This upcoming weekend will be a rare one for me, and I’m giddy as a schoolgirl. Not that I’m wearing a saucy plaid skirt and knee socks, and not that I’m running around unclothed, either. It isn’t what I’m wearing that has me excited, but rather what I’m doing.
Or not doing, as the case may be.
I have no out-of-town houseguests, no book tour commitments, and my gentleman friend’s offspring are with their mom. It’s a rare, lazy, weekend in Bend, and I plan to make the most of it.
Here’s what’s on my agenda for this awesome July weekend:
Take in a concert (or two…or three…)
The great thing about summertime in Bend is that there’s never a shortage of fabulous music. I plan to kick off my weekend early with a free Munch & Music concert in Bend’s Drake Park tonight. The shows happen every Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. through August 16, and offer fabulous music, food booths, arts & crafts, and great scenery.
But that’s just the warm-up.
This Saturday night, Chris Isaak is performing at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend’s Old Mill District. Tickets range from $39-$69, and rumor has it there are still some left. You can find me lounging in the grass sipping a glass of wine and grooving to the tunes as the sun goes down. If you’re not in town this weekend, don’t fret. There’s a full lineup of great concerts this summer ranging from Counting Crows to Norah Jones to ZZ Top to Brandi Carlile and much, much more. Check out the schedule here.
If you’re looking to keep things inexpensive, don’t miss the Free Summer Sunday concert series at the Les Schwab Amphitheater happening through August 12. Shows go from 2:30-4:30 p.m. and offer a great opportunity to enjoy a picnic in the grass and some great entertainment. Even Fido is welcome at these shows, so bring the whole family!
Float the river in style
Floating the Deschutes River where it flows through the Old Mill District is one of my favorite lazy-day Bend activities. I’m a fan of flopping my air mattress in the water either Riverbend Park or Farewell Bend Park (just a little upstream on the opposite shore just under the Bill Healy Memorial Bridge). I usually drift with a friend and do the two-car shuttle with one of us leaving a vehicle at Drake Park, but visitors might find it easier to nab both the inner tubes and a cheap shuttle ride from Sun Country Tours at their little trailer in Riverbend Park, or you can get river float tube rentals from Tumalo Creek Kayak.
For a list of rules and regulations or general tips on where to rent gear, where to jump in the water, or how to make the most of your river floating adventure, check out this post I wrote last summer with all the juicy details. Happy floating!
Grab a drink & sit outside
When evenings are warm, there are few things I love more than lounging on an outdoor patio with a cold beer or zingy cocktail. If you’re a beer fan, there are a lot of great spots for this along the Bend Ale Trail. One of my current faves is Bend Brewing Company, which has a terrific IPA and a great deck overlooking the river. I’m also newly in love with Bend’s latest brewery addition, Crux Fermentation Project. It has killer mountain views from the outdoor patio, and amazing beers like the scrumptious Just In Time NW Session Ale.
If wine is more your speed, the wine lists and outdoor patios are terrific at Portello Winecafe in Northwest Crossing, and at 900 Wall and Good Drop Wine Shoppe in Downtown Bend. In the Old Mill District, Anthony’s currently has an awesome Seafood Wine Taster flight that’s heavenly when you enjoy it on the outdoor patio watching the aforementioned river floaters drift past. Five bucks gets you three 2-oz pours of some great summer wines during happy hour (regularly $8).
Anthony’s also boasts one of my current favorite cocktails, the Cucumber Cooler. I tried it for the first time a week ago and nearly fell off my barstool swooning. It’s muddled mint and cucumber with gin, St. Germain liqueur, and a little Rose’s lime juice shaken over ice, strained, and served with a bit of soda water and a cucumber garnish. Yum! Other great spots for outdoor cocktails include Velvet and Amalia’s in Downtown Bend.
Giggle with Bill Cosby
There are still some tickets left to see America’s most beloved comedian on Sunday, July 22 at the Deschutes County Expo Center. Bill Cosby will take the stage at 1 p.m., and I plan to be there well in advance to grab good seats. Tickets are $32 for general floor admission, $38 for upper concourse, and $54 for reserved floor seating. Check the C3 Events page for details on where to get tickets (including day-of-show purchases if there are still seats left). This promises to be a terrific show for all ages, and I can’t wait to laugh myself silly.
Get batty about bats!
The High Desert Museum is one of our favorite stomping grounds when we have the kids, but the special exhibits make for fun kid-free days, too. This weekend offers something extra cool with the Live Bat Show.
Did you know Central Oregon bat species devour 600-1,000 mosquitoes per hour? Bats are one of my favorite animals on the planet, so I’m super excited about this special show July 16-22. Rob Mies of the Organization for Bat Conservation is introducing visitors to live bats including the world’s largest species of bat with a 6-foot wingspan. Shows are at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. You pay for regular museum admission, plus an additional $10 for adults or $5 for kids ages 2-11. Kids under 2 are free. For members, adults pay $7, kids 2-11 are $4, and kids under 2 are free If I were a betting woman, I’d say the weekend shows are going to sell out, so grab your tickets early.