Whether you’re playing outdoors, biking, fishing, skiing, or hiking by a river, Bend is pretty irresistible all year round. But autumn is prime time to fall in love with the city all over again, in its more cultural pursuits. It’s about being inspired by the creativity of the local arts scene, which is jam-packed with enough festivities to keep you busy all season. In between hitting the local trails, playing on the Deschutes River and cheering on riders at the wild and wacky Cyclocross Crusade (Nov. 3-4, 2018), here are five fab ways to explore Bend anew during the cooler months.
1. Tenth Month
In October, Bend hosts many exciting events showcasing innovation and imagination. Attend the Swivel Digital + Creative Marketing Conference (Oct. 8-9, 2018) to learn about digital marketing and network with speakers from across the country while sharing ideas in the cutting-edge industry.
Bend’s Tenth Month festivities also celebrate independent filmmaking with the 15th annual BendFilm Festival, presentinga myriad of international and Oregon-made films (Oct. 11-14, 2018). Sit back and enjoy the cinematic and inspiring filmmaker lectures in historic, boutique and mainstream venues around town.
2. A special time for beer lovers
Bend is known as one of the nation’s hot spots for craft beer, and October is an extra special month for beer aficionados. Proximity to the many hop farms allows brewers to make beers with the just-harvested hops, resulting in beers that taste markedly distinct from the majority of beers made with dried hops. The result? A bounty of seasonal fresh-hop beers to appreciate with friends on a beautiful fall afternoon. Try them all at Fresh Hops on the Pond (Oct. 14, 2018), a daylong celebration of these mouthwatering brews from Bend’s Deschutes Brewery, Sunriver Brewing Company, Silver Moon Brewing, Crux Fermentation Project, GoodLife Brewing, and McMenamins.
While sampling these limited brews, pick up a Bend Ale Trail passport and check in along the journey. Return the completed passport to the Bend Visitor Center to receive a souvenir Silipint (a unique, made-in-Bend unbreakable pint glass ideal for camping). If you submit it in the month of November, known as Bend Ale Trail Month, you can claim an extra prize. Who knew you could earn an award for drinking beer?
3. Seasonal art around every corner (and every roundabout)
Art is a mainstay of Bend’s culture, which you can experience both in galleries and the great outdoors. While exploring Bend, bring along the Roundabout Art Route Tour brochure to answer trivia questions about the 20-plus pieces of art on display in the middle of the city’s roundabouts, and return the map to the Bend Visitor Center for a prize. You may even notice seasonal decorations added by locals to the roundabout art, all evidence of Bend’s dynamic culture.
On the first Friday evening of every month, wander through downtown or the Old Mill District for the First Friday Art Walk. Duck into restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques to view work on display from regional and national artists, sip a glass of wine, nibble on some food, and listen to live music while meeting artists and making new friends.
While strolling downtown, you won’t be able to miss the bright colors of the outdoor Tin Pan Alley Art Collection, adorning alleyway brick walls. And don’t forget about a trip to the High Desert Museum this fall. Exhibits at the museum will feature western art and history, such as “Desert Mystic: Paintings by John Simpkins” (through Feb. 17, 2019), and “By Her Hand: Native American Women, their Art, and the Photographs of Edward S. Curtis” (through Jan. 20, 2019).
4. Season of harvest
Where there’s a lot craft beer, there’s sure to be innovative chefs. Bend’s dining scene is a reflection of Oregon’s farm-to-table ethos, with ingredients sourced from the rivers, valleys, ranches, farms, and coastlines just a short distance from Central Oregon. Many have a high commitment to sustainability, such as Ariana restaurant for dinner and CHOW for breakfast and lunch favorites.
Discover one of Bend’s local markets, such as downtown’s Bend Farmers Market, which runs every Wednesday through October 10. Visit an indoor farmers market at Central Oregon Locavore, and sign up for one of its monthly Meet Your Farmer dinners. And don’t forget to stop in at the Bend Fall Festival (Oct. 5-7, 2018), to witness the fresh products of the festival’s harvest market lining the street.
Learn about more opportunities to delve into Bend’s food and farm scene from the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance, an organization that brings together local networks of producers, partners and customers.
5. Autumn tunes and shows
A landmark in downtown Bend is the vibrant marquee of the Tower Theatre, built in 1940. Check out this year’s fall schedule to see shows ranging from “The New Chinese Acrobats” to the “Vienna Boys Choir,” to performances of the iconic “Cats” musical. Cascades Theatrical Co. and 2nd Street Theatre produces community plays that celebrate local talent throughout the autumn months, including children’s theater programs.
Music lovers can feel the resonating vibrations of local and national musicians at intimate events such as BendBroadband’s Jazz at The Oxford Hotel (Oct. 19-20 and Nov. 16-17, 2018), Thursday evening performances at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes, or at a concert of the Central Oregon Symphony or Les Schwab Ampitheater.
If you go: There’s so much more to plan your fall trip around. Check out other events this fall, such as Bend Oktoberfest (Sept. 21-22, 2018) and the Bend Venture Conference (Oct. 18-19, 2018). Visitors to Bend are invited to embrace its culture and sustainable mission through its Visit Like a Local campaign — a good reminder to leave a place cleaner than you found it, stay on trails, use blinkers when turning in a roundabout and take alternative transportation (such as a bus, electric tuk tuk, bike share, or horse-drawn carriage) to see the city sights when you can. Sign up to uphold the Bend Pledge and win a chance to earn prizes.