What is Bend Oregon? Why do some people praise the city so much, and why do some people not like it? To determine this, let us first give some background on the city of Bend Oregon. Bend Oregon is known as the county seat of Deschutes County, Oregon, United States. This city is also considered as Central Oregon’s largest city as well as the de facto metropolis of the region even with its considerable size, owing to the low population density of that area.
As of the 2020 census, Bend Oregon had a population of around 200,000 people. The city is located on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range along the Deschutes River. The city was originally a settlement on a crossing point on the river that began in the early 1900s. It first started as a logging town but is now identified as a gateway for many outdoor sports.
Related: What’s It Like Living In Bend Oregon
Some people may have thought that Bend was simply marooned in the high desert of central Oregon, but the is a misconception. The city is actually a veritable playground that is built to entertain people both outdoors and indoors. In Oregon, aside from the Willamette Valley, Bend is also a sheer paradise when it comes to outdoor recreation and activities. These aforementioned activities are eating and drinking.
The city of Bend handles the perfect synergy of great restaurants alongside tasting rooms for world-class beer, as well as offering fun outdoor and indoor activities. Since Bend is best known for its wide variety of outdoor opportunities, it is usually best to spend time in Bend by bouncing between natural and urban playgrounds. You would undoubtedly find the days you spent in these places to be full of wonder and enjoyment.
Since Bend is widely known for its great outdoors, let’s talk about some of the best public spaces in Oregon. One of these is the Drake Park, which is a sprawling grassy park that can be located along the Mirror Pond on the Deschutes River. If you are on a trip or a vacation to cool yourself from the stressful confines of work, then this place is a great location to spend the day and forget those things. There is an admirable, beautiful wooden bridge that spans the water, where geese and people both share the park.
Looking for some more active, and thrilling outdoor experience? Mount Bachelor may not be the biggest mountain, but it will most certainly satisfy your activity desires. During the cold winter, the resort on the mountain offers many activities such as skiing, tubing, dog sledding, and snowshoeing. Meanwhile, in the warm summer months, the mountain is home to mountain biking, hiking, disc golf, and scenic rides on the chairlift.
If you’re looking for places for some outdoor recreation around Bend, then we can’t leave out the Deschutes River. One of the best ways to see the Deschutes River is along the Deschutes River Trail where you may take a walk or bike the trail on a loop hike in Bend. This trail actually runs upriver from Drake Park or takes a longer route from the Meadow day-use area to Benham Falls.
As we all know Bend Oregon is widely known for its great source of recreational activities. Because of that fact, the place is also home to more than two dozen golf courses. In addition, these courses range and vary in price and skill level, if you are a beginner in golf then try out some of the easy ones first. You can find the perfect one for you to tackle during your trip with their wide variety of options.
One of the most prominent golf courses in bend is the Tetherow golf course, which was designed by David McLay Kid. This course is an 18-hole championship semi-private course that offers many spectacular views of the surrounding Cascade peaks. In fact, they also provide every amenity you could think of asking for. All these include caddies to help you make the most of your experience. You also have to make sure to reserve some tee time early as this course since it is quite popular with locals and visitors alike.
There is also the Tumalo Falls an 89-foot falls that is also a popular destination. This destination is located just west of the city of Bend and also has a short trail that leads to several viewpoints along the way. The place absolutely offers great looks at the beautiful waterfall. There is also the smaller Bridge Creek Falls which you may find by following the trail farther along Tumalo Creek.
Want something more unique that you won’t be able to see every day? In Bend Oregon, you may visit the spectacular Newberry National Volcanic Monument. There, you may visit and be amazed in front of the cone of the shield volcano that collapsed about 500,000 years ago, allowing two lakes to form in the resulting caldera. Near it is the spectacular Big Obsidian Flow, which you can explore by foot or see from above, atop Paulina Peak.
One of the most popular and easiest to access parts of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument is the Lava River Cave. Of course, you may only explore the cave as part of a guided tour or wander around on your own. If you prefer to explore some more isolated places with no heavy traffic, the Boyd Cave and Skeleton Cave may be the ones for you. Boyd Cave is about 1,880 feet long, meanwhile, Skeleton Cave is about 2,900 feet long. This exploration will require a headlamp, shoes with decent traction and ankle support, and a jacket for both.
As previously mentioned earlier, Bend Oregon is also known for its great drinks and foods, here are some of the specialties in Bend. Bend’s beer scene is one of the city’s specialty, second only to Portland’s, and Little Beervana has more good brew than you could possibly hope to consume during a casual visit. Some of these great breweries are the Bend Brewing, Sunriver Brewing Company, Crux Fermentation Project, Worthy Brewing, and Boneyard Beer.
There are also many food cart pods. It may be due to the food cart culture found in Portland, there is The Lot which is a great place for some food parties or getting a bite and a beer, with covered, heated outdoor seating as well as live music and events. The place has five carts on-site, that serve burgers, salad, Thai food, and gyros.
Another great place to grab some breakfast is the Sparrow Bakery, a small, but busy breakfast spot in Bend, even with its busy line of customers the wait is surely worthwhile for any of their array of baked goods. One of their famous menus is the ocean rolls, a sizable, cardamom-spiced cinnamon roll that would surely not disappoint you. Sparrow also serves a variety of sandwiches, bread, and lunch. The place also has a second location on the west side of town.
Another unique but great place to look for lunch or pick up meat to cook back at camp is the Primal Cuts Market. This meat counter provides some great quality, sustainably-raised cuts, but they also serve some sandwiches and soup to eat there. Also, the Growler Phil’s beer bar is just on-site with several dozen local taps.
Another popular breakfast spot in Bend is Chow, which may have some pretty long lines, but if you get there early you can miss a long wait. Not only do they serve fresh, local ingredients but it also goes well with the great service and a cozy setting, a marriage of rustic farm-to-table and hip, casual dining.
Another thing Bend Oregon is known for is for having a lot of friendly people. The friendliness of these people may have already been briefly mentioned, but this factor cannot be taken only as a side note. The people around you usually affect the atmosphere around you. It would also be a bad trip or vacation in a new place, spending time with a bunch of unfriendly people. Bend residents are known for their friendly, welcoming, and having a charming spirit.
In Bend, it is normal to always be greeted with a smile even in a simple, casual conversation at the convenience store, or some people opening the door for you. The city of Bend is not only welcoming, but the city also has a strong sense of community making it an overall kind town. Speaking of communities one of the most prominent communities in Bend Oregon is the arts community.
People in Bend are usually brimming with talents in arts, music, crafting, and a variety of creatives. If you have a profession that relates to artistry and creativity this town is quite prominent at that. There are some places such as The Workhouse which offers a space for the many creative folks of Bend to grow their skills and thrive. The Workhouse is a platform for any local artists to get back to work, operating as a place of exchange between many artists and their community.
This place also has its very own retail gallery, some on-site studios, special events, and even some educational programming for Bend and Central Oregon. Aside from this comforting amenity, there is also some local music that can be enjoyed at some locations such as The Tower Theatre, the Les Schwab Amphitheater, as well as some other intimate venues throughout town. Even during the summer season, there are many enjoyable outdoor live music events nearly every night of the week.
There are also the Cascade Lakes Highway in Bend Oregon which has one of the most scenic drives not just on Bend but in all of Oregon. In fact, this is quite well known in Bend as something you should at least do once when visiting. The drive is around 66 miles in length and should only take you about 3-5 hours depending on how often you stop. In fact, one of Bendorego’s best characteristics is having no traffic whatsoever.
As you approach the end of the city, you may head over into the Deschutes National Forest and you would start to catch a glimpse of the towering Cascade Mountain views that this drive is known for. There are also many countless viewpoints along the way, including several other hiking trails and lakes for people that are interested as it is also too beautiful to pass by.
Bend is also known for its beautiful nature and many spectacular scenes so if you want to see some of those, there are several short, relatively flat lake hikes in the area as well. Some of these lakes include Todd Lake and Sparks Lake which are not just well known for some hiking, but also for many water sports such as kayaking and swimming in the summer months.
The cold season can be relatively longer sometimes, in which case, lounging in a hot tub in Tetherow is also an option. Aside from their famous golf courses, there is also a heated pool and two hot tubs offering beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. Locals and visitors alike that wish to relax after a long hard day can unwind while enjoying the beautiful sunset Bend has to offer.
Feeling a little adventurous and wanting to try out some different places? Then just near Tetherow is the McMenamins Old St. Francis School which provides an indoor soaking pool that also resembles an old Greek bathhouse. Adults can enter the saltwater pool which is open from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm every day while minors may only enter supervised from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. See our other blog posts for more articles about Bend and concrete!