Visiting Bend, Oregon
Howdy friends, colleges, co-workers, acquaintances, and probably random people I’ve never met! Enough of y’all end up passing through my lovely town of Bend, Oregon that I wanted to have somewhere I could point you with my basic advice on the area.
Where should I stay?
- Wanna stay in our cute downtown? The Oxford is as central as it gets and nice. The DoubleTree is also right there. McMenamins Old St. Francis School is probably the most fun. It has cool year-round outdoor seating with big fireplaces, a real rad soaking pool, and a secret bar.
- Want great views? You should be able to see the whole mountain range from the Hilton Garden Inn in the Old Mill District, which is like “the mall” in Bend. It’s right along the Deschutes River which is also pretty and has great walking paths along it. You can watch people surf on the river over there.
- Are you a super outdoor sports nerd? Stay at LOGE.
- Are you a close friend or family? Please stay with us you weirdo.
What outdoor activities are there?
There are a billion things. That’s like the main thing here. Here’s a handful of the big ones.
- If you ski, Mt. Bachelor is only like 30 minutes away.
- If you snowshoe, a good one is Edison Sno-Park.
- If you mountain bike, Phil’s Trailhead is a major home base.
- If you hike, here are some good ones…
- Easy: Start by Old Mill and go all the way down the River Trail. It’s cooler than you think it’s going to be for somewhere you don’t even have to drive.
- Easy-Medium: Go to Dillon Falls and walk around as far as you like.
- Medium: Tumalo Falls -> Double Falls is pretty rad. Smith Rock is also unreal. Misery Ridge isn’t that miserable and will take ya 2 hours about.
- Medium-Hard: Tumalo Mountain has a stunning ending for about 1300ft gain.
- Fairly Hard: Todd Lake -> Broken Top / No-Name Lake is a nice all-dayer. There is a fricking lake at the top of the mountain.
- You can float the river in summer.
- Drive up Pilot Butte while you’re here. It’s right in town and takes like 5 minutes so you might as well.
I like beer.
Good, we have a ton of it, especially per-capita. I don’t think you can go terribly wrong, as you’ll be in a fun mood while you’re visiting here and it’ll all taste good. But by way of recommendations, here are my favorites:
- Crux has the best beer and a sweet location and outdoor hangout area.
- Deschutes is perhaps our best-known brewery and they deserve it. They’ve been here forever, make good beer, are good to the community, and have a very cool spot downtown (get the wings). Deschutes is the name of the river that goes through town, by the way, only it’s also called “mirror pond” while it goes through town as there are dams that flatten and slow it.
- I’ll give Boneyard (most interesting food menu) and GoodLife (most drinkable beer with Sweet As) a tie for third.
- Monkless I like because they have a really sweet new spot and they do something unique in Bend by focusing on Belgian-style ales.
Where should I eat?
I’m afraid this isn’t exactly a foodie kinda place. My bet is you’ll be in the mood for food truck areas (like Podski and The Lot), which are fun here. I’ll toss a few ideas at ya though.
- Wild Rose is my favorite joint. Thai, but no Pad Thai because that’s all you’d order and they want you to really get to know Northern Thai food. It’s the most memorable food here I think and would definitely be what I miss if I ever didn’t live here again (unlikely). Eat anything, but I would recommend the Tom Kha soup.
- Jackson’s Corner is also memorable and just very Bend-y and a great place for someone visiting to go.
- If you can get out to Tumalo, Pisano’s makes the best pizza, and The Bite (food truck court / beer bar / hangout zone) is super cool out there.
- Spork is good.
- Barrio is good. El Sancho is king for tacos though.
- For breakfast, go very early to Chow or McKay’s Cottage.
- Our fanciest two places are Bos Taurus (steak) and Ariana (small plates or whatever).
- We have a ramen place now but I’m not going to tell you about it because you probably come from a bigger city with like an actually super good ramen place and I’m very envious.
What if I just wanna shop and walk around and stuff?
- Downtown is great for that.
- The Box Factory will fit the bill, just a few blocks from downtown too.
- Go over to the original Sparrow Bakery. Eat an Ocean Roll. That’s like our most famous food item and it’s good. The little area over by there is cute and has some cool shops to check out.
- Go down to Sunriver, they have a outdoor walking mall kinda thing that is fun.
- I think our coffee scene is pretty good. I’ll rate the roasters 1) Thump 2) Lone Pine 3) Back Porch. The cutest spots are The Looney Bean and The Commons though.
All in all you can’t go wrong here. Feel free to hit me up if you have any specific questions.