CategoryArts and Culture
Is there anything as magical as an outdoor concert with sunshine on your bare arms and a warm breeze carrying a melody out over the sparkling river?
Bend’s summer months are brimming with opportunities to enjoy music in the great outdoors, and here are 7 of my favorites.
Ticketed concerts at the Les Schwab Amphitheater
Let’s start with the big dog, the Les Schwab Amphitheater. The venue has attracted some pretty huge talent over the years, including the Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, Phish, Willie Nelson, and Paul Simon.
The 2017 lineup has already included tons of great shows, with more on the horizon from Slightly Stoopid, Jack Johnson (sold out—sorry!), the Avett Brothers, Diana Krall, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Modest Mouse. Check the Les Schwab Amphitheater for dates, ticketing info, and pricing.
And that doesn’t even include all the awesome Free Summer Sunday Concerts happening through mid-July (more on that later!)
Make sure you bring a low-backed chair and plan on arriving a bit early to snag a good spot. You can buy food and drinks at the venue, as well as a reusable, limited-edition Silipint for beer, cider, wine, or cocktails for $20. Your first beverage is included in the price, and you get $1 off all subsequent beverages.
For more tips on attending shows at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, check out this post from last year.
Clear Summer Nights at the Athletic Club of Bend
A smaller, more intimate venue than Les Schwab, the Athletic Club of Bend sounds like an odd spot for a concert series. But the Clear Summer Nights Series attracts some surprisingly big and well-known talent. (For the record, last year’s Lord Huron/Trampled by Turtles show topped my personal list of favorite shows of the 2016 season, and that’s coming from someone who attended more than two dozen concerts last summer).
UB40 kicked off the series earlier this week, but there’s plenty more coming. In 2017, we’ll have the John Butler Trio on September 10, Phillip Phillips September 19, and The Shins September 26.
One cool perk at this venue is the chance to purchase dinner tickets so you get a killer meal and even a glass of wine to enjoy with the show. The small size of the venue means many shows sell out, so act quickly if any of those names caught your eye.
Munch and Music
Bend’s free music scene is surprisingly awesome for a town this size, and the crown jewel of it all is Munch and Music.
Enjoying its twenty-seventh anniversary in 2017, the series takes place Thursday evenings in Drake Park and is open to all ages free of charge. You’ll pay for food and drinks at the plentiful food booths, or you’re welcome to bring a picnic supper (though no outside alcohol is allowed into the venue). Dogs are also not allowed at the shows, but they’re very kid-friendly and feature added amenities like bouncy houses to help get the wiggles out.
The series kicked off last week with an awesome Abba cover band and continues this week with Cowboy Junkies on July 13. Next is Ozomatli on July 20, The Brothers Comatose on July 27, and Too Slim and the Taildraggers on August 3.
Music begins at 5:30, and you should plan on arriving early with your low-backed chair to snag a good seat. Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE?!?!
Free Summer Sunday Concerts
The Old Mill District’s answer to Munch & Music, the Free Summer Sunday Concert Series starts each year in early-June and spans through mid-July.
The last one is happening this Sunday, July 16, with classic rock & roll from Streetlight Moon, so this is your last chance to sample this awesome event for the season.
Besides the music, the event features food vendors, bouncy houses, and other family-friendly activities. You can also bring a picnic of your own if you’d prefer. Concerts start at 2:30 and run through 4:30, and are super family-friendly (my stepdaughter has turned many-a-cartwheel in front of that stage during these shows!)
Worthy Brewing Twilight Tunes
Bend’s northernmost brewery has some pretty cool features like on-site gardens and their new Hopservatory.
But they also boast a robust concert schedule that includes Twilight Tunes and Worthy Wednesdays. Musical acts range from local talent to acts from outside the area, and their outdoor stage is impressive for such a small venue.
Most shows go from 6-9, and you can consult the schedule to see when the next event is happening. Grab a brew and some of their mouthwatering fish tacos (among the best in town!) and park yourself on their sunny patio.
Crows Feet Commons
Another smaller venue with a happenin’ music scene is Crows Feet Commons. Part bike shop, part café, ALL awesome, Crow’s Feet Commons offers regular outdoor shows right outside their shop in the Mirror Pond Plaza.
The size of the venue and the popularity of many of their acts means you’re smart to buy ahead. For instance, the Matisyahu show happening Sunday, July 16 is almost certain to sell out, so snag tickets beforehand for this or any other show that piques your interest on their event calendar.
They also have a great selection of local brews on tap, along with wine and a full espresso bar.
Oodles of other options
For a great roundup of musical happenings all over Central Oregon, check out Visit Bend’s event calendar. You can search by date or by type of event to find exactly what you’re after.
Is anyone else feeling bogged down by all the negative garbage in this election season? The bickering, the accusations, the comment trails that leave you wishing you could poke your eyes out with a rusty fork . . .
With nearly four weeks to go, it’s easy to see how you might feel a little disheartened by politics and the world in general. While I won’t claim we’re immune from political lunacy here in our little Bend utopia, I’ve rounded up eight ways you can shake off the election season blahs in Bend, Oregon.
Indulge in a little nature therapy
There’s something about fresh air that always hits the reset button on my attitude. Luckily, there’s plenty of that to go around in Bend.
Go for a fall hike someplace the colors are at their peak right now. Tumalo Falls, the Deschutes River Trail, Drake Park, and Shevlin Park are all great options at the moment (er, at least until the storm knocks all the leaves off the trees!)
Distract your brain from the madness
With the constant onslaught of nasty Facebook posts and debate coverage, it can help to focus your mind on something less chaotic.
Scope out the schedule at AstroLounge and hit their ever-popular Trivia Night to exercise your mind muscles in a way that doesn’t involve leaving fiery comments on your crazy uncle’s Facebook posts.
You can also flex your brain with a visit to Bend Escape Room. In a nutshell, your group is locked in a room and given the clues to escape. It makes a fun team building or family activity for 2-6 people.
You can also get your science fix (along with a tasty craft beer!) by attending one of the Science Pub events at McMenamins Old Saint Francis.
Watch the tails wag
Few places on earth are as happy-making as Bend’s off-leash dog parks. There are eight of them to choose from, and each one offers a joyful abundance of gleeful tail wagging and giddy pup play.
It’s fun to watch even if you don’t have a dog, but you should really remedy things if that’s the case. How about adopting a rescue dog from the Humane Society of Central Oregon or Brightside Animal Center? Those pups have been trail tested on Central Oregon terrain, so you know you’ll get a buddy who’ll be happy to join you each time you return for a dog-friendly Bend vacation.
Do good deeds
When you’re feeling crappy about humanity (and let’s be honest—this election cycle is making a lot of us feel that way) it can help to do something nice for someone else.
If you’d rather lend an outdoorsy twist to your do-gooding, tuck a trash bag in your pack and pick up garbage along the trail during your hike. That way you’ll leave Bend’s outdoor spaces a little nicer than you found them!
Be a kid again
Remember when you were six years old and cared more about your gumball collection than who might become president of the United States?
Recapture that lost innocence by planning a kid-centric outing (even if you don’t have children!)
Ride go-karts at Sun Mountain Fun Center. Frolic in piles of leaves at Drake Park. Go roller skating at Cascade Indoor Sports. Play vintage arcade games at Vector Volcano. Go bowling at Lava Lanes. Run around like a maniac at one of Bend’s 80+ parks and playgrounds.
There’s no shame in self-care, and there are plenty of ways to pamper yourself when you’re in Bend.
Buy yourself a tasty gelato at Bonta, or treat yourself to a super-special meal at one of Bend’s renowned restaurants like 5 Fusion, Jackalope Grill, Ariana Restaurant, Chow, Greg’s Grill, Trattoria Sbandati, or the Blacksmith.
Want to indulge in a little retail therapy? You’ll find tons of great shops in Downtown Bend and the Old Mill District, or check out our abundance of thrift stores and consignment shops to score a secondhand find.
Soak up some feel-good photos
Seven days a week, 365 days a year, Visit Bend is out there posting beautiful Bend photos on our social media channels. We promise they’ll lift your spirits and give you something to smile about even when you’re not able to be in Bend.
Find a park bench. Maybe it’s somewhere in Drake Park overlooking Mirror Pond and the distant mountains. Maybe it’s in Downtown Bend where you can watch people strolling past with steaming mugs of cocoa and bright fall sweaters.
Have a seat. Breathe in. Breathe out. Be still. Feel the tension slowly draining out of your shoulders.
You know how your mom used to get mad when you’d draw on the living room wall?
Here at the Bend Visitor Center, we don’t get mad at all. In fact, we pay artists to do it.
Every six months, Visit Bend chooses one local artist to create unique chalk drawings on the cement pillars in the Visitor Center lobby. The artist also has his or her framed work displayed and sold in the Visitor Center for the duration of his or her show. It’s part of the Pillars of Art program, which was created to introduce tourists to Bend’s unique arts and culture scene, and to support emerging local artists.
The newest Pillars of Art creator is Sheila Dunn. For her Pillars of Art installment, Sheila paid homage to the high desert, chalking bright images of raptors, Native American imagery, and Central Oregon scenery. You can see her work at the Bend Visitor Center on the corner of Lava and Oregon Ave. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also scope it out (and purchase some!) on her website.
Where did you grow up, and how did you end up in Bend?
I grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado, a town quite similar to Bend in its love for breweries, bikes and all things outdoorsy. After traveling around for a bit and teaching yoga following college, I decided to relocate to another town for a change of pace. The potential list included all the usual suspects (Missoula, MT, Asheville, NC, Flagstaff, AZ, Bellingham WA, Bend OR, insert other hip mountain town here). So when my college friend serendipitously sent me a job opening at Bend Yoga, I sold most of my belongings and moved here sight unseen. The rest, as they say, is history. I never expected to be here – or anywhere – for six years, but the Bend vortex is strong.
Tell us about your artistic training.
I received a BFA in painting and minor in art history from Colorado State University. I also studied abroad in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy my junior year of college, where I had the distinct pleasure of learning from an amazing Italian professor, Paolo. He was a true Renaissance man – a painter, sculptor, historian and linguist – and I still carry his passion for art and commitment to learning with me on my creative path. Since then, most of my artistic training has simply consisted of hours upon hours in the studio.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I primarily paint figures with a strong emphasis on color, movement, and geometric brushstrokes.
What’s your favorite medium?
Who are your artistic influences?
Oh geez, so many. I am greatly influenced by a wide variety of art forms and some of my biggest inspirations are actually musicians and poets. But to narrow it down to a few contemporary figure painters, I adore Jenny Saville, Alex Kanevsky, and Andrew Salgado.
What do you like best about living in Bend, and how does it influence your artistic style?
I love the synthesis of community and wilderness that exists in Bend. As an artist, I crave the connection of being surrounded by other creatives and the comfort found in community. Yet I equally crave the wide open spaces, the time spent in dialogue with the landscape of this deeply beautiful place. The balance of the two is quite extraordinary here, something I hope to never take for granted.
What do you enjoy doing in Bend when you’re not creating art?
What’s your impression of the Bend art scene, and how do you think the Pillars of Art program fits with that?
I think the Bend art scene is becoming more and more vibrant and diverse. But what I most appreciate about it is the sense of camaraderie among artists here. In a line of work that is so often laden with comparison, competition, and self-doubt, I feel like fellow artists in this town truly support and celebrate one another.
Bend also seems to place great value on the importance public art (YES!!!) and Visit Bend has done so much to spearhead this movement with both Pillars of Art and the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection. In a day and age where the arts are too often undervalued and underfunded, I am oh-so grateful to see businesses and communities that recognize the vitality and depth they bring to a place.
So my grandma died yesterday.
I know I’m usually upbeat on this blog, so I promise I’ll still lace this post with a few doses of irreverent humor.
I’ve been feeling nostalgic about my childhood summers in Central Oregon. I’m a fourth-generation Oregonian who grew up in Salem, but for much of my childhood, my grandparents lived in Central Oregon raising racehorses. I spent a lot of time in Bend as a kid, so I’ve been thinking about my memories of the area in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
While you can’t throw a rock these days without hitting someone in the midst of remarking how Bend has changed in recent years, here are eight things that are still basically the same as when I was an awkwardly-coiffed first grader learning to skip rocks in the Deschutes River in 1981.
Scope out some really old rocks
While Newberry National Volcanic Monument wasn’t actually named a national monument until 1990, the features that make it up have been around since way before you and I were twinkles in our grandparents’ eyes. The area includes nearly 50,000 acres of lakes, waterfalls, obsidian fields, lava flows, and amazing, ancient geologic features you won’t find anywhere else in the state.
As a kid, I remember being fascinated by the glittery obsidian and the itty-bitty chipmunks skittering everywhere. I could pick up a bumpy, porous rock off the ground and know it was once lava—lava!!—and find myself endlessly enthralled by that idea. My own stepkids expressed much of the same delight when we enjoyed a two-day excursion out there last summer.
Beyond the ancient lava flows of Newberry, there are countless other geologic attractions around Bend and Central Oregon that haven’t changed much over the years. A hike up Pilot Butte will give you killer views of a city that’s grown quite a bit recently, but if you look down at the ground under your feet, you can think about the fact that this 500-foot cinder cone has been standing in the middle of Bend for thousands of years. Pioneers used the volcano as a landmark to guide wagon trains seeking a safe passage crossing the Deschutes River, and the land was given to the state back in 1927.
There are oodles of other geologic wonders around Central Oregon that still (mostly) smell, sound, and look the same as they did when I was a kid. Check out the Oregon Badlands Wilderness to see untouched desert landscapes at their finest, or head northwest to Cove Palisades State Park to splash around in the same lake that enchanted me when I was still rockin’ pigtails and a Sesame Street bikini. I promise I didn’t pee in the water. Much.
That’s how we used to party, sonny
Folks in Bend get pretty excited about special events, and that dates back long before the Bend Pet Parade featured Chihuahuas floating from hot air balloons.
The annual Fourth of July parade through Downtown Bend got its start way back in the 1930s, and it’s grown to be the largest parade of the year in Bend with more than 8,000 participants.
Athletic endeavors have always been a part of Bend culture, even when participants were sporting tube socks and mullets. The multi-event Pole, Pedal, Paddle race each May has been a Bend staple since 1975, and the Cascade Cycling Classic isn’t far behind with origins dating back to 1979. That makes it the longest consecutively run elite road bike stage race in the United States.
What’s that smell?
Scientists have done tons of studies on olfactory memory and the reason certain scents can transport you instantly to a place in your own history.
Even though I’ve lived in Bend almost 18 years, that unmistakable smell of sun-baked desert sage brings me right back to summers spent playing hide-and-seek in Redmond’s Dry Canyon. When it rains these days, I like to stand on my porch, breathe the scent of rain-drenched juniper, and remember my first high desert storm back when I could still run topless through the raindrops without getting arrested.
No matter how much Bend has changed over the years, I can almost guarantee the early pioneers used to stand on the banks of the Deschutes River and savor that perfect perfume of ponderosa pine bark and river water. If someone could figure out a way to bottle the fragrances of Bend, I swear they’d make a fortune.
Stuff your face where grandpa used to eat
Bend’s outstanding culinary scene has made lots of headlines lately, with the Huffington Post naming us one of nation’s top 15 “best restaurant cities.” And while it might be tempting to give credit to all the new award-winning eateries popping up over last decade, there are plenty of spectacular dining spots that have been serving up tasty chow since before some of those chefs were born.
Bend’s iconic Pine Tavern is best known for the two towering ponderosa pines (one dead, one very much alive) jutting up through the ceiling of the dining area. But did you know this Bend landmark will celebrate 80 years in the restaurant biz in 2016? At a time when the country was barely pulling itself out of the Great Depression, the founders of Pine Tavern built a thriving restaurant serving timber workers and their families starting in 1936. These days you can stop by for one of the best happy hours in town and a basket of mouthwatering sourdough scones drizzled with honey butter.
If burgers are your passion, you’ll find two old-fashioned drive-in hot spots to satisfy you. Dandy’s Drive-in has been owned and operated by the same family since 1981, and its old-school charm is made more charming by the roller skating servers who zip out to your car to take your order. Pilot Butte Drive-In has been serving up juicy, tasty burgers at the base of the aforementioned Pilot Butte since 1983 (though they’ve since added a second location on Bend’s Westside).
Bend old-timers occasionally lament the fact that famed Jake’s Truck Stop is no longer on the south end of town dishing up some of the city’s tastiest breakfasts, but did you know it’s still operating? The name changed slightly to Jake’s Diner, and it relocated to Bend’s eastside in 2005, but you’ll still find many of the same menu items and crew members who made the place great in 1987.
Other longtime Bend eateries include Kayo’s (serving up tasty steaks and seafood since 1982), the D&D (Bend’s oldest bar, established in 1986), and Roszak’s Fish House (an old-school eatery offering seafood and prime rib since 1981).
And if you’d prefer to stock the fridge at your Bend vacation rental, try longtime grocery favorites Newport Avenue Market (open since 1976), Nature’s Marketplace (open since 1983), and Erickson’s (serving Central Oregon since 1915!)
Bobcats and otters and skunks, oh my!
When I was in third grade, my Campfire troop visited the High Desert Museum and I married a chipmunk. I’m a little fuzzy on the details of the ceremony and why I thought a rodent might make a suitable spouse, but one thing I do remember is that I loved the High Desert Museum.
That hasn’t changed much since my first visit in 1984, just two years after they opened to the public. I still love going there and checking out the animal exhibits ranging from porcupines to badgers to otters to creepy-crawlies like snakes, spiders, fish, turtles, and other desert dwellers like a raccoon and a bobcat.
Besides cool critters, the High Desert Museum boasts an impressive array of natural history exhibits. Their 135-acre grounds has more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space containing Native American artifacts, an authentic homestead and sawmill from 1904, and countless hands-on programs that bring history and science to life for kids and adults alike.
I wasn’t a beer-swilling 14-year-old, I swear
It’s true, the legendary Bend Ale Trail was not a part of Bend’s culture back when my grandma used to chase Grandpa out of the bar. But 1988 (right about the time I was jammin’ to Debbie Gibson on my Walkman) was when Deschutes Brewery burst onto the craft brewing scene in Bend. Things haven’t been the same since, with 16 breweries now rounding out the Bend Ale Trail, and a total of 28 breweries within 30 minutes of Bend.
But if you prefer your fizzy, frothy dose of drinkable nostalgia in a non-alcoholic form, you can always hit Goody’s Chocolates. Since 1984, they’ve been making the best old-fashioned sodas, milkshakes, hand-dipped chocolates, ice cream sundaes, and much more.
History buffs rejoice
I can’t claim I ever visited the Deschutes Historical Museum as a kid, but odds are good I strolled by it en route to Drake Park (which has been drawing awestruck visitors since 1921). Housed in the old Reid School (a historic landmark built in 1914), the Deschutes Historical Museum was created in 1979 and has been treating guests to a healthy dose of history and culture ever since.
While I’m pretty sure their free Heritage Walk App wasn’t around when I was learning to moonwalk on Grandma’s kitchen floor, it’s still worth downloading if you want some great insights into historical buildings around Downtown Bend.
Be nice. You’re in Bend.
With an office that sits in the middle of the Bend Visitor Center lobby, I hear a lot of comments from Bend tourists. Besides “Bend is sure pretty!” and “man, you’ve got a lot of great beer,” do you want to know one of the top remarks I hear from our guests?
“Everyone’s so friendly in Bend!”
Yep. It was true when I was a kid, and it’s still true now. It doesn’t matter if our population has surged from 18,575 in 1986 to 33,740 when I moved here in 1997 to more than 82,000 today—we’re still the friendliest, happiest, most cheerful folks you’ll encounter almost anywhere.
My grandma would be proud.
There are many things that make Bend unique. Endless sunshine. A spellbinding volcanic landscape. More breweries than you can shake a pint at. But it goes beyond that into the little idiosyncrasies of our language and the things you will (and won’t!) hear folks say around here.
Before someone takes me to task in the comments, I’m not saying no one has ever uttered the following phrases in Bend, Oregon. Heck, I might have said one or two of them myself.
But your odds of hearing them are a whole lot smaller in Bend than in most other places around the country.
If you’re a recreation enthusiast who loves hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing (all before breakfast on a good day!) you’ll find plenty to keep you busy in Bend. But if a lazy Bend vacation is more your style, we’ve got you covered there, too.
Pretty much any end of the entertainment spectrum is covered in spades when you’re in Bend. Love culinary adventures? Yep, we’ve got that. Crazy about arts and culture? We give you the Roundabout Art Route, the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection, and an endless array of other artsy options like galleries, theaters, art festivals, museums, and more.
If you’re in Bend and you’re bored, you need to seriously reevaluate your life. Like make sure you have one. Have you checked your pulse today?
I wish it would stop raining.
I thought of this the other day when someone on our Facebook page (150,000+ page fans and counting!) asked if Bend is as rainy as other well-known cities in Oregon like Portland and Eugene. At first I thought the guy was joking. Then I remembered not everyone knows how dramatically different Bend’s weather is from the rest of the state.
The high desert oasis of Bend sits at an elevation of 3,600 feet, and we have the Cascade Mountains blocking most of the weather moving through from the west. What does that mean for our weather?
Hot, dry, summers with endless blue skies. Chilly winters with lots of powdery snow and the aforementioned blue skies. Spring and fall with wildly-fluctuating temperatures that can leave you bundling up for a 36-degree morning and then flipping on the air conditioner by 3 p.m. when temps climb into the 80s.
And did I mention the blue skies? Yeah, we get those pretty much year ‘round.
There’s nothing fun for kids to do.
I have a 14-year-old stepson and a 9-year-old stepdaughter, and I don’t think there’s been a single moment in the five years I’ve known them that we’ve struggled to come up with something fun to do.
Need ideas? Check out this post featuring 12 things my stepkids rattled off as their favorite Bend attractions, or this post (or this one) featuring family-friendly activities.
Then yank the iPods out of their sweaty little hands and get out there to have some fun!
Don’t bring your dog there!
In 2012, Dog Fancy magazine named Bend the nation’s dog-friendliest town. Since that time, the city has only gotten more accessible to your furry friends.
From off-leash dog parks (8 and counting!) to dog-friendly skiing and snowshoe trails to pet-friendly lodging options to restaurants that let your pooch join you on the patio for a meal, there’s not a whole lot Fido can’t do with you when you’re traveling in Bend.
Well, maybe think twice about bringing him into the dressing room at the lingerie store. That’s just weird.
I can’t find a beer I like.
A few weeks ago I fielded an inquiry from a journalist writing about Bend for a major national publication. Her assignment: To cure herself of a lifelong aversion to beer by journeying to the beer capital of the universe (Bend, Oregon) and sampling her way around the city. The goal would be met if she found a beer she liked enough to consume a whole pint.
I don’t want to give away any big spoilers before the article comes out, but suffice it to say, this was one of those moments I really, really loved my job and the opportunity to introduce someone to the wealth of craft beer along the legendary Bend Ale Trail. From porters to IPAs to lagers to radlers to unique beers you’ve probably never even heard of, they’re brewing it up in Bend.
Want to plan the ultimate beerventure in Bend? Bend Ale Trail month is coming up in November, with your chance to score a trophy in addition to the prizes you normally earn for gathering passport stamps at the breweries.
I haven’t seen a Subaru for ages.
Stand on any street corner in Bend. Wait one minute. If you haven’t seen a Subaru drive by, get back in your car and check your GPS, because clearly, you are not in Bend.
You really shouldn’t wear that to dinner.
I should start by saying that if you feel like putting on a pretty dress or a tie before you head out for a nice dinner at Ariana Restaurant or 900 Wall or Trattoria Spandati or 5 Fusion or one of Bend’s other fine dining establishments, go ahead and rock on with your fancy-pants self. I’ve been known to break out the little black dress myself from time to time.
But it’s not mandatory. You could walk into the nicest restaurant in all of Bend (see the aforementioned list) and no one would bat an eyelash if you were sporting cargo shorts and a clean fleece sweatshirt. It’s that kind of place.
I wish I could find a restaurant that serves… (fill in the blank)
Before the last item leads you to the conclusion that Bend’s dining options are limited to a couple of truck stops, let me dispel that myth right away.
Bend has such a huge variety of cuisine options that it’s really quite staggering. Looking for Asian cuisine? You can pick between Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Asian fusion, Thai (both northern and southern) and more. Need gluten-free options? Yep, we’ve got those. How about vegan cuisine? No problem.
Unless you’re a cannibal whose hunger can only be sated by dining on the flesh of your mortal enemies, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find a Bend restaurant that serves your favorite food.
There was one day last winter when an early snowstorm collided with freezing temps and a sudden influx of out-of-town visitors, bringing traffic to a standstill in several parts of Bend right around 5:15 on a weekday. I’ll admit it. I got annoyed that my regular 10-minute commute took closer to 30 minutes.
Then I remembered I’ve lived here for almost 20 years. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been stuck in traffic in Bend. Even on our busiest days, I can still get from one end of town to the other in less than 15 minutes.
Compare that with traffic jams in places like Portland or Seattle. It’s really no contest. Besides that, the photo over there to the side is my view from the traffic light where I’m routinely stopped on my way to work. Frankly, I’m kinda disappointed when I don’t hit a red light.
I’m tired of Bend and I want to go home.
My office sits 20 feet from the front desk of the Bend Visitor Center, which sees roughly 200 visitors a day during high season. I’ve worked for Visit Bend for more than five years, and since eavesdropping is one of my most cherished hobbies, I can assure you this phrase has never once been uttered in our building.
I can’t speak for the rest of the city limits, but I’ll go out on a limb and say the number of times anyone’s said it is roughly the same as the number of people who can’t find at least one Bend beer they enjoy.
Bend’s reputation as a beer and outdoor adventure mecca occasionally overshadows some of the more subtle attractions that leave visitors feeling giddy as a puppy gulping Dawg Grog.
But after watching Bend’s art scene explode over the last couple years, I’m thrilled to see how many folks have realized they can come for the kayaking and stick around for the concerts, art galleries, film festivals, and more.
With that in mind, here are 8 ways to get your art fix in Bend, Oregon in the coming months.
Shakespeare in the Park (Aug. 21-23, 2015)
Listen up, Bard fans—you only have a few more chances to catch this season’s production of Comedy of Errors in some of the most beautiful settings imaginable. August 21 and 22 will feature two performances in Drake Park, with ticket prices ranging from $22-$75. There will also be an Aug. 23 performance at the SHARC location in Sunriver.
Doors open at 6 p.m. for all shows and performances start promptly at 7 p.m., so nab your tickets here.
Art in the High Desert (Aug. 28-30, 2015)
The Art Fair Sourcebook (basically the bible of juried art shows) ranked Art in the High Desert as the #12 show in the whole country. Pretty impressive, though not surprising if you’ve ever had the chance to catch this popular event on the banks of the Deschutes River at the end of each August.
The 2015 show spans August 28-30 and will feature more than 110 nationally-acclaimed artists from across North America showing and selling their work. You’ll see treasures including paintings, ceramics, fiber art, photography, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, glass, mixed media, print-making, drawings, metalworks, and more.
And hey, even if you hate art, consider it an excuse to stroll on of the most spellbinding stretches of river in Bend. Go here to scope out schedule information, artist profiles, and more.
Edward Curtis exhibit (Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 2015)
If the name Edward Curtis doesn’t ring a bell, try googling. Recognize the photos? Odds are pretty good you’ve seen his famous portrait of Chief Joseph, which says something about this legendary photographer’s work.
A Seattle artist known for capturing iconic images of native tribes across the American West in the late 1800s, Edward Curtis is the focus of a massive art exhibit kicking off through Bend’s A6 gallery September1.
But the event isn’t just limited to gallery shows at A6. You’ll find oodles of tie-in exhibits at the High Desert Museum, the Tower Theater, BendFilm, and the Deschutes Public Library. You can catch the opening night at First Friday Art Walk September 4 and find a full schedule of events here.
Art collectors will be especially thrilled by the chance to purchase one of 106 original Edward Curtis prints at the Private Collector Event September 1. To attend, you must register here by August 25.
A6 has lined up some great hotel specials and presentations by Edward Curtis experts, so be sure to check their website for details.
High Desert Chamber Music (Sept. 2015-May 2016)
Fans of string quintets, piano quartets, and other popular forms of chamber music should take a gander at the newly-announced lineup from High Desert Chamber Music for the 2015-2016 season.
Upcoming shows will include Catgut Trio (Sept. 25, 2015), Heiichiro Ohyama & SBCO Chamber Players (Feb. 14, 2016), Gold Coast Concert Artists (March 18, 2016), and the Crown City String Quartet & Friends (May 20, 2016).
The Spotlight Series, which raises funds to benefit educational outreach programs, includes two recitals at the First United Methodist Church featuring Frank Almond (Nov. 20, 2015), and the Orloff/Walz Duo (April 23, 2016).
For show times and ticket info, go here.
BendFilm Festival (Oct. 8-11, 2015)
This is one of my favorite annual events, and there’s always something enchanting about ushering in the fall season with a magical weekend of indie films and fun parties. The 2015 schedule hasn’t been posted yet, but since it’s pretty much a given it will be fabulous, you should book your lodging now, as things tend to fill up.
Then keep an eye on the BendFilm website so you can watch film trailers and nab your festival passes early.
Jazz at the Oxford Oct. 2015-March 2016
The 2015-2016 lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but this uber-popular music series at Bend’s Oxford Hotel pretty much always sells out. The word around the campfire is that series passes will go up for sale to the public in mid-September, so Jazz fans would be wise to keep an eye on the website.
Series pass holders from previous season will get first dibs on pre-sale tickets at the end of August, so watch your email for news.
Bend A Capella Festival (Feb 19-21 2016)
This is a first-time event, but it’s already off and running in grand style with The House Jacks (featured in Pitch Perfect and The Sing-Off) set to headline this killer weekend of a cappella music.
A cappella groups of all ages and sizes from across the Northwest will be on hand for a weekend of pop-up performances, workshops, master classes, and sing-offs. Tickets go on sale to the public October 1, so watch the Bend A Cappella website for more details.
Art in Public Places (anytime you like!)
Bend offers a cornucopia of public art you can enjoy 7 days a week, 365 days a year, thanks to the good folks at Art in Public Places. That’s a non-profit group dedicated to providing public art for everyone in Bend to enjoy (an endeavor that resulted in Americans for the Arts honoring Bend’s public sculptures as one of the most innovative approaches to public art in the country).
Interested in scoping out the sculptures that adorn the traffic circles throughout Bend? Check out the Roundabout Art Route, and earn prizes for making the rounds and answering trivia questions about the art you see. For a memorable, guided introduction to Bend’s public art scene, book the Art Safari outing with The Bend Tour Company.
To get your art fix on foot, meander around Downtown Bend enjoying the paintings that make up the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection. Wander ‘til you find your favorite, a process made easier with a big dish of f Bontá Gelato in hand (er, so I’m told).
I’m lucky enough to attend nearly every concert booked at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, which I realize is pretty much the coolest job perk on the planet.
Last week, a guest at the Bend Visitor Center peppered me with questions about an upcoming concert, wondering what to bring, when to arrive, and which bra to throw at Lyle Lovett. It occurred to me that not everyone knows the ins and outs of the amphitheater named by Travel + Leisure as one of America’s coolest music venues.
Though we’re mid-way through what is arguably the best season of concerts ever booked in Bend, here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind anytime you’re hitting a show at the Les Schwab Amphitheater.
DO buy tickets in advance. Several concerts have sold out in 2015 including the Willie Nelson/Alison Krauss show and both Phish performances. If there’s a show you really want to see, check the concert lineup here and follow the links to buy tickets in advance. You can also buy them in person at the Ticket Mill in the Old Mill District, which is open daily during the summer months.
Many of the 2015 shows still have tickets available as of today (Thursday, July 16, 2015) including Pink Martini, Wilco, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Weird Al Yankovic, and Ben Harper (though I’m typing this reluctantly, since any of those shows could sell out at any time).
If you really want to plan ahead, make sure you’re following Visit Bend’s Facebook page. Each spring when the concert announcements start flying, we’re quick to tell you about upcoming performances and pre-sales.
DON’T buy from scalpers. Seriously, guys—that’s a recipe for getting hosed and losing your money.
DO hit Will Call instead of the Ticket Mill for last-minute tickets. If you decide to risk it and not purchase tickets ahead of time, you’ll score a slight discount if you hit the Will Call booth right outside the venue instead of the Ticket Mill outlet on the day of the event (though they’ll still cost slightly more than they would have if you’d bought in advance). Will Call opens at 4 p.m. just before each concert begins.
DON’T think you can lurk outside the venue and poach the show for free. Back in the early days of the Les Schwab Amphitheater, thrifty folks parked their lawn chairs on the sidewalk outside the venue so they could listen for free. Unsurprisingly, artists who’d busted butt to actually get paid for their talents did not appreciate this. Several complained to the powers-that-be, and the powers-that-be listened and banned the practice (totally do-able, since the Old Mill District is private property).
Despite some initial grumbling, a funny thing happened. The promoter for some super-duper-famous artists (*ahem* Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson) got wind of the new policy and called the Les Schwab Amphitheater folks. “So I see you’ve decided to start being a real venue,” he reportedly said. “In that case, we’d like to play there.”
That’s right, folks—all those big-name performers we’ve been seeing lately? Many of ‘em wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the ban on concert poachers. Respect the artists and their crews, pay your ticket fees, and enjoy the show.
DO get yourself a low-backed chair. This comes with the caveat that you first need to check the details page for your specific show, since some like this year’s sold-out Phish concerts don’t allow chairs and blankets.
But for most concerts, blankets, towels, and low-backed chairs are totally cool. Trust me, you want the chair. It’ll not only save your back, but it’ll keep you from getting stuck grumbling on your blankie while some tall guy in a sand chair plunks himself in front of you.
By low-backed chair, I mean no more than eight inches from the ground to the seat, and no more than 33 inches from the top of the chair to the ground. Save yourself the hassle of measuring (or getting turned away at the gate from the attendants who’ll definitely be measuring) and grab one of those Tommy Bahama chairs they sell at Costco. They’re cheap, sturdy, and easily recognizable to the attendants who’ll often wave you through without whipping out the yardstick.
DO expect to have your bag searched. This is part of the process when you enter the venue, along with having your chair measured. Make it easier on everyone by not bringing too much stuff, and by leaving any of the following items at home…
DON’T try to bring this stuff to the concert. Recording devices, drugs, weapons, cigarettes, outside food or drinks, umbrellas, Frisbees, or farm animals. And again, check the listing for your specific concert to find out if it’s one of the shows restricting things like strollers or chairs or blankets. You’ll also see the occasional performer who bans things like disposable water bottles for the sake of the environment. Just know before you go by checking here.
DO bring an empty, refillable water bottle. It can get hot out there, so I always pack my trusty Hydro Flask for any concert. You’ll find the drinking fountain straight ahead of the entrance, which makes it handy to fill up before the show starts. There are also plenty of vendors selling bottled water, or you can get through security with any sealed bottle of H20.
DON’T think Oregon’s new marijuana laws let you toke at a concert. Sorry, guys, but that’s not how it works. You can’t blaze up in public, so don’t even think about smuggling your joint into the venue. For more info on how the law works, go here.
DO check the weather before you go. Temperatures can drop quickly in the high desert, so even if it’s 80 degrees when you head to the venue at 5:30 p.m., it might be bitterly cold at the end of the encore. Bring a sweater, a jacket, or even a blanket.
My fellow four-eyed friends would also be wise to bring prescription sunglasses to wear as the sun arcs brightly over the west side of the stage. Make sure you also have your regular eyeglasses so you can see after the sun goes down.
DON’T eat at home before you go. I used to do this in an effort to save a few bucks, but realized after years of drooling over other people’s food that it’s better to buy dinner at the venue.
Besides that, there are plenty of delicious options that won’t break the bank. Parilla Grill makes these amazing rice bowls packed with veggies, beans, herbs, special sauces, and oodles of slow-roasted meat for only $8. Jumbo Tamales makes amazing, HUMONGOUS $8 tamales packed with veggies and/or meat, and you can cruise through their well-stocked condiment bar to load up on fresh salsas, sour cream, cheese, and more.
Tons of other vendors have tasty treats that will give you a chance to sample the best of Bend’s culinary scene, so show up hungry!
DO bring cash. There are a handful of food vendors that accept credit cards (The Pizza Cart is one of them) but most of the food and beverage booths require cash. There’s an ATM in the venue, but you’ll pay a fee to use it. You’re better off snagging a couple $20s from your own bank’s ATM before you head in.
DON’T drink like a moron. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this blog post.
Most folks at the concert have paid a lot of money to enjoy the music—not to have drunk jerks spilling beer in their laps and shouting at each other over the music (I know, surprising!)
That said, it’s totally cool to enjoy a drink or two at the show. The beverage tent always has a couple mixed drinks available like lemon drops and on-the-rocks margaritas, plus a few different beer options (I’ve been diggin’ the Joe IPA from 10 Barrel this season!) You can also purchase wine by the glass or by the bottle, and selections from Naked Winery include a surprisingly diverse array of reds and whites. Keep in mind that bottle sales stop at 8 p.m., so plan accordingly and buy early if you want a bottle of vino to share with friends.
DO pay attention to what others are doing. Each concert has its own special setup. Some have roped-off areas of reserved seating surrounded by general admission and dancing areas off to the side, while other setups feature a huge sea of general admission areas and a big free-for-all dancing spot up front.
Watch what other folks are doing and follow suit. If you want to shake your groove thing, join the existing sea of dancers instead of creating your own boogie zone in front of folks who want to sit. If you want to sit, don’t plunk your chair down behind the dancers and snarl at them to sit down.
Which brings me to my final item on your list of things to bring…
DO bring common sense, courtesy, and respect for the artists and each other. Enough said.
Have you ever noticed the phenomenon where something becomes so popular that’s it’s suddenly cool to hate on it?
We’re seeing a bit of that in Bend these days, and it’s no big shocker. Bend is booming as a travel destination, fueled in part by articles like the New York Times declaring it one of 52 worldwide destinations you should visit in 2015 (we’re right there between Papua, New Guinea, and Rabat, Morocco).
And while haters are always gonna hate, here are seven situations where the animosity might be a bit misguided.
I hate beer!
Bend’s reputation as a beer town is well-deserved, and the Bend Ale Trail is one of the city’s biggest draws with more than 50% of Bend visitors hitting at least one brewery during a stay.
But if beer isn’t your thing, that doesn’t mean Bend isn’t for you.
If you crave adult beverages of another sort, Drinkable Diversions is the way to go. Launched as a sister program to the Bend Ale Trail, Drinkable Diversions includes four wineries, three cideries, three distilleries, and even a kombucha brewery. You can sip yourself silly without ever having to touch a sudsy pint of pilsner.
Not a fan of booze in general? Bend has such an impressive array of coffee houses and roasteries that Wanderlust Tours recently added a new Coffee Tour. You’ll visit three local coffee houses stopping for delicious samples and education (plus oddles of great info about Bend history and culture). The $30 price tag includes transportation, guide, tastings, behind-the-scenes roastery access, and a delicious local treat.
I hate the outdoors!
Though it’s hard for me to fathom not wanting to play outside in Bend’s glorious high desert mountain air, I realize there are some who consider themselves more “indoorsy.” If the idea of fresh air and fitness gives you the heebie jeebies, there’s still plenty to do in Bend.
Arts and culture have become a big draw for Bend in recent years, with programs like the Roundabout Art Route and the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection offering plenty of artistic eye candy. Visit Bend’s Arts and Culture page will give you a variety of artsy ideas ranging from galleries to concerts to film festivals.
If museums are your thing, stop by the Deschutes Historical Museum for a glimpse at the area’s rich history, or visit the High Desert Museum to see an amazing array of animal exhibits, natural history, and more.
Are you more of a culinary geek? You’ll be right at home in Bend. Search the Drinking and Dining category on this blog for a huge array of posts featuring restaurant reviews and tips on places to go for sunset dinners, Bend’s best gluten-free dining, vegan and vegetarian meals, or even specific dishes like burgers, bacon, hot wings, and mac & cheese. To fully embrace Bend’s foodie scene, book a culinary tour or cooking class with the Well Traveled Fork.
I hate hipsters! And yuppies! And old people! And kids! And, uh….my fellow tourists?!
There’s always someone in the crowd who hates a certain type of person. I’ll confess that in my late teens I went through a brief “I hate skiers” phase, which was easily remedied by both the evolving open-mindedness that comes with age, and the brilliant discovery that I could simply not go to a ski hill.
Jokes aside, if you’re harboring the delusion that Bend is overrun by a certain type of person, you might just be hanging out in the wrong places. Not a fan of the crowd that spends Saturday mornings sipping coffee and eating veggie scrambles at Jackson’s Corner in Downtown Bend? Head to their eastside location and you’ll discover the same great menu with a totally different scene. It’s the same deal with other local eateries that have both Eastside and Westside locations sporting their own unique ambiance, including Baldy’s Barbecue and Longboard Louie’s.
If you’re craving incredible Mexican food, La Rosa has locations in Northwest Crossing and on the south end of Bend, with two totally different crowds frequenting each locale. If you’re a fan of Cibelli’s Pizza (and who in their right might wouldn’t be?) you’ll be happy to know they not only have Eastside and Westside locations, but a Southside and a Redmond shop to boot. Visit them all and pick the vibe that feels right to you.
If you’re traveling with kids want to visit Bend Ale Trail stops that make it easy to bring the ankle-biters, try Crux Fermentation Project, Cascade Lakes, Deschutes Brewery, or Bend Brewing Company (which has one of my favorite kids’ menus in town). But if you’d prefer to swill your suds in places a little less likely to attract families, opt for Boneyard Brewing, Riverbend Brewing, Silver Moon Brewing, or one of the growler fill stations that let you take your beer back to a cave so you can avoid human contact.
I hate crowds!
Here’s a little secret: Everyone wants to visit Bend in the summer months when it’s perfect for rafting, hiking, standup paddleboarding, and other warm weather activities. On the average summer day, Bend sees an influx of 18,000 visitors. There’s also a surge of visitors at the peak of winter season when everyone wants to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, and sled.
But fall and spring are known as “the shoulder season” in the tourism biz, and they’re fabulous times to show up and have the place to yourself. You’ll score screamin’ deals on hotel stays, encounter much milder weather than you’ll get during peak seasons, and discover a more mellow, laidback version of Bend than you’ll see in mid-August or mid-December. To learn more about planning a shoulder season vacation in Bend, go here.
I hate snow!
Come to Bend in the summer.
I hate the heat!
Come to Bend in the winter.
I hate fun!
Huh. You know what? I can’t help you with this one.
Every year, Memorial Day Weekend marks the kickoff of peak tourism in Bend. It’s when the Bend Visitor Center switches to being open seven days a week (9-5 weekdays, 10-4 weekends) so visitors can meander by for maps, brochures, and tips.
There’s a lot going on in Bend every Memorial Day Weekend, and 2015 is no exception. Here are seven things you might want to have on your agenda.
Shake your groove thing with The Decemberists, Ryan Adams, and Robert Plant
I’ve been hitting the Les Schwab Amphitheater for Memorial Day Weekend concerts every year since the venue opened, and I’ve gotta admit—2015 has one of the best lineups I’ve ever seen.
On Friday night (May 22) The Decemberists return to Bend to share their unique brand of American folk rock. I’ve seen this awesome Grammy-nominated band there once before, so I know the show is going to be fab (doubly so with the presence of opening act Spoon).
The Saturday night (May 23) show will feature Ryan Adams, another Grammy-nominated musician known for his unique country/rock/folk style and a name that’s easily confused with ‘80s musician Bryan Adams (not the same guy). My husband is actually more excited about opening act Jenny Lewis, so luckily, we get to enjoy both for the price of one ticket. Well, two tickets, unless we decide to rent a gorilla suit and cram both of us inside so we can get in for the price of one, but that just sounds hot and itchy.
Sunday night is a chance to give your liver a break from all those trips to the beer gardens and wine tent at the concert venue. On Monday (May 24) the Les Schwab Amphitheater will welcome the legendary Robert Plant (yes, THAT Robert Plant—former front man for Led Zeppelin, and winner of so many rock awards he’s probably stopped keeping track). If I were a betting woman, I’d say there’s a chance this show could sell out, so go here to get ticket info for this show or any other that piques your interest.
Play outside with temps in the upper 60s
Unless the weatherman is lying, it looks like Bend has ordered up the perfect weather for Memorial Day Weekend 2015. Temps are expected to be in the upper 60s, which makes it perfect for some spring hiking or a round of golf on one of 26 courses scattered around Central Oregon.
Kick off Central Oregon Beer Week along the Bend Ale Trail
You can make your way around the Bend Ale Trail pretty much any day of the year, gathering passport stamps and collecting prizes for sipping your way along an impressively diverse group of breweries.
But Memorial Day Weekend also marks the start of Central Oregon Beer Week 2015. The event spans May 22-31 and includes tours, tastings, live music, parties, food specials, beer education, contests, and more. You can view a complete calendar of events here.
Let’s go fishing
Bend is known around the country as a fishing mecca, with Fly Fisherman magazine naming the city one of the top fly fishing towns in the nation. Trout season is already open on the lower Deschutes River, but this weekend it opens on the upper Deschutes as well. Now’s a great time to get out there on your own, or book a fishing excursion with one of the reputable fishing outfitters in Bend.
Hit opening day at the Central Oregon Saturday Market
Kick off the 2015 season of the Central Oregon Saturday Market across the street from the Deschutes Public Library. Browse handcrafted jewelry, artwork, clothing, household goods, and more.
Normally, this is a Saturday-only event (as you might’ve guessed from the name) but for Memorial Weekend they’re open both Saturday and Sunday. This is always a great spot to grab gifts to take home to friends and family, so bring an extra shopping bag.
Catch a ballgame at the Bend Elks Youth Baseball Tournament
Since 2005, the Bend Elks (our local baseball team) have hosted one of the Northwest’s biggest youth baseball tournaments. Even if you’re not the world’s greatest fan of the sport, it’s hard not to be impressed by the backdrop of the Cascade Mountains and the sheer volume of high school athletes journeying here to play their young hearts out.
If you’re just showing up to watch, you’ll be happy to know there’s no gate fee. Catch a game or two, eat a hot dog, and feel happy knowing proceeds from team entry fees help support youth baseball in Bend. You can find details and game schedules here.
Two great bike races for the cycling crowd
Road cyclists rejoice on Saturday, May 23, in the fast and furious Bend Don’t Break circuit course bike race. A beginner’s clinic that morning gives newbies a chance to prepare, or race hard in the more elite categories. The race is part of the 2015 Oregon Women’s Prestige Series, though there are plenty of men’s categories as well. It’s also part of the Oregon Senior Games this year, so folks in the 50+ category have a chance to vie for a spot in the National Senior Games.
On Sunday, May 24, head west to Sisters with your mountain bike strapped to your car, and get ready for the Sisters Stampede. This uniquely-Sisters event lets you race your bike on the beautiful Peterson Ridge Trail in Sisters. This is Oregon’s largest cross country mountain bike race, with 23 different race categories, and a party at the finish line. Each racer gets a goody bag filled with cool schwag, and there’s $1000 in cash prizes up for grabs for the top three men and women in the Pro or Cat 1 categories. There’s also a free kids’ race. For event details and registration, go here.
Believe it or not, that’s only a sampling of events happening in and around Bend this weekend. For a complete list, check out the Visit Bend Event Calendar. You can search for cool happenings this weekend or any other weekend you plan to Visit Bend.
Earth Day is April 22 this year, and while I’m not in the habit of throwing a black-tie cocktail party to celebrate, there are a few ways I plan to mark the occasion in 2015.
In case you’d care to join me, here are 6 great ways to celebrate the earth when you’re in Bend.
Prowl thrift stores and consignment shops
I love supporting Bend retailers selling new goods from handbags to household décor, but there’s something about thrift stores that makes my thrifty green heart feel giddy. It’s recycling at its best, and a great way to save a few bucks.
Bend has a nice abundance of thrift stores ranging from Goodwill and the Humane Society Thrift Store on the south end of town, to the Opportunity Foundation Thrift Store in northeast Bend. You can see a pretty good roundup here and find treasures in every single one.
If you prefer to restrict your secondhand shopping to treasures that have already been whittled down by professionals, consignment shops can come in handy. My personal fave is Rescue Modern Consignment located in Downtown Bend just a couple blocks from the Bend Visitor Center. They have a huge array of clothing, shoes, and accessories, and clearance racks that can’t be beat.
For those who prefer used sporting goods or previously-loved home furnishings, check out the Gear Peddler or Déjà Vu Consignment Furniture. I’ll let you guess which one has the sporting goods and which features home furnishings.
If you have goodies of your own you’re looking to recycle, check with the individual stores and ask about their consignment programs.
Shop for upcycled products
In case you’re not familiar with the term, upcycling is the practice of taking used items or waste products and turning them into something new.
Sara Bella takes plastic bags and banners and turns them into totes, zip pouches, fashion wear, and more. At last count, her products have kept more than 31,000 bags out of the landfill. You can shop online for Sara Bella products, or even have her custom make something using your own banner or bag. You can also visit her shop in the Bend’s Makers District or pick up some of her cute wallets at the Bend Visitor Center.
Speaking of the Bend Visitor Center, that’s also a great place to find Spoke-Bracelet jewelry for that bike fanatic in your life. As you can probably guess from the name, Spoke-Bracelet makes beautiful bracelets from used bicycle spokes. We have a terrific selection in the Visitor Center, or you can shop online or scope out the selections in a variety of Bend shops. Like Sara Bella, they also offer custom work, so get in touch if there’s a special something you’d like to have made for you.
Bid bye-by to plastic water bottles
With so many amazing reusable water bottles on the market these days, there’s really no excuse for cluttering up landfills with disposable ones.
You’ll pretty much never catch me without my trusty 21-ounce water bottle from Bend-based Hydro Flask. I’m sipping from mine while I type, and it’s still swirling with ice cubes I put in there at noon yesterday. My husband is fond of the flip-top 18-ouncer for his morning coffee, which he swears keeps it hot until late afternoon.
When you’re looking for something a little burlier to fill with Bend craft beer, cider, or kombucha, DrinkTanks makes a terrific 64-ounce growler, or you can pre-order the party-sized 128-ouncer.
And rather than using your growler or mini-keg to fill paper cups that will end up cluttering the landfill, substitute stainless steel cups that feature the Bend logo. They’re made by Cupsco and sold in the Bend Visitor Center.
Leave only footprints, take only photographs
It goes without saying that leaving trash behind along Bend’s hiking trails and recreation areas is a big huge no-no even when it’s not Earth Day. If you pack in those picnic fixins’, make sure you also pack out the empty containers. If Fido does his business behind a bush, use your compostable doggie doo bags to remove his malodorous calling card.
And hey, if you spot someone else’s trash along the trail, earn yourself a few good karma points by picking it up and packing it out.
Don’t toss it, mend it!
Once upon a time, an unraveling hemline was the signal I needed to pack up my favorite skirt and haul it off to Goodwill. No more!
Since I discovered Utilitu Sewing & Design, I’ve had jeans patched, sweaters repaired, and skirt hemlines altered to a more fashionable length. Though Allison of Utilitu is committed to keeping local clients happy with speedy turnaround times, she’s also open to helping out Bend visitors as her schedule allows (particularly if you’re in town for a longer stay). Drop her a line if you bust a zipper or need a patch on your favorite pair of hiking pants.
And while this isn’t necessarily a travel-friendly suggestion, have you ever tried dyeing old garments to make them look new again? Seriously, my closet is filled with skirts, sweaters, t-shirts, and even undies that became brand new to me again with a little hot water and a packet of Rit Dye.
Check out Bend’s Earth Day Parade April 25
In case all that environmentally-friendly shopping, sipping, hiking, and mending isn’t enough for you, don’t miss Bend’s annual Earth Day Fair and Parade in Downtown Bend. Sponsored by the Central Oregon Environmental Center, the event goes from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features live music, local food, family-friendly activities, and more.
The parade kicks off at 10:30 on Louisiana Avenue by McMenamins and proceeds through Downtown Bend. Folks wanting to participate should come dressed as your favorite species (though parade rules prohibit written words, motorized vehicles, and live pets).
Want to kick things off a little earlier in true BikeTown USA fashion? There’s a community bike ride leaving Juniper Swim & Fitness Center at 9 a.m. and cycling to the parade site. Check out details here.
The big day will also include drumming and art workshops as well as a variety of other activities. Keep an eye on the Environmental Center’s event page for more details.