My rib art, courtesy of Aaron Borden at Monolith Tattoo.
My rib art, courtesy of Aaron  at Monolith Tattoo.

Sure, most folks plan a Bend vacation to enjoy popular activities like hiking, biking, skiing, or sipping suds on the Bend Ale Trail. While I encourage you to do every single one of those things (though not necessarily in that order) why not leave room in the agenda for some of Bend’s less common attractions?

Here are just a few to put on your bucket list.

Get tattooed

While permanently inking your body isn’t something you want to do on a whim, visitors already considering some new body art might appreciate the significance of getting a tattoo to commemorate a Bend vacation.

My husband's forearm art, courtesy of Jace at Eternal Body Art.
My husband’s forearm art, courtesy of Jace at Eternal Body Art.

Bend has an abundance of top-notch tattoo studios to pick from, with award-winning artists eager to give you a souvenir you’ll always remember. My personal fave is Monolith Tattoo Studio, which has been named Bend’s best tattoo studio three years in a row by readers of The Source Weekly. They have seven different artists offering distinctive styles and experience, and they’re always willing to do custom designs. Appointments can book up fast, though you can sometimes spot last-minute openings on their Facebook page. Either way, it’s wise to plan ahead if you think you might want some vacation ink.

One more studio worth noting is Mum’s Tattoos. Angela has been tattooing for nearly two decades, and she’s a favorite among many locals (particularly those who fancy a female artist and studio owner). She did a nice piece on the back of my neck several months ago, and I had good luck getting a last-minute appointment during slower winter months.

 

See a psychic

Whether you’re a staunch believer in all things paranormal, or just someone with a mild curiosity, a visit to a professional psychic, oracle, or other intuitive professional is one of those bucket list items you kinda ought to try at least once. Why not give it a shot while you’re in Bend?

Bend's Cosmic Depot is a great spot to delve into a more offbeat side of Bend.
Bend’s Cosmic Depot is a great spot to delve into a more offbeat side of Bend.

Kaira Sherman of Divine Guidance offers services ranging from tarot card readings to spiritual guidance since 1998. I had the pleasure of doing a short reading with her several years ago at a street fair in Downtown Bend, and I was amazed by her insights and professionalism. She does readings in her local studio or by phone, and even teaches regular classes on tarot and intuitive development.

Brenden Avery Butler is another local intuitive offering readings I can pretty much guarantee will blow your mind. I’ve visited him on two occasions, and also have several friends who’ve walked away from a reading marveling at the depth of insight he offered. (Common refrain: “Seriously, there’s NO WAY he could have known that stuff about me – I’ve never told anyone!”) Aside from the mind-blowing aspect, it can bee a good way to gain insight into a troublesome issue, untie knots, overcome an obstacle, heal, or grow in some fashion. Not a bad way to spend some vacation time, eh?

Brenden does readings by donation, and you can get in touch by phone (541-771-8447), email (info@brendenbutler.com), or telepathy (I’ll leave that one up to you).

When summer rolls around, the Cosmic Depot holds weekly events on the sprawling lawn outside their shop. There, you’ll find an array of tarot card readers, Reiki practitioners, astrology experts, and more, offering services in exchange for donations to the local food bank. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for details and dates, or stop by the shop to browse their awesome selection jewelry, tapestries, incense, candles, stones, essential oils, legal herbal smoking pipes, and more.

 

Get airborne

You may have glimpsed Bend from above by hiking Pilot Butte, but you haven’t truly seen an aerial view of our fair city until you’ve done a scenic aerial flight.

How's this for a once-in-a-lifetime experience? The folks at Airborne Outback Adventures can hook you up with a tour!
How’s this for a once-in-a-lifetime experience? The folks at Airborne Outback Adventures can hook you up with a tour!

Several companies offer tours and discovery flights departing the Bend airport by helicopter or small plane, including Professional Air and Leading Edge Aviation. There are even options that allow you to co-pilot the plane with help from an instructor.

For a super-unique experience, head to the Redmond airport for a tour with Big Sky Balloon Company. They do scenic balloon flights in a hand-painted balloon.

If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, book a jump with Central Oregon Skydiving, or check out the ultralight flying options from the folks at Airborne Outback Adventures.

For a list of all the tour operators and options, visit our Aerial Tours page on the Visit Bend website.

Oh, and if you’re craving a flight experience, but prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, check out the North Star Flight Lab to try a hydraulic flight simulator that’s amazingly realistic and accurate.

 

Swill beer at a museum

Vintage beer cans are part of the display at the High Desert Museum's new craft beer exhibit.
Vintage beer cans are part of the display at the High Desert Museum’s new craft beer exhibit.

The High Desert Museum is always on my list of recommended spots for visitors, whether they’re fond of natural history and culture, or fans of critters like porcupines, otters, badgers, birds of prey, and a bobcat.

But from January 16 through Memorial Day Weekend 2015, there’s an extra incentive to stop by for everyone with an interest in Bend’s craft beer scene. The new exhibit titled, “Brewing Culture: The Craft of Beer” opens January 16 with an exhibit preview party at 6:30 p.m. that will feature live music, kids’ activities, a panel discussion, and tastings from ten local breweries. Go here to buy tickets and RSVP (which is kinda mandatory, since it’s likely to sell out).

Even if you miss the opening event, the exhibit itself is worth checking out while you’re in Bend. Conceived and designed by the High Desert Museum curatorial staff, it will present the history of brewing, the ingredients used in craft beers, the process of brewing, and the culture of the craft brewing industry. Go here to learn more.

 

Sample from a hodge-podge of other ideas

Still looking for unique things to try while you’re in Bend? Here are a few more ideas:

  • Maverick’s Country Bar & Grill offers regular line dancing, dance lessons, and live music. Check out their Facebook page for up-to-the-minute schedules and info.

    The free app for the Heritage Walking Tour from the Deschutes Historical Society is a great way to scope out the history around Downtown Bend.
    The free app for the Heritage Walking Tour from the Deschutes Historical Society is a great way to scope out the history around Downtown Bend.
  • History buffs will love downloading a free app to enjoy The Heritage Walk history audio tour of Downtown Bend. It’s offered by the Des Chutes Historical Museum, and you can read all about it here.
  • Want to watch chicks on roller skates shoving each other around? Check the schedule for the Lava City Roller Dolls, and enjoy a fun evening of roller derby action.
  • The Well Traveled Fork offers a variety of cooking classes and tours to add some culinary spice to your Bend adventure.

 

And don’t forget, the Visit Bend Event Calendar is packed full of unique activities ranging from concerts to organized hikes to educational presentations.

Now get out there and do something fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *