When it comes to the best places to live in Southern Oregon, your choices are plentiful. Known for its world-class wines, gorgeous sweeping views, and abundance of cultural and outdoor recreation opportunities there is a reason why so many people are choosing to relocate here.
Nestled between the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains, the Rogue Valley and surrounding area in Southern Oregon offers:
- Breathtaking natural scenery
- Extensive trail systems and large parks
- Local cuisine, microbrews, and wine
- Mild climate year-round that’s drier than coastal areas
- Outdoor recreation
- Vibrant arts and entertainment activities
Friendly communities make this an ideal region for setting down some roots and building a community in a new home. Whether you want to be in the cultural capital of Ashland, bustling Medford, or out in the country with more land, the southern part of the state has much to offer both young families and people looking for the perfect place to retire. Most of the area has a rural feel, and even the larger cities have a small-town spirit with tight-knit communities and plenty of local character making them some of the best places to live in Southern Oregon.
Welcome To Jackson County
Jackson County is the heart of Southern Oregon and for the purposes of this blog, we are going to focus on the top 3 cities within Jackson County as we feel they are also the best places to live in Southern Oregon.
With the region’s largest city, Medford, this area has the most to offer in terms of culture, nightlife, and different types of neighborhoods. Medford also has an international airport, making it convenient for business travelers in the area. The public school systems in both Medford and Ashland are above average (with Ashland ranking in the top 5 in the state), drawing young families who want quality education and small-town values in a rural setting.
In Ashland, you’ll find Southern Oregon University, along with dozens of quality restaurants, boutique coffee shops, and bookstores. This town skews a bit more liberal than the other areas in Southern Oregon. Not surprisingly, the local economy is supported by educational jobs in the Ashland area, but elsewhere in Jackson County, jobs are available in healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism. Like other areas in Southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley, this region is also known for its orchards and vineyards. The famed fruit basket purveyor Harry & David is located in Medford.
People who enjoy exercising outdoors will appreciate the Bear Creek Greenway, which runs for 21 miles between Ashland and Central Point. It’s an attraction for cyclists, skaters, and distance runners. There are four distinct seasons in the county with moderate temperatures year-round and less rainfall than other parts of the state. Those who enjoy the arts will have easy access to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland from February through October. This isn’t the only festival for which the region is known. Nearby, historic Jacksonville is home to the Britt Music & Arts Festival, an annual summerlong music festival that has been bringing well-known performers to Southern Oregon since 1963.
Best Cities To Live In Jackson County
After visiting Ashland, you might not want to leave! We get it, Ashland is a gorgeous, quaint town full of natural beauty and incredible culture. For a town of just over 20,000 residents, there is a lot going on all year round. However, for those looking to start a career, Ashland may not provide the opportunities you are looking for. Though it is a college town (home to Southern Oregon University), Ashland is home to many retirees and most of the jobs fall within education, healthcare, and tourism-related businesses. That said, if you are looking for a place to retire, then Ashland may be just what you are looking for!
The price of homes is higher in Ashland than the rest of Jackson County, mainly driven by its desirability and flow of people looking to retire here.
You can learn more about what Ashland has to offer in this collection of blog posts:
- Ashland Home Builders – The 6 Best Home Builders in Ashland, OR
- A Local’s Guide To Shopping In Ashland, Oregon
- Downtown Ashland, Oregon – What To See, Eat and Do
- The Best Farmers Markets Near Ashland Oregon
- Ashland World Music Festival 2019
- ScienceWorks is Inspiring Creativity and Innovation in Southern Oregon
- Why Living in Ashland is Great for Kids
- Why We Love Living In Ashland, Oregon
- A Local’s Guide To The Best Restaurants In Ashland
- 2019 Cost Of Living In Ashland Oregon
Talent basically bumps right up to the Ashland city limits making it one of the up and coming areas in Southern Oregon. Talent has a lovely charm to it. There’s a small downtown area with a few great restaurants and a community theatre. Its population is just over 6,000 with many residents living out in the surrounding countryside where they enjoy breathtaking views of the Rogue Valley. The cost of living is lower than Ashland making it a popular alternative for young folks who may not be able to afford to buy or rent a home in Ashland’s steep market. And since it is only a 5-minute drive from Talent to downtown Ashland, you still have easy access to all of the cultural amenities Ashland is so well known for.
Medford is the heart of Southern Oregon, where the possibilities of things to do are never-ending. Experience what Forbes’ named a global wine destination. Treat your taste buds to the internationally-prized cheeses of Rogue Creamery (home of the best cheese in the world 2019). Whether you’re a foodie, music-lover, or theater fan, you’ll appreciate the lively cultural scene Medford offers. It’s home to the Craterian Theater, which hosts musicals, plays, and concerts throughout the year. Get outdoors and enjoy world-class fishing, hiking, and rafting. Prescott Park has trails and includes Roxy Ann Peak, with views from its summit. Dozens of wineries dot the outskirts of town.
Home prices are much lower than neighboring Ashland and there is a lot more inventory on the market. With a much larger population, you have access to a lot more services and shopping opportunities. The Rogue Valley Mall is located in Medford featuring nearly 100 stores from small boutiques to international department stores and everything in between.
Want To Learn More About The best places to live in Southern Oregon?
Southern Oregon truly has so much to offer. Whether you enjoy outdoor recreation activities with easy access to lakes, rivers, and mountains or cultural amenities like Tony Award-winning theatre and globally respected wine, Southern Oregon is sure to check many of the boxes on your must-have list. Of course, there is so much more to this unique corner of the country than we could cover in just one blog post, so if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. Our team is always eager to help answer questions about the area!
At KDA Homes, our mission is to be pioneers in smarter home design leading the way for sustainability in residential development and green building. If you’re interested in being a part of a sustainable community in Ashland, Oregon please contact us today to learn more about KDA Homes currently on the market.