Things to See and Do in Bend and Central Oregon
Beer drinkers delight in Bend Ale Trail
Will your travels take you to Central Oregon? Visitors definitely won’t want to miss The Bend Ale Trail. Bend probably has more microbreweries per capita than any other city in the state!
You can download the free app for iPhone or Droid, and get a passport from Visit Bend so you can make the rounds gathering stamps and beer samples. If you’d prefer not to meander on your own, and easy way to knock out four of the seven bend breweries in a fairly short time is with The Bend Brew Bus from Wanderlust Tours.
Wanderlust actually has a TON of really fabulous tours, ranging from caving to moonlight kayak and everything in between.
For visitors interested in trying mountain biking, the folks at CogWild offer great tours for riders ranging from first-timers to experienced cyclists.
Traveling with kids?
If you are traveling with kids, there is SO MUCH to do in Bend. I’ve mentioned before that my husband is from Oregon and I went to school at University of Oregon. There is plenty of activity to keep the kids busy from the Lava River Cave at Newberry National Volcanic Monument to whitewater rafting the Big Eddy Thriller. Kids can feed the fish at Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery in Camp Sherman or take pictures with eagles at the High Desert Museum.
Bend, Oregon eats
Velvet and Astro Lounge are two “typically Bend” hotspots if you’re looking for a way to kick off an evening with good drinks and appetizers. The food is a little better at Astro, the service is better at Velvet. If you’re trying to hit happy hour, start at Astro. Theirs goes ‘til 7 p.m. and is particularly good.
Blacksmith feels a tiny bit more upscale, but still has a really cool feel and excellent drinks and apps. Good history, too. High end Bend dining? Try Ariana Restaurant.
McMenamins at the old Saint Francis school is a neat place. Their soaking tub is pretty cool, and O’Kane’s at the back of the property offers a nice place to sit by the fire pits at the end of an evening and sip a local craft beer. There’s also Brother Jon’s, 10 Barrel Brewing Co. and Zydeco – get the house-smoked trout dip!
If you want to squeeze in a nicer dinner, try 900 Wall.
Another AMAZING restaurant that’s a little outside the downtown area is Trattoria Sbandati. Still walkable from downtown, but a bit off the beaten path. Some of the best food in Bend, but the location is teeny-tiny, so you’ll need reservations.
Best bets for breakfast or lunch, close to downtown, Jackson’s Corner is a great local fave, as is Alpenglow. Ditto for Chow. All three specialize in locally-produced ingredients, super fresh, unique food. You might also like:
- Bellatazza, downtown Bend
- Thump, downtown Bend
- Backporch, two locations in Bend
- Nancy P’s Bakery
Looking for a little spa time after all that outdoor exercise? Check out Anjou Spa in Bend or Shibui Spa at FivePine Lodge in Sisters, Oregon.
When you want to send a home made postcard from Central Oregon, get your picture taken at Smith Rock State Park with the monkey face in the background. (You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it.)
The Old Mill District in Bend offers great views and is the best place to watch or experience headliner and free summer concerts, in addition to annual sporting events!
Looking for a little exercise? Try the Upper Deschutes River Trail - also a good place to go fishing.
The Bend Bulletin is the local paper in town. Go Magazine is published on Friday’s. The Source Weekly is, well, the weekly newspaper.
There’s always something going on in Bend/Central Oregon.
- 2011 USGA of Cyclocross – The Deschutes Brewery Cup – Bend, Oregon, December 10th and 11th, 2011
- Munch n’ Music
- Bend Farmer’s Market
Pole, Pedal, Paddle take place in the spring time, as does pond skimming at Mt. Bachelor (you gotta see it, to believe it.)
Visiting Bend in the summer? Join in on Downtown Bend’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July Pet Parade.
Did you know that Central Oregon is also known for world-class golf? Surrounded by the Cascades, most offer spectacular views, but the following are stunning gems in the fall:
- Crosswater Club at Sunriver Resort
- Aspen Lakes in Sisters
- Crooked River Ranch
- Black Butte Ranch
Come to Central Oregon for skiing, snowboarding and other snow-play at Mt. Bachelor in the winter.
What are your favorite things to do in Bend, Oregon?
Thanks to Kristine and Visit Central Oregon and Tawna and Visit Bend for assistance with this post. Photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown