Bend, Oregon is a popular destination that attracts visitors from around the world. There is something for everyone from hiking to surfing on the river (yes, really!), shopping to drinking award-winning craft beer.
I have curated a list of the best things to do in Bend from the eyes of a local. It is designed to give you the best overall experience even if you can only spend one day here. Note that all of these activities are within city limits but I recommend getting out and spending time in the surrounding cities if you have the time to do it!
- Breakfast at Sparrow Bakery - If you are going to try one of the famous ocean rolls, you're gonna want to arrive early. Luckily, there are now two locations and both are great. Grab a coffee and pastry (or dessert, we won't tell) to start your day!
- Take a (free!) tour at Deschutes Brewery - Touring the world-famous brewery couldn't be easier. Children are welcome (it is recommended for ages 12 and up) and you even get free samples at the end of it. Can't get enough? Follow up with lunch at the Deschutes Brewery Pub downtown.
- Downtown Bend - Burn off the beer calories with a stroll downtown. We have great shops, art galleries, restaurants, coffee shops, Crater Lake Spirits Tasting Room and more.
- Drake Park - Keep your stroll going or stop and take a sunny nap in the grass at Drake Park, located on the edge of downtown. It is a great place to play Frisbee, let your kids run around or at the least, take a couple of photos of beautiful Mirror Pond
- Dinner at the Lot - Craving some Thai noodles, or Greek food or a good ol' burger? The Lot has something for everyone so even picky eaters (like myself!) will have something to be happy about. There are five food carts, a dog- friendly eating area and they serve wine, beer, kombucha and beer (notice a beer trend yet?)
- Breakfast at McKay Cottage - Come early because this restaurant is a local favorite and can get busy (worst case scenario, you enjoy coffee on the heated porch). There are lots of delicious items to choose from while you dine in the beautiful bungalow built in 1916. Some of my favorites are McKay Cottage Potatoes, Croissant-Style French Toast and a Mango Mimosa (hey, you are on vacation, enjoy it!
- Deschutes River Whether you want to kayak, paddle board, surf or just enjoy some seriously beautiful views, the river has a lot to offer. Walk along the trail and soak in the sunshine
- Refuel at Spoken Moto - One of the newer and cooler Bend establishments. Check out vintage motorcycles that are being restored while you enjoy coffee!
- Follow more of the Ale Trail - Enjoy the huge lawn at Crux or hang out by the fire pit at 10 Barrel
- Mt. Bachelor - With world class skiing and snowboarding, a tubing park and sled dog rides during the winter and disc golf, hiking, mountain biking and a scenic chair lift ride during the summer, you definitely cannot fit this all into one afternoon, but I couldn't NOT mention it!
- Vector Volcano - I love this arcade! They have vintage games and pinball machines so grown-ups are going to feel some serious nostalgia and kids can discover the magic of Pacman for the first time. You get to play unlimited games for a flat hourly fee and, oh yeah, they also serve beer.
- Dinner at Barrio - This might be my favorite place to eat. All of their appetizers are killer and great for sharing and I LOVE their Pisco Sour!
3 or More Days
- Breakfast at Bellatazza - This coffee shop is a local staple and a great place to sit and enjoy downtown. My personal favorite drink is the granita (without an extra shot on top for busy days!)
- Go shopping and meet local artists at The Workhouse - This place exemplifies what is so great about our tight community! This is a space where artists work and sell their handmade products. They also offer classes so if you plan ahead, you can bring home a souvenir you made yourself!
- Explore - the High Desert Museum has cool animals (I love the otters!), a nature walk, living history exhibits like the Miller Family ranch where you can go back in time to 1904. This is a great place to let your kids roam and they might even learn a thing or two without even realizing it!
- Hike (or drive) up Pilot Butte - This is where you are going to get the best views. Hiking is a great way to get a workout but if you are in a hurry you can drive up during sunny seasons
- Take a free tour - at Humm Kombucha and/or Goody's Chocolate to learn all about how our favorite local treats are made (and buy some to enjoy when you get back home)!
For more dining suggestions, check out Tripadvisor ...or go exploring on your own. We have a LOT of great dining options and none of them are bad!
Ready to get your Bend vacation on? Click below to start planning today!