22 Reasons Why You Need to Be in Bend This Summer

A sun-perfect well of food, drink, and activities is ready to be tapped in Portland’s friendly neighbor to the south.

By Larisa Owechko April 30, 2015

Bend, Oregon

Image: Jess Kraft


Whether you’re a hardcore mountaineer or a casual type aiming for an easy stroll, Bend’s beautiful surroundings have got you covered. The flat 1-mile loop around Sparks Lake gets you some gorgeous views with little sweating, and has 1/4 mile of paved, wheelchair-accessible trail. If you want to get elevated, try Pilot Butte State Park and hike up a nearly 500-foot butte to earn a panoramic view of the Cascades. Looking to get those quads burning? Push yourself on a long run in Shevlin Park, a park with more than 600+ acres of greenery and a generous offering of trails. 


Bring (or rent) a bicycle and provisions as you set off on the Twin Bridges Loop, a 36-mile trail that begins and ends right in downtown Bend. The route is popular and can get a bit of traffic, especially on weekends, but the rolling countryside views are worth the extra company. If you want more mountainous action, get over to Mt. Bachelor and enjoy the network of trails with the added perk of a lift so it’s practically all downhill riding.


Catch one of the major concerts in Bend this summer, starring show-stoppers like Robert Plant, Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Ryan Adams, and Willie Nelson. (Ticket info at If you don’t want to reach into your pocket, check out one of the many free concerts with series like Drake Park’s Munch & Music concerts or new series Alice After 5, held at the Old Mill District right next to the winding Deschutes River. 


After a day exploring the natural beauty, take in yet another trail that Bend has to offer...the Bend Ale Trail winds its way through 16 breweries, and we suggest you take on just a portion at a time. Travel the Ale Trail on bicycle with Life Cycle Bike Rental, horse-drawn carriage with Cowboy Carriage, or segue to a segway with the Bend Tour CompanyThere are also several beer-related festivals in Bend this summer—from August’s huge Bend Brewfest (kid-friendly until 7pm!) to the Little Woody Barrel-Aged Brew & Whiskey Festival, featuring drinks aged in flavor-refining wine, whiskey, and oak barrels.

Beer not your bag? Check out the offshoot of the Bend Ale Trail, Drinkable Diversionsa string of distilleries, wineries, and ciders—and a kombucha maker for the wonderful DDs among you.


After all this activity, you’re going to need some sustenance. If topnotch sushi and Asian fusion sounds good, try 5 Fusion, whose chef Joe Kim is a twice-semifinalist for the James Beard award. More in the mood for something from the American South? Try something from downtown's Zydeco Kitchen's clean menu. If “locally-sourced” and “homegrown” are your foodie buzzwords of choice, head over to Chow, where, in the summer, many of their ingredients come from their onsite garden!

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