Parents have always had a challenging job raising their families. The pace of life in the “big cities” is hectic, and there’s little time to stop and smell the roses. On the other hand, the pace of life in “small towns” can be stultifying. Not enough things to do for the kids or the parents to do after school or after work.
The perfect solution is Bend, Oregon. It’s a city that’s just large enough to have an eclectic cultural life, plenty of family activities available, and yet it’s just small enough so that no one feels like they’re faceless individuals lost in a mass of people.
Here are 5 reasons why Bend is a great place for you to raise your family.
- Good School System
Bend’s La Pine School District is comprised of 12 elementary schools, five middle schools, and five high schools (one of these an alternative high school). There are also four magnet schools and several private schools.
Since the early 2000s, the Oregon Department of Education has re-dedicated itself to helping its schools provide the best education possible to students state-wide. Bend schools in particular have benefitted from this and have excellent graduation rates.
After high school, students can attend Central Oregon Community College or go to Oregon State University-Cascades, a campus of Oregon State University which offers two and four year degrees.
You can find the best schools in Bend (as reviewed by parents) by checking out this website: http://www.greatschools.org/oregon/bend/
- Booming Housing Sector
Bend is popular with retirees, and parents who want a great place to raise their kids. Often on lists of the best places to live in publications like Outdoor Magazine and Men’s Journal, Bend is a much desired place to live and a great place to own a home.
- Cultural Activities
Minds both young and old enjoy being stimulated and introduced to new things on a regular basis. Bend’s cultural atmosphere is vibrant.
There are two museums – the Deschutes Historical Museum which shares the history of Bend (founded in 1824 as a logging town) and the surrounding region, and the High Desert Museum which allows visitors to explore the local culture, art, and wildlife. Both these museums inspire the joy of learning.
Art lovers will enjoy over a dozen galleries which showcase both local and country-wide artists. Many of these galleries hold special events. In August, Art in the High Desert is held in the Old Mill District. It’s the region’s most notable art and fine craft festival.
There’s nothing quite like live theatre to engage the mind as well as provide wonderful entertainment. Bend’s live theatre is showcased at the Tower Theatre, which features touring productions. The Cascades Theatre and the 2nd Street Theatre are volunteer repertory companies which stage new, experimental works as well as old favorites.
Music concerts are a staple at the Les Schwab Amphitheater. Even kids can learn to like opera or chamber music if they’re exposed to quality productions – which is what Opera Bend and High Desert Chamber Music deliver.
Bend is the “gateway” to outdoor sports on the Deschutes River and in the Cascade mountain range, but within the city itself there’s plenty of green spaces for kids and adults to enjoy.
Tubing, canoeing and kayaking down the Deschutes River, which runs right through Bend, is a popular activity. Biking and walking on the riverfront trail also draws thousands of participants every month.
The famous Mirror Pond is surrounded by a half-dozen parks, including Drake Park and the Farewell Bend Park.
Bend also has an urban trail system that runs for 51 miles through parkland, past schools and through neighborhoods, so kids and their parents can jog, run, and bike together.
Bend is a beautiful city. It has become a prime destination for retirees as well as parents who wish to raise their children in this environment, and the city planners have taken steps to ensure that the “small town flavor” of the city is not disrupted as it continues to grow – and provide social services and amenities for its citizens.
Bend is one of three cities in the continental United States to have a volcano within its city limits – the other two being Portland, Oregon and Jackson, Mississippi. Unlike the active volcanoes in Hawaii, all three of these are extinct!
Bend’s volcano is a cinder cone called Pilot Butte. It is a popular hiking, biking and even driving destination, as from its summit spectacular views of the surrounding area can be seen.
As a corollary, Bend is relatively free from air pollution, which makes it a healthy place for kids and parents to live! According to EcoWatch, it’s one of the top 25 cleanest cities free of ozone air pollution. Kids with asthma will appreciate Bend’s fresh air.
- Outdoor Sports
Now we come to the elephant in the room (or perhaps we should say, the elephant on a snowboard or a mountain bike). Thousands of tourists come to the city yearly and year-round to take part in the activities that residents of Bend can enjoy right in their own back yards.
Bend is a great place to visit. And once you do, you won’t want to leave. You’ll find out first hand why Bend is a great place to raise your family.