Ashland, Oregon

Best Places to Retire in Oregon


Ashland (population 19,700) is in the Rogue River Valley, along Interstate 5, just 15 miles north of the California border, and 13 miles south of Medford. The city is at 2,000 feet above sea level with 7,500-foot Mount Ashland looming nearby to the south. The Cascade Range lies about 30 miles to the east. The weather is fairly mild but offers four distinct seasons. It is an excellent place to garden, with a 170-day growing season.

The city offers an outstanding quality of life with a rich cultural diversity. It has outstanding music, performing and visual arts, fine dining, excellent schools and libraries, well-maintained historic buildings, clean streets and natural beauty. It also offers an impressive number of choices for dining with some of the finest chefs on the West Coast. Or if you prefer, there is also a large selection of family dining establishments, delis, coffee houses, and ice cream parlors.

The civic pride of the community shows up in its events like the Fourth of July celebration and summer band concerts that have roots back to the late 1800s.

The rugged natural beauty of the surrounding area offers outstanding opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, skiing, camping, fishing, rafting, sightseeing and more.

Arts & Culture

Ashland is a rich cultural center with music, dance, cabaret, opera, arts, and museums. In addition to the principal venues, there are performances at the Lithia Park Bandshell, Eden Farm and Ashland Armory. Everything from the symphony and chamber music, to folk singing, bluegrass or jazz — Ashland has it.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, now nearly 70 years old, presents 12 plays in repertory, five by Shakespeare, and seven by other classic or contemporary playwrights. Its three theatres are the 1,200-seat outdoor Elizabethan Theatre, whose performance stage was inspired by the Fortune Theatre of Shakespeare’s time; the modern 600-seat Angus Bowmer Theatre; and the state-of-the-art New Theater, a perfect setting for intimate performances. It attracts over 100,000 visitors annually.

Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, a 42-voice ensemble, have been performing since 1986 and offers a subscription series. The singers also perform regularly with many of the area’s leading musical organizations.

Its concert series is held in the South Oregon University Music Recital Hall.

The Rogue Valley Symphony offers a season series of five concerts performed in Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass.

Chamber Music Concerts presents an eight-concert series at the South Oregon University Music Recital Hall.

The Peter Britt Festival is a very prominent compliment to the area. Located on a mountainside in nearby Jacksonville, this 2,200-seat outdoor pavilion offers a very diverse music schedule featuring world-class performers. In addition to its classical series, which features an 85-100-member orchestra, the season offers gospel, blues, bluegrass, country and contemporary musicians, often to sold-out audiences.

Craterian Performances is a membership-based, not-for-profit agency that owns and operates the Ginger Rogers Theater. The theater is a 750-seat state-of-the-art European style theater with a stage that can accommodate large national concerts, dance and theatrical tours.

The Oregon Cabaret Theatre presents professionally produced musicals, revues and comedies. Its theater is a former Baptist church that has been renovated into a nightclub-style theater with table seating on tiered levels and balcony. Patrons have the option of gourmet dinners, Sunday brunch, appetizers, desserts or beverages.

Artattack Theater Ensemble offers seven productions from February through November.

Ashland has active theater groups — Ashland Community Theatre, Actor’s Theatre, and the Southern Oregon University Theatre Arts Department that perform throughout the year.

Schneider Museum of Art of Southern Oregon University has a permanent collection and presents exhibitions and programs.

The Ashland Gallery Association represents a diverse range of arts and crafts. It hosts an art walk on the “First Friday” of each month where patrons can meet artists, view demonstrations and enjoy browsing in a gallery atmosphere. It also sponsors the annual wine, food and art festival — “A Taste of Ashland.”


Southern Oregon is famous for its recreational opportunities. Within an hour’s drive of Ashland you will find many rivers, lakes and mountains with an abundance of wildlife. Ashland’s Lithia Park covers 93 acres right off the plaza at the center of downtown. There are many well-maintained footpaths throughout the park and it is a favorite of both walkers and joggers.

The nearby Rogue River National Forest offers hundreds of hiking trails, camping sites, along with lakes, rivers and streams that can be fished. The Rogue River offers rafting and there is snow skiing on Mount Ashland.

Crater Lake, located in south-central Oregon, is widely known for its intense blue color and spectacular views. This six-mile wide body of water and 20-mile circle of cliffs was created by the eruption of Mount Mazama almost 7,000 years ago. There are boat tours on the lake and you can stay at Crater Lake Lodge, or camp at Mazama Village. There are also a number of hiking trails, including Mount Scott, at 8,929 feet. Snowfall in this area averages 533 inches per year.


Southern Oregon University, with an enrollment of approximately 5,300 students, plays a large part in Ashland’s economic health.

Senior Programs

The Ashland Senior Program Center is in Hunter Park. It is open Monday through Friday and focuses on enabling older residents to live more independently and continue to contribute to the community. Services offered include preventative health, utility discounts, trash collection discounts, noon meals provided by non-profit Access Loaves and Fishes, dance classes, movies, writing groups, computer learning, and more.

Southern Oregon University sponsors an Elderhostel program in Ashland.

Senior Ventures is a program of Southern Oregon University featuring classes, theatre tickets, and museum admissions.


Ashland Community Hospital has 49 beds and full-time staff of 100.

Rogue Valley Medical Center, a 305-bed hospital in Medford, is 12 miles from Ashland. It is the regional referral trauma center and has been rated as one of the top 100 cardiovascular hospitals by Solucient from 2000-2002.


Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport is the third largest commercial service airport in the state with over 50 flights daily.

Ashland Oregon Airport has a single 3,603-foot runway.


Average low temperatures are around 30 degrees with highs of 46 degrees in January, and August lows average 59 degrees with highs of 93 degrees.


Ashland Daily Tidings –

Property Taxes

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce

State Aging Agency


Medford – 13 miles
Klamath – 64 miles
Crater Lake – 89 miles
Eugene – 178 miles
Bend -186 miles
Sacramento, CA – 295 miles
San Francisco, CA – 350 miles

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