Central Oregon’s Best Day Trips from Bend

McKenzie Pass

Bend gets a lot of attention, and rightfully so — it’s a destination of dreams. Under perpetually sunny skies, endless outdoor adventure is only topped by hip craft breweries, action-packed events, and fit, friendly people ever-willing to demonstrate how-to-Bend. But the places and experiences that make Bend so amazing extend beyond city limits — way beyond. There are few better jumping-off points for day trips to lesser-known places. Bend is also the perfect place to begin multiday getaways to some of Oregon’s least crowded and absolutely incredible sights. Our friends over at Travel Oregon have compiled a few road-trip ideas to get you going.

Check it out here.

If You Go: Many natural sites in Oregon require permits; some attractions may also close seasonally, so it’s essential that you check before setting out — especially in late fall and winter. No matter when you go, it’s a wise idea to review your intended route on TripCheck.com before you hit the road; this handy service will alert you to the most up-to-date travel information. Additionally, wildfires don’t often cause major travel disruptions, but it’s good to know how they may impact your trip; find answers to frequently asked questions here. Keep in mind that you can help prevent human-caused wildfires, and always follow these leave-no-trace tips to minimize the impact of your visit.

Mt. Bachelor Winter Pass Deals Offer Affordable Skiing Through May!

Mt. Bachelor’s annual winter pass sale means you can buy discounted passes through September – passes you can use throughout the ski area’s roughly SIX-MONTH season.

How does 360-degrees of dry, Pacific Northwest powder sound? With more than 100 runs and 4,200 skiable acres, Mt. Bachelor is the 6th largest ski area in the U.S. It’s a unique resort – located on a volcano in the Deschutes National Forest.

Mt. Bachelor typically is open by Thanksgiving and the season runs through Memorial Day weekend and bluebird days are the norm, not the exception. You’ll find more than 100 runs covering more than 4,000 acres, but without the commercial buildup on the mountain – there are no hotels or lodging at the ski area – it offers the kind of laid-back vibe that harkens back to the old-school ski area days.

This year the mountain will be celebrating its 60th birthday with fun events and activities throughout the season.

Winter Pass Sale Prices:

Full Pass: $959
Mid-week: $659
12-day: $609
4-day: $249

These prices are only valid through September 30th. After that, they increase slightly but are still a bargain compared to the daily lift ticket prices at some resorts in Colorado and Utah.

Central Oregon is the perfect place not just for a ski trip, but for a full-fledged family winter vacation. Non-skiers can take free guided snowshoe tours at Mt. Bachelor, venture deep into the woods on a sled dog ride or rush down the mountain on an innertube. You can enjoy some ice skating at several rinks throughout the region, including the new Pavilion in the heart of Bend or rent a snowmobile for some high-speed fun.

You can go mountain biking, hiking and even golfing at one of our courses open year-round.

You’ll find affordable, family-friendly lodging at one of our destination resorts. Sunriver, Pronghorn, Black Butte Ranch and Tetherow. They all offer something a little different but provide families plenty of dining and recreational options including sleigh rides, Nordic skiing and sledding.

sled dog rides
Sled dog rides with Oregon Trail of Dreams




A Patriotic and Fun 4th in Central Oregon

Summer in Central Oregon offers a feast for the adventurous and respite for the relaxers. Come 4th of July, add to that plenty of patriotism.

This year it falls on a Wednesday  – possibly creating a whole FIVE-day weekend for a lot of people. It’ll be a great weekend to find a great hike, play some golf at one of the two dozen courses here or maybe get crazy with a whitewater rafting trip.

Big Eddy Thriller

You couldn’t have picked a better place to celebrate the 4th.

On the 4th, Bend features one of the quirkiest celebrations you’ll ever see – The annual 4th of July Pet Parade is exactly what it sounds like: Thousands of people and their pets parading through downtown in front of some 10,000 spectators. You’ll find all sorts of animals including cats, llamas, mini horses and a dog held airborne by balloons. (You just have to see it to believe it.) The parade starts at 1o a.m. and is immediately followed by an Old Fashioned 4th Celebration down the street in Drake Park. The party features food vendors, arts and craft booths, games for kids, music and much more.


Fireworks across Central Oregon
Bend: Pilot Butte, 10 p.m.
Redmond: Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, 10 p.m.
La Pine: Frontier Heritage Park, 10 p.m.
Prineville: Reservoir State Park, 10 p.m.
Madras: Sahalee Park, 10 p.m.

After an afternoon of floating the river or heading up to the high lakes to beat the heat, end the holiday by finding a good spot to watch the fireworks show from atop Pilot Butte State Park at 10 p.m. (Local tip – Bend High School and Pilot Butte Middle School (click for maps) both offer good spots to see the show.)

Redmond’s “We the People 4th of July Parade” through downtown kicks off at 10 a.m. downtown followed by an Old Fashioned 4th celebration at the fairgrounds from 11 to 4.  This free event features a day of games, bounce houses, petting zoo, pony rides, live music and more. For more information please call 541-548-7275 or visit www.redmondjuly4th.org.The fireworks show starts at 10 p.m. at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center.

In Sunriver, the day starts with a bike parade at 10:30 followed by an all-day celebration with lots of free entertainment. Enter the watermelon eating contest, or try your skills at “Hoops” or “Batter’s Up.” Stop by and see the cool fire and police vehicles and talk with our local Police Officers and Fire Fighters. There will be live music, a BBQ lunch and more.

La Pine’s Frontier Days actually start on July 1st with a variety of family-friendly activities, cook-outs, live music and more. On the 4th the party starts at 7 a.m. with a “Woodcutter’s Breakfast” followed by a parade at 10:30.

The theme for Madras’s 2018 4th of July is, “Let Freedom Ring!” The day starts off with the Beamer 10k Run at 7:00 am, followed with by the parade at 10 a.m. The celebration continues with an Opening Flag Ceremony, music, food vendors, face painting and more.

Prineville will host a 4th of July celebration from 10 to 4 featuring entertainment, a Splash n’ Dash race, Willy’s Washboard Jamboree and more. Fireworks happen at 10.

To see a full listing of all the events and activities slated for the July 4th holiday weekend, visit our Calendar.

FREE Summer Shuttle Takes the Hassle out of Bend Parking

Bend gets pretty busy in the summer and, admittedly, it can be hard to find parking downtown and in the Old Mill – two of the most popular spots to shop, eat and recreate. But a new FREE shuttle service hopes to alleviate some of the troubles by helping folks navigate our hot spots car free.

Ride Bend will start up again in late June, offering free shuttle runs from noon to 10 p.m. The two buses run every 15 minutes and connect downtown, the Old Mill, OSU-Cascades and Galveston Avenue (home to 10 Barrel Brewing, Sunriver Brewing Co. and more.)

This service was made possible by a partnership between The City of Bend, Visit Bend, and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.


The 2018 season will run June 23 through Labor Day, 7 days a week,

The major stops are listed below and the time after the hour that the bus will arrive. For example, if you are boarding from the Downtown stop, you can expect the bus at 2:00, 2:15, 2:30 and 2:45. The bus will follow the minute pattern every hour between 2 and 10 pm.

A) Downtown (Franklin Ave. & Wall St.) :00 :15 :30 :45

B) Old Mill District (Powerhouse & Wall St.) :05 :20 :35 :50

C) Century Dr (Century Dr. & Simpson Ave.) :20 :35 :50 :05

D) Galveston (Galveston Ave. and 13th St.) :22 :37 :52 :07

Ride Bend Bus Stops:
Look for the Ride Bend logo on the bus and bus stops around Bend. Hop on at any stop on the Ride Bend map and ride to eat, shop, and play. Easy!

*Parking is free in downtown Bend for 2 hours. But you can park all day for $5 in the parking garage off Lava Street. THE PARKING GARAGE IS FREE ALL WEEKEND

Bend Concert Season Heats up at Les Schwab Amphitheater

Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater

Central Oregon’s iconic music venue, the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, has been rolling out its star-studded 2018 summer concert line-up and it’s already filled with big-name acts set to rock the region.

The 8,000-capacity venue situated on the banks of the Deschutes River in Bend’s Old Mill District opened in 2002 and almost immediately became a must-stop for high-profile touring artists. In recent years LSA has hosted the likes of Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Death Cab for Cutie, Alabama Shakes, Ringo Starr, Paul Simon, Weird Al and many more.

The 2018 line-up includes a diverse mix of returning and first-time acts: (Click the artist to buy tickets.)

May 30th – Ray LaMontagne with Neko Case
June 8th – Jethro Tull
June 9th – Slightly Stoopid
June 19th – Michael Franti & Spearhead
June 23 – Primus and Mastodon
July 6th – Steve Martin and Martin Short
July 24th – Jackson Browne
July 25th – Sheryl Crow
July 26th – The Decemberists
August 4th – Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss (SOLD OUT)
August 5th – Pixies
August 9th – Amos Lee
August 21 – Steve Miller Band with Peter Frampton
August 25 – Brandi Carlile
August 28th – Dave Matthews Band (SOLD OUT)
August 31 – Portugal. The Man. 

You can buy tickets for all the shows online at BendConcerts.com or in person at the Ticket Mill, located between Anthony’s and PacSun in The Old Mill. Shows at the LSA include multiple local food vendors and local craft beer, wine and spirits. Or, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the fabulous restaurants across the river in The Old Mill.  If you’re looking for the closest lodging options, the Hampton Inn is located right next to the amphitheater while the Hilton Garden Inn is on the hill that overlooks the shopping center.

Jack Johnson performing at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, Oregon

Bend Elks: Central Oregon’s Field of Dreams

Home Opener Set for June 1st


In Bend, the Boys of Summer are just college kids on a mission.

With players from tiny colleges and Division I powerhouses, the Bend Elks Baseball Club comes together each June for three months of wood bat baseball bliss. They’re not playing for paychecks, they’re playing for pride – and maybe the chance to make a paycheck a little further down the road. (Two-time World Series champ with the Boston Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury spent a season with the Elks, having grown up in Madras and attending Oregon State University.)

Baseball in Bend dates back more than 100 years including several years as the minor league affiliates for the Rockies and Phillies. The Bend Elks started play in 2000.

courtesy Bend Elks Baseball Club

Historic and picturesque Vince Genna stadium has played host to teams from all over the Northwest with names like the Apple Sox, Sweets and Black Bears. Come be part of the big crowds on $2 Tuesdays or pick a different night – both offer a laid back, family-friendly atmosphere.  (Bend routinely sets league attendance records.) Some of the more popular nights are Cap Night and Fireworks night (dates TBD.) The Elks are at home on the 4th of July and the stadium should provide a perfect viewing spot for the city of Bend’s fireworks show from atop Pilot Butte.

courtesy Bend Elks Baseball Club

With more than 30 regular season home games on the schedule, the Elks are almost certain to be here when you’re here.

And nothing beats a fun night at the ole’ ballpark.

Central Oregon Hiking Trails

From demanding full-day hikes to leisurely walks by the river, there’s a Central Oregon Hiking Trail for every adventurer

Pilot Butte State Park – Bend

EASY/MODERATE – 2-mile loop (nature trail and scenic viewpoint)
Head east on Highway 20 (Greenwood Avenue) to the Pilot Butte State Park. The parking area and trailhead are just east of the butte. Walk on either the nature trail or the paved road. The road is also for vehicle traffic, weather permitting. It is a wonderful viewpoint for the entire Bend area. This hiking trail is one of the most popular in Central Oregon.

Robert W. Sawyer Park – Bend

EASY – 45.2-acre park (nature park)
A large park stretching along both sides of the Deschutes River. Formerly a state park dedicated to the District in 1980. The park is connected by a hiking trail to Sawyer Uplands Neighborhood Park and River Glenn Natural Area. A footbridge over the river leads to the Deschutes River Trail and connections to First Street Rapids Park, Sawyer Uplands Park, and Archie Briggs Natural Area. The site is adjacent to the River’s Edge golf course. The park has a mix of mature pine and juniper. It is a popular viewing site for migratory and riparian birds and is listed on the Oregon Cascade Birding Tour route. The picnic site is spread out making it ideal for small to medium size groups.

Larkspur Trail – Bend

EASY – 1.75 miles
Beginning near the Bend Senior Center. This stretch of the trail meanders along an open canal in southeast Bend. You will see wildlife, juniper trees, rabbitbrush and alpine current. Dog stations are at each end of the trail This 1.75-mile trail ends at Pilot Butte State Park on Hwy. 20.

Shevlin Park – Canyon Rim Loop – Bend

EASY – 2.2 miles
Shevlin Park is a haven located less than three miles from downtown Bend and a perfect location for hiking, jogging, fishing, cross-country skiing and picnicking. There is an extensive trail and pathway system providing for both summer and winter uses. From Highway 97 in Bend turn west on Greenwood. It becomes Newport Avenue in downtown Bend. Follow Newport out for about 3 miles. You will see parking areas on both sides of the road. Aspen Hall is on the right and the main part of the park is on the left. The paved road through the park leads to several different picnic areas as well as trails.

Deschutes River Trail – Bend

The quintessential Central Oregon Hiking Trail, this one starts in Bend with many access points and parking areas. It winds its way along the Deschutes River, passing through Bend, Meadow Camp and behind the Seventh Mountain Resort. You will see a series of waterfalls including Lava Island, Big Eddy, Dillon and finally Benham Falls. Turning west at the Lava Lands Visitor Center also provides access to this trail. Follow the road on your left for approximately 3 miles to the picnic area. Walk across the footbridge for an easy half-mile walk to Benham Falls. The degree of difficulty is low and provides spectacular scenery of untamed rapids.

Benham Falls – Bend

EASY – 3 miles out and back
Five miles north of Sunriver, this hiking trail provides a spectacular scene of untamed rapids. From Bend follow Highway 97 south 11 miles and turn right at the Lava Lands Visitor Center. Follow the road on your left for approximately 3 miles to the parking and picnic area. Walk across the footbridge. Benham Falls is an easy half-mile walk down the road along the river. This trail continues for many miles passing by Dillon Falls and Lava Island Falls. Benham, Dillon, and Lava Island Falls also have parking areas accessible via Forest Service Rd 41, just past the Inn of the Seventh Mountain.

Day-Use Permit is required*

Lava Cast Forest – Bend / Sunriver

EASY – 1 mile 
Travel south on Highway 97. Turn East on Forest Service Road 9720-directly across the highway from the Sunriver exit. This is an unpaved road, which goes nearly 9 miles to the parking area at the Lava Cast Forest. The trail is an easy, paved, nine-tenths of a mile, which wanders through many examples of 7000-year-old lava tree cast formations. This road is snow-covered in winter.

Day-Use Permit is required*

Lava River Cave – Bend / Sunriver

EASY – 1 mile
Thirteen miles south of Bend on Highway 97 on the east side of the road is the largest un-collapsed lava tube in the state. It is about a mile in length and 100 feet deep in spots. The sandy bottom makes it an easy hike, and the Forest Service will rent lanterns to you for a small fee. There is a nominal entrance fee as well. The cave is closed from late fall through mid-April due to the hibernation of resident bats.

Day-Use Permit is required*

Newberry Obsidian Trail

EASY – 1 mile
Head south on Highway 97, approximately 22 miles, turn east at the East Lake and Paulina Lake sign. Continue about 15-miles to the obsidian flow. This is one of the largest obsidian flows in the world, formed about 1300 years ago during the most recent eruption of Newberry Volcano.
Day-Use Permit is required*

Paulina Creek

EASY – 6 to 8.5 miles
The Ogden National Recreation Trail will take you along Paulina Creek, with no fewer than 20 waterfalls. Travel south on Hwy 97 about 22 miles to Paulina and East Lake. Go east, about 1.5 miles to trailhead parking. The trail is 8.5 miles long (each way), accessible from McKay Crossing Campground, which shortens the trip by 2.5 miles. The parking area is on the east end of this hiking trail from the viewpoint at Paulina Falls.
Day-Use Permit is required*

Tumalo Falls – Bend

MODERATE – 5.5 miles
Tumalo Falls is a photographers dream. Lush forest, cascading water, easy access for all your gear. From Hwy 97 in Bend, turn west on Franklin. Follow the Scenic Highway through downtown Bend along Drake Park. Turn right on Galveston at the west end of the park, and follow this road out for eleven miles. Turn right over the bridge. The pavement ends but the road continues for an additional 3 miles to a parking area at the falls. There is a very short hiking trail up to the falls, which connects to some of the snow park areas and other trails. Road closed in winter Day-Use Permit is required*


Mt. Bachelor Summit Trail

EASY/MODERATE – 2.5 miles
Drive west on Cascade Lakes Highway for approximately 18 miles to Mt Bachelor’s first entrance at Sunrise Lodge. The 2.5-mile trail to the top of Mt. Bachelor is accessible in Summer and Fall and starts from the Sunrise Lodge area.
The trail begins just west of the Sunrise chairlift and winds around through the trees. The top portion of the trail above the top of Sunrise chair goes through the lava rock itself and has beautiful open views of Broken Top and the Three Sisters. From the top, at 9065 feet, you can see nearly all of the Cascade Range to the North, and the nearby lakes along the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway.

Green Lakes Trail

EASY/MODERATE  – 9 miles out and back
The Green Lakes hiking trail has its own parking lot across from the Sparks Lake meadow with a wonderful view of the north side of Mt. Bachelor. The trail winds along the Fall Creek through large pine trees and fields of lupine. You will see lots of small waterfalls. Follow the trail for 4.5 miles up to the Green Lakes, or cut off to the west after about 2 miles on the Moraine Lake trail, which is another couple of miles long. There is access to the South Sister Trail from the Green Lakes area.

Todd Lake Trail

EASY – about 2 miles
This popular route is the closest Cascade Lakes hiking trail to town, located just past Mt. Bachelor on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. The trail is an easy walk around the lake with spectacular views of Mt. Bachelor along the way.

Ray Atkeson Memorial Trail 

EASY- 2.3-mile loop
Located at Sparks Lake, this trail is another easy hiking trail for folks of all ages. It takes you through some pretty cool lava rock flows that include sheer walls and deep chasms. If you take the trail clockwise, the best views of Sparks Lake and South Sister are waiting for you at the end.

The Badlands

EASY/MODERATE – Routes ranging from 5 to 15 miles
The Badlands wilderness area east of Bend is a great place to explore the Central Oregon Desert. Take Hwy 20 east about 20 miles. Turn north at the gravel pit, follow the road to the parking area.

Smith Rock State Park

EASY TO DIFFICULT – Varying routes and lengths
This area is a must-see in Central Oregon. Drive north on Highway 97 through Redmond to Terrebonne. Turn right (east) at the flashing light. Turn left on NE 1st Street and proceed 2 miles, turning left at the state park signs. The park is another 0.7 miles. The picnic area has beautiful views of the rock formations where people from all over the world come to climb. Numerous hiking trails suitable for everyone follow the river down into the Crooked River Canyon. The Misery Ridge hiking trail is a little tougher but well worth the walk.

Day-Use Permit is required*

Suttle Lake Trail | Near Black Butte Ranch

EASY – 3 miles
Suttle Lake is just a few miles west of Black Butte Ranch, and about 15 miles west of Sisters. Follow the signs off Highway 20 to Suttle Lake Resort, then to the Day Use area on the NE corner of the lake. The trail goes right along the lake through the backyard of someone’s campsite with plenty of access points. The hiking trail offers unrivaled mountain scenery.

Black Butte Trail | Black Butte Ranch

MODERATE – 2 miles
This hiking trail is 2 miles long going to the lookout station on top of Black Butte, at 6436 feet. The trail winds through open timber with wonderful views of the Three Sisters and Broken Top on the way up. On a clear day you can see nearly the entire Cascades Range! Take Highway 20 from Bend through Sisters to Forest Service Road 1110, near the Indian Ford Campground. Follow signs to the trail.
Day-Use Permit required*

Head Of Jack Creek | Near Sisters

EASY – 3 miles
Travel west on Hwy 20 through Sisters, approximately 15 miles. Turn north on Forest Service Road 12, for about 1.5 miles and then turn left on FS Road 1232. It is about 1 mile to the trailhead. This hiking trail loops through the headwater springs.

Day-Use Permit required*

Metolius River Trail | Near Black Butte Ranch

EASY – 12 miles
This is an excellent year-round hiking trail and several starting points are accessible. Huge artesian wells, the source of the Metolius River, and further downstream is the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery. One trailhead starts from the Canyon Creek Campground off Forest Service Road 1420. You can also start at the Wizard Falls Hatchery. Total distance to Bridge 99 is three miles.

Day-Use Permit required*

Dee Wright Memorial Trail | Near Sisters

EASY – .5 miles
Located at McKenzie Pass on Highway 242, 15 miles west of Sisters. Beautiful view of the Cascade Mountains with a paved hiking trail through one of the most recent lava flows in the United States. The trail is about a half-mile long with interpretive signs along the path. It is closed in the winter.

For Additional Information Contact:

Central Oregon Welcome Center 541-389-8799
Lava Lands Visitor Center 541-593-2421
Bend-Ft. Rock Ranger District 541-383-4000
Sisters Ranger District 541-549-7700
Oregon State Parks 541-388-6055
Bend Parks & Recreation 541-389-7275
Fishing License, Fish & Wildlife 541-388-6363
Road Conditions, ODOT 800-977-6368
Emergency: 911

Brew it Yourself at Bend’s Immersion Brewing

Central Oregon’s thriving craft beer scene is a hugely popular experience for visitors to the High Desert.

You can drink it.

You can take a brewery tour and learn about it.

And now, you can brew it yourself.

Bend’s Immersion Brewing is the state’s first “Brew-it-Yourself” brewery, offering visitors a chance to come up with their own sudsy creation from start to finish. You can even design your own label for the bottles.

There are more than 30 recipes to choose from, including Kolsch, Blonde Ales, American Pale Ales, Imperial Stouts, Holiday Ales, Wheat Ales and several IPAs. A recipe card will walk you through the step-by-step process, but an experienced brewer will also be by your side to talk you through it and offer some help if you need it. The two-hour brewing session nets you about five gallons of beer! Brew sessions range in price from $180 – $220 depending on beer recipe – and it includes the beer, bottles, caps, and labeling.

Once the beer is created, it takes about two weeks for it to ferment. You’ll come back to the pub to carbonate, bottle and label your two cases of 22 oz. beers before taking them home. (Oregon residents who aren’t able to come back to bottle can have the brewery ship them to you. Out of state guests can choose beer created by someone else to take home.)

It’s a great team-building exercise that involves some teamwork while allowing time to enjoy one of the numerous beers on tap at the pub and have a bite to eat from their full menu. The Visit Central Oregon team (that’s us in the video above) experienced it in late October and it was a ton of fun – and really informative. The Immersion brewer who helped us, Josh Cosci, was very patient and chock full of great info throughout the process.

The pub and brewery are located in The Box Factory, a lively collection of shops and restaurants adjacent to the Old Mill District and near Bend’s historic downtown.

For more information on Immersion’s Brew-it-Yourself opportunity, visit the Immersion Brewing website.


Sammies and Sandos: Central Oregon’s Best Sandwiches

Sometimes after a day full of adventure, all that you crave is a simple, yet delicious, stick-to-your-ribs sandwich. (And a beer, obviously.)

Whether you call it a “sammie,” “sando,” or “sammich,” there’s an amazing sandwich waiting for you at the end of the trail in Central Oregon. Heck, even if you’re one of those weirdos who consider a hot dog a sandwich, we have you covered. For the purposes of this story, we’re not including burgers in the “sandwich” category, but rest assured there are TONS of great burgers here. (Don’t see your favorite listed? Tell us where to find the best sandwich in Central Oregon in the comments!)

In the iconic downtown Bend breezeway, the Beach Hut Deli offers a great selection of hot and cold sandwiches in a “chill” setting perfect for catching a game on TV or just people watching on Mirror Pond Plaza. Try the Surfin’ Bird with turkey, avocado, bacon, cream cheese, mayo, mustard, pickles, tomato, red onions, lettuce, Greek peppers and cheese.

In beautiful Sunriver, Sunriver Brewing‘s menu is filled with post-adventure favorites, but one of my staples is the Turkey Dip with smoked turkey breast, pepper bacon, tomato, Tillamook white cheddar on a french roll with a side of natural turkey jus. Pair it with a Fuzztail Hefe and your afternoon is golden. (You can get the same sandwich at Sunriver Brewing’s Galveston Pub in Bend too.)

Sunriver Brewing Co. Galveston Pub

Three Creeks Brewing in Sisters is a perfect rest stop after hiking up Black Butte, fishing at Camp Sherman or mountain biking the Peterson Ridge trails. And for me, there’s not a better sandwich in all of Central Oregon (or anywhere for that matter) than the legendary Chicken Bacon Tater. NBD, just your basic sandwich with grilled chicken breast, thick sliced hickory smoked bacon, fries & chipotle ranch all rolled together in a toasted pita, “Taco Style.” Yes, that’s right: THERE’S FRENCH FRIES IN THE SANDWICH! Pairs nicely with a Knotty Blonde.

The Row at Bend’s Tetherow Resort has a great pub-style menu that includes all your favorites like burgers and wings and a rotating beer menu featuring several local breweries. And while it sounds simple: sourdough bread, smoked ham, and Tillamook cheddar cheese served with daily soup – the grilled cheese is top notch (especially served with the tomato soup that’s usually available.)

Crux Fermentation Project

Crux Fermentation Project is easily one of Bend’s favorite brewpubs. The pub features three hugely popular food carts outside on the lawn. And while the pub itself has a limited menu, the Banh Mi sandwich has long been a standout dish. It’s porter-hoisin roasted pork belly, cubed ham, fresh cucumber, cilantro, do Chua, and sweet chili aioli. My colleague Kristine implores you to get EXTRA CILANTRO!

Exterior view of people on the patio at 10 Barrel on Bend, Oregon's westside
The patio at 10 Barrel Brewing’s West Side Pub.

You can find a great steak sandwich on just about every menu here these days (most here are made with locally grown beef,) but you probably won’t find a better one than the one at 10 Barrel Brewing‘s West Side pub. Know how I know? Because my wife says so and, well, she’s kind of a steak sandwich expert (or so I’ve been told.)

For an out of this world dining experience, Worthy Brewing is your place thanks to the world’s first “Hopservatory.” Founder Roger Worthington will tell you the Salmon Sando is the best in the universe: grilled Atlantic salmon, Tillamook pepper jack cheese, fresh guacamole, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion, chipotle aioli on ciabatta. (Pro tip from my colleague Kristi: Get it as a lettuce wrap.)

And finally, Brother Jons has two locations in Bend and both have great menus. You can’t go wrong though with the Cuban: Pulled pork, ham, melted swiss, sautéed onions, dill pickles & spicy brown mustard on a grilled hoagie roll. (While you’re waiting, the habanero cheese dip is worth noshing on – it’s a white wine & garlic habanero cheese sauce with house-fried yellow and blue corn tortilla chips.)

Newport Avenue Market Mural a Tribute to the Spirit of Bend

A picture is worth a thousand words. But the new hand-painted mural outside Bend’s Newport Avenue Market will be worth a million smiles.

“The Bend Wall” is the work of local artist Kim Smallenberg, a project she started painting in May.

And it was no small task considering her canvas was 100 feet wide and 20 feet tall.

Newport Market CEO Lauren Johnson said they gave Smallenberg an overview of their vision for the project, but gave her free reign to work her magic and capture the spirit of Bend.

“We wanted to bring a little joy to our corner of the world, and to give people a reason to smile,” Johnson said. “We gave her a broad canvas, literally and figuratively, to use her talents to help us celebrate all the things we love about Bend.”

Mission accomplished.

The artwork includes several of the 30 breweries in town, Pilot Butte, some of our parks, our beloved ski area Mt. Bachelor, Tumalo Falls, the historic Tower Theatre, Les Schwab Amphitheater and more.

“I believe tourists and people from out of town can come here and get a real good lay of the land,” Smallenberg said. “It’s like a real, living map of Bend and one can come here and open their horizons on where to look and go explore in Bend.”

The mural even includes an homage to the Great American Eclipse, which passed directly through Central Oregon in late August 2017.

The big red heart was the first thing Smallenberg painted on the mural, using it, she said, as a sounding board and for rotating messages of love. She said she knows of at least one couple who got engaged in front of the mural with the heart as a backdrop.

“That just made my heart so warm,” she said. “I hope that happens many times over.”

Smallenberg, a Bend resident for more than 22 years, has been an artist nearly all her life. A lot of artists, she said, do pieces that only a few eyes see.

That certainly won’t be the case here. Newport Market is in the heart of Bend’s bustling west side and has been one of the region’s most popular grocery stores since opening in 1976.

“I’ve been able to do an amazing piece of artwork that so many eyes are going to see and so many images are going to be taken of it,” she said. “It’ll bring lots of memories. a lot of smiles.”