Staff Picks Blog

The BestNews and tips

Check in here all year long for tips and news from our staff on what’s new, what’s going on and what’s happening in Bend, Central Oregon and our Best Western Premier. There’s so much to do and learn, we don’t want you to miss a thing.

Toasting Marshmallows over an Outdoor Fire

Holiday Bonfires and Christmas Boats

When the snow is falling and Christmas lights are glowing there’s not a better way to enjoy the season than in the great outdoors. Bend is the place if you want to spend the holidays backcountry style.

Bundle up and take to the Deschutes riverbank for Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe’s annual Holiday Lights Paddle Parade. Participants deck their boats and boards to the definitive holiday standard with lights and seasonal garb. After the parade, head to the after party holiday kick off complete with delicious drinks and celebratory company. Get into the backcountry with Wanderlust Tours’ New Year’s Eve Bonfire on the Snow. Snowshoe into the wilderness for a bonfire in a hand-carved snowpit with dessert and drinks in hand to toast in the New Year. While you count down to midnight listen to your naturalist guide interpret the night sky and nature around you. When you’re ready to warm up make your way to Thump Coffee for their special hot Chai Tea!

Read more
draft beer being poured

The Best of Beer Town USA

This “Movember” is the most fitting month to bundle up from head to toe and imbibe in one of Bend’s signature features—Ale. Join the intrepid trekkers who take on Beer Town USA’s abundance of breweries on the Bend Ale Trail. Tour the city samplings suds and collecting stamps along the way. 

Get 10 stamps and take home a Bend Silipint. Get all 16? You’ll take home a Bend Ale Trail bottle opener, too! Hop on the Bend Brew Bus for a guided trip through the city’s craft beverage scene. Sample beer, cider, spirits and more while taking in the city’s best sights. If the secret to life is balance and moderation, then the Bend Ale Run is all you need to live to a ripe old age. After testing your stamina in the half marathon or 10K, head to the Bend Ale Festival for more than 40 craft brews, free gear, and live tunes!

Read more
Birds Eye View of a Roundabout

An Uncommon Approach to Art

Bend is all about breaking the bounds of the status quo and embracing life full-on. When it comes to the city’s art scene, that mentality is no different. While Bend has its museums, there are better ways to admire the local art scene in a hands-on approach. Take a tour of the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection

This array of award-winning public art adorns the downtown area’s parking garages and alleyways—perfectly placed for passersby to peruse and appreciate. Or, stop by the Visitor Center and pick up a map to make a game out of art with the Roundabout Art Route. The city turned its traffic circles into centerpieces for creativity that serve as the treasures of this scavenger hunt. Simply find at least 10 of these sculptures—honored as some of the most innovative pieces of public art in the country—test your knowledge with the trivia questions on the map, and make your way back to the Visitor Center for a well-earned award!

Read more
Woman Mountain Biking with Dog

Ride with Abandon on Bend's Trails and Byways

This fall, don’t you want to breathe the crisp air, feel the wind through your hair and the freedom of the coursing road? Hit the trails and scenic byways, see Bend and Central Oregon from a new perspective, and hit that trifecta on the back of a bike.

With more than 300 miles of trails—like black diamonds in Phil’s Trail Complex—and six of Oregon’s most beautiful scenic bikeways—such as family-friendly rides on the Metolius River Loops—there’s a little something for everyone. If going solo isn’t your thing, jump in a tour. Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours offers everything from Farm to Table tours, to Winter Fat Bike Tours and Multi-Day excursions. Or, go with The Paulina Plunge, the Downhill Waterfall Mountain Bike Tour. When you’re worn out, make your way to the Drift Bike Races at Silver Moon Brewing this September for some good old cycling competitions!

Read more
Bearded Musician Playing Guitar

Kick Back with Bend's Best Beats

Here in Bend, we believe the best way to get by is with a cold brew in hand while kicking back to the beats of a live band. With festivals, free shows, and live music fundraisers, August is the month of music.

Show your support for Oregon Adaptive Sports—an organization that provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors—at the Bigstock Music Festival. This year, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers will headline, joined by other local and world-class musicians, a silent auction, food, drinks and more. For a fun night out, head to Drake Park each Thursday for the Munch & Music Free Concert Series. Bands performing this month include Rising Appalachia, The Itals, and Super Diamond. Celebrate Folk the first week of September at the Sisters Folk Festival. With a stellar lineup—including Justin Townes Earle, The Dustbowl Revival, and Banda Magda—a song academy and a free concert series, it’s sure to be the cherry on top of your summer!

Read more
Moon in the Night Sky

Catch Constellations, Speeding Comets and Spaceships

Let your imagination take off to new heights at the Worthy Garden Club’s HopservatoryThe WGC formed in 2015 with the intent to inspire with the beauty of our planet and space while encouraging people to preserve it. Set the tone for your voyage through the three-story Hopservatory in the Transporter room—an area inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night and decked out with comets, spaceships, and planets. 

When you reach the deck on the third floor, take a minute to soak in the panoramic view from Mt. Bachelor to Mt. Hood. Follow the tour guides as they use lasers to highlight constellations in the night sky. Then, sneak a peek through the 16-inch telescope to catch a glimpse of some of the night sky’s lights—a moment that will take you deep into the past. Of course, the night sky changes with the seasons, so you can come back again and again and always see something new!

Read more
Hand holding an ice cream cone

Take in the Tastes and Tunes of June

Bite of Bend is back for another year of beer, bands, and enough food to keep you going until the next Big Bang. Take in the warm weather as you wind your way through a taste of some of the Northwest’s best vendors. Sample $2 bite-sized bits—from ice cream to burgers and everything in between—as you go. Work off the food at the annual beer run—a 5K with local brew samples along the route and a full beer at the finish. Or, cheer on the under 21 crowd at the Root Beer Run.

When you need a break, listen to the line-up of more than a dozen local bands or watch chefs battle it out in Bend’s very own version of Top Chef. But the fun doesn’t even stop there. When the festival ends, keep savoring the flavors with demonstrations, classes and chef’s dinners at the 6th annual Bite Week!

Read more
Snow Covered Mountains with Pine Trees

Savor Backcountry Brews and the Spring Snow

The summer sun is starting to emerge, melting all that pristine powder that once coated the Cascades. But there’s still time to soak up some of the snow before the warm weather takes over. If you’re looking for something a bit beyond the battered tracks of the typical trekker, Strap on your snowshoes and sneak in one last jaunt through the snow with Wanderlust Tours.

Wanderlust has you covered from the parking lot to mid-trip pints. The 4-hour, professional naturalist guided tour will take you deep into the woods to little-known lookouts with views of the surrounding mountains. While you take in the view at your destination, cool off with a local micro-brew. Underage adventurers are welcome to join the fun with root beer. All you need to bring are warm clothes, sunglasses, and a camera that will capture the moment for years to come!

Read more
Hand holding barley next to pint of beer

The Trail to Bend's Ale

Bend has more breweries per-capita than any other city in Oregon and has been nicknamed “Beer Town USA.” So it’s no wonder the Bend Ale Trail - a walking tour of all of Bend’s 16 breweries - is one of the most popular things visitors want to tackle while in Bend. Pick up your Bend Ale Trail Atlas and Passport at a participating brewery, the Bend Visitor Center or the ticket mill at the Old Mill District and begin the journey. 

With 16 breweries along the route, you don’t have to do them all in one day but acquiring a stamp at each brewery is rewarded with prizes; just make sure you read the rules of the trail before you head out because if you don't follow the rules, you don't get a souvenir. Ten stamps gets you a commemorative Bend Silipint (an unbreakable silicone drinking glass); if you get stamps from all 16 breweries you’ll receive the Silipint and a Bend Ale Trail bottle opener. No purchase is necessary to get a passport stamp.

Read more

Thank You