If your Thanksgiving fantasies involve a delicious mix biking, hiking, and playing Snowflake Watch 2.0 (it’s a thing), we’ve got you covered for your 2019 Bend Thanksgiving vacation.
Wondering what’s happening Thanksgiving week in Bend? Gobbles…er, gobs of great stuff! Here’s what’s happening in Bend, Oregon, for Thanksgiving week 2019.
Gobble up some good grub
First things first. Let’s talk about where you’ll have your main meal on November 28 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. A handful of terrific Bend restaurants are standing by 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 – 6:00 p.m. Reservations are required, and the roundup of food will include fresh-carved turkey, fireside port cranberry relish, poached salmon, tortellini salad, garlic green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey gravy, along with a wide array of fresh fruit, salads, and desserts.
Another option is Currents at the Riverhouse, which boasts a Thanksgiving buffet from 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Reservations are strongly suggested. Selections include butternut squash soup with pumpkin spiced cream, a variety of green salads, along with roast turkey with mashed potatoes, sausage stuffing, garnet yam, cranberry relish, green beans, and gravy. You’ll also find non-turkey options like slow roast ribeye, grilled Idaho trout, NW fisherman’s stew, and winter bucatini with wild mushroom, butternut squash, sage, and goat cheese. There’s also a variety of desserts ranging from traditional pies to chocolate torte and carrot cake.
For more ideas on which restaurants are open for Thanksgiving 2019 in Bend, go here.
Burn off those Turkey Day calories
Feeling guilty about that sixth helping of mashed potatoes? Never fear, Central Oregon has a variety of Thanksgiving-themed runs, walks, and fitness classes to help burn off those extra calories.
The I Like Pie Thanksgiving day walk/run kicks off at 9:00 a.m. in Bend. There will be an untimed 5k community fun run/walk, plus an untimed 1.5 mile family run/walk. This year’s event features a new course design to ease congestion, and participants are encouraged to bring 5 lbs of non-perishable food for NeighborImpact. The race starts and finishes on Powerhouse Drive adjacent to the Century Plaza of the Old Mill District, and proceeds benefit Girls on the Run and NeighborImpact.
If you feel like visiting one of Bend’s neighboring towns, head a few miles north to Redmond where they’re holding their own Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. This is a 5k and 10k event (with a 1k kids’ event to boot!) that will start and finish at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds. As a special bonus for those registering online, every 5k and 10k pre-registered participant will receive an all-day lift ticket for Hoodoo Ski Area.
The day after Thanksgiving, the Turkey Trot is taking place at 10:00 a.m. in Sunriver, Oregon, on Friday, November 29. It’s a 5k fun run/walk that includes a themed costume contest, with prizes for the most decked-out individuals. Pre-registration is required to enter the costume contest.
To learn more about these races or other fitness events in Bend, check out our Event Calendar.
Who’s ready to ski?
Though early-season snowfall has been sparse in Central Oregon, the weatherman predicts some nice, fluffy flakes between now and Turkey Day.
Knowing folks expect the mountain to open the day after Thanksgiving no matter how much snow they have, Mt. Bachelor announced an official “Hopening Day” on November 29, 2019. It’s a free event from noon – 4:00 p.m. that will include hiking, family activities, scavenger hunts, and photo ops with ski patrol and avalanche dogs.
They’ll also have live DJ music and hot toddies for grownups, plus a winter toast with the Mt. Bachelor president on the West Village Lodge deck at 3:15 p.m.
Even the Nordic center is getting in on the action, with an open house featuring ski waxing, hot cider, and cookies.
The event promises fun for skiers and no-skiers alike, so mark your calendar for the official start of the season.
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, Athleta, Hello Sunshine, and more. Check out their Black Friday Specials page for info on who’s opening at 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., and other more sane hours.
Fans of outlet shopping will want to check out the Bend Factory Stores for big bargains. Shops include spots like the 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 T.J.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 Passport Event on November 30. You can collect passport stamps at more than 50 shops to score great deals and have a shot at amazing prizes. No purchase is necessary to play, and they’ll also have live music, drinks, vendor booths, and games. Check out their page for details about shops and specials, including deals at great local boutiques like Hot Box Betty, Local Joe, and Clementine Urban Mercantile.
Before we’ve even stashed the Thanksgiving leftovers, a lot of us are gearing up for the next major holiday. If you want 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 at 10:15 a.m. on Friday, November 29, 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.
Downtown Bend is another festive place to be, with bright strings of lights and decorations adorning streets and shops. The annual Christmas Tree Lighting is slated for Friday, December 6 this year, which gives a nice little gap between that and the Old Mill events. The live tree is located at the top of Drake Park near Mirror Pond Plaza, and will include plenty of activities and games. Keep your eyes on the page for more details. This is also when Santa makes his debut, and hangs out to kick off the Bend Christmas Parade the next day.
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:
- 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 the holiday season, you can catch special feature films like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, along with live productions like The Nutcracker.