Who's ready for opening day at Mt. Bachelor?
Who’s ready for opening day at Mt. Bachelor?

You’re really quite smart, you know that?

No, this isn’t some newfangled inspirational blog post. It’s my way of saying you’re pretty darn clever for planning to spend Turkey Day 2015 in the land of snow-capped mountains and high desert stars.

So now that you’re here, what’s happening Thanksgiving week in Bend? Tons of fun! Here’s what’s in store for everyone who plans to be in Bend, Oregon for Thanksgiving 2015.

 

Gobble up some good grub

First things first. Let’s talk about where you want to have your main meal on November 26 this year.

For some, the thought of preparing your own feast in the kitchen of your Bend vacation rental has the homey sorta vibe you’re craving. If that’s the case, go here to scope out a variety of vacation homes and condos with ovens waiting to welcome that big, juicy bird.

If you’d rather leave the cooking to someone else, you have plenty of options to pick from. Check out this list for a roundup of restaurants ready to make your holiday meal extra special. The Thanksgiving buffet at McMenamins Old St. Francis is one of the most popular offerings in town, with mealtimes offered from noon to 6 p.m. Reservations are required, and the roundup of food will include fresh-carved turkey, fireside port cranberry relish, roasted pork loin with Edgefield cider jus, poached salmon, tortellini salad, garlic green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey gravy, along with a wide array of fresh fruit, salads, and desserts.

The cozy dining room at Greg's Grill is one of many spots in Bend where you can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner this year.
The cozy dining room at Greg’s Grill is one of many spots in Bend where you can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Other hotspots include 10 Below, Brasada Ranch, Black Butte Ranch, Crossings at the Riverhouse, Greg’s Grill, and oodles more. Be sure to check the list for a complete roundup of options!

Not in the mood to eat in a restaurant, but still don’t want to do the cooking? Not a problem! Catering experts Tate & Tate, The Well Traveled Fork, and Country Catering all offer holiday meals for pickup. Depending on when you read this, you may have missed the cutoff for Turkey Day, but now’s the time to plan ahead for Christmas Dinner!

 

Burn off those Turkey Day calories

Feeling guilty about that sixth helping of mashed potatoes? Never fear, Bend has a variety of Thanksgiving-themed runs and walks to help burn off those extra calories.

Run off those Turkey Day calories in the Thanksgiving Classic or one of the other fun runs happening this year.
Run off those Turkey Day calories in the Thanksgiving Classic or one of the other fun runs happening this year.

The Bend Thanksgiving Classic 10k/5k walk/run and the I Like Pie Thanksgiving day walk/run both kick off at 9 a.m. in different parts of Bend on Thanksgiving morning. The day after Thanksgiving, the Turkey Trot is taking place at 10 a.m. in Sunriver.

To learn more about each of these races, check out our Event Calendar.

 

Who’s ready to ski at Mt. Bachelor?

I know plenty of you are waxing your snowboards and tuning your skis in anticipation of Mt. Bachelor’s first day of operations. While things are always subject to change based on the whims of Mother Nature, Mt. Bachelor is currently scheduled to open Wednesday, November 25—the day before Thanksgiving.

Who's ready to carve some turns at Mt. Bachelor?
Who’s ready to carve some turns at Mt. Bachelor?

Make sure you check the online condition reports and follow Mt. Bachelor’s Facebook page for up-to-the-minute info about opening day. And oh yeah—pray for snow!

 

Shop ‘til you drop

For those who favor indoorsy pursuits over outdoorsy ones (or for those who simply love a good bargain), don’t miss the Black Friday shopping deals around town.

Bend’s Old Mill District features stores like Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Zumiez, and more. Check out their Black Friday Specials page for info on who’s opening on Thanksgiving day, as well as who’s opening at midnight, 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 5 a.m., and other more sane hours.

There are plenty of places to shop 'til you drop in Bend for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.
There are plenty of places to shop ’til you drop in Bend for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

Fans of outlet shopping will want to check out the Bend Factory Stores for big bargains. Shops include spots like the Coach Factory Outlet, Nike Outlet, Eddie Bauer, Columbia Outlet, and much more.

For deals at places like Best Buy and Cost Plus World Market, head north to the Cascade Village Shopping Center. And if big-box stores like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and TJ Maxx 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.

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 local boutiques like Hot Box Betty, Local Joe, and newcomer Clementine Urban Mercantile.

 

Christmas already?

Before we’ve even stashed the Thanksgiving leftovers, a lot of us are gearing up for the next major holiday. If you’re ready to get a jump on Christmas, check out the Old Mill District’s Holiday Happenings page for a roundup of what’s going down. Santa will arrive via helicopter around 10 a.m. on Friday, November 27, to begin his tour of duty at Santaland. There will also be oodles of other Christmassy offerings like free carriage rides, carolers, kids’ activities, and more. Go here to see what’s in the lineup.

Carriage rides are one of many festive traditions happening in the Old Mill District.
Carriage rides are one of many festive traditions happening in the Old Mill District.

Downtown Bend is another festive place to be, with oodles of lights and decorations adorning streets and shops. One of Bend’s most cherished holiday traditions is the annual Christmas tree lighting on November 28 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving). The live tree is located at the top of Drake Park near Mirror Pond Plaza, and guests get to sing carols and watch Santa light the tree. Festivities get underway at 6 p.m., but you’d be smart to arrive at least half an hour before that to find a spot.

 

Only in Bend

Yes, I acknowledge there are Black Friday sales and Christmas tree lightings happening in most towns around America this time of year. While I encourage you to enjoy those activities, here are a few only-in-Bend things to add to your holiday agenda:

Snowshoeing by starlight is one of those once-in-a-lifetime activities you can enjoy with Wanderlust Tours in Bend.
Snowshoeing by starlight is one of those once-in-a-lifetime activities you can enjoy with Wanderlust Tours in Bend.
  • Snowshoe with Wanderlust Tours. Let the naturalist guides at Wanderlust lead you into the wilderness to traipse through pristine fields of pillowy snow. Tours include all gear and transportation, not to mention snacks and warm drinks. They offer daytime or starlight outings, and kids are welcome, too.
  • Visit the High Desert Museum. Bend’s popular High Desert Museum offers fascinating exhibits, cool animals, and tons of opportunities to learn more about the culture and history of the high desert. Check out their website to learn more about the schedule of special events and exhibits at the museum.
  • Special programs at the Tower Theatre. Even if they weren’t having any shows at all, Bend’s historic Tower Theatre would be worth checking out just for the beauty of it. But during Thanksgiving week, you’ll have the chance to see the popular holiday film Elf on the big screen. The show starts at 7 p.m. on November 28, and you can get tickets here.

 

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