Nestled in the foothills of the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges, Ashland is known for its unique landscape and culture. As it is home to the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), Ashland sees a large influx of visitors eager to see plays, roam Lithia Park, or dine in one of its many local restaurants.
Ashland's population hovers around 20,000 but keeps the feel of a small, tight-knit community very focused on local businesses. With more than 30 restaurants just in the downtown plaza, visitors have a wide variety of eateries to choose from, not to mention several different breweries including Caldera and Standing Stone.
Started by Angus L. Bowmer in 1935, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is one of the largest professional non-profit theatres in the nation. Shows run from mid February to October, with specialties in Shakespeare plays but also including a wide range of other shows such as Great Expectations (2016), Vietgone (2016) and The River Bride (2016).
In Ashland also resides Southern Oregon University, a small liberal arts college that hosts classes for its 6,000 students. Many students who are involved in the theatre art classes dream of being able to participate in OSF productions. Among the many visual arts classes, SOU hosts a wide variety of classes focusing on Video Production, Criminology, Outdoor Adventure Leadership, and Environmental Sciences, among others.
The National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory takes its residence in Ashland, being the world's only laboratory dedicated to solving crimes against wildlife. In the past the laboratory has assisted INTERPOL as well as other foreign agencies.
Mt. Ashland, located just a few miles south of the city itself, is home to many popular recreational activities. One of the few non-profit ski resorts in the U.S., it is open for the winter season to skiing and snowboarding. It hosts an annual Bavarian Night, which includes live music, a Torch Ceremony and fireworks. Mt. Ashland is also a popular location for year-round outdoor adventures such as hiking, mountain biking, and sightseeing.