Main Content

Think like A Local: Things to Do in Bend, Oregon

Downtown Bend

Have you ever visited a city that has the same kind of air as – say – a theatre’s stage?

It seems like a show is being put on, and you know it’s a little unreal?

Have you ever wanted to experience a place as a local and cut through all the pantomime and theatrics?

There is a serious gap between a touristy place, on the one hand, and a hole-in-the-wall that a local might dwell, on the other.

The following list is a compendium of to-dos to get into the local mind and enjoy Bend maybe not exactly like a local, but certainly differently than (most) tourists.  

Visit/Stay at McMenamins

  So, maybe it’s easier to explain what McMenamins is NOT rather than say what McMenamins is. Seriously, it has/is a lot of things:
  1. a theatre
  2. a hotel
  3. a bar
  4. an eatery
  5. an old Catholic school (huh?)
  6. a historical landmark
McMenamins is a line of bars/hotels/movie theatres/concert venues/spas throughout Oregon and Washington, and they handcraft beer, coffee, cider, and spirits. And the one in Bend, Oregon is a recycled Catholic school.

Super cool, right?

Here’s the business model: they take historical buildings that have had their run and turn them into gathering places that offer the facilities I’ve tried to summarize.

It is a chic mix of the old and the new, giving it a novelty that cannot be imitated. Each of the McMenamins sites are profoundly unique and cannot even be compared among each other. That’s how unique they are.

Whether you’re staying or visiting, make sure to read the “Upcoming Events” bulletin on the McMenamins website and take full advantage of seasonal or once-in-a-lifetime events.    

Hit the Bend, Oregon Ale Trail!

  So you’re coming to Bend to play, and if you’re not, why not play, anyway?

Hey, you’re in Bend, searching Google for “things to do,” right? And beer and coffee are the life-blood of central Oregon.

Central Oregon, as a whole, is spotted all over with breweries and pubs, but Bend is definitely the densest with the most popular of the breweries. Here’s a list of the notable:
  1. 10 Barrel Brewing Co.
  2. Bend Brewing Company
  3. Bridge 99 Brewery
  4. Cascade Lakes Brewing Company
  5. Crooked Jay Brewing
  6. Crux Fermentation Project
  7. Deschutes Brewery
  8. GoodLife Brewing Company
  9. Immersion Brewing
  10. Monkless Belgian Ales
  11. Oblivion Brewing
  12. Silver Moon Brewing
  13. The Ale Apothecary
  14. Worthy Brewing Company

Also Try...

try deschutes brewery tours in bend oregon - button
wine tasting bar in bend oregon
(Quick Tip: Use the Beer Me Bend! website to see a schedule of happy hours around town.)

Have a Spa Day

You may be here to adventure, see real estate, do business, or simply to relax. But it may be discourteous NOT tell you of the award winning spas! You work hard, so why not treat yourself to some of the most deliciously relaxing experiences you can ever have?

Featured Spas


Anjou Spa

Voted “Best Day Spa” in 2014 by Central Oregon Magazine

jinsei spa in bend oregon

Jinsei Spa

Voted “Best Day Spa” by Central Oregon Magazine.

Spa W in Bend Oregon

Spa W

Voted #1 Day Spa by The Source Weekly.

See 29 more spa options in Bend, Oregon. 

Day spas near Bend

Explore Nature

We can’t have a “things to do” list without adding our awe-inspiring natural wonders. Central Oregon, as a whole,  is a world renowned destination for its natural landscape. Outdoor recreation is just part of life. So, any things to do list of central Oregon worth its salt should mention these natural beauts!

Smith Rock

Smith Rock

Near: Terrebonne, Oregon

Activities: hiking, biking, rock climbing, camping, sight-seeing.

Check out a hot destination for rock climbers from all around the world, Smith Rock. Smith Rock State Park offers a guide to the state park, which gives an overview of the thousands of climbs, numerous hiking and biking trails, and other notable features.



The Three Sisters

three sisters oregon

Near: Sisters. Oregon

Activities: Hiking

The Three Sisters are 3 volcanic peaks along the Cascade Range in Central Oregon. The area is known for its abundance of hiking trails. 

There are 12 trail-heads to choose from at this state park, alone. Let the sprawling horizon of Oregon bless your eyesight for a good hike through the Oregon wilderness.


Deschutes River

rafting is one of the best things to do in bend oregon

Activities: camping, day use, kayaking, rafting, hiking, biking, gathering, and much more.

Deschutes River is a treasure trove of things to do, for both visitors or locals. Some of the most dearest memories for some of us Oregonians is the yearly floating (getting on tire tubes and floating down the river). 

Make sure to consult with the proper authorities to learn how much caution should be taken with any of these natural parks. 


Visit the High Desert Museum

The High Desert Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of the West’s High Desert, through exhibits, wildlife, programs, and history. 

Just 5 minutes from Bend, this is an easy thing to mark off any things to do list. It is a place for the whole family!

sun real estate logo

Learn more about us by visiting our about page, or see listings for central Oregon communities like Prineville, Redmond, and Sisters, or our “contact us” page