Bend, Oregon

Photo by Bonnie Moreland

Where in the West Should I Go? • 52 Places to Visit in 2022

Perhaps most famously these days, Bend is home to “The Last Blockbuster.” But it’s so much more than the last of that video store chain (though any movie buff really ought to stop there). 

Bend is beautiful. Many parks line the Deschutes River that runs through the city: from Drake Park on its Mirror Pond section to Riverbend and Farewell Bend parks on the southern side of the city.

A visit downtown is certainly a must-do, with the Deschutes Historical Museum a good starting point. It’ll give you all the info you’ve ever wanted to know about the region’s history – from times before people to Native Americans and early explorers. The museum is located in a 1914 schoolhouse.

Just down the road is McMenamins Old St. Francis School, now a hotel. A block over, you’ll find the heart of Bend packed with restaurants and bars of all kinds. 

Just outside of the city, you’ll find amazing recreation opportunities. Follow the Deschutes River south on a map to see a ton of areas to hike and plop your canoe or kayak in the water. From Bend to the community of Sunriver, you’ll find Dillon Falls, the gorgeous Aspen and Big Eddy day use areas, and closer to Bend, Good Dog Beach.

A trip to Bend is not complete without heading to Pilot Butte Neighborhood Park for a terrific 360-degree view of the region.