Things to do: Bend, Oregon

Since the Tunnel Marathon post, we've traveled from Sacramento to Eugene, OR, Portland to Seattle, Seattle to Bend, OR, until settling down for a few events in Carson City/Reno, NV. During our travel/off days we were able to swing a trip to Bend, Oregon for two nights. We were so stoked because it's a city we haven't been able to hit yet after 3.5 years on the road and we were finally able to make it happen. And let me tell you, it was love at first sight.

I imagined it to be similar to Asheville, North Carolina - beer, mountains, scenery and an active person's paradise. It's all of the above and more. Asheville quickly made my list of top 10 cities in the U.S. after our short trip last year, and Bend may have just trumped it. My first impression of Bend is that it's totally a cross between Asheville and Fort Collins, CO. All three are smaller cities with a lot to offer. I mean c'mon, beers + trails + water + mountains=what more do you need? Oh yeah, maybe a job.  But hey, one can only hope...

We were coming off our biggest weekend of the tour. We had our most successful event at the Bite of Seattle going through 721 bottles of wine in three days. Plus, our secondary vehicle (the one Casey and I drive on tour) was broken into and some of his belongings were stolen (all items that can be replaced). So as much as I wish I had more time in Bend to discover the trails and play outdoors, this trip was primarily hops-focused. It was our "weekend," and the clock was striking beer-thirty.

Casey booked a great hotel, close to town, making it easy for us to walk everywhere and cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. We love to walk when we're out and about (we never take our company vehicle to a bar/brewery) so 1-3 miles one-way is not far to us, so if that seems like a little much to you then I would suggest renting a bike. Of course, you can cruise around in your car to explore just leave the beer tastings off the itinerary.

Anyway, I digress (shocking). If you find yourself in Deschutes County for a trip to this magical town here are a few places to stay and things to do while you're there...
Note: I'm only speaking on behalf of our experiences, but I will add in a few other activities via the worldwide interwebs...


Fairfield Inn & Suites Bend Downtown | 1626 NW Wall St. | Bend, OR
We stick with the same two hotel chains, Marriott and Hilton, during our travels to rack up the rewards points so we chose this Marriott Property. Again, this is within walking distance to downtown Bend. Reasonably priced + free breakfast.

McMenamins - Old St. Francis School | 700 N.W. Bond St. | Bend, OR
Located downtown, Case and I stumbled across this mecca and couldn't believe what we were seeing. This compound is an old Catholic school house turned hotel, brewery, bakery, cigar bar, etc. It's crazy. We grabbed a beer and browsed their campus until we came across their patio where we enjoyed our cold brews by the fire. You almost have to see it to believe it.


Backporch Coffee Roasters | 1052 NW Newport Ave | Bend, OR
We stopped by Backporch on our way out of town because I had tried a local beer brewed with their coffee beans (chyeah!)...but more on that later...
This cute coffee shop is a perfect pick-me-up with popular pastries from Bend's Sparrow Bakery and they even sell hometown gal Lauren Fleshman's Picky Bars!


CHOW | 1100 NW Newport Ave | Bend, OR
Just down the street from Backporch Roasters, is breakfast/brunch spot - CHOW. We sat outside on a perfect morning sipping coffee out of their homemade mugs staring at the pop art that adorns this place (side note: be sure to check out the bottom of your coffee mug-you'll see why). The service wasn't speedy, but they could have been short-staffed. Either way, it didn't really matter to us because we were enjoying ourselves and didn't have anywhere to be. They have some yummy homemade sauces - Casey's favorite was the green one which was some kind of green chili sauce. In retrospect, I wish I would have tried their infamous french toast versus the scramble I ordered (although both of our dishes were divine). Peep their photos/reviews on Yelp! and let me know your pick!


FootZone | 845 NW Wall Street | Bend, OR | Hours: M-F 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. | Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. | Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
So, if you've followed me or read this blog long enough you know that throughout our travels, I love to stop by local running stores. Bend was no exception. Located in the heart of downtown (along with almost everything else) FootZone is a sick running shop. They had a killer selection of Oiselle (and other running apparel), running kicks, books, hydration vests, fuel, etc. Plus, they seem to be super involved in the community. I saw a gal in head-to-toe Oiselle with her dog in the store. How cool is that? Definitely worth a stop to stock up and shop local.

Tip: Check out their events calendar


10 Barrel Brewing | 1135 NW Galveston Ave Bldg. A | Bend, OR
Awesome patio, good food, dog friendly and their sampler is 10-beers deep (3 oz pours). I tried their seasonal Swill while we were waiting for our table, but I wasn't a huge fan - it tasted like carbonated orange juice. If you like fruity beers, it will be right up your alley. Otherwise, my faves were: Paramount (#3 in the sampler), Apricot Crush (sour-#8) and their ESB (#9). I'm eager to hear which ones are your faves!

GoodLife Brewing Company | 70 SW Century Dr. | Bend, OR
Unfortunately it was raining during our visit to GoodLife so we didn't hang out in their incredible backyard, but we still had a blast. My tip: if the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day - go to GoodLife! You can't beat their outdoor space to hang with friends, drink cold brews and play some games or just relax. Our sweet bartender let us taste test a few of their beers before selecting a pint. I opted for their Nothing as it Seems-Coffee Blonde brewed with Backporch Coffee Roasters' coffee beans. Now, you're probably expecting the beer to be dark in color, but just like the name - nothing is quite as it seems. The beer smelled like coffee with a faint taste of your morning cup of joe, but it was golden in color and not too heavy. It was DELICIOUS. The crazy part is that I couldn't sleep that night...I still can't decide if that's because I can never shut my mind off or if there was a little kick in that [possibly] caffeinated brew? Either way, you should give it a little taste test yourself and make GoodLife a stop on your Bend-cation.

This truly is the GoodLife.

Deschutes Brewery Tour | 901 SW Simpson Ave | Bend, OR
New building. Same old beer tour. The beer is great, but there was nothing special about the brewery tour. I would skip it, and just head to the Deschutes Public House downtown for food and brews. Maybe it's just us, but Casey and I really dig breweries that spice up their tours and either have you sampling the beers during the tour or just offer something unique (New Belgium, Redhook, Highland Brew. Co, etc). Maybe, it's because we're in the experiential marketing/advertising business, but you want to stand out and offer your consumers an experience they'll never forget. There's only so many stainless steel tanks, bottling lines and barrels you can look at before getting bored. My favorite part about the nation's sixth most popular craft brewery were the  artworks from local artists used to determine the label for their winter seasonal. Rumor has it, the amount of snow depicted in the chosen piece of art may predict the kind of ski season/snow Bend will have. 

Deschutes faves: River Ale and Fresh Squeezed IPA. 
Tip: Reservations recommended for brewery tours. 

He loathes pictures.

This piece of artwork previously chosen for the Jubilee label is made entirely out of beeswax.

Deschutes Brewery & Public House | 1044 NW Bond St. | Bend, OR
This place gets slammed so arrive early. If bar seating is available, snag it. For my fellow vegetarians, they have a veggie burger and sweet potato fries awaiting you.

Signed by American decathlete and Olympic champion, Ashton Eaton!

The Bend Ale Trail
Just like Eugene, Bend has an Ale Trail. Pick up the brochure located at any of the breweries listed above or at your hotel for an awesome map of the local breweries.

There is one place I really wish we could have added to our brew tour list and that's Bend Brewing Company - the only brewery in Bend owned by a woman and brewed by a woman! Here's a great article on these two ladies from Brew Public. We walked by, but we're lightweights and didn't have enough room in our livers to accommodate.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES [These are not from experience but instead pulled from Trip Advisor, the internet, or seen via brochures in our hotel -- and yes, I still look at those. You should always peep the brochures - they usually contain coupons]. 

Also, Bend offers an endless list of outdoor adventures - these are just a few resources I pulled for a short trip. 

Wanderlust Tours 
Brews & Views canoe tours, kayaking tours, cave tours - you name it, they've pretty much got it. 

Deschutes River Trail 
Run on the Deschutes River Trail -maps available here

More Trail Running in Bend 

Crater Lake National Park
If you have plenty of time during your trip (say you're staying for 4-5 days) dedicate one day to Crater Lake National Park. It's about an hour and forty minute drive from Bend. 

Little Wing! 
And of course, if you're on the #oiselleteam or if you're a huge fan of Oiselle or elite athletes - keep your eyes peeled for the lovely ladies of Project Little Wing! 


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