Saying Bend has a unique vibe is kinda like saying there’s beer on the Bend Ale Trail. It goes without saying. Nearly every day, I’ll see or experience something that makes me smile fondly and think, “that could only happen in Bend.”
Here are twelve things that make you absolutely, positively certain you’re in Bend (and loving every minute of it).
Even the dogs have a waterpark. You know Bend was named the nation’s dog-friendliest city by Dog Fancy magazine, but you haven’t fully grasped the magnitude of this until you visit the 17-acre Bob Wenger Memorial Off-Leash Area—one of seven dog parks in the city limits—and witness Fido and Rover frolicking in their very own canine spray park. For more info and a map to the park, go here.
Have air mattress, will travel. You see a giant air mattress walking down the street and instead of thinking “what the @#$% is that?” you think “I’d better learn everything I need to know about floating the Deschutes river.”
- Free beer and a bike repair. You belly up to the bar at Hub Cyclery and enjoy a complimentary Bend draft beer while you wait for your bike to get fixed.
- Your restaurant, bike trail, and art gallery all have fresh air and mountain views. In Bend, we take our outdoor pursuits seriously. From oodles of Bend restaurants with patio seating to 277 miles of singletrack bike trails, Bend offers everyone the opportunity to play outside—even the art. Check out the Roundabout Art Route (a collection of sculptures in the city’s traffic circles) and the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection (an awesome array of paintings scattered throughout Downtown Bend).
Sunsets, fitness, romance, and beavers? You head out on the Deschutes River for some standup paddleboarding with your fiancé just before sunset. Over the course of an hour, you enjoy passionate conversation, a brisk core workout, the joy of paddling through water tinted pink-orange by the setting sun, and the sight of three large beavers dragging hunks of river weed to shore for a dinner salad. This is how I spent both Monday and Tuesday evening this week, and it’s how I plan to spend a lot more evenings this summer. Did I mention this was all within a few hundred yards of a killer shopping district and dog park in the Old Mill District?
- Making friends on the Bend Ale Trail. You show up at the Bend Visitor Center with a completed Bend Ale Trail Atlas at the same time as a couple from Austin, Texas, and another set of beer fans from Canada. You all become fast friends while chatting about your favorite breweries, and agree to walk down the street to Deschutes Brewery to discuss the issue in more depth.
Deer and dentistry. You go to the Bend office of Mark E. Jensen, DMD, for a routine dental checkup and see a family of deer in the parking lot.
- One Subaru, two Subarus, three Subarus. You realize at least half the cars on the road at any given time are Subarus, and that most have bike racks attached.
- You hike a volcano on your lunch break. Bend is one of only a handful of cities in the continental U.S. with a dormant volcano in the city limits, so visitors and locals alike enjoy hoofing it up this 500-foot cinder cone for sweeping city and mountain views.
- Double-duty recreation. En route to Mt. Bachelor, you see someone peddling uphill with a snowboard strapped to the back of his bike. On the way home, you see a car loaded down with mountain bikes, a canoe, and fishing gear.
Is it a bar or a bike? Driving your car through downtown on a Saturday night, you’re passed by three different CyclePub vehicles en route to the next brewery. All the riders cheer for no apparent reason, peddling gleefully while sipping ale from their Silipints.
- River views and a bang trim. You enjoy killer views of the Deschutes River while having your hair trimmed and highlighted at Luminescence Salon.