If you find hearts in your eyes and snow in the mountains, odds are good you’re visiting Bend in February.
With Valentine’s Day at the core of this short month, there’s love in the air, along with winter’s chill.
Wondering what to do, see, eat, or drink this February in Bend? Here’s what’s happening in this itty-bitty month packed with lotsa heart and soul.
Love is in the air
Full-disclosure: When a tourism bureau has a blogger with a not-so-secret life as a USA Today bestselling romance author, count on lots of content about luuuurve.
In 12+ years of this blog, I’ve rounded up wintery ways to show your love, some fabulous Valentine’s dates, the best places to kiss, some cute Bend proposal stories, and Valentine’s gifts to exchange besides germs (it was pandemic times, what can I say?)
I guarantee I’ll never run out of romance-inspired blog ideas, but my author career has little to do with it. There’s simply something magical in Bend each February.
Bend restaurants bust out specialty menus filled with comfort food and prix fixe dinners designed for romantic dates. Tour companies like Wanderlust bust out Valentine’s packages (and though it happened in January, a co-worker’s recent Wanderlust snowshoe wedding was the most romantic thing in the history of hearts and flowers).
Why not embrace February as a chance to show your sweetheart how much you care?
Book a couples’ massage day at a Bend day spa. Take a romantic twirl together with a skate date at The Pavilion’s ice rink. Pick a Bend Sno-Park and make snow angels together. Heck, go the freebie route and use a fingertip to draw a heart in frost on your honey’s car window.
There’s so much love to go around that I feel dizzy. Spread some around this February in Bend!
Time to get serious about winter play
Mt. Bachelor boasts one of the longest ski seasons in North America, spanning from November through the end of May (weather permitting).
But don’t get cocky thinking you’ve still got half a season left.
March and April get busy with crowds of spring breakers flocking from around the Pacific Northwest. While May can bring epic bluebird days, it can also bring naked ski slopes if it’s not a great snow year.
If snowmobiling’s on your bucket list, now’s the best time to book that grand adventure. Add it to a romantic winter getaway complete with a couples’ cross country ski outing or a snowshoeing trip to a snuggly, cozy warming hut.
We’re back to romance again, aren’t we?
A good time to be a beer geek
But Bend beer’s most underrated sudsy event happens in our shortest month with brewery tours, prizes, and more. Zwickelmania takes place each February and is sponsored by the Oregon Brewers Guild. They typically split it into two weekends, with Portland peeps getting their own event a week before Bend’s breweries throw open their doors for throngs of beer fans. It’s a more intimate event than you’ll find at some of those bigger shindigs, with a chance to chat with brewers and sample seasonal beers. Some even offer kiddie games and other family fun.
Can’t make it out that weekend? February’s still a great time to sample all those hearty winter ales and heavier porters along the Bend Ale Trail. With summer’s crowds a distant memory, you’ll have an easier time finding tables or fireside sipping spots at your favorite Bend brewery.
Music aficionados, rejoice!
For the shortest month of the year, February packs a punch on Bend’s music front.
One of my favorite musical events kicks off when Bend A Cappella Fest takes the stage at the Tower Theatre. It’s the Northwest’s only festival focusing on masterclasses, a cappella performances, and camaraderie. Each year’s lineup is different, but you’ll almost always see names you recognize from shows like Pitch Perfect or The Sing-Off. Grab tickets early, since this one tends to sell out.
Speaking of tickets getting snapped up fast, it pays to plan ahead for Jazz at the Oxford. This seasonal series spans November through March, and many shows sell out quickly. Take a look at what’s on tap for February, then cross your fingers you snag seats for a show at this uber-cool series.
While you’re feeling classy, browse the schedule for Central Oregon Symphony. Winter concerts range from brass musicians to string shows and more. Tickets often sell for tiny prices at modest venues like local high schools.
If opera’s your jam, it’s worth a look at what’s happening with Opera Bend.
Pro tip: By the time February hits, Hayden Homes Amphitheater has usually announced about a dozen summer concerts, with more on the way. Watch closely, as popular acts sell out in minutes. Make sure you’re on their email list so you don’t miss any concert announcements. Then plan to pounce fast when you see one you like.
Where will your boots take you?
We’re still a few months out from snow gates opening at popular spots like Tumalo Falls, the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, and Newberry National Volcanic Monument, but why miss the chance to explore in uniquely wintery ways?
Cheers to this short but oh-so-sweet month in Bend!