There’s a reason the week surrounding Independence Day marks the most popular time to visit Bend. Skies are clear and sunny, and there’s a buzz of celebration in the air. Families float the river for the Fourth of July, then gather to watch fireworks explode above Pilot Butte.
Wondering what’s on tap for July 4, 2022, in Bend? Here’s the skinny!
Bring on the Bend fireworks!
One of Bend’s most treasured holiday traditions is the annual fireworks display fired from atop Pilot Butte.
Here’s where I’ll pause to let locals snicker and ask which side of the Butte will catch fire this year, and yeah—that’s a thing. But thanks to the skill of our local fire department, it’s generally contained quite quickly.
Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. on July 4, and you can see the show from just about any place in Bend with a view of Pilot Butte. Scope out this parks list for ideas and bring blankets for bundling, as our high mountain oasis gets chilly at night. Some spots fill early, so just like you do when choosing hiking trails, have plans A, B, and C, so you’ve got options if you show up and find no room for your chair.
If you need another fireworks fix, professional fireworks displays are also scheduled for Vince Genna Stadium on July 3, and at Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center and La Pine Frontier Days on July 4.
What about personal fireworks in Bend? I’ll rip the Band-Aid off fast and say the City of Bend permanently banned the sale and the use of both legal and illegal fireworks last year. You can’t buy ’em here, and you definitely can’t use ’em. Much as I love the thrill of twirling sparklers through the breeze, the ban is a blessing to our fire-prone, drought-stricken desert town, so let’s all work together to protect this place we love.
As is always the case, fireworks are illegal on all public lands around Bend. We thank you for leaving the explosions to the pros and helping to keep all of us safe in Central Oregon.
Bring on the pet parade!
The Bend Pet Parade is back and better than ever! This family-friendly parade has been a Bend tradition since 1924, with only three missed occasions for World War II in 1943 and for COVID in 2020 and 2021.
But 2022 brings it back in full swing with a brand new staging area and route to accommodate this ever-popular event.
The parade lineup begins at 9 a.m. in Harmon Park, which is a switch from the former location in downtown Bend. The route will head north on Harmon to Newport, then east on Newport to Wall Sreet, and down Wall to the finish in Drake Park. It’s the same route used for the Christmas Parade and Veterans Parade, so you might already be familiar.
All ages are welcome to participate or watch and no registration is required. Costumes are a plus! Pets must be leashed, and no rabbits, cats, or aggressive animals are allowed. Large animals like horses and cows should arrive early, as trailer parking on Riverside Blvd. is limited.
For more info on the Pet Parade, go here.
What else is happening?
If you’re looking for news on Bend’s traditional Old Fashioned 4th of July Festival in Drake Park, I’m sorry to say it’s not happening in 2022. For Bend Park & Rec, coordinating the festival requires tremendous staff time and resources that were already allocated to recreation programs and outreach efforts this summer. Tack on construction projects in Drake Park and a full slate of other summer events and it became necessary to nix the festival for 2022.
But there’s still plenty of fun to be found in Bend!
Independence Day weekend kicks off with First Friday Art Walk in downtown Bend on Friday, July 1. There’s also a concert at Hayden Homes Amphitheater with Ween taking the stage on Sunday, July 3. For more event ideas, check out our Event Calendar to see what’s happening.
The holiday weekend makes a great time to trek the Bend Ale Trail and its assorted stops, including breweries, distilleries, cideries, wineries, and paired experiences rounding out the seven territories of America’s favorite beer trail.
If you think Mt. Bachelor is only a wintertime attraction, you’re in for a treat. The mountain’s summer season is already in full swing with the downhill mountain bike park, disc golf, ziplining, and sunset dinners at Pine Marten Lodge.
Planning to float the river? Check out this blog post for everything you need to know bobbing cheerfully down the Deschutes in 2022.
Though the High Desert Museum is closed on Independence Day, be sure to stop by on a different day during your trip. Their schedule is chock full of cool activities and exhibits, including their popular Raptors of the High Desert shows.
Another popular Independence Day attraction returning after a two-year hiatus is 4th of July Free Day at the Deschutes Historical Museum. The museum opened its doors 42 years ago on July 4, 1980, and they’re celebrating with free admission, free ice cream cups and popsicles (while supplies last), and games on the lawn. Museum hours are 10-4 that day, and it’s a family-friendly event.
Planning to play outside for the long holiday weekend? Outdoor adventure is Bend’s biggest draw, and you’ll find plenty of ways to embrace Mother Nature. From hiking to canoeing to fly fishing, make sure you’re scheduling some time to get your nature fix. If you feel like giving back to the places that feed your soul, consider a donation to Pledge for the Wild through the Bend Sustainability Fund to help land managers tend the land and water you love.
Uh-oh…I don’t have a place to stay. Now what?
Independence Day is typically one of the busiest times of the year in Bend, so pat yourself on the back if you’ve already nailed down lodging reservations.
If you haven’t, you can browse our lodging pages as a starting point for deciding who to call about last-minute availability and cancellations. If you strike out in Bend, try one of our neighboring towns like Redmond (20 minutes away), Sisters (25-30 minutes away), Sunriver (25-30 minutes away), La Pine (30 minutes away), or Prineville (45 minutes away).
If camping’s what you’re after, keep in mind that COVID has changed the landscape in lots of ways. For starters, most campgrounds now require reservations, many of which booked up months in advance. Secondly, the pandemic caused a surge in the popularity of camping and RVing, so there are tons more people trying for campsites even if they’d never pitched a tent two years ago. Competition is fierce for the few first-come, first-served sites out there, so there’s a good chance you’ll strike out if you sally forth without something nailed down. Check out our complete roundup of campgrounds and RV parks to get a sense of what’s out there, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
Anything else I should know about Independence Day in Bend, Oregon?
It’s been a rough couple of years for all of us. Restaurants and hotels have been hit hard by staffing shortages and COVID-related challenges. If your wait time is a little longer than normal, give a holiday gift of patience and understanding to the server doing the best she can in these tough times.
Try extending the same kindness to your fellow adventurers as well. That guy hesitating too long at a roundabout may not have left his house much while caring for an ailing loved one, so ease off the horn. That jam-packed trailhead you’re desperate to hit will still be there next year, so there’s no need to rage at fellow hikers or invent your own parking spot on the fragile forest floor.
If we’ve learned nothing else these past couple years, it’s that we’re all in this together. Be kind to one another, folks. I’ll see you out on the trail.