the neighborhood has a distinct collegiate presence as well. Proximity to the university is the main grab for students, but this is all-in-all an awesome place to live the full college experience.
So what about the real estate? If you can afford it, riverside townhouses provide stunning views and easy access to all the best that Bend has to offer. For some turn of the (20th) century charm, the neighborhood features some of Bend’s oldest houses, but it’s also a hotbed of development. Properties can be found for reasonable rates to the east of the river toward Highway 97, but make your way toward the river, and you’ll be looking at much more expensive real estate.
Nestled between the Deschutes River to the west and Highway 97 to the east, Southwest Bend has been a hotbed of development since Bend really took off in the past 25 years. The Deschutes River Woods subdivision to the south end of Brookswood used to be a secluded zone far removed from the city. Nowadays, the DRW (as the locals call it) has blended in with the rest of the homes popping up along Brookswood. Cascade views are often excellent from here.
Property values are close to the median for Bend, or even a bit lower . As with elsewhere in the city, riverfront real estate of course commands a premium. Five city parks provide other opportunities for recreation, and national forest land is not far away to the south and west. The Old Mill District and its shopping, restaurants, breweries, and recreation are just a short drive north from many southwest neighborhoods, meaning you won’t be far from the heart of Bend’s cultural, culinary, and outdoors scene.
It’s true that many neighborhoods in Bend offer views of the mountains. But if you actually want to be in the mountains, you won’t get much closer than the upper reaches of the Summit West neighborhood.
Shevlin Park Rd. snakes up into higher elevations toward Shevlin Park, a beloved 652 acre nature preserve with hiking, cross-country skiing trails, mountain biking, and fishing. Travel west and you’ll eventually reach Tumalo Falls Park and the slopes of Broken Top. The whole area is a paradise for all manner of outdoor recreation.
Going towards town, you have access to Galveston Avenue and Newport Avenue with some of Bend’s most upscale shopping and restaurants. The Northwest Crossing subdivision closer to the heart of town features its own shopping center and schools. Especially up toward the mountains, lots tend to be large and tree-heavy, offering a secluded feeling. Real estate prices are higher than the median for Bend, and plenty of more exclusive properties are available. But you may get lucky and snag a smaller, more affordable home.