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6 small but sweet things in Bend, Oregon


Welcome to the shortest month of the year! February may have the fewest days, but it happens to host some of Bend’s most fab events, including Zwicklemania, Oregon Winterfest, and Bend A Capella Fest.

One of the adorably awesome mini-cocktails at the Crater Lake Distillery tasting room.

Speaking of short stuff, Bend boasts a multitude of other small-but-awesome attractions. In honor of this short, sweet month, here are six small things worth savoring in Bend.


Mini cocktails at the Crater Lake Distillery tasting room

The Downtown Tasting Room for Crater Lake Spirits boasts a lot of cool things like a leather-topped bar and retail space for mouthwatering local spirits ranging from vodka to gin to whiskey.

But if you’re tucking a few bottles in your souvenir stash, you want to try before you buy. Belly up to the bar and order one of their adorable mini cocktails. It’s a great way to learn how to mix up that Sweet Ginger Vodka or Hazelnut Espresso Vodka into something even more magical.

Best of all, you get some sweet little sips that won’t fill you up before your dinner reservation or make you too loopy for the walk back to your Bend hotel.


Bitty bites at Chomp Chomp

In the first week it opened in late-January 2020, I visited Chomp Chomp three times. Suffice it to say, I’m diggin’ this hip new eatery with Japanese cuisine and one of the coolest looking bars in town.

The wonton tacos at Chomp Chomp are the perfect little mouthful.

But my favorite things about Chomp Chomp are the small bites. Not sure what you want to eat? Order a couple bacon-wrapped asparagus spears and some mini tacos. Split a skewer or two between friends.

The food is scrumptious, but the fact that you can try so many different things without filling up? That’s my kind of dining.


Sweet little desert flowers

Bend’s springtime blooms aren’t as showy as the ones in rainier parts of Oregon. But there’s something breathtakingly beautiful about the tiny wildflowers that spring up through soft sand between the lava rocks of Central Oregon’s high desert.

Beginning in late-February and early-March, keep your eyes peeled for blooms like bitterroot blossom, sand lilies, and dime-sized goldfields (often the first blooms of the season).

Sweet little sand lilies are gems of the high desert.

Pilot Butte is an excellent place to look, or take a hike through the Oregon Badlands Wilderness to spot those charming spots of color.

For more info on our native desert wildflowers, see this post from our friends at Deschutes Land Trust.


The Broom Closet Bar

Tucked away in a corner of the Art House building at McMenamins Old St. Francis, the Broom Closet bar would be easy to miss if you didn’t know where to look.

The Broom Closet Bar at McMenamins has a cozy, romantic vibe.
Photo by Kathleen Nyberg

Located on the north end of the third floor, it’s marked by an assortment of old-fashioned brooms and a hidden door that’s easily mistaken for a janitor’s closet.

Once inside, you’ll find a space that’s not much bigger than a closet, which is part of its cozy charm. Choose an off-peak time to visit, or you’re unlikely to snag a seat.

After you’ve found a spot, choose from a mouthwatering array of cocktails, beer, and wine, or a light snack like Thai peanuts or olives. Cheers!


Pint-sized pocket parks

Bend has more than 80 public parks, which range from riverfront hiking spots to family-friendly playgrounds.

Laurel Pocket Park in Midtown Bend is one of the tiniest parks you’ll ever see.

But some of its most charming additions have few frills at all. Instead, they serve as a delicious breath of fresh air on patches of land not otherwise suitable for development.

That’s the case with Laurel Pocket Park, which is a lovely little oasis at the intersection of Olney and 8th Street. Constructed entirely with community donations, its paver pathway offers a small space to stroll, or you can simply settle in to survey the birds and bugs and native plants that fill its small spaces. It’s a way station for March butterflies, and also part of the Great Sunflower Project (a study on hive collapse).

The desert-dwelling Western Painted Turtle is one of the adorable pint-sized creatures living at the High Desert Museum.

Want another quirky pocket park to check out on your Bend vacation? There’s an eensy-weensy triangle of a park in Downtown Bend created by OreGrown cannabis company. Learn more about it here.


Creepy crawlies at the High Desert Museum

Sure, the bobcat and otters and birds of prey are the showiest animals at Bend’s popular High Desert Museum.

But tucked back in the Desertarium, you’ll meet some of the littlest inhabitants of our high desert landscape. Froggies and spiders and scorpions (oh my!) are safe behind glass so you can get a close-up view of these small but remarkable creatures. 

It’s a sweet opportunity to learn about these integral members of our desert ecosystem and what you can do to protect them.




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