Micro-breweries. Homemade kombucha. Fire pits. A stunning view of the Three Sisters mountains. These are a few of the staples of character-filled Bend, Oregon. Bend is a charming and well-rounded city, celebrating the arts as well as rugged adventure.
Keep reading for all of our recommendations after the jump!
One cannot talk about downtown Bend without mentioning the historic McMenamin’s Hotel. Once the Old St. Francis Catholic School campus, McMenamin’s is now a pseudo-resort featuring a 60-guestroom hotel, movie theater, restaurant, pub, cigar bar, and more. Perhaps its most unique feature is the Soaking Pool — a former chapel which has been converted into a cross-shaped hot tub. Surrounding the pool are breathtaking mosaic murals.
In addition to the aforementioned features, McMenamin’s also features the Fireside Bar (with cozy fireplace, billiards, and shuffleboard tables); weekly live music, and a movie theater. Available inside the theater is a full-service bar, pizza, and of course popcorn. We also stumbled upon the vintage arcade called Vector Volcano. V.V. included all of the classics including Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat 2, Space Invaders, and a slew of old-school pinball machines.
Every first Friday of the month (spring and summer only), downtown Bend becomes a sprawling art show. This is called the First Friday Art Walk. Art galleries and various shops open their doors to exhibit local artists, and many will serve refreshments. We also encountered a marching band, and a scantily-clad group performing tribal music and dance.
To our amazement, the Old St. Francis Pub was able to accommodate 25 of us without a reservation. The service and the food were stellar. I highly recommend the Expedition Elk Burger with coffee-bacon jam, black garlic aioli, and white cheddar.
Later that week, we visited Toomie’s Thai Cuisine. Their Red Curry was to die for; as was their Kauteo Heng noodle dish. Caution: when it comes to spiciness Toomie’s are extra generous.
When it comes to coffee, Thump Coffee Roasters has got it figured out. The exceptional ambiance, service, and espresso made Thump our go-to java joint for the week. Lastly, we cannot forget to mention the food truck lot called The Bite. Representing at The Bite were
high-quality food trucks such as The Rogue Chef, Rico’s Tacos, and Nuthin’ Fancy BBQ; as well as an open-air taphouse. The taphouse serves a slew of local brews, as well as fresh kombucha. In true Central Oregon fashion, The Bite has a Cornhole game setup, live music, and a cozy fire pit.
We loved adventuring in Bend and can’t wait for our next trip!
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