Bend Festivals

In Bend, there’s always a public celebration coming up, a chance to get out and socialize with friends and neighbors. This is a festival town, no matter what time of year.
The result is an unrivaled sense of community. Bend has grown over the years from sleepy timber town to a bustling city of 80,000 residents plus tourists. Over time, though the city grew by leaps and bounds, we never strayed from that small town feel. Residents are close-knit and you always seem to run into someone you know any time you walk downtown.
That sense of community spills over with the many events and festivals held in the city.
Each of the seasons has its own festival. Venerable Winterfest and Summer Feshave been around for many years. Newer Spring and Fall festivals have joined them as beloved traditions.
Bridging the gap between summer and fall, the Bend Brewfest, despite its adult beverages, is an all-ages event at which many local brewers showcase their latest alchemy.
Bend also hosts farmers markets throughout the summer and fall harvest season. Despite its high desert climate, Central Oregon farmers and ranchers thrive. Locally sourced food is a delight after spending time mingling with friends at the market.
Crowds gather for more than shopping and festivals, too. A summer Munch and Music series is followed by Munch and Movies in the fall.  Indeed, during the warm part of the year, outdoor concerts occur so often, it’s hard to catch all the great shows. Recently, The Old Mill got in on the action with it’s Alive after 5 series of concerts and each concert at the Les Schwab Amphitheater has its own festival feel.
And not-to-be-missed is the July 4th Pet Parade downtown followed by fireworks launched from atop Pilot Butte that night.
Bend might have built its reputation on the great outdoors, but the events in town are what continue to make it a vibrant place to live or visit on regular basis.


Delicious Dining in Bend

Delicious Dining in Bend

People in Bend play hard, and they work up big appetites on the slopes, trails and links. It’s no surprise, then, that the high desert town is home to a growing restaurant scene that rivals much bigger cities. Dining in Bend has never been as good.

Hungry locals and a steady flow of tourists have attracted skilled chefs to Bend—the head chef at 5 Fusion in downtown Bend was recently nominated for the coveted James Beard Award—and the city overflows with dining options. In fact, Bend now boasts more restaurants per capita than any other city in Oregon.

Many of Bend’s restaurants have caught the eye of national foodies. Spork, a restaurant that started life as a food truck, recently was featured in The New York Times. Meanwhile, Huffington Post named Bend the third-most restaurant-crazed city in the country.

Downtown might be the center of the action in Bend, but quality dining has spilled out into the neighborhoods. Walk or drive down any main street and it won’t be far to find another great place to eat. Better yet, wander off the beaten path and find upstart gems and old-school institutions.

Some of the best dining options include: Zydeco Kitchen & Cocktails’ fine dining with a Southern twist, Trattoria Sbandati’s authentic Italian cuisine, and the Brickhouse’s steaks. Each was a winner in The Source Weekly’s 2013 Best of Central Oregon.

Of course it’s not all gourmet. Sometimes you just want something delicious without all the pomp. Bend institutions like Pizza Mondo, Pilot Butte Drive-In and Taco Stand aren’t fancy, but the tables are always full. That last spot is a hole-in-the-wall secret favored by locals for lunch. If you prefer a craft brew with your meal, brewpubs abound.

It’s a good thing there is so many ways to play in Central Oregon. With all of the great food, we need to burn a lot of calories. Whether you want romantic dining over candlelight or a snack watching sports on a big screen, Bend has you covered.


Beer Drinkers Paradise in Bend

A beer-drinker’s paradise
Bend is Ground Zero for the craft-brewing boom that exploded from the hops-covered hills of the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, the scene has only grown more epic—two-dozen breweries now operate in Central Oregon in addition to our wineries, cider companies and distillers.
It all started in 1988 when Deschutes Brewery opened the first brewpub in downtown Bend. Despite growing into a craft-beer behemoth that ranks among the largest brewing companies in the country, the downtown Bend eatery remains popular with locals and visitors returning from a day on the slopes, rock climbing or hiking in the Deschutes National Forest.
Other venerable institutions like Cascade Lakes Brewing and Bend Brewing Company have been crafting beer since the mid-1990s.
The industry really took off after the turn of the century, with several new breweries popping up per year. Crux Fermentation Project, one of the newest, is a particular favorite with locals.
Oregon is known for big, in-your-face IPAs, and fans won’t be disappointed at Bend’s breweries. Boneyard Beer makes such a great version, the RPM IPA, that brewers literally can’t keep up with the demand. Beer drinkers shouldn’t limit themselves to one style, though. Local breweries offer flavors to suit every thirst, and brewers are always experimenting. Most offer seasonal beers that highlight their latest inventions.
If you don’t know where to get started and don’t want to worry about driving, Bend’s Cycle Pub is available. Riders pedal a bar on wheels around town on a guided tour, ensuring that some of those calories are burned off.
And for those who prefer something other than beer, Bend offers other alcoholic refreshments. Atlas Cider Company and Red Tank Cider Company are two new arrivals. A number of wineries also have tasting rooms in town, and Bendistillery has been making award-winning vodka and gin (flavored with local juniper berries) for more than a decade. Oregon Spirit Distillers puts out its own fine vodkas and gin, and a particularly smooth bourbon—the perfect alternative to a beer on a frosty high desert evening.