Local Favorites – 5 of the Best/Bend’yest things to do in Bend
So you’re coming to Bend, but you aren’t sure what there is to do. Well here are five of the most “Bend’y” things to get yourself acclimated to the area. Don’t worry—once you’ve had an introduction to Bend, you will be back for more!
1. Pilot Butte and a Pilot Butte Drive-In Burger
One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive in Bend—besides the excessive number of Subarus—is Pilot Butte. It’s that large cinder cone in the middle of town. Visiting the top on a clear day will allow you to see a full 360 degrees for miles and miles. A very handy geographical marker there will allow you to identify the different features around Bend. There are two ways up, a trail and a roadway. The road makes it easily accessible, but it is closed during the winter months. Luckily, the trail is always open. Whichever way you take, I recommend grabbing yourself a tasty burger from the Pilot Butte Drive-In at the bottom of the Butte and enjoying a picnic while you watch the sun set over the Southern Cascades.
2. High Desert Museum
Rain or shine, I always recommend guests to check out the High Desert Museum. If you have ever wondered about the formation of these lands and the people that have lived here 100s of years ago, then this is the place to go! The exhibits are incredibly informative, interesting and cover a wide variety of topics. It’s also an accredited zoo that includes otters and recovering birds of prey. It’s guaranteed to catch the interest of everyone in your family!
3. The Bend Ale Trail
The Bend Ale Trail is always a fan favorite, but you must be 21 and older to participate. The trail consists of 18 Central Oregon breweries, although you only need to visit 10 to be eligible for the Silipint prize, which you must redeem at Visit Bend! Visiting these breweries not only allows you to sample Bend’s beer culture—it will bring you to parts of the city you might not have visited otherwise. In order to visit all 18 breweries, you need to travel to Sisters, Redmond and Sunriver. If you only have a couple of days to do the trail, please remember that you can still receive a stamp without purchasing a beverage. For any designated drivers, make sure to own your role and receive the ‘DD’ stamp at each brewery, because you will get a special prize for staying sober!
4. Tumalo Falls
Tumalo Falls is definitely a Bend icon. It is the largest waterfall in the area at 95 feet tall, top to bottom. This waterfall is right off the trailhead, so it is not a day-long commitment if hiking is not your favorite activity. A beautiful trail follows Tumalo Creek for 3 miles (6 miles out and back), with more waterfalls along the way. The road to the trailhead is seasonal, so in the winter the road will be closed about 2.5 miles away. The falls is still accessible, though! Grab your yak tracks or snow shoes and some warm layers for a beautiful winter adventure.
5. First Friday
On the first Friday of every month Downtown Bend’s art galleries stay open later into the evening. These galleries often serve appetizers and adult beverages to encourage visitors to come in and check them out. While this is an enjoyable, family-friendly event, it is particularly fun going with a group of friends looking for an exciting night out on the town. Don’t forget that Bend has both Uber and Lyft as options to get you home.
Local Tip: If you aren’t in town during a First Friday event, then no worries! Just make sure to get into downtown in the afternoon to enjoy the galleries, then enjoy happy hour at one of the many excellent restaurants in the area. Ask your friendly Vacation Planning Experts at Mount Bachelor Village for their favorite Happy Hours in downtown if you need some suggestions!