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.
For meals on non-holiday dates, be sure to check out our complete online Bend restaurant guide. You can peruse a variety of categories from seafood to Mexican to Asian to gluten free dining in Bend.
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.