Living in Hood River Oregon - EVERYTHING You Need to Know

Hood River with Mt Hood

Are you Living in or Considering Moving to Hood River, Oregon?

If you're looking for a breathtaking place to call home, living in Hood River, Oregon, should be high on your list. Hood River is an outdoor paradise, surrounded by waterfalls and nestled in the Columbia River Gorge. Well known as the world's windsurfing capital, it's also a mecca for adventure seekers.

But Hood River is more than just a pretty face. It has a vibrant downtown and boasts a thriving foodie scene. From farm-to-table restaurants to local craft breweries, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Read on to explore what it would look like to move to and live in Hood River, Oregon. 

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Living in Hood River Oregon Tip of the Month

Is the rise in interest rates making you nervous or even preventing you from buying a home? Did you know there was a lending strategy that could get you a lower interest rate for the first two years of your new home loan at no cost to you? Allowing you to ease into the payment, increase income, and even refinance into a lower interest rate before the payment goes up to the full amount. With decrease in demand due to higher interest rates, it's not been this easy in a while to buy a home! Read my recent BLOG POST on this strategy, and reach out to me to learn more.

The Moving to Hood River Oregon Team

Todd Davidson Mortgage Broker in Oregon

Todd Davidson

Mortgage Broker

Kenzie Carlstrom

Realtor

What's Living in Hood River Oregon Like?

Hood River is a stunning city located about an hour's drive from Portland. With a population of almost 9,000 people, Hood River is a perfect size - big enough to offer all the amenities you'd want but small enough that it remains a close-knit community.

This quaint community has a vibrant downtown and features several breweries, wineries, distilleries, and the Fruit Loop. This scenic driving route passes through several farms and orchards in the area. The city's proximity to Mount Hood and the Cascade Mountains makes it a popular destination for hiking, camping, and skiing. Those who move to Hood River enjoy a laid-back lifestyle and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Living in Hood River, Oregon could give you the feeling of being on vacation 365 days a year.

A Brief History of Hood River Oregon

Hood River, Oregon, is a picturesque city nestled in the Columbia River Gorge and was formerly known as Dog River. It is perhaps best known for its windsurfing and kiteboarding, but Hood River also has a history behind it.

Originally Labeasche River, then renamed Dog River, Nathaniel Coe claimed the land in 1854. After building a home and planting the very first orchard in the area, his wife Mary changed the name of the river to Hood River. After a small and prosperous settlement developed, Hood River was officially incorporated as a city in 1895. Agriculture and logging drove the local economy at that time.

Today Hood River is a thriving community with a proud sense of history. From its early days as a frontier town to its present-day status as a world-class destination for outdoor enthusiasts, Hood River has come a long way in its 160-year history.

Housing in Hood River, Oregon

There's a good variety of home types if you are looking to move to Hood River, Oregon. The city has a good blend of single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and apartments—each with its unique character and style. The average home value in Hood River is around $650,000 at the time of writing, though prices vary depending on the location, size, and type of home you are interested in. Living in Hood River isn't cheap.

Neighborhood

Best Neighborhoods in Hood River Oregon

There are some great neighborhoods to choose from in Hood River. Good views and abundant outdoor recreation close by are pretty standard features with most of them. Below are a few neighborhoods to look at if you're looking to move to Hood River, Oregon:

Downtown

With great views and 30+ restaurants, breweries, and many other businesses within walking distance, the Downtown Hood River neighborhood is a special place to live. The older homes and historic buildings add to the charm of this neighborhood.

House in Downtown Hood River, Oregon

Willow Ponds

If you're searching for a more planned and modern neighborhood, Willow Ponds might be your ticket. This 18.74-acre neighborhood on the west side of Hood River offers a variety of lot sizes to choose from and has terrific views of Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and the surrounding hills of Oregon and Washington.

Close to schools, shopping, hospitals, and recreation Willow Ponds has almost 6 acres dedicated to parks and other public green spaces. Giving the neighborhood some great places to congregate and come together.

The Heights

With Mt. Hood views to the south and Mt. Adams views to the north, the Heights is a charming, eclectic mix of historic Hood River homes and landmarks, with beautiful, newly built homes worked into the neighborhood. 

This family-friendly neighborhood is situated between Downtown and the Hood River Valley. Shops, services, and small businesses line 12th and 13th Streets, and Providence Hospital anchors The Heights next to historic May Street Middle School and the outdoor community hub, Jackson Park.

Mt. Adams picture from farm in Hood River Oregon

Public Schools in Hood River

For families with school-aged children schooling would obviously be an important factor in your decision on whether or not to move to Hood River, Oregon. Hood River, Oregon, falls under the Hood River County School District. The district is made up of eight schools, including one high school, two middle schools, and five elementary schools. 

Living in Hood River, Oregon, your kids will go to excellent schools. During the most recent school year 90% of seniors graduated on time, compared to 80% state-wide.


Hood River County School District strives to attain strong community partnerships and parent involvement to ensure the best possible education for its students. Listed below are some of the schools children in the Hood River area may choose to attend.

  • May Street Elementary School

  • Westside Elementary School

  • Hood River Middle School

  • Hood River Valley High School


For more information on the Hood River Schools, rankings and boundaries, check out the Hood River School District, Niche.com, and Great Schools links in the Moving to and Living in Hood River Links section below.

Top Businesses & Employers in Hood River, Oregon

Hood River is a quaint town in Oregon that is quickly growing in popularity. The city has a 5.8% unemployment rate. Compared to the 3.6% unemployment rate in Oregon, Hood River's unemployment is higher than the state average.

Hood River's economy is primarily agricultural, with fruit and wine production being the primary industries. However, the town is also becoming a popular destination for recreation, timber, and hydroelectric production.

 

Some of the major employers for those living in Hood River, Oregon, include:

  • Providence Health - Columbia Gorge

  • Cardinal IG Company

  • Hood River County School District

  • Best Western

  • Hood River Distilleries

Top Destinations & Attractions in Hood River

Hood River, Oregon, is a postcard-perfect town nestled in the Columbia River Gorge. The scenery is breathtaking, with towering mountains and rushing waterfalls, and the city has an abundance of great restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. If you're looking for a small-town feel with a big-city attitude, then moving to and living in Hood River, Oregon, might be a good choice. Let's take a closer look at some of the top destinations and attractions in Hood River, Oregon:

Experience the Outdoors

Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is certainly one of the most beautiful and well-known natural areas in the Pacific Northwest. The Gorge stretches for over 80 miles, is up to 4,000 feet deep in places, and is home to dozens of magical waterfalls.

The Columbia River itself is a wild and scenic wonder, perfect for swimming, fishing, and even whitewater rafting. Not to mention there are tons of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding as well as a variety of winter sports. Mix in world-class windsurfing and kite surfing, and it's no wonder the Gorge is such a popular tourist destination. Living in Hood River, Oregon, puts you right in the middle of this fantastic slice of Oregon.

The Hood River Fruit Loop

Are you looking for a unique rural farm experience? Look no further than the Hood River Fruit Loop! This 35-mile self-guided tour takes you through some of the most beautiful countryside's in Oregon. Along the way, you'll encounter fruit stands, wineries, breweries, cideries, and beautiful fields of flowers. It is, without a doubt, the perfect way to spend a day (or two!) exploring the Hood River Valley. Whether you're visiting or living in Hood River, Oregon, you've got to try the Hood River Fruit Loop!

Hood River Waterfront Park

Hood River Waterfront Park is a crescent-shaped beach located in the heart of Hood River. The park offers picnic tables, a watercraft launch, and stunning views of the Columbia River.

The park is a perfect spot to watch the windsurfers and kiteboarders who make their home on the Columbia River. Speaking from experience, watching the kiteboarders fly around the river is pretty awesome. Visitors can play in the water, relax on the sand, or enjoy a meal from one of the nearby food establishments. 

If you visit Hood River or live in Hood River, Oregon, you must check out Hood River Waterfront Park! 

Kitesurfing in Columbia River Gorge near Hood River Oregon

Eating and Drinking in Hood River, Oregon

Though Hood River may be small, it offers a surprisingly diverse array of dining options as well as local craft breweries and wineries. Finding a great meal in Hood River will not be a problem, whatever your craving may be. If you're thinking of moving to Hood River, Oregon, you'll have plenty of options for a night out on the town!
 

Some of the most popular restaurants in Hood River include:

  • Mesquitery Restaurant & Bar

  • Romuls

  • Bette's Place

  • The Sixth Street Bistro & Pub

  • 3 Rivers Grill

Wineries & Breweries in Hood River, Oregon

Stave & Stone Winery (Downtown Tasting Room): Stave & Stone Winery's Downtown Tasting Room in Hood River, Oregon, is a family-owned business that started almost 100 years ago. The farm produces some of the finest wines in the area and offers wine tastings, weddings, and a wine club for members. The family strives to provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all its customers. The Downtown Tasting Room is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some of the best wines in Oregon. Whether visiting or living in Hood River, you need to check it out!

Stoltz Winery: Stoltz Winery is located atop downtown Hood River, Oregon, offering panoramic views of the Columbia Gorge. The winery produces an assortment of white, red, and sparkling wines using grapes grown in the nearby Hood River Valley. Visitors can enjoy a tasting flight of six different wines, tour the production facilities, or simply relax on the patio with a glass of wine and take in the stunning views.

Double Mountain Brewery: Tucked away in the scenic town of Hood River, Oregon, Double Mountain Brewery is well worth a visit for any who enjoys beer. The spacious taproom features a large bar and plenty of seating, making it the ultimate place to relax with a pint after a long day. And with a rotating selection of innovative beers on tap, there's always something new to try. Don't forget to order a slice of brick oven pizza to go with your beer - the perfect pairing for an enjoyable evening out.

Full Sail Brewing Company: Full Sail Brewing Company, the largest brewer in Hood River, is one of Oregon's most popular craft breweries, and for good reason. Located in Hood River, the brewery offers stunning river views, and an amazing selection of beer. Whether visiting or living in Hood River, you must familiarize yourself with Full Sail Brewing Company. You'll be glad you did!

Pros and Cons of Living in Hood River, Oregon

Living in Hood River Pros

  1. Living in Hood River Would be Awesome: So this is a strange thing to put as a Pro. Visiting or living in Hood River is just that good. There is so much to do. The location to Mt. Hood and all that it offers, the access to windsurfing/kitesurfing, the hiking, mountain biking, Multnomah Falls is close, the views are amazing, the wineries, the breweries, and the fantastic downtown. And there's more! I just can't think of it right this second. To say this town is amazing is selling it short. Living in Hood River would be a dream come true for most people!

  2. Downtown: Hood River has a great downtown. Tons of shops, restaurants and bars. Great place to hang out after a busy day skiing or kitesurfing.

  3. Do you Like to Drink?: Hood River is the only city in Oregon where the public consumption of alcohol is not restricted. With eight microbreweries and counting surrounding the small town of Hood River and with more than 30 wineries to visit, Hood River is a beer and wine lover's paradise. There are also a dozen Cider Houses. If you're thinking of moving to Hood River, Oregon, and like your adult beverages, living in Hood River could be for you!

  4. The Schools: Hood River schools are great! The graduation rate and test scores are consistently well above the state average. If looking to move to Hood River with school aged kids they certainly have the opportunity to get a great education.

Living in Hood River Cons

  1. It's a Smaller Town: Hood River is an amazing small town. But it is a small town and lacks some of the bigger town amenities. Need to hit Target, Home Depot or Costco? You will need to go a town or two or even three over.

  2. It's Getting Expensive: We're not talking Aspen or Jackson Hole expensive, but Hood River is getting more popular and costly every day. If you're looking at moving to Hood River, Oregon, from a more expensive location, this may not seem like a big deal, but as the town grows more popular, costs are going up quickly.

  3. Lack of Jobs: If you are looking at moving to Hood River, job opportunities are pretty slim. If you work in the medical world, engineering sphere, agriculture, tourism, or hospitality industry, there might be something for you. Otherwise, jobs are pretty scarce. Work remotely? In that case, living in. Hood River, Oregon, might be a good option.

  4. Lack of Available Housing: If you want to move to Hood River, Oregon, you'll find it is a very competitive and expensive housing market. If you're looking to move to Hood River and buy a home, be prepared and work with a good mortgage broker to get pre-approved and a good realtor. For Mortgage Info, reach out to me. I grew up in Oregon and know Hood River well. I'm available 24/7 to answer any questions about moving to and living in Hood River, Oregon, and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. I also work with several good realtors if you need an introduction. Together, we can make living in Hood River, Oregon, a reality for you.

FAQs About Moving to and Living in Hood River, Oregon

What is Hood River, Oregon, known for?

Hood River is renowned for its windsurfing/kitesurfing conditions, making it the windsurfing capital of the world. The powerful winds that blow through the Gorge create perfect waves for surfing, and the city's marina is lined with crowds eager to catch a glimpse of the action.

Hood River is also known for its outstanding downtown, breweries and wineries, and abundance of farm-to-table restaurants, which showcase the bounty of the local area.

What is the weather like in Hood River, Oregon?

Hood River, Oregon, boasts 144 sunny days a year on average. This, combined with the average of 30 inches of rain annually, creates the perfect environment for a lush, green landscape. The winters are cold and snowy, but this only adds to the beauty of the area. The snow-capped mountains provide an absolutely stunning backdrop for the quaint town.

What cities are near by Hood River, Oregon?

Nearby cities to Hood River include Cascade Locks (19 miles), The Dalles (28 miles), Government Camp (42 miles), Troutdale (46 miles), and Portland (62 miles). Mt. Hood is located just 14 miles away.

What is there to do for fun in Hood River? 

There is a ton of fun things to do for fun in Hood River. You've got kitesurfing, hiking, biking, and skiing. Throw in tons of wineries and breweries and a fantastic downtown, and you're not soon to run out of things to do in Hood River. 

Does Hood River have good schools? 

Schools in Hood River, Oregon, are very good. The Hood River County School district had a four-year graduation rate of 90% for the most recent year, compared to 80% state-wide. The public school district located in Hood River has 3,761 students in grades PK, K-12. The teacher-student to teacher ratio is 16 to 1. In addition the Hood River schools offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, music, and drama. Living in Hood River, Oregon, will certainly give your child access to a good education. 

Is Hood River a good place to retire? 

Hood River, Oregon, is an excellent place to retire. The town is small enough to be quiet and relaxing, but with Mt. Hood nearby and plenty of trails nearby, you’ll have plenty of activities and amenities to keep busy living in Hood River, Oregon.

I want to move to Hood River, Oregon.  How do I make it happen?

If you're thinking of Moving to Hood River, Oregon, you've come to the right spot. There's a good amount of information on this website to help, including some helpful links below. If you want to ask questions, try our Facebook Group > Moving to Oregon, where we have a large group of experts there to answer any question you might have. If you're considering buying a home in the Hood River area, getting pre-approved for a mortgage should be your first step. For Mortgage Info, contact me, I would happy to tell you more about what living in Hood River, Oregon, is like as well as help with your mortgage if you decide to move to Hood River and buy a home.

For FAQs about moving to Oregon or living in Oregon, check out my blog, 31 FAQs About Living in Oregon. For more information about living in Oregon, check out the homepage of LIVING IN OREGON.

Video's on What it's Like Living in Hood River Oregon

What I Love About Hood River, Oregon - by Kenzie Carlstrom