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The New Bay Area

If you’re from California like we are, you know the Bay Area as San Francisco and the outlying towns that surround it. It’s a mass of businesses, homes, and steep streets that roll up and down. It’s a blur of activity with a rushed feeling all over. There’s practically everything to do from eating dimsum in China town to attending a high end art gallery opening in the art district.

When we moved to Lakeside on the Southern Oregon Coast, we quickly became acquainted with the “new” Bay Area here. Out little town has most of the things we need – a little market, a hardware store, a cafe, a pub, and a gas station – but it doesn’t have the big town things one might desire. We head over to Coos Bay and North Bend (the Bay Area) for craft stores, more selection at the hardware store, fancier dinners out, and movies.

The Bay Area in Oregon is comprised of North Bend, Coos Bay, Charleston, Barview, Empire, Glasgow, and Cooston. The Southwest Oregon Regional Airport resides in North Bend and a large wood mill stands in Coos Bay. There are tons of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues in the Bay Area with pretty much everything you’d ever need or want to do, yet somehow it still feels smaller and more quaint than California’s Bay Area and tends to lean towards focusing on nature around its exterior vs. filling every bit with city buildings and housing. Of course the population of the area is far smaller than the San Francisco area, but that doesn’t seem to stop it from having lots of culture, events, and things to do.

There are wine walks and special movie showings at the classic Egyptian Theater. There is a fantastic German restaurant called the Blue Heron that offers a more fine dining experience alongside a traditional German style pub. Several other fine dining is offered in the Bay Area, although we have not experienced them yet. There is also Italian food, Thai food, and Chinese food available. Walking along the old town on Highway 101 in Coos Bay, you’ll find a staggering amount of antique stores and specialty shops – so many cute things to see!

The Bay Area in Oregon is much like an island with the bay surrounding it on three sides. The bridge that crosses over from the North, heading South to North Bend is sight to behold all itself. You can watch the big ships come in and out of the bay and if you head over to the Charleston area, you’ll see fishermen and large fishing ships coming in – you might even snag some fresh fish if it’s the right time of day.

Much like the streets in San Francisco’s Bay Area, the streets of North Bend and Coos Bay are steep and rolling as you travel from one side of town to the other. The homes are filled with character from bay front cabin style homes to large, Victorians, to little bungalows, one can find any type of home they desire. Unlike San Francisco the streets are rarely backed up from traffic and in fact, typically flow quite nicely.

I really love our new Bay Area here in Oregon and look forward to continuing to explore the many things to see and do!

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Illustration by Blume Bauer ©

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