If You Only Have Three Days in Bend, Oregon…

Nine friends spent a weekend in one of their favorite vacation spots: Bend, Oregon and one of them let us in on their favorite spots to eat, stay, explore and relax.

Words by Rylee Richardson. Images by Nafisa Skie.

My friends and I have known each other for almost a decade, but are spread out in cities all over the country. So every summer we like to get together, leave city life behind and relax in our hammocks. Since we’re all originally from the Pacific Northwest, one of our favorite spots to do all of that is in Bend, Oregon, an up and coming resort town a few hours south of Portland. We’ve been our fair share of times, and I didn’t think all our experience should go to waste, so here’s everything you need to do if you only have three days to spend in Bend.

Where to stay:
Because Bend is a year-round resort town, it’s pretty easy to find an affordable rental that sleeps upwards of 10 people on a big name site. And most come with amenities like fire pits and hot tubs, so don’t settle for less. You can roast marshmallows like you’re camping, but, you know, in the comfort of your backyard.

Where to get coffee:
Our favorite place to fuel up before an adventure is Thump Coffee downtown. These folks roast their beans in their nearby roastery just before it gets to you. It also goes without saying that you should get a pastry.

Where to get dinner:
Hola! downtown is a great Mexican-Peruvian restaurant to end a busy day in and out of the sun. They have three types of house made salsa and a ceviche that washes down easy with their house margaritas.

If you’re looking for something more upscale, shed your plaid layer and head to Zydeco Kitchen. Their mushroom toast and rack of lamb is to die for, but won’t leave you with an empty wallet.

Where to drink:
We love our craft beer in the Pacific Northwest. A trip here isn’t complete without visiting at least one of the breweries. Our favorite is 10 Barrel because it has a huge selection of beers, which means something for everyone. I like to grab a pint of the cucumber sour before heading out to the outdoor patio – the perfect place to share some pub-style food with friends on a sunny day.


What to do:
We go to hike, river raft and float down the Deschutes River that cuts through the middle of Bend. There’s bigger whitewater about 1.5 hours away, but the river is calm for a few miles around downtown. There’s also a section of man-made rapids near the Old Mill District that you can ride over and over again.

Smith Rock State Park, about a 40-minute drive north, is beautiful and a popular place to rock climb. Of course, if you’re like me, it’s equally a fine place to admire the fearlessness of the climbers from the safety of the ground.

If you’re looking for a challenge, take an hour drive out of Bend to make the 9,000-foot hike up Broken Top Crater. Get to the summit and you’ll see the deep, turquoise pool (that doesn’t have a name) and a sweeping view of the volcanic peaks known as the Three Sisters. It’s tough, but well worth it and you’ll feel accomplished when you’re done.