As you may already know, there are plenty of things to do in Bend Oregon. So much so that you may be at a lost for what approach to take. Dig into this article and take some note. We hope to give you some ideas as you plan your day in Bend.
Things To Do In Bend: Downtown Bend
The Tower Theatre is just a stones throw away from Drake Park and the Deschutes River. The theatre plays hosts to many different concerts and film events throughout the year, including the annual Bend Film Festival, which is held in October.
Pine Tavern and Bend Brewing Company are just down Bond Street from The Tower Theater. Deschutes Brewery Brew Pub and McMenamin’s Old St Francis School are within a close walk as well. You may see a pattern here, yes Breweries are kind of a big deal on the list of things to do in Bend Oregon.
As for coffee shops you have local providers Bellatazza and Thump coffee along with an obligatory Starbucks. Lone Pine Coffee Roasters and Townshends Tea house are nearby. Café Sintra offers coffee and a Portuguese inspired menu of omelets sandwiches and dinner on the weekend (Quick Guide to Portuguese Cuisine).
Things to do in Bend Oregon: Drake Park
Mirror Pond at Drake Park may offer one of the calmest sections of the Deschutes River that you can experience. It’s a lovely setting with beautiful homes across the river (check out the real estate), large established trees and walking paths within steps of shopping and restaurants in Bend’s Old town. Don’t be surprised if you see someone fishing the banks of the river from their backyard, or people paddling kayaks, canoes or SUPs through the area.
If you are lucky you might just find a rubber duck hiding in the weeds long the shoreline. Early each fall, The Great Drake Park Duck Race hosts up to 30,000 entries who pay a nominal entry fee to race a duck down the river for charity.
Another fun event is Munch and Music, a food and music festival, that’s been going on for over 25 years.
Fun Fact: How much of the Deschutes River’s water is used for irrigation (Click For Answer)?
Things to do in Bend Oregon: Old Mill District
At one time the Timber Industry ruled in Bend. Today Bend’s industry has shifted as has the focus of the property at The Old Mill District. Premium restaurants and retailers line the Deschutes River in what constitutes a wonderful blend of shops, dining, entertainment, natural wonder and recreation.
Across the river is the Les Schwab Amphitheater, which hosts some of the biggest names in Entertainment. People of all ages often float the river or line the shores to hear the music for free (How to float the river like a pro).
Floating the river is something of a pastime in Bend, but be careful when approaching the Bend Whitewater Park. Of the three channels, only one is for non-experts. The center channel is for experts, while the far right channel (going downstream) is reserved for the wildlife.
Do you need some gear to hit the water in? No worries, REI is one of the anchor stores at The Old Mill District (Click here for Store Hours). If getting wet isn’t your thing, Wheel Fun Rentals offers a selection of pedaled carriages and bicycles that you can rent to explore the area.
Things to do in Bend Oregon: Brewery Tour
Not far from the Old Mill District is the home of Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale , Obsidian Stout and Inversion IPA. Deschutes Brewery has been crafting these fine beverages for some time, and they do offer brewery tours.
Central Oregon plays host to over 25 local breweries, so cruising the area and testing out these fine creations is definitely high on the list of things to do in Bend. If you are visiting in the winter months, be sure to ask if Jubelale is on draught.
Things to do in Bend Oregon: Local Museums
Looking for kid friendly things to do in Bend? Head a few miles south to the High Desert Museum. Historic displays of the region along with live animals, and interactive experiences make the High Desert Museum a place to stop on any trip to Central Oregon. It’s a great way to get a grasp on what makes the High Desert of Central Oregon so Special.
The Deschutes Historical Museum is located near Downtown Bend in the Reid School which is on the National Register of Historic Sites. The museum has exhibits on the early days of Bend along with Native and Pioneer artifacts. There is an early example of a classroom, and exhibits on the forestry of Central Oregon.
Fun Fact: Who founded Bend’s first High School? (Click for answer)
Things to do in Bend Oregon: Outlet Mall
On the South end of town, just off Highway 97 are the Bend Factory Stores. Oregon natives Columbia, Nike and Pendleton have stores here along with Coach, Carter’s & Kids and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. There’s nothing like losing yourself in a little air-conditioned shopping spree, especially when it’s tax free. (Click to find a Pendleton store near you)
Things to do in Bend Oregon: Pilot Butte
Lastly or Firstly on the list of things to do in Bend should be a trip up Pilot Butte to survey the land and the many peaks of Central Oregon. Pilot Butte is an approximate 500-foot-tall extinct Volcano, or cinder-cone as it is often referred to.
You may choose one of three trails to the top, or drive your vehicle up a paved road that winds its way to a scenic lookout with parking and sculpted maps to help your orientation.
Fun Fact: Which US State Capital has a Volcano sitting 2900 feet below its surface? (Click for Answer)