Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Bend, OR

  • Published 2023/03/17

Bend in Oregon is the ideal tax beer haven to grant your wishes!

The town’s world-class Deschutes Brewery and special status as a no sales-tax zone will make your trip to this place alluring!

Formerly home to rugged ranchers, loggers, and lumberjacks, present-day Bend has all the makings of an ideal holiday hotspot!

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 20 best things to do in Bend, Oregon:

Learn Desert Ecology at High Desert Museum

Badger in High Desert Museum

St. Nick /

Spread over 135 acres of sprawling scenic forested spaces, High Desert Museum is committed to conserving the West high desert habitat.

To achieve its mission, it raises public awareness with its historical exhibits and live animals.

Wagon at High Desert Museum

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The unique artifacts are an authentic American old-era stagecoach for history lovers and a high desert model for kids.

Bald eagle at High Desert Museum

steve estvanik /

Explore Riley Ranch Nature Reserve

Flora at Riley Ranch Nature Reserve


Riley Ranch Nature Reserve is yet another jaw-dropping nature attraction in Bend.

Famous for its sprawling grasslands and uphill terrains, this nature reserve has all sorts of ecological and geographical wonders.

Whether checking out the river or exploring the wilderness, you’ll have many things to see at Riley Ranch Nature Reserve.

Tons of animals can be seen here, and there are plenty of information boards to improve your outdoor trek.

To top it all off, the reserve is also famous for marvelous cloud formations because of its vast open lands.

You can access Riley Ranch Nature Reserve along Glen Vista Road.

Hike the Prehistoric Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

melissamn /

As part of the Deschutes National Forest, the Newberry National Volcanic Monument offers a rare chance to walk overland formations resulting from eruptions over 75,000 years ago.

You can choose from a host of outdoor activities, such as fishing, camping, and hiking on the steep slopes of the now-dormant volcano.

Waterfall at Newberry National Volcanic Monument

steve estvanik /

Go Kayaking at Riverbend Park

Riverbend Park is one of the most popular city parks in the city.

It’s mainly known for its kayaking and paddleboarding activities, letting you experience the Deschutes River first-hand.

A scenic experience, kayaking through the river will let you see some fantastic rock formations and wilderness along its bank.

Even if you’re not planning to do some boating, the park also allows swimming and tubing—fun summertime activities.

A must-visit in your itinerary, access Riverbend Park along Southwest Columbia Street.

See the BreathtakingTumalo Falls

Tumalo Falls

Victoria Ditkovsky /

The majestic 100-foot Tumalo Falls site will stun you at first sight!

Hiking along the trails here is a pleasure and draws hordes of locals and tourists to these falls.

A family hiking towards the Tumalo Falls

RS Smith Photography /

The thunderous waters of these falls tumble into the deep taverns of the Tumalo Creek below, turning the location into a panoramic marvel.

There are other smaller falls and rapids to admire as you head upstream.

Closeup of the Tumalo Falls

steve estvanik /

Go Mountain Biking at Phil’s Trail

Aerial view of the Phil’s Trail

Cascade Drone Photography /

Because of its rich topography, it’s no surprise that Bend also has something for mountain bikers.

With impressive pump tracks and varying elevated terrains, Phil’s Trail will spike your adrenaline levels.

While not as technical as usual in other states, Phil’s Trail is still a must-try because of its fantastic scenery and colossal wilderness.

Because it’s not too tricky to bike, other visitors just like the place.

Found along FS 300 Road, Phil’s Trail is a great way to spice up your adventure.

Visit Deschutes Historical Museum

Deschutes Historical Museum

Orygun at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Deschutes Historical Museum in Bend will tell you the saga of life in Deschutes Country over the years.

The vast media used includes photographs, paintings, letters, and dioramas.

The museum is only of seven such excellent stops on a Bend heritage walk.

Have Breakfast at The Sparrow Bakery and Restaurant

The Sparrow Bakery and Restaurant is one of the most-loved dining establishments in Bend, found along Northwest Crossing Drive.

It’s mainly known as a breakfast place, serving many delicious pastries and sandwiches.

One of their bestsellers is the Ocean Roll, a sweet pastry whose flavor stems from cardamom seeds.

Besides breakfast pastries, The Sparrow Bakery and Restaurant has dessert options like macarons, teas, and other drinks.

With beautiful interiors, the ambiance also makes this a must-visit.

Go Spelunking atLava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Hrach Hovhannisyan /

Another excellent land feature from over 80,000 years ago is the Lava River Cave.

Shrouded amid a dense growth of pines, sagebrush, and snow bush, this cave proudly boasts of being Oregon’s most extended continuous lava tube.

The cave extends to an astonishing 5,211 feet.

View of the Lava River Cave

Hrach Hovhannisyan /

You will have to walk down 126 perilous steps to reach the mouth.

You might even feel you are trespassing over some forbidden Lord of the Rings territory!

As you go deeper into the cave, the temperatures drop, and the openings shrink.

Entrance to Lava River Cave

RS Smith Photography /

Take the Family to Pine Nursery Park

Beautiful tree at Pine Nursery Park

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If you want to do a little bit of everything, Pine Nursery Park is a great place to visit along Northeast Purcell Boulevard.

An expansive park that offers abundant recreational activities for children and adults, this is a fun family-bonding attraction in Bend.

They’re famous for their sporting amenities, spearheaded by their fun disc golf course and baseball fields.

Picnics are also commonly done at Pine Nursery Park, as it receives some of the best late afternoon suns in the city.

There’s even a dog park here, so it has something for every family member.

Play Winter Sports at Mt. Bachelor Ski Area

Mt. Bachelor Ski Area

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Here at Mt. Bachelor Ski Area, racing down the 800-foot mountain ride at full speed will fill you with thrilling goosebumps.

The dog sled will pull you into the heart of the wilderness in an equally exciting experience!

Also, the visuals of these snow peaks are stunning.

Many luxurious lodgings are also available to make your stay comfortable.

Immerse in Art and Culture at Hayden Homes Amphitheater

Aerial view of Les Schwab Amphitheater

Beastes35, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hayden Homes Amphitheater hosts artists in modern musical genres; some of the biggest names have played here!

The open-air arena houses 8,000 enthusiasts at a time.

You will be drowning in the electric atmosphere when you attend one of their high-octane musical gigs.

The summers are equally entertaining at the amphitheater.

Most of the concerts during this time of the year are orchestra and other classical music ensemble performances.

Trek theDeschutes National Forest

Deschutes National Forest

Wirestock Creators /

The exquisite Deschutes National Forest lies at the confluence of the Blue Mountains foothills and Cascade and Fremont National Forest.

This melting of diverse landforms has gifted the region with majestic sky-touching cinder cones and fascinating lava tubes.

Deschutes National Forest covered with snow

Sandra Woods /

Vast open stretches and dense forests round out the motley assemblage of geological features.

These unique formations provide ample scope for outdoor lovers to enjoy several activities.

Boating, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding are stapled favorites of visitors here.

Creek running through Deschutes National Forest

RS Smith Photography /

Experience the Wanderlust Tours

Professional naturalists of the Wanderlust Tours will fill you with rich information about the region.

The rich geology also provides enough sites to learn about the history and process behind these formations.

From magical caves to volcanic deposits, the naturalists will take you through the whole spectrum of landscapes in the region.

Take a Breather atDrake Park

Drake Park

Carmen Sorvillo /

Families can head out to Drake Park and rejoice in quality family time in its 13-acres area.

You can spot several families enjoying the weather amid pompous ponderosa pines and homely hardwoods!

Walkway at Drake Park

Wirestock Creators /

Additionally, you can also watch exciting shows on the outdoor stage.

Here, you’ll see animals roaming carefree, such as squirrels and chipmunks.

Drake Park during winter

Cascade Drone Photography /

Immerse Yourself in Exotic Land Formations at Oregon Badlands Wilderness Area

Oregon Badlands Wilderness Area

EncMstr, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 29,180 acres of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness Area is brimming with exotic formations.

Once flowing with waters in the Ice Age, the barren river bed now lies at the divide between two enormous volcanic regions – the Badlands volcano area and the Horse Ridge volcano area.

Go Skiing with Oregon Ski Guides

Skiing in Bend, Oregon

Sveta Imnadze /

Get high on your skiing skills with expert Oregon ski trainers, and move beyond resort skiing into big-boys territory!

Touch new highs of thrill with snow mountaineering, or enjoy the laidback delights of backcountry skiing.

Oregon skiing guides will quickly take you from a beginner’s stage to a moderately advanced level.

Have a Beer at Deschutes Brewery Tour

The Deschutes Beer is the world’s fifth-largest beer brand.

You can see their exquisite process by taking a tour around Deschutes Brewery.

From learning about beer history and culture to watching beer bottled with clockwork precision, this tour will make you a life-long beer devotee!

Finally, cap off the fantastic tour with the equally impressive foam of your favorite beer in the sampling section.

No matter your beer sensibilities, you will find a beer to suit you here!

Final Thoughts

There’s no debate that Bend is a top tourist attraction in Oregon.

Famous for its natural wonders, you could easily spend a week or two exploring what it offers.

To improve things, there are even some urban attractions to diversify your experience.

With so many things to do in Bend, Oregon, use this list to ensure a hassle-free adventure.

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