Bend Oregon Blog | The Bend Buzz Blog by Visit Bend
Judging from the number of cars I saw while en route to the office today, a whole big bunch of you decided to spend the Christmas holiday in Bend. Either that, or there’s a zombie apocalypse.
But assuming it’s just the holiday, welcome! Now get out there and experience the best Bend has to offer this time of year. Want some examples? Here are nine of ‘em!
Eat, drink, and be merry!
Food is a big part of the holidays for most families. Lucky for you, plenty of Bend restaurants are dishing up tasty meals even on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. For a list of restaurants open for business on the holidays, go here. You’ll find something special whether you follow my family’s tradition of going out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve, or you’re just looking for a fancy dinner Christmas Day.
Go on, get holy
Looking for a church to attend while you’re here in Bend? Whether you’re seeking a place to attend midnight mass, or a place to celebrate faith ranging from Judaism to Baha’i, you’ll find whatever your soul is seeking in our roundup of churches, synagogues, and other places of worship.
Roll around in the snow
If you’re visiting Bend from a non-mountainous area, odds are good you’ve come seeking a taste of the white stuff. We’ve got plenty of it up at Mt. Bachelor, where kids 12 and under ski free. If skiing and boarding aren’t your thing, you can still have plenty of fun at Mt. Bachelor slipping down the slopes at the Snowblast Tubing Park or enjoying a sled dog ride from Oregon Trail of Dreams.
If snowshoeing is more your style, you’ll find a wide array of guided outings from Wanderlust Tours. Take the kids out for a daytime trip, or enjoy cocoa and stories under the stars with an evening tour. Prefer to set out on your own for some solo snowshoe action? Go here to learn where you can grab rental gear and which trails to hit once you’ve got it.
If cross country skiing is your thing, Bend is a great place to enjoy it whether you’re a skate ski fanatic or a classic style purist.
Sale away with me
End-of-year sales will be in full swing at many area retailers, whether you prefer to peruse historic Downtown Bend, or if you’re browsing the shops in Bend’s Old Mill District. Don’t forget the Old Mill is offering free carriage rides through December 30 as part of their holiday lineup. Go here for details. And once you’ve filled your shopping bags in Downtown Bend, grab a cup of cocoa from a small café before setting out for a stroll in scenic Drake Park.
Hike or bike off those holiday calories
Unless the weatherman is lying, it won’t likely be a white Christmas in town this year. This is good news for those who prefer to enjoy the white stuff at Mt. Bachelor (just 20 minutes from town) for part of the day before hitting the non-snowy trails for the rest of the afternoon.
This is a great time of year for hiking around the Oregon Badlands Wilderness, so head east to explore this untamed area of Central Oregon. Tumalo Falls is another great hiking spot that this time of year, or check out Cascade Hiking Adventures for other ideas.
If mountain biking is your thing, the good folks at Cog Wild can hook you up with gear, guided tours, and a guaranteed good time.
Unwind at a museum
Feeling a bit more indoorsy? The High Desert Museum is a great place to be right now, with tons of cool exhibits and animals guaranteed to enthrall you whether you’re eight or 80. You can also hit the Des Chutes Historical Museum to learn more about Bend’s history and heritage. For a list of other museums around the Central Oregon area, go here.
Wipe out your holiday stress with some suds
No visit to Bend is complete without at least one stop along the Bend Ale Trail to sample some tasty craft beer. If you’re looking to make it a casual thing, stop for a quick lunch at one of the pubs like Deschutes Brewery, Worthy Brewing, or GoodLife. Aiming to tackle the whole Bend Ale Trail to collect all 11 stamps and earn your prize? Here are six tips for making the most of your Bend Ale Trail experience. Cheers!
Get your art and culture fix
Want an activity that’ll be fun for the whole family, ranging from restless gradeschoolers to your crotchety grandpa? The Roundabout Art Route is a great way to check out Bend’s amazing collection of public art and have little fun while you do it. Pick up a map at the Bend Visitor Center and do a self-guided tour at your own pace, checking off pieces along the way and answering trivia questions as you go.
You can also head out with GETIT Shuttle for John Flannery’s fabulous Bend Art Safari tour. The $25 per person price tag will be money well spent for awesome art insights from one of Bend’s most engaging and entertaining tour operators. Answer 10 of the 20 trivia questions on your Roundabout Art Route map and bring it to the Bend Visitor Center to earn a special chocolate prize!
If you can’t get enough of Bend’s art scene, check out the Tin Pan Alley art collection, or stop by the Bend Visitor Center to admire the Pillars of Art. Just a reminder: the Bend Visitor Center will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but open all other weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Find your own fun with our event calendar
Not seeing anything that rolls your socks up in the eight previous suggestions? No problem! Check out Visit Bend’s event calendar to search for specific activities and dates.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you I intend to throat-punch the next person who asks me “have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?”
Luckily, there’s a veritable arsenal of amazing holiday gifts for sale just 20 feet from my office. Even luckier for you, it’s open to the public. I’m talking about the incredible retail items available in the retail shop at the Bend Visitor Center on the corner of Lava & Oregon in Downtown Bend.
Are you in Bend? You can stop by Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to browse the gift shop. We’re not open Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, so make sure you visit us before that.
Even better, stop by during our Shoppy Hour Block Party from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. this Friday, December 20 when we’ll be offering oodles of retail items at up to 50% off. Salud Raw Food will have treats and gift cards on hand, and neighboring businesses like Kariella and Studio DeVine will be serving wine and offering killer discounts you won’t want to miss.
And if you can’t visit in person, no worries. You’ll find plenty of this stuff in our online gift shop (though keep in mind, you’re too late to have it shipped in time for Christmas).
Now that we have that out of the way, check out these awesome products you’ll want to snap up as gifts for your friends, family, dog walker, and bikini waxer.
Best of Bend Stocking Stuffers
- Bend Local Roast by fundroast: $15
- Bend Ale Trail Koozie: $3.50
- Bend Logo Silishot: $4.95
- Bend Logo Bike Bell: $15
- Bend Ale Trail Wood Handle Opener: $10
- Via Delia Bottle Opener: $8
- Bend Logo Dog Tag/Zipper Pull/Keychain: $3.50
- ScoutWallet Elk Lake/Hosmer LakeWallet: $20
- TrailRags Deschutes River Trail Bandana Map: $12
Bend gifts to pamper your mind, body, and soul
- Volcano Vineyards Bend Blend Red: $13
- 21 ounce Bend Logo Hydro Flask: $28
- Coco’s Haven Gift Pack – lavender, lemongrass and vanilla body oils and either a chocolate or vanilla kiss lip balm: $15
- Bend Soap Company Mt. Bachelor Pine Soap: $5
- Via Delia Pocket Mirror: $6.50
- Bend Logo Vance Family Soy Candle: $9
- “Bathe with a Dirty Girl” Beer Soap by LeCol’s Soap Bar: $5
- Douglas Fine Jewelry Bend Logo Sterling Silver Pendant: $60
- Bend Logo Lip Balm Tin: $4
- Spoke-Bracelet: $35
- Bend BlackStrap Sunglasses: $12.99
- Dawg Grog Ladies T-shirt: $22
Game night goodies (buy all of it for a special package price!)
- Two Cupsco Bend Logo Stainless Steel Cups ($20 value)
- Your Choice of any 22 ounce beer or cider in stock ($3.85 to $5.99 value)
- Bend Ale Trail Metal Bottle Opener ($5 value)
- One Deck of Bend Playing Cards by Aaron Trotter ($20 value)
Offered at $35 – over 25% off!
The “I miss Bend!” package
- Bend Ale Trail Hydro Flask Growler: $55
- 2013 Old Mill District Limited Edition Silipints: $10 each or $38 for a set of 4
- Bend Logo “Bike TownUSA,” “Bend Ale Trail,” or “Oregon” Trucker Hat: $20
- PaulLeightonTumaloFalls Poster: $10
- I Love Bend, OR Sticker: $2.50
- Ruff Life, Bend, Oregon Sticker: $3
- Via Delia Bend Logo Keychain: $6.50
‘Tis the season for running in frantic circles of holiday shopping and vacation planning and contemplating whether a Pop Tart counts as a balanced dinner.
Or is that just me?
I’m pretty sure it isn’t. In the spirit of ensuring all of us can find the perfect, nourishing, comfort food when we need it most, here’s my roundup of the best dining options in Bend this time of year.
Fast food with no pink slime
When you’re on the go, you need something you can order fast and eat even faster. But what’s a weary traveler to do if you don’t want to sacrifice your arteries, waistline, or foodie sensibilities?
One of my favorite options during an afternoon of shopping in Bend’s Old Mill District is Café Yumm. Their Yumm Bowls are created around the basic staples of rice and beans, and rounded out with delicious, nourishing additions. My favorite is the the Edamame Bowl, which is layered with organic brown rice, Yumm Sauce, and edamame, topped with nori (seaweed), shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese, diced tomato, fresh avocado, olives, and sour cream. The medium-sized Yumm Bowl is perfect for me, though small and large are good options, depending on your appetite. Order quickly at the counter, lick the bowl clean, and get right back on the shopping train.
Another good grab-and-go option is the classic burrito. Locally-owned Longboard Louie’s offers tons of great options, including dishes for vegetarians, vegans, and even gluten-free diners. They have locations on Bend’s Eastside and the Westside so you can swing by whether you’re doing a Costco run or en route to Downtown Bend.
Super soups to fill your belly
Few things are more comforting on a cold winter day than a big, warm bowl of soup. Luckily, Bend offers plenty of choices no matter which side of town you’re on when hunger hits.
One of my favorite picks when I’m feeling under-the-weather is Phở. Pronounced “phuh,” it’s a hot beef-noodle soup that’s a staple of Vietnamese cuisine and culture. There are several dozen variations to choose from at Phở Việt & Café on NE Third Street and Sweet Saigon in Downtown Bend. Be adventurous and order the special combination Phở that includes “tripe, tendon, well-done flank, lean and richesbrisket, tendon and beef meatballs” along with an assortment of bean sprouts, cilantro, rice noodles, onion, lime wedges, and the most delicious broth imaginable.
Another delicious Asian option is the Thai soup known as Tom Kah. Most variations are made with coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal root, mushrooms, and onion. Two great places to grab a bowl are Toomies Thai Cuisine and Noi Thai Cuisine, both located in Downtown Bend just a few blocks apart.
If you’re craving soup that’s more like grandma used to make, head to either Caldera Grille or D & D Bar and Grill (commonly known by locals as “The D.” Both have terrific homemade soups like Jalapeño Corn Chowder (Caldera) or to-die-for Chicken and Rice (The D). Order a big bowl with fries and half a sandwich, plus a bloody mary to take the holiday edge off.
Some of my favorite soup-n-salad options are offered in abundance at Croutons. With two locations in Bend, they offer a huge array of soups, salads, and sandwiches you can mix and match in endless combinations. Try a big bowl of their Roasted Tomato Basil soup with the Santa Fe Salad on the side.
Have dinner in bed!
Sometimes it’s romantic. Sometimes it’s just because it’s the warmest, coziest place in your Bend vacation home or Bend hotel. Whatever the reason, there are times there’s nothing more comforting than enjoying dinner while snuggled under the covers.
Sushi is one of my personal favorites for this dining option. Five Fusion has a terrific array of rolls and sides that package up nicely for easy eating in a non-traditional setting. The Shogun Roll is worth a $16 splurge, and made with escolar, asparagus, avocado, tempura fried, topped with spicy salmon, tobiko, and unagi sauce.
Another great sushi option is Kan Pai. They have an amazing sushi sampler for just $21, which features a selection of three nigiri, sashimi, and half orders of their California Roll and Spicy Tuna Roll. It’s a great choice for sharing or when you just can’t make up your mind.
Not a fan of sushi? Pizza makes another great choice for boudoir dining. Swing by one of three locations for Cibelli’s Pizza and grab a pie to go. Anything on their menu is made even tastier with a drizzle of their tasty pesto on top.
One of Bend’s most treasured hidden gems is the Taste of Thailand food cart. Tucked beside a lube shop on NE Greenwood, this is a cash-only spot with the friendliest customer service you’ll find anywhere. While you wait in your car, they’ll bring out an array of delicious samples and friendly smiles as you make your selection. If you see pumpkin curry on the day’s menu, get it. Then haul it back to your cozy Bend vacation rental, curl up with your blankie, and enjoy!
Feel-good meals worth putting on pants
Not in a huge hurry and willing to crawl out of bed? There are plenty of comfort food options in Bend that are worth taking the time to sit down at a table with real utensils.
One of my favorite recent additions to Bend’s culinary scene is Drake. They describe themselves as offering “creative and inspired comfort food,” which is pretty much what we’re all craving this time of year, right? My favorite item on their menu is Shrimp and Grits, which is served with roasted peppers, corn, caramelized onion, bacon, fresh herbs, and pan sauce. It’s a steal at $12, and you’ll likely end up with lunch leftovers.
Another cozy spot offering high-end comfort food is one of Bend’s oldest restaurants, the Pine Tavern. You know the place in Downtown Bend with two big pine trees sprouting up through the roof? That’s it. Their menu includes delectably frou-frou versions of comfort food staples like meatloaf and chicken pot pie, plus other scrumptious offerings like pasta and fish. But the best reason to go to Pine Tavern is to get your hands on a steaming hot basket of their homemade sourdough scones with honey butter. I’m not ashamed to say I have eaten my body weight in these and then asked for more.
If mac and cheese is your comfort food of choice, The Blacksmith offers the crème de la crème of cheesy goodness. Their regular menu offers three varieties, including smoked mac and cheese, bacon mac and cheese, and truffle mac and cheese. If you’re like me and can’t possibly choose between them, you don’t have to. During happy hour from 4-6 and 9-close, score a small portion of all three for just $6. Pair with one of their fabulous Caesar salads, order a couple glasses of wine, and share the whole thing with a pal. Bon appétit!
Take your smartphone for a scenic stroll in Downtown Bend with a cool, free app from the Des Chutes Historical Museum
When guests ask about don’t-miss activities for a Bend vacation, I always suggest a walk around Downtown Bend. It’s a great way to get a taste of the city’s historical buildings and scenic Mirror Pond, not to mention a bit of fresh air.
So what could make it even better?
There’s an app for that!
No, seriously. Several weeks ago, the Des Chutes Historical Museum launched the Bend Heritage Walk application for smart phones and tablets. It’s totally free to download, thanks to a generous grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission.
Go grab it right now for Apple products or for Android, then poke around through the audio narration, historical photographs, and trivia questions. You can do it without leaving the comfort of your couch, but it’s way more fun to enjoy it while walking between the seven landmarks on the tour.
I decided to take the app for a test run so I could tell you guys what it’s like. Because I’m a poor planner not terribly bright always eager for a new challenge, I set out for my heritage walk on an afternoon of single-digit temperatures in Bend.
Fortunately, the app makes it easy to pause along the way, stopping to warm up in downtown coffee shops or browse cool boutiques. You can restart whenever you feel like it or opt to read transcripts instead of listening to the audio.
You can even see the landmarks out of order by jumping around on the map. Go on, be wild and crazy like that. I won’t tell.
The tour features seven downtown locations, ranging from the oldest standing structure in Bend to the first “modern” school built by Bend residents.
If you do it straight through, the walking tour is designed to take 20-30 minutes. Personally, I enjoyed taking my time meandering. The Goodwillie-Allen-Rademacher House (Bend’s only example of a very early Craftsman Bungalow) is now Crow’s Feet Commons, which is an awesome little café and bike/ski shop. I seized the opportunity to pause the audio and have a big mug of tea before moving on.
Likewise, my stop at the Tower Theatre was a great chance to wander inside and check the schedule of performances for the coming months.
The app even lets you use Facebook or Twitter to check in at the various sites, and it’ll ask you fun trivia questions if you want. I’m pretty sure it can even shovel snow off your car, but I couldn’t find the button for that.
Wanna know something cool? The app was designed by SideStreet, which is the same company that created the Bend Ale Trail app. Just don’t confuse the two and go staggering around to historic sites with a bottle of Mirror Pond in-hand.
For more info about the app or the DesChutesHistoricalMuseum, check ‘em out here. And stay tuned for announcements about future apps for other areas of Bend.
Now go get that app!
Judging from the volume of traffic in the Bend Visitor Center this week, a whole lot of you have come to Bend for the holidays.
Either that, or you got lost en route to the North Pole.
Welcome to all of you, whether you’ve arrived by car or or by plane, with an assortment of kids or furry friends or imaginary pals in your trunk.
Now that you’re here, what do you plan to do? There are literally hundreds of options, and it’s up to you to decide. Here are five places you can go to get ideas, schedules, and more:
Everyone’s favorite resource: Visitbend.com
At the risk of sounding like a marketing geek, I’ll tell you nearly half the traffic to Visit Bend’s website comes from mobile devices. It’s a dramatic shift we’ve seen in recent years, and it signals more and more guests are using their smartphones to plan vacation activities once they’ve already arrived.
So what does that mean for you?
Assuming you have a smartphone, you have a magnificent array of travel ideas at your fingertips when you hop on visitbend.com.
Not a mobile user? Not a problem! The site is accessible from your laptop or desktop computer, and you can visit it from home or after you’ve arrived in Bend.
But what if I’m looking for a special event?
Maybe you’re already aware of all your options for snowshoeing, mountain biking, or shopping in Bend. Maybe you’re looking for something extra special that’s only happening right now. No problem! Visit Bend’s Event Calendar is one of our most popular web pages, and for good reason. Just plug in the date range of your visit and voila! The calendar will show you what’s happening around town during your vacation. You can also search for specific kinds of events or activities, ranging from sports to art to educational offerings.
I’m here for the snow. Gimme.
No problem. We’ve got it. Well, Mt. Bachelor has it, and it’s looking pretty nice so far this year. Though the mountain won’t be open on Thanksgiving this year, they have oodles of lifts and terrain operating the very next day and beyond. To check up-to-the-minute snow conditions and operation schedules, go here for the current snow report.
Wanna be our friend?
We’re always looking for new friends, especially in the social media world. If you’re a Facebook user, keep an eye on Visit Bend’s Facebook page where we’re posting a minimum of two times daily (and usually more like four or five) with updates about activities, weather conditions, events, and oodles of scenic photos guaranteed to leave you drooling and planning your next Bend vacation before you’ve even concluded this one.
If you’re craving a cold brew and specific updates about the Bend Ale Trail, keep an eye on the Twitter handle @BendAleTrail or on the Bend Ale Trail Facebook page.
Hey, this blog is kinda cool…
Thanks! We’re glad you like it. Did you know it’s searchable? We’ve been racking up weekly posts for nearly four years, so there’s a pretty good archive of info here at the Bend Buzz Blog. There’s a drop-down menu that lists “categories,” and from there, you can choose to scroll through posts about outdoor recreation, family fun, shopping, or whatever rolls your socks up.
Want to make sure you’re always in-the-know about new posts? Just plug your email address into the “subscribe” field for the Bend Buzz Blog and we’ll make sure you never miss another post.
7 ways to enjoy 2013 Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and other holiday weekend events in Bend, Oregon
Thanksgiving weekend means something different for everyone. For some, it’s a chance to eat your body weight in mashed potatoes, while others practice their karate moves in case Black Friday turns ugly. Maybe you’re lacing your sneakers for a Thanksgiving Day run, or perhaps you’re waxing your skis to hit Mt.Bachelor the day after Thanksgiving.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend 2013 in Bend. Here are a few ideas.
Stuff yer face
For a lot of people, Thanksgiving is all about the food. If you’re visiting Bend for the holiday, plenty of restaurants serve a tasty Thanksgiving meal that won’t require you to scrub dishes or make gravy. You’ll find a complete list at this link.
Bend landmark Pine Tavern Restaurant (that’s the place with the two big pine trees in the middle of the restaurant) is offering plated Thanksgiving dinners from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. featuring entrée options like traditional turkey, prime rib, steelhead, or mushroom risotto. Go here for pricing and reservation info.
For a totally tasty Thanksgiving buffet, head to The Restaurant at Awbrey Glen. Their lineup will include freshly baked soft rolls and mini croissants, gourmet baby greens with three dressings, Waldorf salad, penne pasta salad, mandarine ambrosia, fresh fruit, cheese displays, hot artichoke dip with crostini, crudités, cold poached shrimp with cocktail and lemon, wild rice pilaf, buttermilk whipped potatoes with giblet gravy and traditional sage dressing, brown sugar and citrus glazed yams topped with toasted mini marshmallows, French green bean casserole topped with crisp shoestring fried onions, butternut squash winter vegetable medley, oven roasted turkey, ham with cherry glaze, salmon cakes with citrus saffron cream (gluten free), quinoa vegetable cakes (gluten free), a kids’ table with house-made mac-n-cheese and chicken tenders, and assorted deserts including pies, sundae bar, chocolate dipped strawberries, and more.
I feel full just typing that.
The Awbrey Glen meal is offered from noon to 4 p.m. and costs $27.95 for adults and $10.95 for kids 6-12. Kids under 5 are free.
To peruse the list of other Bend restaurants with Thanksgiving meals on the agenda, check out this link.
Hit the slopes
The bad news: Mt.Bachelor didn’t have quite enough snow to open for full operations by their original target date of Saturday, November 23.
The good news: They’re still planning to have a limited opening on Nov. 23, including Snowblast Tubing and a TerrainPark with multiple lines (rails and boxes) under the Sunshine Accelerator lift.
Even better news: They’re currently aiming to open the rest of their early-season operations the day after Thanksgiving (that’s Friday, November 29). Everyone cross your fingers really hard while doing the snow dance, OK? And keep your eyes posted here for up-to-the-minute news on mountain conditions and operations.
Run for your turkey
If you’re not in the mood to kick off the day slouching on the sofa with a turkey leg in one hand and a remote control in the other, consider signing up for one of the Thanksgiving morning runs in Bend.
There’s the Central Oregon Thanksgiving Classic kicking off at 9 a.m. with a timed 5K and 10K course as well as a family friendly Gobbler Walk. Proceeds go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Oregon.
The I Like Pie Thanksgiving Day Run/Walk is another popular race that starts at 9 a.m. This one even includes a baking contest and raises money for NeighborImpact.
Shop ‘til you drop
Once you’ve licked all the crumbs off your pie plate, it’s time to get to the serious business of holiday shopping. Bend’s Old Mill District features stores like Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Zumiez, and more. Check out their Black Friday Specials page for info on who’s opening at midnight, 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 5 a.m., and other more sane hours. If you need to confer with the big guy, Santa will arrive via helicopter around 10 a.m. to begin his tour of duty at Santaland. For more info on Old Mill holiday offerings like carriage rides, carolers, kids’ activities, and more, go here.
Things kick off early at the Bend Factory Stores, where gift card giveaways start at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving evening before select shops open from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Then everyone re-opens at 6 a.m. Friday morning for more shopping fun. Shops include hotspots like the Coach Factory Outlet, Nike Outlet, Eddie Bauer, Columbia Outlet, and much more.
For deals at hotspots like Best Buy and Cost Plus World Market, head north to the Cascade Village Shopping Center. And if big-box stores like Macy’s, Kohls, and TJ Maxx are on your agenda, be sure to hit the Bend River Promenade in the middle of town. While you’re on the north end of town, pop into Pomegranate Home & Garden, a locally-owned shop in a historic farm house, for some really unique gifts.
To help you spread things out a bit, many shops in Downtown Bend are participating in Small Business Saturday. Check out their page for details about shops and specials, including deals at great spots like Hot Box Betty, Local Joe, and Tres Jolie.
Haven’t had enough to eat yet?
If you’re tired of Thanksgiving leftovers, the time might be right to cleanse your palate. Check out the Well Traveled Fork for a wide array of culinary tours and cooking classes designed to hone your cooking skills or introduce you to the secrets of Bend’s culinary scene.
If you’ve still got the urge to do some holiday cooking, there’s an awesome new book on the market called Sizzle and Buzz. Capturing stories, recipes, tips and tricks from acclaimed kitchens and personalities in Seattle, Portland and Bend, the book features photos, recipes, and exclusive stories from 50+ restaurants. Tons of great Bend hotspots are featured in the book, including 900 Wall, Ariana, Spork, Barrio, Bellatazza, Chow, Jackson’s Corner, Brickhouse, Pine Tavern, Jackalope Grill, The Victorian Cafe, Noi Thai Cuisine, and The Hideaway Tavern. Nab your copy today to start cooking up your own taste of Bend. Proceeds benefit local hunger prevention organizations.
Gather ’round the tree
The Downtown Bend Christmas tree lighting is one of those nostalgic holiday traditions that’s been happening longer than anyone can remember. This year, the tradition is changing just a little bit with a brand new tree in a more spacious locale. Crews just planted a lovely new live tree at the top of DrakePark by Brooks Street and Franklin Avenue.
Tree lighting festivities get underway at 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 30. There will be caroling and free samples from Luv’s Donuts, and Santa will light the tree at 6:50 p.m.
My personal tradition involves hauling the whole family to Bend Brewing Company immediately afterward for some tasty dinner and brews. They have one of my favorite kids’ menus in town, and I’m crossing my fingers the seasonal sour Ching-Ching will be on draft.
Hit the hiking trails
This is a great time of year for hiking around the Oregon Badlands Wilderness, so head east to explore this untamed area of Central Oregon. Tumalo Falls is another great hiking spot that shouldn’t be too snow-covered this time of year, or check out Cascade Hiking Adventures for other ideas.
Keep in mind you’ll want snowshoes if you venture too far toward the mountains. Why not book a guided snowshoe trip with Wanderlust Tours to get the most out of your outing? The Shoes, Brews, and Views tour pairs craft beer with an awesome snowshoe trek. Book early to make sure you get a spot!
Don’t see exactly what you’re looking for in that roundup of ideas? Check Visit Bend’s event calendar for more great ideas. Happy holidays, guys!
Welcome to your seventh edition of Mind Bend-ers, a special feature offering you the inside scoop on quirky Bend history and offbeat trivia.
Bend has a reputation for unique public art, and you can see plenty of it if you stroll around town or travel the Roundabout Art Route.
But one of the city’s most beloved pieces of art is actually, well…Art.
“Art” is the nickname given to the statue at the corner of Franklin and Wall in Downtown Bend. Created by artist Richard S. Beyer, this seven-foot cast aluminum sculpture was named The Traveler when it was placed there in 1982.
Since “The Traveler” doesn’t fit well on a driver’s license and makes an awkward match.com profile, he’s been called Art for as long as anyone can remember.
The sculpture was commissioned by Art in Public Places as part of an effort to rejuvenate Bend’s downtown area following a long recession. It was designed to capture Bend’s historic ambience, with the bench serving as a friendly gathering place for downtown visitors.
The artist modeled Art after a homeless acquaintance he’d met while working on a similar project in Seattle. He added a few ducks from nearby Mirror Pond to keep Art company, and depicted Art staring into his empty wallet.
The wallet seldom stays empty.
Bend visitors and residents are fond of filling it with all manner of treasures, ranging from coins to flowers to popcorn.
Rarely a day goes by that Art doesn’t pose for photos with a visitor’s arm slung fondly around his shoulders, and folks are keen on dressing him up, too.
Bend photographer Jill Rosell has photographed Art numerous times over the years, and posts many of the photos on her Facebook page. She’s seen people adorn Art with everything from umbrellas to a pumpkin hat to custom-knitted accessories courtesy of Bend’s resident “yarn bomber.”
Others have reported spotting Art wearing bunny ears, Santa hats, Valentine sweaters, and lacy lingerie. Though he vehemently denies the latter, he insists, “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
After years of suspecting Art longed for a lady friend, Rosell took matters into her own hands last weekend. She arranged a date between Art and her friend Maeve Perle, then photographed the date for posterity.
Though Art was a bit stiff at first, he warmed up eventually.
We’re expecting a June wedding.
It’s that time of year when Bend’s dry air can wreak havoc on our skin, and bundling up in winter coats and boots can leave you feeling less than glamorous.
It’s also the time of year when people start requesting ideas for locally-made holiday gifts.
Why not mash the two ideas together? Below are suggestions from five fabulous Bend women offering up their favorite locally-made products that help them feel fantastic!
Who am I?
Operations Director for Visit Bend
What made-in-Bend beauty product do I love?
Angelina Organic Skincare Double Action Ayurvedic Cleansing Grains and Youth in Bloom Hydrating Cleanser with Hyaluronic Acid.
Why do I love it?
I’m absolutely obsessed with skincare products and Angelina Organic Skincare makes some of the best! These two put together make for a great morning cleansing ritual. Here’s what I do: 1. While I’m standing outside the shower waiting for the water to warm up, I stick my hand under the water just long enough to make a paste with the Cleansing Grains and do a quick exfoliation as I’m getting into the shower. 2. After rinsing, I massage in the Hydrating Cleanser with Hyaluronic Acid and let it sit on my face until just before I’m ready to turn off the water and get out. I feel like this is an anti-aging double- whammy! Another great thing about the Cleansing Grains is that you can also use them to mix up a facial masque.
Who am I?
Marketing Manager for the Riverhouse Hotel & Convention Center, Crossings Restaurant, River’s Edge Golf Course AND Blogger at Working Mom Goes Green.
What made-in-Bend beauty product do I love?
Nashelle necklaces that benefit charities.
Why do I love it?
I love that Nashelle uses recycled 14k gold fill and sterling silver material, which fits perfectly with my family’s green/eco-friendly mission. Made in the USA, they also support many charity causes including Feeding America, Food for the Hungry, the Family Access Network, KIDS Center and their Pay it Forward line which benefit causes that are close to their heart, such as East Coast Disaster Relief in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Who am I?
The girl behind the curtain at LuLish Design (aka Founder & Creative Director)
What made-in-Bend beauty product do I love?
Traveler’s Spray Natural Sanitizer from T’s Tonics
Why do I love it?
This natural spray sanitizer is a favorite local product that I picked up year’s ago at Green Plow, a coffee house in Redmond, while waiting for my latte. I spray it on my yoga mat, in the car, on airplane seats, and occasionally huff it – it smells oh-so-good! It’s made with seven therapeutic essential oils shown to kill 99% of all air-born bacteria. I can be a germ-phobe so this made-in-Powell Butte product keeps me sane and comfy while traveling the world or just Highway 97. Plus, 25-percent of all profits go to help international student travel.
Who am I?
PR & Communications Manger for Visit Bend (and the regular author of this blog)
What made-in-Bend beauty product do I love?
Dirty Girl soap from LeCol’s Soap Bar
Why do I love it?
This amazing beer soap is made with beer from Boneyard. It smells fabulous and lathers up beautifully. The anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory components in hops make it great for skin, and the amino acids are very moisturizing. Best of all, we sell it at the Bend Visitor Center for only $5, so I can easily grab a bar when we run out at home. Oh, and lest you think it’s strictly a girly product, I should tell you my fiancé loves this beer soap, too (especially the one made with oatmeal stout).
Who am I?
Social Media Marketer, Tour Coordinator, and Beertender at Worthy Brewing
Planning Board Member and Social Media Coordinator with Central Oregon Beer Angels (a local women’s beer group)
What made-in-Bend beauty product do I love?
Hopped Up Jewelry
Why do I love it?
Central Oregon beer is a career and a hobby for me, and this line of jewelry is the best way to represent that! First of all, they’re SO cute. I get compliments on them constantly while pouring beers at Worthy Brewing. I love the fact that I can show my hop love with more than just a typical t-shirt. And they’re made locally by a super sweet lady, which is a big bonus. I’m currently coveting their new hop necklaces. If you’re reading this and want to buy me one, you get a free hug!
While some folks arrive with oodles of cash to spend on a Bend vacation, others find themselves rummaging between the car seats for change to buy a pint.
Hey, I’m not judging. I already revealed my cheapskate habits with last year’s blog post about Bend’s best lunches for $6 or less.
In that same spirit, I wanted to offer tips for guests looking to save serious cash on snacks and appetizers. Behold, here are some of Bend’s best cheap eats.
Free food? Really?
You’ve gotta know where to look, but it’s possible to find free eats in Bend. I’m not talking about the basket of bread that precedes your dinner (though for the record, I’m a sucker for the sourdough at Anthony’s in the Old Mill District).
For a small but tasty nibble, head to Drake and nosh on their delicious herbed popcorn. It’s free when you’re drinking or dining there, something I recommend doing if you’ve got a little pocket change to spare (and if that’s the case, their Shrimp-n-Grits with roasted peppers, caramelized onion, bacon, herbs, and pan sauce is TO. DIE. FOR).
But if you’re really scrimping and saving, your best bet is the D & D Bar and Grill. Please understand I use the expression “dive bar” as a term of the utmost fondness and affection when speaking of The D. They have some of the cheapest eats in town, and your best bet is during happy hour. From 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, you’ll find a warmer tray of free (yes, FREE) appetizers. I’ve seen everything from pasta dishes to stuffed tater skins to quesadillas, and they’re free (yes, FREE) for customers drinking or dining. Well drinks are $4 during happy hour, and beer prices range from $2.50 for Pabst Blue Ribbon to $3.75 for microbrews.
Cheap eats for fifty-cents to $2.50
There’s tons of great food on the happy hour menu at 10Below Restaurant & Lounge on the lower level of the Oxford Hotel, and you’ll find plenty of items for $4-5 whether you’re hitting happy hour from 4-6 or the one from 9-close.
But for the cheapest, tastiest treat of all, go for an order of deep-fried green olives for just $2. Deliciously salty with a crisp outer coating, they’re the perfect cheapskate complement to one of 10Below’s divine happy hour cocktails.
A few blocks away at 900 Wall, you’ll find another one of Bend’s tastiest happy hours from 3-6 p.m. nightly. There are ample eats in the $5-10 range (choose the deep-fried green beans at $5 for a splurge) but you’ll also find plenty of options on the lower end of the price spectrum. For just $1.50, choose from an oyster on the half-shell, a jumbo peel & eat shrimp, deviled eggs (you get three halves), tofu fritters (you get two), or a basket of fresh bread. While none of these alone offers a huge portion, it’s a good way to nibble without breaking the bank. The deviled eggs are my personal fave, particularly when you order them spicy and accompanied by a glass of crisp white wine.
For the biggest bang for your buck in this price range, head to Kayo’s Dinner House & Lounge on Monday evening. Starting at 4 p.m., you can get a tasty cheeseburger with fries for just $2.50. The price goes all night through the end of football season. You’ll find cheap deals on other nights of the week as well, including 50-cent oysters on the half-shell Wednesdays and Fridays, and two tacos for $5 on Tuesdays. Their other happy hour prices are pretty reasonable from 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, or hit ladies’ night on Thursdays for happy hour pricing all evening.
The cheapskate splurge: Grub for $3 to $3.50
The newest brewery on the Bend Ale Trail scene also has one of the best options in town for cheap eats. Head to Worthy Brewing every Thursday at 5 p.m. for their Firkin special. They tap a Firkin (about 10 gallons of beer) and dole out $3 pints and $3 snacks until the Firkin runs dry. These are no wimpy snacks, either. Choose from chicken strips with fries and a choice of dipping sauce, mini corndogs with fries, cheese sticks with marinara, or a crudités plate with dipping sauce. The $3 pricing lasts until the Firkin is empty, which usually takes about two hours.
Another budget-friendly option for grub is the slider menu at Caldera Grille. They have several dozen varieties to pick from, ranging from Hawaiian (ham, pineapple, swiss, and sweet & sour) to BBQ Beef (roast beef & grilled onions smothered in BBQ sauce topped w/smoked cheddar). Ordinarily, the price for two hearty sliders ranges from $4.50 to $5.50, but if you catch them during happy hour from 4-7 p.m. daily, you’ll pay only $3.50 to $4.50. There are 11 varieties at the $3.50 rate, so there’s bound to be something you’ll love. You can check out their entire slider menu here.
Craving something with a bit of Asian flair? Head to Dojo for their delicious happy hour from 4-6 p.m. daily. At the $3 price point, you can get a heaping pile of salted edamame, a hot bowl of miso soup, or my personal favorite, their spicy Thai cucumber salad made with red onion, chili, and cilantro. Their happy hour menu includes a number of tasty items like sushi rolls and sweet potato fries in the $4-$6 range as well, and their delicious coconut martini is always worth a splurge.
Broken Top Bottle Shop is another local hotspot offering some inexpensive options. They specialize in unique, healthy food, with plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes. Grab a cup of their delicious homemade soup for just $3.50, or opt for a single slider for the same price. Flavor combos vary, but recent offerings included a cream of mushroom soup and a slider with grilled zucchini, red pepper, portobello, provolone, and basil pesto. If you’ve got a little extra pocket change, pony up a full $9.50 for a trio of sliders. You can mix and match from the mouthwatering menu.
You know Bend is awash in amazing craft beer, and there’s a good chance you’ve clutched your Bend Ale Trail atlas while wandering from brewery to brewery gathering stamps to earn prizes.
But if it’s craft beer you’re craving, you don’t have to stick with breweries and bars to get your fix. Here are five not-so-typical places you can grab a cold, frosty beer made right here in Bend.
Would you like a beer with that mountain bike?
It might seem odd to order a beer at the same place you buy tires for your road bike, but believe it or not, Bend has two spots you can do that. Hub Cyclery is Bend’s newest bike shop, offering bikes, parts, accessories, repairs, and of course—beer! Come in for a tune-up or a little shopping, and belly up to the bar for a cold draft of Crux beer. There’s no charge for customers of legal drinking age who are there to shop or await some repairs.
Hub Cyclery isn’t the only game in town combining bikes and beer. Just a couple blocks away, Crow’s Feet Commons offers a full-service custom bike and ski community, café, and tap room all under one roof. Order a local brew to enjoy while you browse their impressive selection of bikes and winter gear. They sell beer from several local sources, including Deschutes, Boneyard, Good Life, Ale Apothacary, and Three Creeks, in addition to beer from outside Central Oregon. The café offers a hearty selection of nibbles and coffee drinks for those who require something beyond beer, but why would you?
Lights, camera, beer action!
There’s nothing like the simple pleasure of curling up with a pint of craft beer and a good flick on the big screen. Bend offers not one, not two, but THREE fabulous movie theaters that let you enjoy a brew with your meal.
First up is Tin Pan Theater, a cozy little downtown theater showing a wide range of indy films and older movies in their small but quirky venue. Pick your spot among the old-fashioned theater seats, then buy a pint of local craft brew and an order of popcorn to savor with the show.
If you prefer to sprawl on a sofa to enjoy craft beer and a flick, snag a comfy seat at McMenamins Old Saint Francis. Order a full meal to wash down with a pint of Ruby, or just nosh on an order of spicy tots to go with a glass of Terminator. Movies range from second-run flicks to indie films, and you can even catch a kiddie movie earlier in the day.
Bend’s newest addition to the lineup of theaters offering beer is Volcanic Theater Pub. You’ll not only find an impressive lineup of movies and Bend craft beer, but some live music and theater. The tap lists are impressive here, too, and you can opt for a cozy chair or sofa near the front, or a bistro table near the bar.
Get sweaty with your suds
It might seem odd to head to the gym for a pint of IPA, and for the record, I’m not actually suggesting you hop on the treadmill with a Hydro Flask of Hop Venom. But Scanlon’s restaurant at the Athletic Club of Bend has one of the most impressive happy hours in town, and their beer selection always includes tasty local craft beer. Pick a spot near the bar where you can watch sweaty club members en route from a vigorous workout. Then laugh, lift your pint high, and have another round of house-made lamb sausage over penne noodles (my personal favorite!)
Buzz cuts and brews
For more than ten years, Bond Street Barber Shop has been a beacon of guy-ness in Downtown Bend. That’s not to say ladies can’t enjoy a pint of ale while getting their bangs trimmed, but this place definitely caters to a more testosterone-fueled crowd. Customers get a complimentary glass of 10 Barrel beer while enjoying haircut for $21 or a hot shave for $20. They also offer kids’ cuts for $18, though I think we can safely assume your toddler won’t be offered an IPA. If beer isn’t your thing (pardon me while I shudder at the thought) they also offer Tequila Tuesdays and Bloody Mary Saturdays.
A gas station, a car wash, and a butcher shop
Sounds like the setup for a weird riddle inquiring what those three things have in common. Give up? All three are locations of some of Bend’s growler fill stations.
The Growler Guys have two locations in Bend, and both are housed in gas stations. The Eastside spot in particular has an impressive bar-like setup where folks can gather for a few yummy samples before filling a growler with tasty craft beer to take home. Both locations have more than 30 taps to choose from, so you’ll have quite a selection to pick from.
Another oddly situated growler fill station is Gorilla Growlers in Northeast Bend. Tucked in the same complex as the Empire Car Wash, it’s a great spot to get suds for yourself and your vehicle. They have 29 beers on tap, and allow you to sample a variety before you make your final selection. Bonus: free use of the vacuums when you get your car washed, so you can take care of three chores at once when you fill your growler here.
Not to be outdone as an unusual locale for scoring craft beer, Growler Phil’s shares space with Primal Cuts Meat Market. This fabulous little butcher shop is known for unique local specialties like bison, ostrich, duck, pheasant, rabbit, and elk, and the 29 taps at Growler Phil’s are changed out daily. Grab a few samples, pick your favorite craft beer to take home, then turn around and take five steps to the meat counter to stock up on local meats and cheeses. Voila! You’ve got dinner to barbecue at your Bend vacation rental.