About Bend, Oregon
Bend is a city in Central Oregon that sits at the bottom of the Cascade Mountains. It’s home to Bachelor Mountain for ski and sports, the Deschutes National Forest, home of the Hydro Flask headquarters, and also the cleanest drinking water in America. Whether you’re there for outdoor activities, a girl’s trip, or a romantic getaway, Bend has something for everyone.
Getting to Bend
To get to Bend, you fly into the Redmond Airport (RDM). It’s a small airport that’s quick to get through and you also board and arrive on the tarmac. The first thing you see when you step off the plane is the gorgeous Mountain views. Once you get your bags, you can either rent a car or get rideshare into Bend. It’s about a half-hour drive to get there. We rented a car and were able to get around easily with minimal traffic and easy parking wherever we went.
The babes always recommend planning and booking everything beforehand. We always book excursions, hotels, reservations, and cars in advance because it’s not fun making plans and then they fall through because they’re booked or not open. Plus it’s good to make out an itinerary so you know where you’re going and what to pack. Bend’s busy seasons are summer and fall because you can hike, kayak, and do a lot of outdoor activities. But with Bachelor Mountain and all the snowy outdoor activities, we’ll go out on a limb and say Winter is a busy season as well.
Getting Around in Bend
As we said above, we rented a car at the RDM airport and got around that way. A lot of the activities were close to our hotel or only a 20 minute drive away. Definitely reserve a vehicle so you don’t have to depend on rideshares to get around. We also booked excursions through Wanderlust Tours. On the days we had those activities, they picked us up and dropped us off at our hotel.
Best Time to Go
We recommend going in the winter because it’s not as busy in the spring and summer and there are so many outdoor activities to take advantage of. But the Babes have also talked about doing a returning trip in the fall so we can experience Bend in a warmer season.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Element Bend in the Studio Commons. The Studio Commons has 4 connector rooms with a King bed and bathroom and then the common areas. We were able to get an InstaCart order when we arrived since the common area had a kitchen. There’s a full fridge, freezer, microwave, stove, and oven at your disposal. The common area also has a dining room table and a large couch to sit on. We spent a lot of time in the common area talking, enjoying a glass of wine, and catching up on work at the end of the day.
If you like to stay active at the hotel, there’s an indoor pool, hot tub, and gym and there’s also a park across the street if you need to take a walk. The Element Bend is also in the perfect location, we were five minutes away from anything downtown.
The Element Bend has a large parking lot and parking is free and self-park. The lobby is large and spacious and they have a daily happy hour featuring wine and beer from local spots. They also have a complimentary breakfast in the mornings and a coffee maker so you can get some caffeine whenever you need it. The staff was also so kind and accomodating. We definitely felt well taken care of a little spoiled by the Element Staff!
Things to Do in Bend, OR
Wondering what to do in Bend Oregon? We’ve got you covered with these winter adventure activities!
Snowmobiling with Central Oregon Adventures – There’s no better way to see the snowy scenery Bend than by snowmobile! We went on a two-hour tour with a guide and saw the scenic Cascade Mountain Range around Mt. Bachelor. When you get to the top of the mountain, you have picturesque views and the perfect photo opportunity. Book this excursion in advance.
Exploring Boyd Cave with Wanderlust Tours – Have you ever been to a prohibition cave? Wanderlust Tours took us to explore the lava caves near Bend and it was the neatest experience. During prohibition, alcohol was kept in the cave to keep it out of sight and keep it cool. For this activity, wear shoes with good traction and clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty. When booking, ask Katie to be your guide!
Tour at Oregon Spirit Distillery – After the Prohibition Cave Tour, Wanderlust Tours takes you to Oregon Spirit Distillery. Here you’ll learn all about the history of prohibition in Bend and the process of distilling. When you’re done with the tour, you’ll enjoy a flight of Oregon Spirit liquors and a mixed drink. We loved their maple syrup bourbon and each took a bottle home to enjoy!
Go Back in Time at the Last Blockbuster – Did you know there is one Blockbuster left? The lone location is in Bend. This was around the corner from our hotel and we had the best time going in and reminiscing about the good old days of checking out videos. If you live in Bend you can actually still check out DVDs and they also have cool Blockbuster merch for purchase. The whole experience was a blast from the past and will have you reliving your childhood.
Ice Skating at the Pavilion – Babe, Jessica, grew up ice skating so she took advantage of an open skate afternoon at The Pavilion. Rental skates are available for $3 but helmets are not included. The Pavilion offers public skate sessions for all ages as well as private lessons.
Get Pampered at the Anjou Spa – After a few days of busy activities, the babes were ready for a day of pampering at the spa. Anjou had their sanctuary suite, infrared sauna, and steam room set aside for us and we enjoyed treatments like facials, massages, foot soaks, and a yummy charcuterie board. Come for a girl’s day or bachelorette party and leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Shopping at the Old Mill District – What’s a girl’s trip without a little shopping? We headed to the Old Mill District to do a little shopping. If you want to shop local they have stores like Ticket Mill for Souvenirs and Snacks, Vanilla Urban Threads for boho fab pieces, and Hello Sunshine for unique, local pieces. They also have stores like Buckle, Aerie, Sephora, Sunglass Hut, and Athleta.
Dinner and Snowshoeing with Wanderlust Tours – Another cool experience with our guide Katie at Wanderlust Tours was dinner and late-night snowshoeing. We put on our snowsuits and cold weather gear and started the evening off with a delicious three-course meal made by a chef in a cabin. We dined on short rib and mashed potatoes and soup and ate until we were stuffed. Once we were done eating, we worked off our dinner by starting half a mile to the bonfire. Once we got to the bonfire we sat around and talked while sipping hot cocoa. It was a night we’ll never forget seeing the stars out like that!
Where to Eat
There are so many incredible Bend Oregon restaurants to enjoy!
Domaine Serene Wine Lounge – If you’re a wine lover like us, stop by Domaine Serene Wine Lounge. This is a newer wine lounge in Bend and perfect for a date night with its romantic, moody lighting. Not only did we enjoy their delicious wine, but enjoyed a charcuterie board, crispy Brussel sprouts, and winter kale salad. After eating, we toured their wine cellar and learned about the company and its story. We loved learning about this family-owned business!
Greg’s Grill – Located in the Old Mill Shopping District, Greg’s Grill is the perfect place to stop and refuel while you’re shopping. This restaurant has a gorgeous view of the Deschutes River and the walking path makes it prime for people watching. The menu has a lot of different options but we enjoyed burgers, fries, and salads. We left full and ready to shop more!
Va Piano Vineyards – Another stop in the Old Mill Shopping District was Va Piano Vineyards. We tried flights of all the different red wines they offered and learned more about this woman-owned and operated business! While we sipped our wine we enjoyed a yummy charcuterie board and even took a few bottles of their sparkling rosé home to enjoy.
Dogwood Cocktail Cabin – Our last night in Bend was spent enjoying all the yummy craft cocktails at Dogwood Cocktail Cabin. This space had a cozy, rustic vibe and you really felt like you were in a cozy cabin having an intimate moment with friends. They also offer light bites but we were too busy enjoying all their delicious cocktails.
900 Wall – If you’re looking for a dinner spot, 90% of the people we asked recommended 900 Wall for dinner. We split pizzas and fish dishes and loved everything on the menu. It’s hard to pick just one thing! 900 Wall was located in downtown Bend where you’d also find Domaine Serene Wine Lounge and the Dogwood Cocktail Cabin.
The Lemon Tree – The cutest little brunch spot had to be at The Lemon Tree. The decor was absolutely adorable and the food is inspired by cuisines from around the world. The two chefs met while they were working abroad and would stop at all the different ports and try all their dishes. So the menu has a wide variety of items ranging from homemade baked goods to seared steak benedict. Stop by and enjoy these dishes for yourself!
A huge thank you to our partners:
Noize, Aerie, Show Me Your Mumu, Visit Bend, Wanderlust Tours, Central Oregon Adventures, Element Bend
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