We always encourage play in Central Oregon, and winter is no exception. Luckily in Bend, blankets of snow are plentiful. When the holidays slow you down and the weather keeps you humble, here’s what to see, do, and eat on your quick trip to Bend (good luck not extending your trip!)
Now, 72 hours is not nearly enough time to get a sense of all that Bend offers. And there’s a LOT. From premier coffee shops for chatting, bars to sip hot toddies, breweries for apres burgers, and downtown activities that will make you swoon, we’ll do our best to narrow it down. Get your planners and winter boots ready.
DAY 1: Gear Prep & See the Sights
First day in Bend. Lucky you! You’ll want coffee & breakfast stat, so we won’t delay.
On your way to an activity and want something quick? Head to Sparrow Bakery for an infamous ocean roll or one of their addicting breakfast sandwiches. If you’re planning to sleep in or just want to relax, go to Chow or Lemon Tree for fresh, local ingredients, a varied menu, and good vibes.
Now, let’s grab your gear. With so many adventures here, the demand for rental equipment is big, and the options are plentiful. Luckily, ski rentals in Bend provide it all: from cross-country to downhill and backcountry touring.
Head over to a gear rental spot around town, like Powderhouse or Skjersaa’s Ski & Snowboard shop. They’ll have top-of-the-line equipment AND show you how to use it. They may even offer their top trail maps, tips, and fave spots to see! Win/win.
DAY OR NIGHT SNOWSHOE
If you’re looking for a more easygoing experience, grab a pair of snowshoes to experience winter in the most peaceful way possible. Or, take a hike and explore one of the many spectacular SnoParks along Cascade Lake Highway, like Swampy Lakes Sno-park.
Don’t want to go at it alone? Wanderlust Tours provides all the fun you’ll need with a planned-out itinerary around Mt. Bachelor and the forests of the Cascade Mountain Range for day or night (moonlight snowshoe, anyone?) Hot cocoa included! If you want more of an inside scoop, check out our page for all things snowshoeing in Central Oregon.
TIME TO EAT
You’ve likely driven by the Box Factory on your way to town. It’s filled with cool shops like Danner and offers endless options to chill with a cold one (think: cider at Avid, beer fireside at Crosscut Warming Hut, or cocktails at Brown Owl). For the post-dinner nightcap, check out at Bledsoe Family Winery. If it’s earlier in the day and you need a pick-me-up, head into Spoken Moto for espresso and continue your exploration of Bend with a gander over to the Old Mill District. Bonus points for grabbing hot cocoa at the new Sisters Coffee for a stroll along the river before eating at Greg’s Grill or Pastini’s.
DAY 2: Snow Sports A-Plenty
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of the snowy peaks calling your name. Time to grab your planks, boards, warm bevies, and a quick brunch from Jackson’s Corner to head out for some winter fun.
SKIING + SNOWBOARDING
Set your sights on Mt. Bachelor to find your dose of a winter wonderland. You’re about to discover one of the PNW’s best in skiing, snowboarding, dog sled tours (yes, really!), Nordic skiing, and so much more. If you’ve got the tykes in tow, check out the Kids Ski Free program. Been a while? Jumpstart your skills with Ski or Ride in 5. However you slide, make it a season to remember in Bend.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKI & SLED
If you’re not planning on kicking it at the mountain but you still want your fix, get your skinny skis on and check out the incredible SnoParks close to town off Century Drive on the way up to Mt. Bachelor. The most popular is Virginia Meissner for Nordic skiing enthusiasts, which stays afloat on donations. If you have your pup along, bring them along to the dog-friendly groomed trail at Wanoga Sno-park. The best part is, you can bring snacks and take a time out in the many warming huts with fireplaces throughout the trail network!
Ungroomed trails are also an option if you prefer stomping over sliding. Check out more dog-friendly trails Kapka Butte Sno-Park. No matter if you’re skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, or just plain playing in the snow, you’re in for a grand old time. If you haven’t had your fill of fluffy snow yet, head for Hoodoo Ski Area and embrace the legendary night skiing and miles upon miles of terrain.
BEER & EATS
While you’re riding that adrenaline high, venture to one of 30 breweries in town, like Deschutes Brewing, Sunriver Brewing, Crux, or Bend Brewing Co for post-mountain fun and food.
DAY 3: Urban Exploration Time
Ah, Bend. What a magical place for a downtown hang. Get ready for some of the best strolling around. First, if you want to stay closer to town, shlep your stuff to the heart of the city at The Oxford Hotel, Wall Street Suites, or the latest Element Hotel.
Peek over to the historic Tower Theatre, and take a gander at the holiday-decorated downtown streets for all the shopping, live music, and art galleries. Check out Visit Central Oregon’s event calendar on the exact days you’ll be around.
ALL THE FOOD
Ready to nosh? Add these tasty bites to your bucket list ASAP. If you’re feeling sushi, make a reservation at Five Fusion. For steaks, you’ll want to grab a spot at Brickhouse or 900 Wall for tasty modern fare and prime locations.
If you’ve ventured past the core of downtown, don’t miss Bosa for Italian eats (check for reservations!), the Lot for elevated food truck fare like fish tacos, or Sen Thai for a yummy hot pot to warm you up after a day on the slopes.
Got a bit of extra time? Peek these hints for your winter fun in Bend.
For the winter-hiking fanatic
Wanna squeeze in a hike? You’re likely to get them all to yourself! Here are some spots where snow is unlikely to be a huge factor.
Fireside dog-friendly bar patios
Seek a fireside hang at Worthy Brewing, McMenamins, Bevel Craft Brewing, Bend Brewing Co, or Goodlife. (Fun fact: Sunriver Brewing even offers menu items for dogs!)
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
Winter Tours You Have to Try in Bend and Central Oregon
Twinkling lights, fresh snow and fire pits bringing people together; it’s winter in Central Oregon! Bend and the surrounding towns within Central Oregon are great places to cozy up when the snow falls, and even better places to take part in winter recreation. Locals love to explore the nearby Cascade Mountains, with Mount Bachelor and plenty of sno parks located just a 30 minute drive away. Back in town, there are several breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries waiting to be sampled. With so much to do, it can be tough to know where to start. Luckily, tours in Central Oregon that showcase the best outdoor and indoor recreation are available to help visitors make the most of their winter vacations.
Hot Springs in Central Oregon Near Bend and Beyond
Oregon is known for being an outdoor paradise; where else can travelers discover misty forests, snowy mountain peaks and vast desert expanses in one day? From the Cascade Mountains to the Painted Hills, volcanic activity has helped shape the many different landscapes of Oregon. Along with mountains and valleys, Oregon’s volcanic past helped create a host of hot springs scattered across the state. These hot springs are natural, hot pools of water—natural hot tubs. Some are more developed and have lodging nearby, while others feel completely remote and undiscovered. So whether it’s a soak under the stars in the high desert or a steamy pool in the forest, there’s a hot spring calling.
Ice Skating Rinks You Have to Try in Bend and Sunriver
Bend and Sunriver are two excellent winter destinations. The offering of winter activities in Central Oregon are immense. Snow typically falls fast and heavy and visitors get to experience a winter wonderland filled with snow capped Ponderosa pines and fresh powder. In such a winter wonderland, it makes sense that Bend and Sunriver would have a selection of ice skating spots. Whether guests choose to twirl on the ice, casually glide or just kick back with a hot cocoa while the kids play, a trip to the ice skating rink can help cap off any Central Oregon winter getaway.
Finding the Best Lunch Spots in Bend, Oregon
As Bend grows, so do the tasty options for a great lunch at a great price. With so many restaurants new and established to choose from, the only question is where to begin. Lucky for you, we’ve made finding the best lunch in Bend a breeze.
The Ultimate Guide to Pumpkin Patches in Terrebonne, Oregon
Nothing signals the coming of fall quite like spending the day at a pumpkin patch. It’s tough to not feel the cozy spirit of the season when you’re solving a festive corn maze while bundled up and sipping a hot apple cider. Pumpkin patches in Central Oregon benefit from our desert climate and still get plenty of sunshine, even in late October. While smaller family farms all around the region will sometimes host fall events, the two most popular pumpkin patches both reside in Terrebonne: the Smith Rock Pumpkin Patch and the DD Ranch Pumpkin Patch.
Best Shopping in Bend and Redmond, Oregon
Shopping in Central Oregon has evolved over time, thanks to an influx of outdoor enthusiasts, organic farmers, antique purveyors and entrepreneurs of all kinds moving in, and subsequently sharing their products with the community. This mixed bag of motivated individuals creates a marketplace full of locally sourced, handcrafted items that can’t be found anywhere else. In addition to small, local businesses, Central Oregon’s growth in population in recent years has garnered the attention of some larger retailers, who have opened up shop in Bend and Redmond. Shopping in Bend, Oregon and likewise, shopping in Redmond, Oregon, provides visitors with a look inside our local industries, while simultaneously providing opportunities to purchase from well known retailers. It’s also worth mentioning that shopping in Central Oregon and throughout the state is tax-free, offering shoppers a built-in excuse to buy whatever catches their eye.
Central Oregon Winter Adventures
When the snow flies, Central Oregon shines. All you have to do is choose your adventure. Mt. Bachelor - The model of a complete snowsports resort, Mt. Bachelor offers 360-degree lift-served groomed skiing and riding from its volcanic summit.
Winter Isn’t Only About Snow in Central Oregon
It’s true that when winter rolls around in Central Oregon, most people’s minds veer toward things to do in the snow. With Mt. Bachelor, Hoodoo, sno-parks and more, there’s plenty of options for folks to get out and play.
Elk Lake Resort a Great Winter Getaway – And Getting There is Half the Fun
There’s a couple of ways to look at the annual winter closure of Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway: You can see it as cutting off your recreational access beyond the gate until the snow melts in the spring.