Travel Spotlight on Bend, Oregon, and Its 16 Best Attractions

Hopper's travel guide to Bend features photos and info on its 16 best attractions, breweries, restaurants and hotels, and has travel tips from bloggers.

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Joe Richard Francis
Hopper Author

Today the beating heart of outdoorsy pursuits in the Pacific Northwest, the city of Bend started life as a slow-paced sawmill town in the early 1800s. Nestled amidst the raw nature of Oregon’s Deschutes River Valley, where wide desert plateaus meet the mighty snow-tipped peaks of the Cascade Mountains, visitors enjoy truly dramatic scenery and easy access to hiking, biking, rafting, fishing, camping and winter sports hot spots in the hills. What’s more Bend has established itself as one of the biggest destinations on the American ale trail. Accordingly the town is home to a myriad of local microbreweries and hosts a number of annual events to celebrate this heritage, from the state’s official Beer Week to the town’s own Oregon-style Oktoberfest. With a pleasant high-desert climate, you can expect mild evenings, dry days and lots of sun, with plenty of cultural attractions, welcoming cafés and a laid-back country atmosphere to match.

Wobbly legs and breweries to boot on the Bend Ale Trail:

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Deschutes Brewery, Bend – photo by Sylvia Avey

With more brewing houses per person than any city in the state it is little wonder that Bend is hailed as the beer capital of Oregon. The Bend Ale Trail encompasses all of the town’s 11 microbreweries and visitors are invited to follow the map from place to place collecting stamps for their “drinking passport” as they go (that is, if they remember!). It’s not all about imbibing though, and many of the sites on the trail offer tours and hands-on workshops to show visitors the intricacies of their art.

Check out three of the best breweries on the Ale Trail:

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10 Barrell Brewing
Bend, Deschutes County
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"It's a comfortable place for families and groups of friends." - Liz
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Bend Brewing Co
Bend, Deschutes County
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"Bend Brewing Company brewery for lunch and a first round to begin the beer festivities." - Left Beer
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Deschutes Brewery
Bend, Deschutes County
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"We got to try all of them for free." - Climb-Texas2Canada

Some beer-illiant ways to make your way around the Bend Ale Trail:

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Bend Brew Bus
Bend, Deschutes County
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"A fantastic deal" - grillboymeetsbakergirl
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Cycle Pub
Bend, Deschutes County
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"this one has six seats that surround this little table of beer holders" - Dave&Kelly

Get schooled in Bend hospitality at the McMenamins - Old St. Francis School

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McMenamins Old St. Francis School Hotel, Oregon – photo by cynthia at herlovelynest

Once a Catholic school house, McMenamins has transformed the Old St. Francis School into a destination hotel right in the heart of downtown Bend. It has cool luxuries like a brewery, a bakery, a movie theater and a soaking pool, but maintains its historic ambiance with its hotel rooms in converted classrooms. If you like your lodging quirky, cool and one of a kind, this is the place for you.

Mt. Bachelor is America's 6th largest ski resort

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Mount Bachelor, Deschutes County – photo by Linda W.

Extensive and breath-taking are two fitting adjectives to describe the Mt. Bachelor resort that’s just east of Bend. This huge ski field of just under 4000 acres has a great cross-section of beginner to intermediate slopes, making it at once family friendly and cutting-edge. More recently Mt Bachelor has been the training ground for some of America’s Olympic athletes; a true testimony to its world-class offering of winter sports.

See what visitors have to say about Mt. Bachelor:

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Mount Bachelor
Deschutes County, Central Oregon
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"Simple pure beauty ..love and joy." - Helenes Dreams
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Mount Bachelor
Deschutes County, Central Oregon
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"Enjoyed a morning of tubing down some wickedly fast groomed sledding lanes at Snowblast Tubing Park" - Dawn Mellon CPDT
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Mount Bachelor
Deschutes County, Central Oregon
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"The park is really good. I saw some really big tricks going on when I was here." - skimountain

Making the most of Bend's fresh powder:

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Virginia Meissner
Bend, Deschutes County
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"Strapping on the snowshoes or skis, just being out is the goal." - Raven Tennyson & Damian Fagan
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Wanderlust Tours
Bend, Deschutes County
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"out with Wanderlust Tours recently for one of our renowned Starlight Canoe Tours." - Wanderlust Tours

Soaring peaks, stunning scenery and total solitude in the Deschutes National Forest

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Deschutes National Forest, Deschutes County – photo by atwatersedge

Where snowshoeing and skiing dominate in the colder months, hiking and biking, fishing and camping come into their own during the summer in Bend. The nearby Deschutes National Forest (where all these are possible) is one of the most beautiful protected park areas in the region, encompassing swathes of the great Ochoco Forest and the deep fir-clad valleys around Sisters: A truly magnificent place to go into the wild.

See what visitors have to say about the Deschutes National Forest:

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Deschutes National Forest
Deschutes County, Central Oregon
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"Amazing views all along the way." - Charlie
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Deschutes National Forest
Deschutes County, Central Oregon
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"Majestic mountain views" - Richard Bolt
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Deschutes National Forest
Deschutes County, Central Oregon
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"I had limited time and was craving some epic views" - John Williams

900 Wall is home to one of America's best chefs

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900 Wall, Bend – photo by Write Gal

The culinary offering at 900 Wall is a creative mix of American and European cooking styles. The resident chef, Cliff Eslinger, has been the recipient of numerous "Best Chef" awards from recognized industry magazines and strives to use seasonal, locally sourced produce in all of his creations. Other pluses are the great décor, welcoming atmosphere and highly rated happy hour!

Creative culinary skill throughout Bend:

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Sbandati Trattoria
Bend, Deschutes County
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"If I could, I would eat there once a week for the rest of my days." - bendoregonrestaurants
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Ariana Restaurant
Bend, Deschutes County
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"This is definitely one to check out if you are ever in Bend." - welldined

Location and luxury at the Riverhouse

Photo via their official FB page. Photo via their official FB page.

The Riverhouse hotel boasts a prime location on the banks of the Deschutes River, making it a great place from which to explore Bend’s vast outdoors. The nearby golf course is one of the highest rated in the region, while skiers and hikers will enjoy quick access to the hills. In true Oregon style, the hotel is also home to a craft brewery and serves home brewed ales at the on-site pub.

Treat yourself to a luxurious stay at one of America's best hotels, The Oxford Hotel Bend

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The Oxford Hotel Bend, Bend – photo by Shelley

Voted as one of the top 25 hotels in the U.S. for 2013, the Oxford Hotel oozes charm with its boutique, eco-lodge decor and unrivaled dedication to sustainable hospitality. From the non-smoking ethos to the organic materials used throughout the building, the hotel is a haven for the many eco-conscious visitors who frequent the town in search of natural beauty.

See Bend on the map:

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