Originally incorporated in 1905 as a logging town, the city of Bend has become one of Oregon’s jewels. Considered a gateway for a variety of outdoor sports such as mountain biking, skiing, rafting, and fishing. Bend is also a lively city with excellent dining, breweries, shopping, music, and more. From a beautiful downtown wrapped in history to the natural splendor of the area, Bend is a must-see for those wishing to experience the beauty and enjoyment Oregon has to offer.
The Deschutes River
Flowing through the city, the Deschutes River is the lifeblood of Bend. Originally vital for transportation for the logging industry, the river is now one of the most cherished aspects of Bend and the city has invested in making the river and surrounding locals a hotbed of recreation. You can walk the river trail through town or if you prefer a little more excitement, float down the river on an inner tube, paddleboard, or kayak. Here are some of the other great activities you can find while enjoying this historic waterway.
The Old Mill District
In the early 20th century, this area was home to two of the largest pine sawmills in the world. After being rejuvenated from industrial collapse in the early 2000s, the whole area has been transformed. Today, you can enjoy some of the best dining, shopping, art galleries, and entertainment that Bend has to offer, right on the edge of the Deschutes River. Catch an IMAX movie at the Regal Old Mill or, if you’re interested in fly fishing, you can grab a free class at the Old Mill District Fly Fishing and Casting Course. The annual Bend Brewfest, the second largest in the Northwest, is held in The Old Mill District, as is the First Friday Art Walk which takes place on the first Friday of each month.
Hayden Homes Amphitheater
Located in the Old Mill District, Hayden Homes Amphitheatre has been hosting world-class performances since 2002, all along the scenic banks of the Deschutes River. The venue will be host to many amazing performers this season including Alanis Morissette, Bonnie Rait, and the Foo Fighters.
Bend Whitewater Park
The Bend Whitewater Park is a state-of-the-art municipal whitewater park. The redevelopment of this area created three distinct channels, two of which are for water recreationists to enjoy. The Fish Ladder section offers a very limited amount of whitewater activity for floaters, while the Whitewater section is specifically designed with a series of waves for kayakers, surfers, and paddle-boarders. The third channel is designated for wildlife only and provides animals safe passage even during the busy summer months. The use of personal flotation devices on the water is a state law, but you can find free rentals at Tumelo Creek Kayak and Canoe.
A favorite for locals and travelers alike, Drake Park has nearly a half mile of riverfront along with its open lawn, outdoor stage, restrooms, picnic tables, and variety of paths. Hosting events throughout the year, like the Munch n’ Music free summer concert series, this area is a beautiful place for a celebration or some relaxed quiet time.
Eat, Drink, Be Merry in Bend
Bend is a culinary delight with a variety of restaurants, breweries, food trucks, and more. With the available selection and the infused passion of the local chefs, brewers, and others, you’re sure to find new favorites. Many of these options have kid-friendly menus, like Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria's create-your-own pizza option and Anthony’s at the Old Mill, offering youth selections like fish and chips and hamburger sliders. Here are a few of the other outstanding choices for dining and drinking in Bend.
The Victorian Café: Famous for being voted the best breakfast in Bend for 15 of the last 30 years, this gourmet brunch option is home to a renowned Bloody Mary and Benedicts.
The Sparrow Bakery: If a bakery setting is your morning style, The Sparrow Bakery is a must for baked goods and full meals. Try their famous Ocean Roll for something original.
Bangers and Brews: Family owned and voted #1 in Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the US in 2019 for bangers and mash, they specialize in sausage “with an Argentinian flair”.
Wild Rose: Voted the best takeout in Bend, the Wild Rose is all about authentic Northern Thai. Try the Khao Soi, a tasty curry noodle dish not very common outside of Thailand.
900 Wall: Situated in a beautiful brick building from the 1920s, 900 Wall is known for fine, modern American cuisine that is seasonably inspired and regionally sourced.
Ariana: Creating fresh ideas with European influence, Chef Andres and Ariana Fernandez have a delicious menu, with much of the food and drink sourced locally.
Food truck courts: Bend has a proud culture of offering fun, fast assortments of food via its colorful and permanent food truck areas. Try out Bend’s oldest, The Lot, or one of its newest The Midtown Yacht Club. Many of the courts also have taprooms and live music.
Deschutes Brewery: The oldest brewery in Bend began operation in 1988. There are two locations in the city, the Public House and the Tasting Room and Beer Garden.
Monkless Brewery: A European-styled standout on the river, Monkless was the winner of the best medium-sized brew pub and brewer at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival.
Crater Lake Spirits: In downtown Bend, located next to the Deschutes Public House, you will find one of Oregon’s oldest distilleries, crafters of fine whiskeys, gins, and vodkas.
All Around Bend
Surrounded by amazing natural beauty, Bend is a treasure trove of adventure. Nearby areas like Smith Rock State Park and Mt Bachelor offer many hiking and biking trails, climbing routes, and water recreation during the summer. For smaller outings, perhaps for those with young children, a quick ascent up Pilot Butte on the outskirts of town rewards with a 360-degree view. For a slightly more involved but still family-friendly adventure, visit the gorgeous Tumalo Falls, a nearly one hundred-foot waterfall in the Deschutes National Forest. Only a short distance from Bend, there is a day-use area with tables and restrooms, an observation deck from the top of the falls, and other waterfalls further upstream. A longer hiking loop is available for those who wish to stretch their legs a little more. Fly Fisherman magazine has rated Bend as one of the top 10 towns in the United States, and there are many options besides the Deschutes River, such as the Metolius and Fall rivers and a multitude of surrounding lakes.
This is only a sample of the enjoyment Bend promises summer visitors. From the city’s weekly farmer’s markets to its many golf courses, from its day spas to horseback riding, Bend is a dream vacation destination. Vacation Rental Collective is proud to offer you the best-in-class vacation rental services available in Bend and we can provide you with everything from luxurious condos, townhomes, executive rentals, and much more, many of which are located near the Old Mill District or on the popular West side.
Contact us to reserve the perfect accommodations for your unforgettable trip to Bend!
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