Whether you’re a frequent Bend tourist, a dreamer planning your first Bend vacation, or a resident who pops in regularly to remind yourself why it’s so awesome to be here, there’s a web page you really need to bookmark. Ready?
It is hands-down the most comprehensive assembly of what’s going on around Central Oregon – every holiday and Christmas happening you can think of! You can search by date or by the type of activity you’re seeking, and it’s an invaluable resource for anyone seeking fun holiday events and activities.
I perused that handy resource this morning to pick out a sampling of some of the best things happening around Bend this holiday season. Here are a few highlights of things to do:
Make it a white Christmas
One of the best things about being in Bend for the holidays is that you’re pretty much guaranteed a white Christmas. True, it may not snow in town (though current weather predictions show a strong chance of snow on Christmas Eve, followed by low temps that would make the snow stick around for the next couple days).
But even if there’s no snow in the city, you just have to drive 20 minutes to Mt. Bachelor to find plenty of the white stuff. There, you’ll discover endless skiing, snowboarding, tubing, Nordic skiing, and sled dog rides. The big guy in red will even be there on Christmas Day for the annual Santa on the Slopes festivities, so make sure you check that out.
If snowshoeing is more your speed, get in touch with the folks at Wanderlust Tours to learn more about their daytime outings, moonlight tours, and their kid-friendly “Family Rumpus” snowshoe trips.
OK, but what if I don’t like snow?
Hey, I get it. While plenty of people flock to Bend in search of a classic winter vacation, there are others who aren’t huge fans of the white stuff.
Here’s the beauty of a winter vacation in Bend: While Mt. Bachelor gets an average of 462 inches of snow each season, the city of Bend averages only 23.8 inches. Credit the marvel of elevation gain for that one, but what it means for you is that it’s possible to appease the snow-loving and snow-hating members of your family with a single trip.
Hiking is a popular pastime all year long in Bend. My favorite wintertime hikes are Pilot Butte (offering killer views of the city) and the Oregon Badlands Wilderness for its rugged beauty and unique volcanic landscapes.
Organized tours are another great way to get to know Bend. The Bend Tour Company has a variety of offerings ranging from Segway tours to guided explorations of Bend’s unique public art collection. Let it Ride Electric Bikes offers another unique way to see the city with the option to pedal or let the motor do the work.
If you’re curious about Bend’s culinary scene, try a tour with The Well Traveled Fork. They offer walking tours around town, or outings like the Farm and Ranch Tour giving you an up-close-and-personal look at farming and ranching in Central Oregon.
I mentioned before that Wanderlust Tours has great snowshoe adventures, but they’ve also got plenty of non-snowy tours offering cave exploration and a chance to check out the Bend Ale Trail or the city’s breweries, distilleries, cideries, and wineries (ask about the Bend Brew Bus or the Local Pour Tour, respectively).
Bend has been lauded for its amazing food and the diversity of its culinary scene, so a winter vacation is a great time to sample from Bend’s best restaurants.
Finding holiday grub is important when you don’t feel like cooking on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Go here to find a roundup of which restaurants are open and what they’re serving for the holidays.
Many places require reservations, so make sure you call first to check on availability.
Shop ‘til you drop
Whether you’re scrambling for a last-minute gift, or looking to score some deals at post-holiday sales, you’ll find oodles of great shopping in Bend.
In the Old Mill District, Santa will be seeing kids at Santaland until 5 p.m. on Dec. 23, so you’ve still got time to tell the big guy what you want. Even if you miss Santa, you’ve still got time to enjoy a ride from Cowboy Carriage. Check out the Old Mill’s holiday happenings page for schedules and info.
Historic Downtown Bend is another terrific shopping district if you’re looking to score souvenirs or dine in some of Bend’s award-winning restaurants. Be sure to stroll adjacent Drake Park while you’re there, and snap a few photos of one of Bend’s scenic crown jewels.
For more ideas on shopping in Bend, go here.