March is a fab time to be female in Bend.
That’s thanks in part to Bend Women’s March, which offers enough female-centric hiking, biking, film screenings, and celebrations of womankind to make your head spin all month long.
But even if you’re not visiting for that, we’ve got tons of other ways to plan the ultimate girls’ getaway to Bend, Oregon this winter. Here’s how to do it.
Start with a perfect home base
Bend boasts plenty of great spots to stay, so book according to the sort of weekend you’re planning with your favorite gal pals.
Just half a mile away, Wall Street Suites has a similar luxury vibe, but with suites that boast full kitchens and a cozy outdoor fire pit for mingling with other guests.
If you want to take the social scene to the next level, LOGE Entrada’s brand new remodel created a space that feels like grownup summer camp, complete with s’mores roasting stations, in-room hammocks, and a communal hot tub for a post snow-play soak. Speaking of which…
Let’s hear it for the snow!
Just 20 minutes up the hill from Downtown Bend, Mt. Bachelor boasts more than 4,300 acres of lift-accessible terrain and the highest skiable elevation in all of Oregon and Washington. Bonus bragging rights: You can tell all your friends you’ve skied a volcano.
If skiing and snowboarding aren’t your scene, you can check out Mt. Bachelor’s other snowy attractions including sled dog rides, Nordic skiing, and the Snowblast Tubing Park (my personal fave to enjoy with a pack of girlfriends who may or may not be comfortable strapping boards to their feet and aiming them downhill). Fuel up afterward with a Mountain of Nachos and a bloody mary at the Clearing Rock Bar.
For a slower-paced snow adventure, try snowshoeing. You’ll find oodles of trails around the Wanoga and Dutchman Flat Sno-Parks, or leave all the decision-making (not to mention the driving, gear, and snacks) to someone else when you book a guided snowshoe adventure with Wanderlust Tours. Their moonlight outings make it easy to pack the maximum amount of activity into your day.
Book your bliss
All that winter adventure has your muscles humming pleasantly with fatigue, so it’s time for some pampering with your pals.
Book a spa date at one of Bend’s full-service day spas and let all the ladies choose from massage, facials, pedicures, body wraps, or the full meal deal (you’re on vacation, after all—why not splurge?)
For my fellow budget-conscious ladies, consider a cheapskate spa date with the student salon at Phagan’s Cosmotology Colleges. I’ve gotten some fab facials there for only twenty-five bucks, which leaves a few extra coins in your pocket for the important things in life. Namely…
Let’s hit the town!
You’ve nailed the exercise and pampering, so now it’s time for an evening on the town.
My favorite spot to start is Dogwood Cocktail Cabin where the massive (and creative!) cocktail list makes it easy for everyone to get something different and swap tastes to create your own mini tasting menu. Their happy hour lasts from 5-7, making this a nice spot to kick off the evening. (Pro-tip: Have your crew split a couple orders of their dirty popcorn so no one ends up tipsy before dinner).
To keep the happy vibes going, head across the street to 900 Wall for dinner and drinks, or trot just a couple blocks away to Drake. Both have excellent and eclectic menus, plus more creative cocktail offerings and a hip scene that’s perfect for an evening out with the girls.
If you’re hanging in the Old Mill District, you can do the same happy-hour-and-dinner circuit by starting out at Level 2 for drinks and apps (try the Level 2 cocktail with Absolut mandarin vodka, Hypnotiq, passionfruit syrup, orange juice, cranberry juice, and a splash of champagne!) Then walk a few hundred feet to the brand new Boxwood Supper Club, which has quickly become one of my favorite Bend eateries since they opened a couple months ago. Their hangar steak with bacon-wrapped cheesy potato and escarole is TO DIE FOR, and their fried Brussels sprouts with ponzu sauce, sesame, and lime will make you see God.
A second helping of outdoor fun
When you wake up on day two, it’s time to hit the outdoor scene again.
If you’re up for more snow fun, fat biking gives you the chance to combine the thrill of regular mountain biking with big, squishy tires that let you pedal the winter trails for a fresh new thrill.
Need a break from snow? While big dumps of snow like we’ve gotten this week make it tough to find trails that don’t have at least some of the white stuff, milder winter weeks offer plenty of options for winter hiking. The Oregon Badlands Wilderness is one of my favorite areas, with minimal elevation gain and plenty of open space for exploring. For more of my favorite winter hiking trails in Bend and Central Oregon, check out this post.
Time to get toasty
Bend’s abundance of frosty winter weather also means we’ve got ample ways to get warm and toasty!
Grab the girls and find a restaurant or brewery with a toasty fire pit. I’m partial to the ones outside O’Kanes at Mcmenamins Old St. Francis School, which comes with the double bonus of being close to their Turkish soaking pool. Grab the girls and make an afternoon of it, with stops for beer and tots in between toasting and soaking.
Other noteworthy fireside spots around town include the one at Crux Fermentation Project, the cozy indoor fireplace at Cascade Lakes Lodge, and the big, concrete fire pits dotted around the Old Mill District that are the perfect spots for your group to stop while you’re down there hopping between wine tasting rooms at Naked Winery and Va Piano.
Want a different sort of soaking experience? Plan an outing at Easy Float and get ready to soak your cares away in a soundproof tank filled with Epsom saturated water heated to skin temperature that basically allows you to lose all sense of gravity, time, and where your body ends. You’ll walk out feeling like you’ve spent an hour in a warm cocoon.
Sample some craft beverages
You’ve already done cocktail hour, so now it’s time to see what else Bend’s craft beverage scene has to offer.
Grab a Bend Ale Trail atlas from one of the local breweries and spend some time sipping tasty suds while gathering passport stamps to earn prizes.
If distilled spirits are more your scene, check out the Crater Lake Spirits Downtown Tasting Room in Downtown Bend, or go the extra mile to their distillery between Bend and Sisters for an up-close look at the distilling process (not to mention lots of samples of gin and vodka!)
Want more distillery action? Oregon Spirit Distillers makes some of the best whiskey around, and their intimate distillery tours make a fun group activity. Afterward, fuel up with a flight and some nibbles.
Can’t decide between all the great craft beverage options? Book a Local Pour Tour for a behind-the-scenes look at a brewery, cidery, distillery, winery, and kombucha brewery. It’s the best of all worlds!
Time to shop
At the risk of making this a cliché “girls like to shop” kinda post, I have to say that no Bend vacation is complete without a bit of browsing in the city’s top shops.
Once you’ve scoped out that scene, head for the Old Mill District to enjoy cool local shops like Vanilla and Hello Sunshine, not to mention awesome river views while you stroll.
Since your girls’ weekend is almost over, be sure to nab souvenirs for the folks back home so they know you spent the whole weekend thinking about them.
Don’t worry—I tell that they didn’t cross your mind once while you were off having fun in Bend!