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It's the most wonderful time of the year in Bend, Oregon

Bend Farmers Market

I’ve always heard parents aren’t supposed to have favorites among their children, which is reason #5982 it’s probably best I never chose to procreate.

But on that note, I do feel a little guilty having a favorite month in Bend. If I declare a favorite, do the other 11 months feel left out? Or will they understand that while I adore every month in this amazing city I’ve called home for nearly 14 years, I must admit I love September best of all.

Here are my top three reasons why:


The perfect weather

While we do get some unpredictably warm or cool days, the average Bend temperature in September is 72.4 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s warm enough for shorts and sandals, but cool enough you won’t drown in a pool of sweat having lunch at one of our fabulous outdoor cafes.

It’s also perfect hiking weather, particularly on any of the Cascade Lakes trails. The temperature is just right, and you don’t risk overcooking the way you might in August, or stumbling through snowfields the way you might in May. Check out our hiking page if you want some suggestions of great local hikes.

And don’t forget, the weather’s still great for floating the river or hooking up with Wanderlust Tours for one of their fabulous Moonlight or Starlight canoe tours. Just don’t forget to bring a sweatshirt. Evenings can get cool in late summer and early fall, as my droopy tomato plants will surely tell you.


A truly tasty time of year

A lot of great Bend restaurants have found a niche serving up seasonal, locally grown produce, and there’s something about fall’s bounty that seems to bring out the best stuff.

One of my favorite local eateries is Chow, which has seven raised vegetable gardens on the property. This time of year, they’re pulling up oodles of purple carrots and purple potatoes, along with rainbow and dragon peas. A house specialty is their divine eggplant parmesan, and if you don’t see it on the menu on any given day, just ask – there’s a good chance they’ll be able to go out and yank one out of the garden for you.

Fun at the Bend Farmers Market.

Er, the eggplant. Not the whole eggplant parmesan, though that would be cool.

Other great restaurants specializing in seasonal local produce are Ariana, 900 Wall and Jackson’s Corner.

If you’d prefer to handle food prep on your own, don’t forget the Bend Farmer’s Market is still going strong this time of year. Now’s a great time to stock up on fresh produce and flowers, not to mention enjoying live music and a great chance to stroll at the edge of Mirror Pond while the weather’s still warm.


Just the right amount of quiet

I work in the tourism industry, so believe me – I love tourists. I’d hug every Bend visitor if it were physically possible and there weren’t a strong likelihood of arrest.

That said, there’s something nice about the way things quiet down a bit in September. There are still plenty of tourists, but the vibe is more mellow. It’s easier to get restaurant reservations, and you’ll enjoy a bit more solitude when you visit popular attractions like the High Desert Museum or Lava Lands Visitor Center.

There are also lots of cool local events to check out, including  Oktoberfest in Downtown Bend, which happens every September. If you’ve never seen the famous Weiner Dog Races, you must stop whatever you’re doing right now and watch the hilarious video at the bottom of this post.

So what’s your favorite time of year in Bend? There’s no need to arm wrestle over it, though if you disagree with my September pick, I’d love to hear what makes your favorite month superior. For those who relate to my September lust, what do you think is the best part of this magnificent month? Please share!

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