This weekend marks my 44th birthday, which brings up the inevitable conversation in my household: How do you want to celebrate this year?
While you probably aren’t celebrating my birthday (though you really should seize the extra excuse to party) there’s a good chance you’ve had this same conversation about commemorating your own special occasion. Whether you’re marking an anniversary or the fact that it’s Tuesday, here are four ways to celebrate in Bend.
The fancy-pants celebration
If you’re jonesing for a special night out, start by getting prettified at Sage Beauty Boutique. They specialize in clean beauty products and spa services including facials, nails, waxing, and makeup application.
Next, spend some time strolling around Downtown Bend for a special accessory or a souvenir to take home. Village Interiors makes a nice stop between your spa appointment and your dinner date, so pop in to browse home furnishings and snag a cool vase or some snazzy Bend-esque throw pillows.
Now it’s dinner time. You’ve made a reservation at Jackalope Grill, so pop in early to grab a drink in their bar (their Old Fashioned is one of Bend’s best). If the weather’s warm, ask for a spot in their sunny courtyard fringed with fresh herbs and flowers. Their Dungeness crab-stuffed mushroom caps are my personal fave for appetizers, and their osso bucco entree is what keeps me coming back again and again. Their wine list is impressively well-rounded, so ask your server to recommend something that pairs perfectly with your meal.
Note to out-of-staters and assorted city folk: In Bend, “a fancy night out” means something different than it does in say, New York. While you’re welcome to go dressy if that’ll boost the specialness of the occasion, no one will bat an eyelash if you show up to dinner in shorts or jeans.
The outdoorsy celebration
This option is the one we’re choosing for my birthday celebration this year…
Pack your cooler with camping food and the car with your favorite recreation gear because you’re heading out for a wilderness adventure.
If you’re like me and feel safer having campsite reservations ahead of time, this is a good place to start. Otherwise, you’ll find plenty of campgrounds listed right here.
Now cruise to your chosen spot and let the fun begin. Set out on the lake for some standup paddleboarding, or cast a line in the crystal-clear river where you can watch the trout jumping for flies. Scope out nearby hiking trails, or give mountain biking a shot. Heck, just park your chair and read a good book—that’s my idea of a perfect afternoon.
As the sun sinks below the horizon, bust out the camp stove and make yourself a gourmet meal with a tasty side of fresh air. Be sure to check this site for up-to-the-minute restrictions on campfires and open flames so you don’t inadvertently set the forest on fire or get yourself arrested.
Then bunk down under a moonlit sky to count your lucky stars for whatever it is you’re celebrating.
The once-in-a-lifetime celebration
Sometimes you want to commemorate a big milestone by crossing something MAJOR off your bucket list.
Maybe it’s an adrenaline-fueled adventure like bungee jumping or gliding in an ultralite craft or a hang glider.
Other times it’s one of those only-in-Bend experiences like a romantic sunset dinner at 7,800 feet (followed by a chairlift ride down Mt. Bachelor under the stars).
If you’re one of those people who wants to say, “I celebrated my 50th by flying in a helicopter over the Cascade Mountains,” Bend has you covered.
For more ideas on special Bend experiences, peruse visitbend.com and create your own Love List of ideas for your special Bend adventure.
The budget-friendly celebration
You don’t need to spend a bundle to have a super-special celebration in Bend. Swing by Newport Avenue Market or the Bend Farmers Market to gather a basket of gourmet picnic goodies. Grab something simple like a block of gourmet cheese and a pint of fresh cherries, or maybe pick up a full spread of sushi or deli sides at Newport Market.
Picnic basket in hand, head to one of the 80+ parks scattered around Bend. With that many options to choose from, you can pick between family-friendly playgrounds where kids can run free, or scenic riverfront gems with picnic tables and barbecues for guests to use. You can even scope out tucked-away little pocket parks in neighborhoods, or sprawling nature preserves like Riley Ranch.
To pick your perfect picnic park in Bend, start here.