Oregon has one of the most diverse and most beautiful landscapes in the country. You’ll find miles of scenic coastline, mountain ranges, verdant farmland, and best of all – a culture that celebrates the great outdoors.
Whether you’re hoping to soak up some sun on a white sand beach, hike through forests, rock climb, or explore one of the state’s many ghost towns, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from while exploring this one-of-a-kind state.
From sweeping metropolises to quaint small towns, here are the 20 most beautiful cities in Oregon.
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1. Cannon Beach
If you’re traveling along the famous Route 101, then you’ll be on track to visit one of the most beautiful cities in Oregon. Cannon Beach is a small town located near the iconic Haystack Rock, a massive slab off the coast that is home to nesting sea birds (keep your eyes peeled for puffins).
The beach is another draw to this area, with its picturesque golden sand and lush forest backdrop. Head north of the beach to find Ecola Park, an old-growth rainforest with stunning hiking trails and incredible views over the Pacific.
Although small, the town of Cannon Beach is worth a visit. You’ll find lots of restaurants, art galleries, and plenty of gift shops should you wish to pick up a souvenir or two.
Astoria is Oregon’s oldest city, and is also one of the most beautiful. Situated along the Columbia River off of Route 101, you might recognize this hilly town from “The Goonies”. If you’re a fan of the 1980s flick, you can visit some of the spots where it was filmed, including the Clatsop County Jail which is now a film museum.
Those more interested in history will have plenty to see as well. Astoria is bursting with historical architecture, and the Heritage Museum will give you a look into the city’s past.
As is true with most of Oregon’s cities, Astoria is surrounded by nature. Those looking to immerse themselves in it can hike up to Young River Falls for sweeping views across the city, or head across the bay and spend a few hours in Fort Stevens State Park.
To get the best of both worlds while in town, check out the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park.
A walk along the riverfront will provide you with incredible scenic views. Foodies will love the plethora of restaurants and craft beer joints along this stretch.
3. Hood River
Perfectly situated between Mount Hood and the Columbia River, Hood River is incredibly beautiful. The town is most famous for windsurfing (and has been called “the windsurfing capital of the world” by some!), but outdoor adventurers of all types will love this scenic area.
There are tons of spectacular hiking trails along the gorge, many of which will lead you to surreal waterfalls. Other popular pastimes include mountain biking and skiing during the winter months.
Even if you’re not much for outdoor recreation, the charming town of Hood River offers up some great eateries, coffee shops, and vineyards. If you plan your trip correctly, make sure you’re in town for one of the city’s famed festivals.
Southern Oregon does not always receive the same recognition as the north part of the state, but Medford is a beautiful city that shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the area.
It’s one of the biggest cities in the region, and its location in the Rogue Valley area makes it extremely popular with outdoor enthusiasts. One of the most popular activities in Medford is hiking up to the Upper and Lower Table Rock, two massive monoliths that provide stunning views of the Rogue River Valley.
Nature-lovers could also spend some time in TouVelle State Recreation Site, or speed things up a bit with a Rogue Jet Boat Tour.
Those looking to achieve ultimate relaxation during their time in Oregon should head straight for the beautiful city of Manzanita, located along the Pacific Coast just off of Highway 101.
This small town hosts miles of sandy shoreline along the sea and amazing fishing opportunities along the Nehalem River. Nehalem Bay State Park is located on the south end of town and is a great spot to enjoy a scenic picnic or take a stroll.
While in Manzanita, you can spend a day the the spa or perusing the cozy bookstores and cafes. There are also plenty of upscale dining opportunities and a gourmet grocer to satisfy the foodies in your group.
Equally as fun as it is beautiful, the city of McMinnville is one of Oregon’s best small towns. Its downtown area has been dubbed the state’s favorite, thanks to the tree-lined streets, eclectic shops, and farm-to-table restaurants.
This charming city has also been known to host some great festivals and events, one of the most famous being the annual UFO Festival.
McMinnville is located in the heart of the Willamette Valley, so wine lovers can indulge in their fair share of the tantalizing pinot noir that this region is famous for. As you make your way to and from the many wine tasting rooms over town, check out the scenic historic architecture that hasn’t changed for over 100 years..
Although it could hardly be considered a city, the village of Yachats is definitely one of Oregon’s most beautiful. If you’re driving along the Oregon Coast Highway (also known as Highway 101), you won’t want to miss this tiny town.
The main draw to Yachats is the nature that surrounds it, specifically Thor’s Well. Sometimes referred to as the “Drainpipe to the Pacific”, this sinkhole has been baffling onlookers for centuries. Taking on copious amounts of water without ever seeming to fill, this natural wonder is especially intriguing during high tide.
The beaches along Yachats are also great for whale watching, and there are tons of hiking trails with scenic lookouts in this area.
Situated at the base of the Three Sisters Mountain, the city of Sisters is definitely a must-see when it comes to beauty. It’s located on the outskirts of the Deschutes National Forest, making it a popular destination for everyone passing by.
The forest is an ideal place to get off the grid, and whether you’re hiking, rafting, mountain biking, or skiing, you’ll be doing so with an incredible picturesque backdrop.
The town itself is also a sight to see; the 19th-century architecture adds to its charm, and you’ll find a spa and plenty of boutiques and art galleries around town. There are also many coffee shops, restaurants, and even a brewery.
9. Coos Bay
One of the largest and most beautiful cities along Oregon’s coast is the town of Coos Bay. The population just tops 15,000, so this “big city” is still an idyllic stop along Highway 101.
It’s a popular base camp for those exploring the state’s southern coast, though there’s plenty here to keep you busy for some time. Of course, the ocean is really the star of the show – and there are tons of beaches from which you can enjoy it.
There is also a large swath of state parks in this area. Some of the most popular include
- Shore Acres
- Sunset Bay
- Cape Arago State Park (check out its iconic lighthouse!)
Hiking, picnicking, and fishing are all popular pastimes when visiting the parks, and it’s even possible to reel in salmon from the bay and the Coquille River.
You can also see some of the state’s biggest sand dunes just north of Coos Bay at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, or check out the beautiful waterfalls at the Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area.
10. Baker City
You’ll feel like you stepped back in time when you visit the historic town of Baker City. Once on par with the booming cities of Salem and Portland, this quiet town is now better known for its location along the famed Oregon Trail.
Even if you’re just passing through, take some time to visit the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and the Baker Heritage Museum to learn more about Baker City’s past. You can even take a stroll through the old historic district to see a saloon dating back to 1889 in the beautiful Geiser Grand Hotel.
Located at the base of the Wallowa Mountain Range in the eastern part of the state, Joseph is one of the most beautiful cities in Oregon. With just over 1,000 full-time residents, it’s really more of a village, but this tiny town packs a big punch.
Joseph is often referred to as the “Little Switzerland of America” mainly due to its location in the “Swiss Alps” of Oregon. The nickname might also have something to do with their annual Swiss-Bavarian-style carnival, complete with German beer and lots of yodeling.
Even if you’re not in town during this famed event, this small town has plenty of entertainment to offer. The lake is lined with shops, hotels, and restaurants, and those looking to really immerse themselves in nature can hike the trails in the Eagle Cap Wilderness or stay on the lake for some top-notch fishing and paddling.
If you’re in central Oregon, you’ll find one of the state’s biggest and most beautiful cities. Bend boasts beautiful weather, a plethora of outdoor activities, and a booming artistic community.
The city is located on the banks of the Deschutes River, so those looking to tube, boat, or surf can head to the Bend Whitewater Park. If you’d rather experience the river without getting wet, there are also plenty of hiking and biking trails along the water.
Spend your free time wandering the scenic streets and popping into the various art galleries and boutiques. If you’ve got time to spare, head into the nearby Deschutes National Forest for some hiking or skiing, or head north for some great rock climbing opportunities at Smith Rock State Park.
Silverton is one of Oregon’s most beautiful cities thanks to its plethora of lush parks and gardens sprinkled across the town.
Often referred to as the “Garden City”, a walk through the 80-acre botanical garden is almost compulsory. This beautiful area has miles of walking paths and specialty gardens, and you’ll be amazed by its beautiful scenery as you breathe in the fresh air.
Silverton is also known for Silver Falls State Park which is home to some stunning waterfalls and verdant trails. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can head into the downtown area to enjoy a meal with a view at one of the many restaurants overlooking the creek that runs through the city.
14. Cottage Grove
The quaint town of Cottage Grove is often referred to as the “covered bridge capital of the west”, thanks to the six beautiful structures that dot the area. They even have an annual festival dedicated to these covered bridges!
Cottage Grove is just a short drive south from Eugene, so if you’re in the area you should definitely check out some of these bridges.
You’ll also find a beautiful downtown area that is home to historical structures, cafes, art galleries, and boutiques. The area is also known for its rich history in gold mining, so if you’d like to learn more about his interesting time period you can head to the Bohemia Gold Mining Museum.
Of course, this could hardly be considered one of the most beautiful cities in Oregon without some of the natural splendor that most places on our list are famed for. There are lots of trails around Cottage Grove, so feel free to spend some time hiking, biking, or horseback riding while you’re in town.
If you enjoyed learning about the gold mining history in Cottage Grove, continue south to the beautiful town of Jacksonville. The city was erected in the mid-19th-century once gold deposits were found in the area, and the town is now a National Historic Landmark.
The old architecture has been impeccably preserved, and you could spend hours walking up and down the idyllic streets where you’ll find a variety of shops, parks, and local eateries.
If you’re visiting during the summer, you’ll be in town for the annual Britt Music & Arts Festival that runs for three whole months in the lovely outdoor amphitheater.
Brownsville is a small but beautiful town located about halfway between Eugene and Salem. Not only is the town situated in a beautiful natural setting, it also boasts extremely well-preserved architecture, similar to that of Jacksonville. Brownsville was founded by settlers traveling the Oregon Trail, and some of the original buildings still remain.
The historic downtown area is where you’ll see some of the most impressive structures, and the oldest buildings date all the way back to the 18th century. To learn more about this old town, you can visit the Moyer House or the Linn County Historical Museum.
Wine lovers looking for the most beautiful city in Oregon will likely find the town of Carlton at the top of the list. Located in Yamhill County, this tiny town has unofficially been dubbed as Oregon’s Wine Country Capital.
Although there are only around 2,000 residents, you’ll find over 20 wine tasting rooms in a three-block area, along with cheese shops and artisan chocolatiers. There is also an impressive number of tasty restaurants in Carlton, proving once and for all that they know how to entertain visitors!
Located on the outskirts of Eugene in the southern region of the Willamette Valley, you’ve likely heard of Springfield from the iconic American TV program. Even if you’re not a fan of the Simpsons, Springfield is still worth a visit.
This scenic town is situated on the banks of the Mackenzie River, and boasts pedestrian-friendly streets in its charming downtown area where you’ll find cozy cafes, bookstores, and colossal colorful murals.
Of course, one of these said murals is dedicated to the Simpsons, as are several life-size sculptures located in the Springfield Museum.
The small beach town of Gearhart is one of Oregon’s hidden gems, but its location along the rugged Pacific coastline makes it one of the most beautiful places in the state.
You won’t find many tourists here, making it a great alternative to the more popular town of Seaside just a few miles to the south. This sleepy resort town doesn’t even have any stoplights, which just adds to the small-town charm.
Spend your time relaxing on the grassy fields overlooking the ocean, whale watching, or digging for razor clams along the sandy shores. There’s also a well-developed downtown area complete with boutique shops, art galleries, cafes, and restaurants.
Our list of the most beautiful cities in Oregon wouldn’t be complete without Portland. This eco-friendly hub is located in the shadows of Mount Hood and is known for its large collection of parks, bridges, and bike paths.
Some of the most beautiful areas in Portland include Washington Park, with its International Test Rose Garden and Japanese Garden. Another noteworthy park can be found right in the city center; Forest Park consists of over 5,000 acres, and this urban forest will have you forgetting the hustle and bustle of the city in no time.
Portland is also a cultural hub, so you’ll have plenty to keep you entertained. From microbreweries and coffee houses, to its thriving art and music scenes, this iconic city has a little something for everyone.