Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Bend, OR

Welcome to Bend, Oregon! Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Pacific Northwest, Bend offers a plethora of top-rated tourist attractions and exciting things to do for visitors of all ages. With its stunning natural beauty, outdoor adventure opportunities, vibrant food and drink scene, and rich cultural heritage, Bend is a must-visit destination for any traveler seeking an unforgettable experience.

One of Bend’s most iconic attractions is the majestic Deschutes River. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for some heart-pumping whitewater rafting, an avid angler eager to cast a line into the crystal-clear waters, or a leisurely hiker looking to explore the scenic trails that wind along the river’s edge, the Deschutes River offers something for everyone.

If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, a visit to Smith Rock State Park is a must. Known as the birthplace of American sport climbing, this stunning natural wonder boasts dramatic rock formations, breathtaking views, and a variety of hiking and climbing routes suitable for all skill levels. Don’t forget your camera, as the photo opportunities here are second to none.

No trip to Bend would be complete without a visit to the famous High Desert Museum. This unique museum showcases the region’s rich cultural heritage, as well as its diverse flora and fauna. From interactive exhibits and live animal encounters to captivating presentations and educational programs, the High Desert Museum offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

For those seeking a taste of Bend’s vibrant food and drink scene, a visit to the city’s numerous microbreweries and distilleries is a must. From award-winning craft beers and spirits to mouthwatering farm-to-table cuisine, Bend’s culinary offerings are sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate. Be sure to sample the local favorites and discover why Bend has earned its reputation as a foodie paradise.

With its natural beauty, outdoor adventures, cultural attractions, and culinary delights, Bend, Oregon has something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking a thrilling outdoor adventure, a relaxing retreat in nature, or a cultural immersion in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Bend is the perfect destination for your next vacation. Start planning your trip today!

Explore the Outdoors

Known for its stunning natural beauty, Bend offers countless opportunities to

explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a nature lover,

there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

1. Hiking: Lace up your boots and hit the trails in Bend’s

surrounding mountains and forests. From beginner-friendly paths to challenging

summits, you’ll find a hike to suit your skill level. Don’t forget to explore the

famous Deschutes River Trail.

2. Biking: Bend is a mecca for cyclists, with miles of scenic

bike paths and thrilling mountain bike trails. Rent a bike and discover the area’s

breathtaking landscapes on two wheels. The Phil’s Trail Complex is a must-visit for

mountain biking enthusiasts.

3. River Activities: Take advantage of the Deschutes River and

enjoy a variety of water-based activities. Go kayaking, paddleboarding, or rafting

and experience the thrill of riding the rapids. For a more relaxing adventure, try

fly fishing or enjoy a picnic by the riverbank.

4. Rock Climbing: Test your climbing skills on the challenging

rock formations around Bend. Smith Rock State Park is renowned for its world-class

climbing routes, offering incredible views and an unforgettable adrenaline rush.

5. Golfing: With its picturesque surroundings and mild climate,

Bend is a golfer’s paradise. Tee off at one of the city’s stunning golf courses,

enjoying the beautiful scenery as you play through lush fairways and challenging

holes.

6. Snow Sports: In the winter months, Bend turns into a winter

wonderland. Hit the slopes at the nearby ski resorts and enjoy skiing, snowboarding,

and tubing. For a more serene experience, explore the snow-covered landscapes on

cross-country skis or snowshoes.

7. Wildlife Viewing: Bend is home to a variety of wildlife,

offering excellent opportunities for birdwatching and animal spotting. Visit the

Tumalo State Park or the High Desert Museum for a chance to see a diverse range of

birds, mammals, and reptiles up close.

Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline-pumping adventure or a peaceful retreat in

nature, Bend has it all. Explore the outdoors and create unforgettable memories

surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes of Central Oregon.

Visit the Deschutes Brewery

When in Bend, Oregon, a visit to the Deschutes Brewery is a must for beer enthusiasts. Established in 1988, the Deschutes Brewery is known for its wide variety of handcrafted beers that have gained national recognition. With a commitment to quality and innovation, the brewery has become a staple in the craft beer industry.

During your visit, you can take a guided tour of the brewery and learn about the beer-making process, from the sourcing of the finest ingredients to the intricate brewing techniques. The knowledgeable guides will walk you through each step of the process and answer any questions you may have. You’ll also get the chance to see the impressive brewing equipment and facilities firsthand.

After the tour, head to the tasting room where you can sample a selection of Deschutes Brewery’s signature beers. From hop-forward IPAs to smooth and malty stouts, there’s something for every beer lover’s palate. Grab a pint of your favorite brew and relax in the cozy atmosphere of the tasting room, or take a seat on the outdoor patio and soak in the beautiful views of the surrounding Cascade Mountains.

If you’re feeling hungry, the Deschutes Brewery also offers a delicious food menu to complement their beers. Savor dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients, such as juicy burgers, flavorful salads, and hearty sandwiches. Pair your meal with a recommended beer pairing for the ultimate culinary experience.

Before you leave, make sure to stop by the gift shop to pick up some Deschutes Brewery merchandise, such as t-shirts, glassware, and beer accessories. It’s the perfect way to remember your visit and share your love of craft beer with friends and family.

Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or simply looking for a fun and educational activity in Bend, a visit to the Deschutes Brewery is sure to be a memorable experience. Cheers!

Discover Smith Rock State Park

Nestled in the heart of Central Oregon, Smith Rock State Park is a picturesque destination known for its stunning rock formations, scenic hiking trails, and breathtaking views. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Smith Rock State Park has something to offer for everyone.

One of the highlights of Smith Rock State Park is its world-class rock climbing opportunities. With more than a thousand climbing routes, ranging from beginner-friendly to expert-level, this park is a mecca for rock climbers from around the world. The towering cliffs and unique rock formations provide a challenging and exhilarating experience for climbers of all skill levels.

If you prefer to stay on solid ground, Smith Rock State Park offers a variety of scenic hiking trails that weave through its rugged landscape. The Misery Ridge Trail is a popular choice, offering panoramic views of the park’s iconic Monkey Face formation and the Crooked River below. For a more leisurely stroll, the River Trail follows the tranquil waters of the river, providing opportunities for bird watching and wildlife spotting.

In addition to its natural beauty, Smith Rock State Park is also home to a diverse range of wildlife. Keep an eye out for golden eagles soaring above the cliffs, river otters playing in the water, and mule deer grazing in the meadows. The park’s unique ecosystem supports a wide variety of plant and animal species, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a connection with nature, Smith Rock State Park is a must-visit destination in Bend, Oregon. So pack your hiking shoes, bring your climbing gear, and get ready to discover the beauty and wonder of Smith Rock State Park.

Take a Scenic Drive on Cascade Lakes Highway

Venture out on a scenic drive along Cascade Lakes Highway for breathtaking views of Central Oregon’s stunning mountain landscapes. This 66-mile long highway winds through the scenic Cascade Range, offering travelers the opportunity to explore the region’s pristine lakes and lush forests.

As you drive along Cascade Lakes Highway, you’ll pass by a series of beautiful lakes, including Sparks Lake, Devils Lake, Elk Lake, and Hosmer Lake. Take the time to stop at the various scenic viewpoints along the way to fully appreciate the natural beauty of these sparkling lakes.

The highway also offers access to numerous hiking trails and picnic areas, allowing visitors to stretch their legs and immerse themselves in the tranquility of the surrounding wilderness. Be prepared to encounter stunning vistas, towering pine trees, and maybe even some wildlife during your journey.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful day trip or an adventurous expedition, Cascade Lakes Highway has something to offer every traveler. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a leisurely meal surrounded by nature, or explore the area’s recreational activities such as fishing, boating, or paddleboarding.

During the winter months, Cascade Lakes Highway is transformed into a snowy wonderland, attracting snowshoers and cross-country skiers. The surrounding mountains provide ample opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts to enjoy the fresh powder.

So, hop in the car and embark on a memorable scenic drive along Cascade Lakes Highway. Whether you’re a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this highway guarantees an unforgettable experience.

Note: Remember to check for road conditions and closures before setting out on your drive, especially during the winter months.

Go Skiing at Mt. Bachelor

If you love skiing or snowboarding, a trip to Bend, Oregon isn’t complete without a visit to Mt. Bachelor. With its stunning natural beauty and world-class skiing opportunities, it’s no wonder that Mt. Bachelor is one of the top-rated tourist attractions in the area.

Mt. Bachelor offers something for everyone, from beginners to seasoned pros. With over 4,300 acres of skiable terrain, there are plenty of runs to explore. The mountain boasts a vertical drop of 3,365 feet, ensuring thrilling downhill rides for even the most experienced skiers.

One of the highlights of skiing at Mt. Bachelor is the breathtaking panoramic views. As you glide down the slopes, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of the surrounding Cascade Mountains. It’s not uncommon to spot wildlife like elk or deer during your ski adventure.

For those who are new to skiing or snowboarding, Mt. Bachelor has a variety of lessons and programs available. From group lessons to private instruction, you can learn the basics or improve your skills under the guidance of experienced instructors.

If you prefer a different kind of snow activity, Mt. Bachelor also offers snowshoeing and snow tubing. These fun-filled activities are perfect for families or anyone looking for a break from the slopes.

After a day of skiing, be sure to relax and unwind at one of the mountain’s cozy lodges. Enjoy a delicious meal or warm up by the fire while recounting the highlights of your day on the slopes.

Whether you’re a skiing enthusiast or just looking for an adventure in the snow, a visit to Mt. Bachelor is a must when in Bend, Oregon. With its variety of skiing options, stunning scenery, and top-notch facilities, it’s no wonder that Mt. Bachelor is a top-rated tourist attraction in the area.

Experience the High Desert Museum

If you want to learn about the diverse wildlife and rich history of the High Desert region in Bend, Oregon, a visit to the High Desert Museum is a must. This unique museum combines interactive exhibits, live animal encounters, and natural history collections to give visitors a deeper understanding of the High Desert ecosystem.

One of the highlights of the museum is the Donald M. Kerr Birds of Prey Center, where you can get up close and personal with majestic raptors and learn about their habitats and conservation efforts. The museum also features outdoor habitats that showcase the native wildlife of the region, including otters, lynx, porcupines, and more.

For history buffs, the High Desert Museum offers exhibits on the region’s rich Native American cultures, pioneers, and explorers. You can learn about the significance of Native American art, experience the life of settlers in the early 1900s, and discover the stories of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Make sure to catch a live animal presentation during your visit, where the museum’s knowledgeable staff introduces you to some of the resident animals and shares interesting facts about their characteristics and behaviors. The museum also hosts special events and workshops throughout the year, so be sure to check the schedule ahead of time.

To make the most of your visit, take your time exploring the museum’s beautiful outdoor trails, which wind through the scenic High Desert landscape. You’ll have the opportunity to observe wildlife in their natural habitat and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Whether you’re interested in wildlife, history, or both, the High Desert Museum is a must-visit attraction in Bend. Plan your trip today and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the High Desert region.

Enjoy Water Activities on the Deschutes River

The Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon offers an abundance of opportunities for water activities and outdoor fun. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling adventure or a relaxing day on the water, the Deschutes River has something to offer everyone.

One of the most popular water activities on the Deschutes River is whitewater rafting. With its fast rapids and stunning scenery, it’s no wonder that people flock to Bend to experience this thrilling adventure. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rafter, there are plenty of guided tours and rental options available to suit your needs.

If you prefer a more laid-back experience, kayaking or paddleboarding on the Deschutes River is a great choice. Glide along the calm waters and take in the beautiful surroundings as you explore the river at your own pace. You can rent equipment from various outfitters in Bend and embark on a self-guided trip or join a guided tour for a more immersive experience.

For those who enjoy fishing, the Deschutes River is a paradise. Known for its abundance of trout, the river provides the perfect setting for a day of fishing. Whether you prefer fly fishing or spin casting, you’ll find plenty of spots along the river to cast your line and try your luck. Just make sure to check the local fishing regulations and obtain the necessary permits before you start.

If water activities aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy the Deschutes River by taking a leisurely stroll or bike ride along its scenic banks. The river is surrounded by lush vegetation and offers picturesque views at every turn. Pack a picnic and find a spot to relax while enjoying the tranquility of the river.

No matter how you choose to enjoy the Deschutes River, be sure to take in the beauty of this natural gem. From thrilling adventures to peaceful moments of relaxation, the Deschutes River offers it all.

Explore Oregon Badlands Wilderness

Located just east of Bend, Oregon, the Oregon Badlands Wilderness is a vast and stunning desert landscape that offers outdoor enthusiasts a unique and remote adventure.

The wilderness area encompasses over 29,000 acres of rolling terrain, volcanic rock formations, ancient juniper trees, and diverse wildlife. It is a stark contrast to the lush forests and cascading waterfalls typically associated with Oregon.

Hiking is one of the main activities in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness, with several trails that range in difficulty from easy to moderate. One popular trail is the Flatiron Rock Trail, which leads hikers through a maze of ancient lava flows and past unique geological formations, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding desert.

Wildlife spotting is also a favorite pastime in the wilderness area. Visitors may encounter mule deer, coyotes, rabbits, and a variety of bird species, including golden eagles and prairie falcons. The Badlands are also home to the rare and protected Oregon spotted frog.

For photography lovers, the Oregon Badlands Wilderness offers endless opportunities to capture the unique beauty of the desert landscape. The contrast of the rugged volcanic rock with the soft, muted colors of the desert vegetation creates a captivating and otherworldly scene.

Before heading to the Oregon Badlands Wilderness, it’s important to come prepared. Remember to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and sturdy hiking shoes. The desert heat can be intense, especially during the summer months, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated and protected from the sun.

Whether you’re a hiker, wildlife enthusiast, or a lover of unique landscapes, the Oregon Badlands Wilderness is a must-visit destination. Explore the raw beauty of this desert oasis and experience a different side of Oregon’s natural wonders.

Visit the Old Mill District

Located along the picturesque Deschutes River, the Old Mill District is a must-visit destination for tourists in Bend, Oregon. This historic area was once home to lumber mills that played a crucial role in the city’s growth and development.

Today, the Old Mill District has been transformed into a vibrant shopping, dining, and entertainment hub. With its charming brick buildings, picturesque riverfront promenade, and stunning mountain views, it’s no wonder that the district is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

One of the main highlights of the Old Mill District is the shopping scene. From upscale boutiques to well-known national retailers, there’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re looking for fashion, home decor, outdoor gear, or local artisan crafts, the district has it all.

In addition to the shopping options, the Old Mill District also offers a diverse range of dining experiences. You can find everything from casual eateries to fine dining restaurants, with a variety of cuisine options available. Grab a quick bite, enjoy a leisurely meal, or sip on a craft beer at one of the district’s many restaurants and brewpubs.

For those looking for entertainment, the district has you covered. Catch a movie at the state-of-the-art cinema, enjoy live music at the outdoor amphitheater during the summer months, or take a leisurely stroll along the river. There are also plenty of events and festivals held in the district throughout the year, ensuring there’s always something exciting happening.

Whether you’re a history buff, a shopaholic, a food lover, or simply looking for a fun day out, the Old Mill District is well worth a visit. Soak up the charming atmosphere, explore the shops, grab a delicious meal, and take in the beautiful surroundings. You won’t be disappointed.

Discover Local Art at the Tower Theatre

When visiting Bend, Oregon, make sure to take some time to explore the vibrant local art scene. One must-visit destination for art enthusiasts is the Tower Theatre. Located in the heart of downtown Bend, the Tower Theatre is not only a historic venue for live performances, but also a showcase for local artists.

The Tower Theatre regularly features rotating art exhibitions in its lobby and gallery spaces. These exhibitions highlight the work of talented artists from Central Oregon and beyond. From paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media, the art on display at the Tower Theatre represents a diverse range of styles and mediums.

Walking through the Tower Theatre’s art gallery is like taking a journey through the creative minds of local artists. With each new exhibition, visitors have the opportunity to discover new and exciting pieces that reflect the unique spirit of Bend and its surrounding region.

In addition to the art exhibitions, the Tower Theatre also hosts various events and workshops that allow visitors to engage with the local art community. These events can include artist talks, art demonstrations, and even hands-on workshops where attendees can try their hand at creating their own artwork.

Whether you’re a dedicated art lover or simply enjoy exploring local culture, a visit to the Tower Theatre is a must when in Bend. Immerse yourself in the creativity and talent of the local art scene, and discover why Bend is known as a hub for artistic expression.

Question and answers:

What are some popular tourist attractions in Bend?

Some popular tourist attractions in Bend include Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint, Newberry National Volcanic Monument, and Deschutes National Forest.

Can you go hiking in Bend?

Yes, Bend offers plenty of hiking opportunities with its beautiful natural surroundings. Some popular hiking trails in the area include Tumalo Falls, Smith Rock State Park, and the Deschutes River Trail.

What is there to do in Bend for outdoor enthusiasts?

Bend is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can go hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, fishing, and even river rafting. There are also numerous lakes and rivers in the area for kayaking and paddleboarding.

Are there any cultural attractions in Bend?

Yes, Bend has several cultural attractions worth visiting. The High Desert Museum showcases the natural and cultural heritage of the region, while the Tower Theatre hosts various performing arts events. The Old Mill District is also a popular destination with its shops, restaurants, and galleries.

Can you visit any breweries in Bend?

Absolutely! Bend is known for its thriving craft beer scene. There are over 20 breweries in the city, including popular ones like Deschutes Brewery, Bend Brewing Company, and Crux Fermentation Project. Many of these breweries offer tours and tastings.

What are some popular tourist attractions in Bend, OR?

Some popular tourist attractions in Bend, OR include the Deschutes National Forest, Smith Rock State Park, and the High Desert Museum.

What outdoor activities can I do in Bend, OR?

In Bend, OR, you can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, and skiing.

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Caroline Lascom

Caroline is a seasoned travel writer and editor, passionate about exploring the world. She currently edits captivating travel content at TravelAsker, having previously contributed her exceptional skills to well-known travel guidebooks like Frommer’s, Rough Guides, Footprint, and Fodor’s. Caroline holds a bachelor's degree in Latin American studies from Manchester University (UK) and a master's degree in literature from Northwestern University. Having traveled to 67 countries, her journeys have fueled her love for storytelling and sharing the world's wonders.

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