Bend, Oregon, is a charming city along the Deschutes River, nestled between the broad desert plateaus and the ice-capped peaks of the Cascade Mountains.
Oregon’s steadily rising city can make your vacation, holiday, or break worthwhile with its thrilling outdoor activities and picturesque views like no other!
It wouldn’t be dubbed by tourists as the “Outdoor playground of the West” if it weren’t for its fantastic selection of exciting recreation and memorable adventures.
Whether you love exploring the great outdoors or just relaxing with nature, this city has it all. Read on and discover the best things to do in Bend, Oregon!
If you are looking for world-class river activities, exciting hiking opportunities, or leisurely biking through scenic forests, then Bend is the right place! Enjoy these outdoor activities while being amused by the pristine beauty of nature that surrounds the city.
Hike Along the Trail of the Towering Tumalo Falls
Towering Tumalo Falls
Imagine beautiful and glistening waters flowing into the canyon below that is the stunning scenery of Tumalo Falls. Hike the 2.0-mile out-and-back trail alongside the river, and you can look down on the 97-foot waterfall by the end of the hike.
It is a popular hiking destination for visitors seeking to experience the natural beauty of Western Oregon.
Surf the Waves at Bend Whitewater Park
Bend Whitewater Park
Whitewater Park is one of the country’s top-tier artificial river-surfing waves, offering many water recreational activities such as surfing, kayaking, tubing, and paddle and boogie boarding.
Play Golf at Tetherow Resort
Ski at Mount Bachelor
Mount Bachelor Ski Resort lies atop an extinct 9,065-foot volcano. It’s a 4,300-acre terrain open for skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, Nordic skiing, dog sledding, and snowshoeing. In the summer, you can still enjoy the mountain top through mountain biking and hiking.
Skate at The Pavilion
It is the perfect location during the winter season! The Pavilion offers an ice rink for everyone to skate, curl, or even play hockey. You can rent a pair of skates and protective gear onsite.
Picturesque Views of Nature and Cultural Attractions
Bend, Oregon, is not only known for its adventurous activities but also famous for its breathtaking landscapes and historical and cultural buildings. Have fun and relaxation as you tour the scenic environment of Bend.
Explore the Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Newberry National Volcanic Monument
This monument was formed by significant volcanic eruptions ages ago. After its establishment, this became one of the top destinations in the area.
Tourists visit the area because of its Volcano formations, Lava Butte, and underground Lava River caves. While enjoying the scenery, guests can fish, hike, or camp, overviewing the wonderful nature.
Have a Picnic at Hollinshead Park
This park has two gardens surrounded by a verdant landscape. You may bring your furry companions and walk around the dog park. It has fewer people but its beauty is sure not less!
Stroll Along the Drake Park
If you want to lay back and have a nice picnic, visit Drake Park. It is situated along the Deschutes River, surrounded by vibrant greenery, ideal for relaxation. It is perfect for your family outing or with friends hanging out, just playing frisbee.
Experience Wildlife at the Oregon Badlands Wilderness Area
This wilderness is located east of Bend in Deschutes and Crook counties. Oregon Badlands Wilderness is a vast expanse with geological features overlooking a river separating two volcanic areas. Wildlife is abundant, as you may spot deer, elks, various birds, and many more.
Enjoy the View at Pilot Butte Scenic Viewpoint
Pilot Butte Scenic Viewpoint
To enjoy the viewpoint, you must hike at one of its three trails which leads to the peak. Once you’re at the summit, prepare for the panoramic view of the high desert.
Drive Around the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway
Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway
Clear your mind while driving along the road of Cascade Range Byway. It is a 60-mile roadway with a mountain view and lakes alongside. It offers a peaceful escape surrounded by stunning natural beauty that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Culture is one of the most significant aspects of any city. It reflects the locals’ values, beliefs, and traditions and helps shape their unique identity and character. Understanding a city’s culture can provide insight into its history, social norms, and way of life.
Here are some significant historic locations in Bend that you can visit to get a glimpse of the city’s rich cultural heritage.
Shop at Old Mill District
Old Mill District
Old Mill District has a vintage setting with smokestacks and old brick buildings. It is a historical site that has evolved into a dynamic hub, lined with restaurants, cafes, stores and boutiques, and movie theaters.
Watch an Animal Show at the High Desert Museum
High Desert Museum
Unlike many other museums, High Desert is a 135-acre forest land with outdoor exhibits and nature trails. You may also catch an animal show featuring birds, bobcats, and otters.
There are also workshops and lectures being offered here for additional learning. Have a trip down to the museum located just three miles south of Bend on Highway 97.
Have a Quick Tour at Deschutes Historical Museum
Deschutes Historical Museum
Learn the history and lessons of the native tribes of America at Have a Quick Tour at Deschutes Historical Museum. Visit this facility if you want to see how life was in Deschutes County through visual displays and have a trip down memory lane.
Discover Your Inner Adventurer at Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park
It is one of the famous state parks in Central Oregon, offering a unique landscape where you can test your limits. If you’re up for an adventurous ride, you may hike the infamous 3.7-mile Misery Ridge from fields to snow-capped volcanoes in the distance.
You may walk on the trail along the Crooked River, which flows quietly through the park, for a more accessible track. There are also mountain biking trails offered for riders for a scenic experience. The park is also open for camping and picnics.
Smith Rock State Park is a top destination for rock climbing enthusiasts of all skill levels. This destination boasts sheer cliffs composed of basalt and tuff. The area also offers primitive campgrounds for those who want to immerse themselves in nature.
Food and Drinks
What would a vacation be without exploring the food that a city offers? Take advantage of the restaurants and bars in Bend, Oregon, and taste the goodness of its delectable cuisines!
Eat Asian and Western Delicacies at 5 Fusion
5 Fusion is a Japanese restaurant where you’ll be in awe of the food and the art displays. The executive chef and co-owner, Joe Kim, Jr., adds creativity to its food. Meals are Instagrammable and, of course, tasty!
Have a Drink at Bend Ale Trail
Bend Ale Trail
Bend Ale Trail won’t be called “Beer Town USA” for nothing. Enjoy their craft beer and chill with your friends with their vibrant breweries.
Shopping and Entertainment
Bend has a variety of unique stores and boutiques that offer handmade crafts and local arts. The city has a lively nightlife scene with live music venues and more. Check out other fun things to do in Bend that involve shopping and entertainment!
Walk Along the Downtown Bend
Downtown Bend is an area flanked by restaurants, shops, galleries, spas, and any other retail establishment you can imagine. It is a district where you can basically do anything. Eat, lodge, shop, and relax!
Shopping is also extra fun as you can splurge without any sales taxes. Downtown Bend is in the city’s center, just north of the Old Mill District.
Visit the World's Last Blockbuster
Blockbuster sure sparks nostalgia. Due to the rise of new platforms, blockbusters were forced to close, except for this one. If you’re up to a reminiscence, visit the world’s Last Blockbuster at 211 NE Revere Bend, OR.
Watch a Show at The Hayden Homes Amphitheater (formerly the Les Schwab Amphitheater)
The Hayden Homes Amphitheater
Les Schwab Amphitheater is an outdoor open area where you can sit on the grass or bring chairs to watch a concert or event. It hosts various performances ranging from music festivals to live entertainment shows annually.
Have a Tour of Goody's Chocolate and Ice Cream Factory
Goody’s Chocolate and Ice Cream Factory
Goody’s has been satisfying the locals’ sweet tooth for over thirty years. Take a tour of its factory and get some samples of Goody’s best sellers right after.
Accommodation and Relaxation
After your day tour, relax at the hotels and spas that Bend offers. This city has everything from exciting adventures and delectable restaurants to your lovely lodge!
Stay at the Riverhouse Resort
This resort is Bend’s largest and most popular resort, as scenic views of snow-capped mountains, green fields, and the Deschutes Riverbed surround it.
The Riverhouse Resort offers a variety of amenities and activities that are sure to enhance your relaxation experience. These include indoor and outdoor heated pools for swimming, spas for rest and rejuvenation, and the Deschutes River Trail for scenic hiking. With so much to do, Riverhouse Resort is the perfect destination for a fun and relaxing getaway.
Lodge at the Oxford Hotel
This hotel boasts a charmingly rustic and artistic atmosphere that will provide a comfortable and welcoming experience.
Guests can utilize exceptional amenities, including a state-of-the-art fitness center, a luxurious jacuzzi, a rejuvenating steam room, and a relaxing sauna.
Unwind at Tetherow Resort
Indulge in a relaxing day by taking advantage of the heated pool or hot tub amenities at Tetherow Resort. The facility offers an ideal environment for rejuvenation and leisure amidst stunning surroundings.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a history geek, an adventure seeker, or just a tourist having a vacation, Bend, Oregon, sure has a lot to offer.
With its stunning natural splendor, rich cultural heritage, and diverse outdoor activities, this city is the perfect destination for anyone seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
If Bend is not on your vacation list, you’re missing out on one of the best places in the United States. Check these best things to do in Bend, Oregon, to make your trip worthwhile.
If you are interested in more details about the city, you may reach me at (541) 350-8244. You can also connect with me through my social media platforms below. Feel free to send me a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Let’s make your dream vacation a reality!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bend, Oregon, worth visiting?
Bend, Oregon, is an adventurer’s paradise and has the pristine beauty of nature. It is also famous for its breweries and craft beers, top-notch restaurants, and historical and cultural attractions. With these attributes alone, Bend, Oregon, is indeed worth visiting.
Why is Bend, Oregon, famous?
Bend, Oregon, is a popular vacation destination, especially for those who enjoy spending time in nature. The city offers a plethora of natural wonders and recreational opportunities readily available within your reach.
Is Bend or Portland better?
Bend, while smaller in size compared to Portland, offers a comparable level of variety in terms of natural beauty and recreation. Bend boasts a favorable climate, making it the ideal location for outdoor pursuits.
What is the best month to visit Bend, Oregon?
The best time to visit a city depends on various factors such as the weather, the peak tourist season, and the purpose of the visit.
If you want to ski on Mount Bachelor or skate at the Pavilion, December is the best month to go. However, if you want to enjoy nature and various outdoor activities, June to August is the best time to visit Bend, Oregon.