Take In The Views From Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint
Far and away, one of the unique things to do in Bend, Oregon is to drive to the summit of an extinct volcano, Pilot Butte, that sits just 2 miles from downtown Bend .
The cinder cone rises 480 feet, delivering exceptional 360-degree views of the surrounding high desert terrain. The most impressive view is to the west of Bend, where the snowcapped Cascade Mountains are in clear view.
Pro Tip: If you make the hike up, use this Pilot Butte informational park brochure!
Explore Circa Arts Gallery
The Circa Arts Gallery is a great art gallery to stop in to pick up a piece of original artwork by a local artisan. They have a variety of mediums such as paintings, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork and metal pieces to discover. Its very unique to the area and its always great to support the local people when youre visiting a destination.
Climb At Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park is another one of the epic things to see in Bend Oregons surroundings. Only 30 minutes drive outside of town, hiking here is one of the best free things to do in Bend Oregon.
Smith Rock is a popular spot among climbers with over a thousand bolted routes and several thousand total climbs. Rock climbing is one of the best things to do around Bend Oregon. There are also miles and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails . The most popular hike is the Misery Ridge Loop.
Smith Rock State Park features deep river canyons. Its home to golden eagles, prairie falcons, mule deer, and beaver. Visit for yourself to see what makes this place one of the best photo spots in Bend Oregon.
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Where To Shop In Bend
The best shopping in Bend is right downtown. There are basically 12 city blocks from Franklin to Greenwood Avenue and Brooks Street to Tin Pan Alley where you will find a full days worth of shopping. As mentioned above, parking can be tricky, but try the lot off of Franklin Avenue over by the river.
I recall a lot of the great shopping being on that end of downtown, right by that parking lot . Several great shops are located right there off of Brooks Street.
Eat At Food Cart Pods
There are currently six food cart pods in Bend, all of which offer inviting outdoor atmospheres for enjoying your meal and enjoying your company in the fresh outdoors. Food cart pods feature picnic tables, fire pits, shade trees, string lights, and ample seating. Best of all, these food cart pods are often always stocked with craft beer, wine, and other refreshments to compliment your meal.
The Podski is a massive food cart pod tucked between the Old Mill District and Downtown Bend where youll find various food carts serving up just about any cuisine youre craving. Theres also a variety of seating options, from the enclosed beer garden to the outdoor picnic tables.
Bend has a couple of other notable food cart lots, such as The Lot located on the west side and On Tap located on the east side, each offering delicious food and beer/wine options to pair.
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Where To Stay In Bend
Oxford Hotel If you are staying in Bend, we loved our accommodations at the The Oxford Hotel located downtown Bend.
Tethrow Hotel is an award winning hotel located on a golf course. This luxury property is 10 minutes from downtown, 7 minutes from the Old Mill District, and 20 minutes from Mt. Bachelor with shuttle service.
Five Pine Lodge offers unique lodging in the nearby Central Oregon town of Three Sisters. We stayed here the night before our cycling trip. It had a romantic cabin setting in a beautiful pine forest located at the base of the Three Sisters mountains. Each room provides serenity and privacy and creates an ideal setting for quiet contemplation and intimate meals
And these are some of the best things to do in Bend Oregon. Have you been to Bend? Whats your favourite Central Oregon adventure?
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Float The Deschutes River In Bend:
A must-do activity on the guide of epic things to do in Bend, Oregon 1-Week Itinerary is to float the Deschutes River. This was one of the most fun activities we did while we were in Bend.
And you will definitely not be the only one out there, because it is one of the most popular activities in Bend during the summer. Especially when the weather is nice, there will be loads of people floating down the river for a nice cool-off.
There are two different ways you can successfully float the river. One option being, bring your own float and carpool your vehicles to the start and finish . Or you can rent from Tumalo Creek Rentals which provides you with a tube and shuttle.
The float is rather mellow, but there is one rapids section. If you prefer to skip the rapid section, you can walk around the rapid and put your float back in right after the rapid section.
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Bend Oregon: Activities And Attractions
It goes without saying that many of the best things to do in Bend involve the outdoors.
Bend is the type of place where you can go skiing in the morning, hiking in the afternoon, rock climbing in the evening, and stargazing at night. It truly is a wonderland for outdoor enthusiastsa place where the natural world is a near-constant presence in the cityscape.
Drive five minutes outside of Bend in any direction, and youll find yourself immersed in nature. Drive half an hour, and youre privy to some of the most enticing landscapes in the country.
Of course, theres plenty to do within the city limits as well.
From museums to shopping and from world-class eateries to a fantastic outdoor concert venue, Bend is a city that punches far above its size when it comes to activities and attractions.
Float The Deschutes River In Bend In Summer
When summertime comes around, so does one of the best activities in Bend, Oregon: Floating the Deschutes River.
There is, perhaps, no better way to relax, cool off and enjoy the scenic landscapes than from a tube in the river. Rentals and transportation are available so all you need is your swimsuit, some sunscreen and your water shoes!
Floating is just one of the many activities to do in Bend, Oregon on the river. Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are other fun things to do in Bend during the summer.
Pro Tip: Want a more intense river adventure? Check out the Bend Whitewater Park where you can surf the Deschutes River!
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Visit Newberry National Volcanic Monument
The Newberry National Volcanic Monument is a spectacular outdoor destination that spans 54,000 acres of the Deschutes National forest. It is filled with lava flows and cinder cones, lakes, and the 7985 foot high Paulina Peak. There are plenty of things to keep you busy in this natural area located just south of Bend.
Whats The Weather Like In Bend
If youre looking for a place that has four distinct seasons, Bends got it! Summers are dry and hot, with plenty of sunshine and temps averaging 88 degrees. During the winter, youll find temps dipping to a low of 24 degrees. Bend receives less than 12 inches of precipitation a year, with most of it falling as snow in the winter.
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Go Skiing On Mount Bachelor
Mount Bachelor is a stratovolcano that sits in the Cascade Range of Central Oregon. Named Bachelor as it stands apart from the Three Sisters peaks that are located nearby. Mount Bachelor reaches an elevation of 9,068 feet and avid skiers and snowboarders flock to the mountain during the winter season as the weather is generally crisp and clear.
If youre not into those winter sports, there are plenty of other recreational activities to keep you busy. The summit offers an observatory and there are plenty of areas that are open for snowshoeing, snow tubing, dog sledding, and more. Or simply take a scenic chairlift ride to the top to experience the amazing views of the surrounding area!
Buy lift tickets and check out events on the mountain on their website prior to your visit.
Hike To Tamolitch Falls Blue Pool
Hiking to the Blue Pool is one of the best things to do near Bend, Oregon. An astounding natural site, the turquoise pool is fed by the water of an underground river, which seeps up through lava rocks.
The trail to the Blue Pool, rated easy-to-moderate, is a 4.5-mile roundtrip trek that follows the McKenzie River through dense forest and over rocky terrain. Hikers can trek from the cliffs rim down to the water to take a dip but the average water temperature is a chilly 37 degrees!
Pro Tip: The McKenzie River Trailhead to the Blue Pool is about a 1.5-hour drive from Bend. MAP. The route passes through the cute town of Sisters, which is a fun stop along the way.
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Day Trip To Mount Bachelor Ski Resort:
While in Bend, you might as well check out the nearest ski resort. There is tons to do at Mount Bachelor Ski Resort.
During the summer they have a bike park with 13 different trails. There are trails ranging from easy for beginners to extreme for the experts. If you dont have a bike, you can rent one up on the mountain. They also rent all the protective equipment as well, such as helmets, pads, shoes, etc.
Other activities you can partake in is a chairlift ride to the top. Get a birds eye view of the resort over the rugged mountains by chair. Or go on a zip-lining adventure with some beautiful surrounding views.
Another fun thing to do in Bend, Oregon is disc golf on their 18-hole course. The course starts with hole #1 at the top of the mountain and ends with 18 toward the bottom of the mountain.
If you plan to spend the whole day on Mt. Bachelor or looking for a bite to eat, stop into the Pine Marten Lodge. The lodge is located mid-mountain and has a variety of options to choose from. They offer unique experiences such as sunset dinners or brews with a view. You can also stop in The Clearing Rock Bar and Scapolos Bistro for a unique mountain restaurant experience.
Where To Stay In South Bend For Sightseeing
Catering to downtown visitors and those traveling to South Bend to visit the University of Notre Dame, many great hotel options can be found spread throughout the city. What you want to see and do in South Bend should help decide what hotel is right for you, and whether it’s visiting the campus or catching a performance downtown, there is a wide variety of mid-range and budget options that all deliver on a good night’s sleep.
- Mid-Range Hotels: North of the city and the Notre Dame campus, the Inn at Saint Mary’s is a fantastic boutique hotel with a stylish dÃ©cor and relaxing ambiance. Besides a convenient location, the Inn at Saint Mary’s also offers dependable service, clean facilities, and a delicious breakfast. At the heart of the Notre Dame campus, the Morris Inn is another upscale hotel at an affordable rate, which provides rooms and suites, as well as a great restaurant and fireside terrace. For one of the best stays in the heart of downtown, The Oliver Inn is a gorgeous bed and breakfast with 15 rooms available, all of which exude a unique sense of class and comfort.
- Budget Hotels: South Bend has plenty of budget-friendly hotels to choose from, and places like the Sleep Inn South Bend, on the west side of the city, do a good job balancing low rates with great service. This nationally recognized hotel brand delivers on cleanliness and comfort to make for a refreshing stay.
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Big Obsidian Flow Trail
I wanted to do this trail but it was a 40 minute drive and we ran out of time.
The Big Obsidian Flow trail is near Paulina and East Lake, so I recommend taking at least half a day to explore this area while you there.
Big Obsidian Flow is the youngest of the Newberry Volcanos lava flow. Its a mile loop walk. Youll be surrounded by black volcanic glass and have views of the surrounding peaks.
Do not take any of the obsidian rock home with you but definitely delight in it on your walk.
CONSIDER: Half-Day Volcano Tour
Forage At The Fruit Loop
The Hood River Valley is a fertile mountain community near Mount Hood in Oregon. The valley is home to a collection of fruit stands, orchards, vineyards, and lavender fields. Depending on the season, you can enjoy a variety of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.
The Hood River Valley is about 2.5 hours drive from Bend, and a visit here is one of the cool things to do around Bend Oregon. There are plenty of activities for adults and kids to enjoy.
Lavender Valley Farms is a particularly popular spot known for instagrammable lavender fields peeking out from below the majestic Mount Hood. Lavender products can be bought year-round, but the flowers generally bloom from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
One of the top places to eat in Hood Valley is the Grateful Vineyard, Cidery, and Pizzeria. Theyre known for small craft hard cider and seasonal pizza. Other fabulous wineries include the Marchesi Vineyards and the Cathedral Ridge Winery. With rustic charm, farm-fresh foods, and spectacular views, youll quickly find out why a visit to Hood River Valley is one of the best things to do in Bend Oregon in summer.
Fall is also an especially pretty time to visit the Hood River Fruit Loop. Imagine fresh cider, cider doughnuts, and, oh yeah, apples! Be sure to check out the Hood River U-Pick or the Apple Valley Country Store.
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Faith Hope And Charity Vineyards
Bend isnt all about microbrews, there is a vineyard in Central Oregon where you can taste award-winning wines. Located 35 minutes from Bend, The Faith, Hope and Charity Vineyard is a 15 acre vineyard that produces fantastic red and white wines. The have a wine tasting room or you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy a glass while taking in the gorgeous views of Central Oregon.
All About Bend Oregon
Some folks travel for attractions and some travel for experience – Bend, Oregon is a vacation destination to experience! There is something very special about this place, the perfect blend of arts and culture, a small-town atmosphere and a magnificently created outdoor world.
Bend is the best high-desert town in the Pacific Northwest, converted from a once small logging town to an inviting mountain getaway, where mountains meet rambling rivers and historic districts line the banks of the Deschutes River that flows so beautifully through the town. Bend is a warm and welcoming town where a smile goes a long way.
Perfectly placed on the edge of the Cascades under the volcanic peaks of the Three Sisters and Mt. Bachelor, Bend is home to majestic mountains, sparkling Cascade Lakes and two of Oregons Seven Wonders. Combined with the historic architecture, award-winning dining, fabulous shopping, world-class skiing, epic rock climbing, and bustling breweries, Bend rightfully earns its reputation as The mountain town thats got it all!”
Explore the tree-lined streets and cobblestone sidewalks of Bend as they invite you on a unique journey. From the historic streets of Downtown Bend on the fringe of Drake Park, to the delightful and hip Old Mill District, the streets are abuzz with riverfront restaurants, brewpubs, quaint specialty stores, designer boutiques, chain stores and eclectic galleries displaying Bends unique art scene.
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Downtown Bend In Winter
Downtown Bend is nothing short of magical in the winter season. Stroll the historic Wall and Bond streets downtown, complete with sparkling lit wreaths and lampposts, while enjoying the festive spirit in the air. Downtown offers an abundance of unique shopping with stores offering both fashion and fun, as well as award-winning restaurants, state of the art spa services and regular entertainment and events. Just south of downtown, The Old Mill District along the Deschutes River has a host of familiar stores along with movie theaters and restaurants.
Deschutes River State Recreation Area
You can find the Deschutes River State Recreation Area located between Bend and Portland about two and a half hours north of Downtown Bend. This is a popular spot for hiking on the six miles of looping pedestrian-only trails and biking along the 26 mile Deschutes River Trail which runs along the east bank of the river. On the lower section of the river, you can also find whitewater that is perfect for rafting or boating.
The recreation area serves as a gateway to the Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area, a 2,753 park, where you can spot mule deer, otters, coyotes, falcons, red-tailed hawks, and many other species. The park is also popular for fishing and hunting if you prefer to see animals dead rather than alive.
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