Whatever you’re looking for in Bend, chances are good you’ll find it around the Old Mill District. Outdoor fun? Go for a stroll or ride a bike on our paved paths, or paddle your kayak on the Deschutes River at your doorstep. Need to get some shopping done? Shop ‘til you drop at more than 40 stores, from locally owned boutiques to name-brand outlets. And that’s to say nothing of the vibrant murals dotting our district.
But the Old Mill District is also home to some of the best restaurants in Bend, Oregon. Spend any time around our walkable core, and you’ll encounter Old Mill District restaurants owned and staffed by local restaurateurs, as well as outposts of popular regional chains. And no matter the occasion—grabbing a pre-concert bite, stopping in for a quick lunch, or enjoying a night out with the family—you’ll find plenty to love about the culinary scene in the Old Mill District. Best of all, it’s just a mile from downtown Bend and a 25-minute drive from neighboring Redmond.
So here’s our ultimate guide to eating in the Old Mill District in Bend.
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Dine at Locally Owned Restaurants and Markets
Sure, you’ll find plenty of household names dotting the Old Mill District—but you’ll also discover several home-grown eateries and markets that boast an only-in-Bend experience.
Boxwood Kitchen (menu and reservations), for instance, is run by a local husband-and-wife team—and has earned a devoted following for its creative, slightly upscale take on pub food favorites. Its seasonal menu reflects what’s fresh and in-season, with a lineup that may include Korean fried chicken, an ever-changing lineup of salads, steelhead filet, mushroom risotto cakes, and even chicken schnitzel with a house-made cream sauce.
Across the way, Confluence Fly Shop has long been a great resource for anglers, stocking a wide range of fly fishing gear and offering classes, events, and guided trips. Most recently, the shop installed a bar, featuring eight taps of local beer, where you can talk with shopkeepers and fellow anglers about where the fish are biting and debrief after a day on the water.
Nearby, Kara’s Kitchenware may not host an on-site restaurant—but nevertheless crafts a culinary community by selling products from local makers, hosting regular cooking classes, carrying specialty items (such as spices and sauces), and even offering olive oil and vinegars on tap if you’d like a taste.
And coming in May, GLO Kitchen, a popular purveyor of superfoods in its many forms—will be boasting a menu teeming with scratch-made salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and more. A healthy and flavorful, the locally owned-and-operated option.
Grab a Pre-Show Bite Before Shows at Hayden Homes Amphitheater
Where else can you finish your drink, pay for dinner, and be inside a world-class concert venue just five minutes later? Hayden Homes Amphitheater has hosted the likes of Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews Band, Paul Simon and other popular artists over the years—and sits across the Deschutes River, a short walk from most stops in the Old Mill District. That close proximity makes the Old Mill District the perfect place to pre-funk with good food and drink.
For fresh, filling fare, stop into Hola! The local eatery is noted for creative dishes that blend Mexican and Peruvian flavors—not to mention a lineup of fruity margaritas. Ahi chile rellenos, chicken mole, seafood dishes, and fresh-made salsas are some of the menu’s many highlights.
If you’re meeting friends for pre-show drinks, saddle up to the bar at Rapa Nui Tiki Lounge (menu, reservations available). The locally owned tiki bar specializes in all the classic cocktails you’d expect—such as the mai tai and rum punch—alongside creative concoctions for small groups (including the Scorpion Bowl, made with light rum, brandy, lemon, orange, and orgeat syrup). Each cocktail is served in themed glassware, and the internationally inspired food menu includes bao buns, tuna poke, Korean BBQ riblets, and Vietnamese sticky wings.
Friendly reminder: Concert parking is not permitted along Southwest Powerhouse Drive, the main thoroughfare through the Old Mill District. Concertgoers can park in the Regal Cinemas lot at the southeastern edge of the district, in the lot at the corner of Powerhouse Drive and Southwest Bond Street at the northern edge of the Old Mill District, and where permitted in the surrounding neighborhood. Please obey all signs at all times.
Learn more about happy hours around the Old Mill District.
Enjoy Outdoor Dining in the Old Mill District
We have a saying around Central Oregon: There’s no such thing as bad weather in Bend—just clothing that can’t handle the elements. That’s no less true at Old Mill District restaurants, where you’ll find outdoor seating all year long.
Wanting to warm up with a cup of joe? Stop by Sisters Coffee Co., which has transitioned its space into a state-of-the-art coffee house—complete with a full espresso bar and some of the company’s beloved baked goods. The coffee shop’s outdoor area affords plenty of people-watching opportunities year-round.
Nearby, Greg’s Grill on the Deschutes (menu, reservations) offers its popular take on fresh, upscale pub fare—boasting a menu that pairs well with wide-open Deschutes River views and spacious outdoor seating. Portable heaters work overtime to keep diners warm in cooler months, while umbrellas shield from the sun in the midst of summer. It’s no wonder Greg’s is routinely cited as hosting one of the best patios in Bend.
Savor the Quieter Months With Winter Dining in the Old Mill District
One of the best-kept secrets in the Old Mill District is that the heart of winter—January and February, in particular—makes a great time to explore your new favorite restaurant. With the holidays in the rear-view mirror and many of us attempting yet another New Year’s resolution, most eateries see smaller crowds, have shorter wait times, and can offer more personalized service to help you get the most from your experience.
The slow season is ideal to work your way through the extensive menu at Mio Sushi (menu), for instance; the regional chain’s outpost in the Old Mill District dishes some of the freshest rolls, poke, and tempura in town.
You can also try some of the year’s first vintages alongside friendly sommeliers at the Old Mill District’s wine tasting rooms, as well. Evoke Winery’s playful tasting room affords Cascade peak views from its outdoor patio and offers a different special each day—such as Mimosa Sunday, when mimosas are just $5 all day long. And the Walla Walla-based Va Piano Vineyards (reservations) brings a taste of Washington’s dry side to Bend with a brightly lit tasting room that pours estate-grown cabernet sauvignon and syrah.
Eat at Family-Friendly Restaurants Around the Old Mill District
Kids of all ages love eating in the Old Mill District, thanks to an eclectic lineup of exciting eateries. So if you’re looking for something to please every palate, here are a few fun ideas for the whole family.
And Pastini (menu) pairs its extensive pasta menu with a few food selections for kids—from traditional Italian dishes (such as fettuccini alfredo and spaghetti marinara) to American classics (like chicken fingers and mac and cheese). Kid-friendly desserts even include gelato and chocolate chip cookies. Want to know where else to go? Check out a rundown of kid-friendly restaurants in the Old Mill District.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
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.
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.
Top 5 Tours to Take in Bend, Oregon
Bend is a nature-lover’s paradise blended with a hop-head’s dream; nowhere else will you find this much craft beer and this many outdoor activities. The city’s been growing quickly, reaching 100,000 residents in 2020, and with the growth comes plentiful opportunities for adventure. From walking the very halls that brew your favorite beer to any number of adrenaline-inducing sports, we have you covered for the five best types of guided tours in Bend, Oregon.
The Scenic Waterfalls in Central Oregon
Is there anything more satisfying—anything more awe-inspiring—than gazing upon a thundering waterfall, its raging waters tumbling over ancient rock walls? Does it get any better than seeing a waterfall reach full boil in the midst of an otherwise quiet river as it crashes through a rock-lined canyon?
Pumpkin Patches + Petting Zoos = Fall Family Fun
As soon as the first hint of autumn rolls around, my three kids ask on a regular basis when we can go to the pumpkin patch. This is not simply because they’re eager to gather Halloween décor. To my kids (all under the age of 12), fall means visiting the farm and getting all the animal petting, ropes course playing and barbecue eating they can squeeze into one afternoon.
Casual Family Weekend in Sunriver
Imagine this: you’re riding your bike through a rolling meadow, the Cascade mountain range in the background, and the only sound is from the whir of a prop plane taking off against a crisp blue sky. Up ahead, your children pull carrots from their pockets and present them to a gathering of friendly horses in an adjacent pasture.