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The top five things to do in Bend, Oregon this Thanksgiving

shopping in bend

So you’re spending Thanksgiving in Bend.

First, pat yourself on the back for your wise decision. Second, take a victory lap around the block and gloat to all your friends about how you get to spend the holiday in paradise.

Third, check out our top five suggestions for getting the most out of your Turkey Day in beautiful Bend, Oregon.


Gobble, gobble!

There are plenty of places to get your pumpkin pie fix in Bend this Thanksgiving.

Let’s face it—Thanksgiving centers around food. Great food, and lucky for you, Bend has oodles of restaurants serving amazing food especially for the holiday. The annual Thanksgiving buffet at McMenamins Old Saint Francis is a popular choice, with tasty options ranging from poached salmon to traditional turkey to brandied pumpkin pie with cinnamon whipped cream. It takes place from noon to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and costs $27 for adults, $16 for kids 5-12, and free for kids 4 and under. Reservations are required, so book ahead!

Another great spot serving a gourmet Thanksgiving meal is 10 Below on the lower level of the Oxford Hotel. The prix fixe menu includes mouthwatering items like

butternut squash bisque with goat cheese crostini and fried sage, and herb roasted turkey served with potato puree, balsamic roasted sweet onions and cherries, salsa verde and rich turkey gravy. Yum! The meal is available from noon to a 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and is priced at $38 for adults and $12 for kids 5-11.

For a complete list of restaurants serving food on Thanksgiving Day, check out our link on the Visit Bend dining page. Bon appétit!


Fly away fast, little birdie!

Prefer to see your feathered friends strutting happily in the grass instead of stuffed with cornbread? Drive a few short miles east of Bend to Petersen Rock Garden. There, you’ll see a mishmash of rock creations, cool landscape features, and live peacocks strolling the scenic four-acre property. Admission is based on the honor system with donation boxes at the entrance, and it’s a fun place to take the kids to scurry around burning off the pumpkin pie sugar buzz.

If you prefer your birds alive, check out the peacocks at Petersen’s Rock Garden.

If smaller, native birds are more your thing, check out Visit Bend’s birdwatching page for tips, maps, links, and other great info to get you started in your quest for seeing feathered friends in their natural environment.


Time to burn some calories?

Had enough of slouching on the sofa in front of the football game with a turkey leg dangling from your lips? Might be time for a bit of Thanksgiving Day exercise. There are several organized runs to choose from, including two separate events named Turkey Trot (don’t ask—lawsuits are pending) and the I Like Pie Thanksgiving Day run. Scope out the schedules and details on Visit Bend’s event page, and get signed up to sweat this Turkey Day!


Plot your quest for bargains

Once you’ve licked all the crumbs off your pie plate, it’s time to get to the serious business of holiday shopping. In Bend’s Old Mill District, Game Stop opens at midnight, with 2 a.m. openings slated for American Eagle, Bath & Body Works, Buckle, Oregon Locker Room, Pacific Sunwear, Victoria’s Secret, White House Black Market, and Zumiez. Check out their Black Friday Specials page for details and hours for other shops.

Downtown Bend has been hard at work decorating for your holiday shopping enjoyment.

Things are really hoppin’ at the Bend Factory Stores, where new shops like the Coach Factory Outlet and Pendleton Outlet are ready to entice you with extra special bargains. Black Friday weekend kicks off at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving with the Moonlight Madness preview party (including giveaways!) Stores open at 10 p.m. and stay open until 8 p.m. on Friday.

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 North Soles Footwear. Don’t forget the locally-owned shops in the Old Mill District, too, including Vanilla Urban Threads, Nashelle, and 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 Max 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.


Make a pilgrimage of your own

It’s a great time of year to visit the Oregon Badlands Wilderness.

Craving the opposite of the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping? Set out on a quest for fresh air and gorgeous scenery on some of our great local hiking trails. This is a particularly good time of year to visit the Oregon Badlands Wilderness, so head east to explore this untamed area of Central Oregon. 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!

So how will you spend this Thanksgiving? Please share! And pass the sweet potatoes, please.

The Bend Adventure Journal

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