The Outdoor Playground of the West

View of Mt. Bachelor and Deschutes National Forest in Bend, Oregon.
After visiting Central Oregon to film another episode of UnZip The Zip-Code, I’ve been thinking about how to best answer the question, “What can you do in Bend, Oregon?” And I’ll answer that question with a question: “What can’t you do in Bend, Oregon?!”

I was genuinely taken aback by how much is going on in this cosmopolitan mountain town. There’s an endless amount of options for the outdoor enthusiast in this high-desert terrain, as well as for those who would rather take the time to recharge at one of Bend’s many award-winning resorts and restaurants. We can only provide you with a small taste of some of the great things you can find in this great region of Oregon. The rest you’ll have to experience for yourself!

Outdoor Adventures

Bend is, first and foremost, considered a mountain town (just 22 miles east of Mount Bachelor) and attracts skiers and snowboarders from around the world. Mt. Bachelor is considered the holy grail of snowboarding and skiing venues in Oregon with 3,700 acres of lift-accessible terrain and 88 runs. Whether you are a newbie or veteran skier, you won’t want to pass up a trip to the highest skiable elevation in Oregon and Washington.

The ski season at Mt. Bachelor is one of the longest in the entire Northwest and typically begins in November and lasts through May. Beyond the winter months, outdoor lovers can partake in Mt. Bachelor’s many other activities like hiking, camping, fishing, rafting, canoeing, and more. The Mt. Bachelor Bike Park is a great way to experience over 13 miles of gravity-served trails on the mountain or the hundreds of miles of surrounding cross country trails.
 Whatever you choose to do in this outdoor playground, you’ll be afforded magnificent views of the Deschutes National Forest, the Three Sisters mountains, and other Cascade peaks.

Bend is a golfing mecca from May through October. Ask any golfer in Oregon and they will point to Bend as a premiere spot to hit the fairway. Golfers can tee off from a variety of championship golf courses – all offering panoramic views and challenging greens. Bend is home to three courses ranked under “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses,” by Golf Digest in 2013-14.

One of my favorite golf getaways is at Tetherow. This modern, woodsy retreat is located just minutes from downtown Bend and features chic rooms with fireplaces, views of the Cascades, two restaurants, and a new pool. The David McLay-Kidd links-style, 18-hole golf course has made the Top 100 list for the second year running.

We’re sponsoring a two-night stay in a deluxe golf course view room at Tetherow with two rounds of golf included! Click here to enter

Downtown Bend

Though it’s known as the “outdoor playground of the West”, there are plenty of other unexpected and fun ways to enjoy Bend. Home to many cultural festivities and events year-round, Bend has become an exciting place to find unique art and entertainment.

Check out a full line-up of events happening around Bend: 

Downtown Bend
Old Mill District

The pedestrian-friendly shopping destination of Downtown Bend is home to one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, spas, and five-star lodging. We chose to visit and highlight Zante Salon and experience their relaxing spa services. Guys in the group can head across the street to enjoy a cold pint while getting their haircut at Element 909. They turn up the typical barbershop environment with great craft beer, good conversation, shoe shines, and a hot towel treatment. They’ll often feature your favorite teams on their flat screens while you are enjoying a close shave and haircut.

For a different pampering experience, check out the brand new wellness center, The Blissful Heart. The mission of The Blissful Heart is to “enrich and heal the mind, body and spirit with classes, workshops, events, retreats, support groups and the services of independent wellness practitioners.” For a lineup of upcoming workshops, check out the full calendar and list of programs on their website.

I encourage you to walk around Bond and Wall street in Downtown Bend. And, trust me when I say, you can come here a hundred times and have a different experience each visit.

Bend Breweries

If you love craft beer, Bend is your next dream destination. Bend knows beer and features 22 local breweries. Check out our blog post, The Best Beer is in Bend, for more information and resources for the best ways to experience craft brews in Central Oregon.

We couldn’t talk about beer and Bend without showcasing the craft brew pioneer, Deschutes Brewery. With pubs in both Bend and Portland, and distribution pretty much all over the U.S., the Deschutes Brewery is Oregon’s largest privately owned craft brewery. We visited the Portland Public House on UnZip The Zip-Code and spoke with head brewer, Ben Kehs, to get an up-close look at the cutting edge tools and philosophy that define their take on brewing.

There are eight year-round, core varieties of beer, and even more seasonal brews to enjoy. Extra time, craft, and passion are the common denominator in these varied, full-flavored, beers. Deschutes Brewery offers free daily tours of the Bend Tasting Room. You can learn about the brewing process and experimenting that happens on site everyday. Check them out!

Another favorite brewery of ours is the Cascade Lakes Brewing Company. Founded in 1994, Cascade Lakes Brewery was started by three brothers looking for an exciting business opportunity in Central Oregon. They worked many long nights to build their own brewing equipment and create tasty recipes. Their hard work has paid off in the form of six beers offered year-round: Blonde Bombshell, 20” Brown, Paddleboard Porter, Hopsmack IPA, Mosaic IPA, and Cyclops IPA. Seasonal beers include: Snow Park XPA, Slippery Slope, Skookum Creek Ale, Paulina Lake Pilsner, Waste Deep Weiss, Riverside Red, Silverback Imperial Stout, Kolsch, IRA, and more. Be sure to look for Cascade Lakes beers on draft or grab a six-pack at your local Northwest grocery store.

Bend isn’t just a popular vacation destination. People are flocking to live, work, play, and retire here. Real estate in Bend is experiencing a true renaissance with 900 homes sold in the last 90 days! Make sure to watch UnZip The Zip-Code this Friday, September 2nd from 9-10 a.m. on KATU’s AM Northwest for more information on the housing market in Bend.

A special shout-out goes to realtor, Catherine Scanland and her business partner Kristi Kaufman for gathering real estate data for us. If you’re looking for a focused and knowledgeable realtor in Bend and Central, Oregon, look no further than Catherine and Kristi! Check out their website at:

Thanks for taking the time to check in with us. We love getting input from you! Check us out on our Facebook page or email me directly at to let us know where you would like us to UnZip next!


Mortgage Specialist • NMLS 506902

C: 503.400.5738
Summit Mortgage Corporation • NMLS 3236

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