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12 Pros & Cons of Living in Hood River, Oregon

Are you thinking about moving to Hood RIver?

Working in the real estate industry here in Hood River and noticing the recent influx of curious soon-to-be-residents made me think this could blog post could help a few people. Recent publications mentioning Hood River (like this article) has most definitly put Hood River Oregon on the map! Known for its post-card perfect landscape, outdoor recreational access, and small town feel, I’ll admit that living in Hood River has it’s perks. But is the small town living right for you?

Today I’ll share what I love and don’t love about living in Hood River. As you read this, keep in mind that these pros and cons are based on my personal experience, not everyone feels the same way.

Hopefully this answers some of your questions, if not, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help!

With that said, let’s jump right in!


#1. It’s an outdoor lover’s paradise

Hood River will blow your mind with its endless beauty, no matter the season (and yes we experience all four). This little town is a true outdoor mecca! Endless terrain to explore on a bike, on foot, with a kayak/raft, on skis, with kids or without! This is one of the water sport mecca’s of the world; wind surf, kiteboard, wing foil, sail, paddle, you name it, you can probably do it here, or we already have an event held for it here! Might I not forget to mention the plethora of incredible agriculture just minutes away in the Hood River Valley. Pears and apples are what we are known for but peach, blueberry and cherry season are not to be over looked!

Winter brings no shortage of snow sports with world-class ski resorts like Timberline, Ski Bowl and Mount Hood Meadows only an hour away. Summer reveals some of the most memorable waterfall hikes you’ve ever experienced, along with a plethora of tributary rivers which offer more activities including world-class fly-fishing, rafting, and/or kayaking. Spring is just when the mountain biking, gravel riding and road biking become the most magnificent. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better town for outdoor enthusiasts than Hood River, Oregon.

#2. You’ll never go thirsty

Pining for a pint or pinto (noir) after a long day on the slopes, in the river, or biking the trails? Hood River is a beer and wine-lover’s paradise! In fact, there are 8+ micro breweries surrounding the small town of Hood River with more than 30 wineries to visit. With 80+ vineyards and a dozen cider houses, you’re bound to please the crowd.

Fun Fact: It is the only city in Oregon where public consumption of alcohol on sidewalks or parks is totally unrestricted. Check these breweries or wineries out!

#3. The scenery is gorge-ous (pun intended)

Few people can confidently (and truthfully) say they live in a town with some of the most beautiful scenery, the perfect backdrop to any photo. And the scenery changes with each season, this is a four season town, remember? Averaging 144 days of sunshine per year!

Summer temperatures range from 80-100+ degrees. Winter may see a handful of snow storms but average 45 degrees. Fall brings some of the most spectacular displays of fall color and on the west coast for that matter with vibrant maples and stunning larches.


#4. Laid-back and easy going culture

You probably spent the day in the mountains … so of course you’ll be happy (and laid back) most of the time too. Hood Riverites are nature-loving people through and through — the easy going culture reflects that. If you need to get the city fix, we are only 1 hour or 60 miles from the city of Portland and PDX, an international airport!

#5. Food options

The Hood River area has a great selection of restaurants for how small it is. If you’re wanting the classic PNW casual dining (aka food truck or brewery) we have you covered.

If you’re like me and prefer a little fancier, my two personal favorites include Celilo Restaurant and Bar or Henni’s Kitchen and Bar (technically in White Salmon, WA 3 minutes across the Columbia River bridge). Not to mention the great food trucks like Four and Twenty Black Birds Food Truck or the Downwinder Cafe peppered throughout the town — it’s hard to go wrong!

#6. Hood River is one of the best places to raise a family

If you have kids or plan to have them, Hood River is a great place to raise them. Hood River is rated among the safest towns in Oregon and is packed to the brim with family-friendly activities.


#1. It’s expensive

If you’re moving to Hood River from a larger city you might find the prices here reasonable. However, if you’re a local to Hood River you probably know how much prices have increased over the years. Real Estate hasn’t quite hit Jackson Hole prices yet but that seems to be the direction it’s headed.

#2. Lack of diversity

As with most resortie towns, Hood River is predominately white. In fact, as of January 2021, the city is nearly 75% white, and only about 20% latino.

#3. Job opportunities

We definitly have not figured this out yet, job opportunities are slim here. Do you work in the medical world, engineering sphere, agriculture, tourism, or hospitality industry? You are in luck we have jobs for you!! The difficult part is finding housing once you land that job (that’s what we are here for, reach out!)

#4. Wildfire season

Like I mentioned earlier, Hood River is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts but it can get troublesome during fire season. Evacuations aren’t commonplace, but residents know to be prepared regardless. I don’t want to scare you — it’s not too crazy (yet) but it’s worth consideration as the problem doesn’t seem to be improving.

Hood River is surrounded by forest, so naturally the area will be prone to wildfires. This became very evident during the record-setting wildfire season in 2017 when we experienced a 48,000 acres fire, known to be one of the largest fires in recent history of Oregon. We were placed in the hazardous air-quality category and people weren’t able to leave their homes for days.

The fires of 2017 are NOT common, but sadly I think they are reflective of changing weather patterns (climate change) and may get worse in future years.

#5. The locals can be reserved

Okay, let’s cut to the chase. As many rapid growing towns experience, the pains of growth can be a lot for long-term residents of Hood River… leading to some resentment towards recent transplants.

Like with any beautiful spot in America, the secret is bound to get out. Folks are flocking to Hood River and some locals are unhappy about it.

This is understandable, when a town becomes popular the lines get longer and the homes become more expensive. Since I’m sharing the honest pros and cons of living in Hood River, Oregon, I want to be transparent about it.

I know the tendency is to focus on the negative, but there should also be some acknowledgement of the benefits of a growing town. Things like new restaurants, shops, school, jobs and diversity. It’s not all bad!

#6. It’s a small town

This can be a pro or con, depending on you — but with a population of barely 8,000 Hood River is a small town. Some folks love the feel of a smaller town (more power to you!), but If you’re moving from a city, this may be a bit of a culture shock, you might just run into your new boy friends, ex-girl-friend more frequently than you’d like!!

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