Top 10 places to go in Bend, Oregon

05 February 2012

I never expected to spend a week in central Oregon, but I'm certainly glad that I did! Bend is one of the nicest cities I've been to in the U.S. It's quite small, but that's part of what makes it great.


The downtown area has a lot of charm, with shops and restaurants unique just to Bend. The Old Mill shopping district is worth a visit for REI alone. And our favorite coffee spot, The Backporch Coffee Roasters, offers fair trade coffee drinks topped with decorative latte art and handed off in a mustache-stamped cup. It was great!
One of our favorite places to refuel was McKay Cottage Cafe. It's a small restaurant tucked away in a beautiful, cozy house. It's always busy, but well worth the wait. I recommend anything with marionberries, if you're not a Northwest native. We also enjoyed a fantastic night out at Zydeco for some barbeque shrimp and outstanding entrees, followed by a trip upstairs to the cedar-scented wine cellar. Just another part of Bend we'd love to revisit... 
During some of our off time, we were encouraged to visit Tumalo Falls right outside of the city. With smaller vehicles, you can drive across a wooden bridge and finish the 2.1 miles by car. We chose to walk, since our vehicle was a bit too much for the narrow trek. It was a refreshing little hike to the falls, and we really enjoyed the view once we arrived.
With our beginner's walk behind us, we chose to attempt a much more rigorous trail: Misery Trail in Smith Rock State Park. The drive outside Bend was reminiscent of my Midwest roots, including endless miles of farms and fields.
Smith Rock was absolutely breathtaking. And although the hike was steep and painful, the views were worth the sweat and grief. I'd say we hiked nearly four or five miles that day. We certainly covered the entire park, Monkey Face and all!

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