Long known as a craft beer and mountain biking mecca, Bend is now also a great place to get baked—Oregon legalized recreational marijuana back in 2015.
Nestled on the dry side of the Cascade mountains, Bend is a bit like Tahoe (without the traffic): It's surrounded by snow-capped peaks, alpine lakes, and has more than 1,000 miles of hiking and biking trails. In other words, it's a drinking town with ample opportunities to "earn" your beer and cannabis.
This summer, Madras, OR is getting a lot of attention among eclipse-chasers for being directly in the line of totality—the town is hosting SolarFest August 17th through 22nd. But Bend will be an awesome, if quieter, place for viewing. To get the best spot, race to the first-come, first-served campsites at Deschutes National Forest, especially in the Sisters Ranger District. Traffic will be hell, but the viewing will be out of this world.
Want to chase the sun but need a ride to get there? 7x7 readers can score a sweet deal from our partners at Audi on Demand. See below for details.
EAT + DRINK
(Courtesy of Bridge 99 Brewery)
Farm fresh ingredients, craft brews, and chill vibes await at Bend's restaurants and bars.
EAT: Mainstay Victorian Café (1404 NW Galveston Ave.) is widely cited as the best brunch in town, serving creative egg bennies, vegetarian huevos rancheros, and full-pint "Man-mosas." Prepare to wait in line. // A globally inspired, eco-conscious street food kitchen, Spork (937 NW Newport Ave.) got its start in a 1962 airstream back in 2009. Today, it's a brick-and-mortar mecca for travel-hungry locals, slinging Asian-, African-, and Indian-inspired apps and entrees served alongside craft beer, cider, kombucha, and house cocktails. // For delicious, warming Northern Thai cuisine, step into Wild Rose Thai (150 NW Oregon Ave.), where nearly everything is accompanied by sticky jasmine rice. Every dish is crafted from a family recipe, and you won't find Pad Thai on the menu. // The Lot (745 NW Columbia St.) is a full on food truck experience with five vehicular vendors and a bar. Hang outside for themed weeknight events (Trivia Tuesday, Open Mic Wednesday, and Live Music Thursday). // For authentic Lebanese fare, find Joolz (916 NW Wall St.), owned by Beirut-born chef Ramsay Hamdan, who effortlessly blends Lebanese cuisine with the best of the Northwest in dishes like a Pacific seafood tagine and grilled Oregon lamb kabob. // Primal Cuts Market (1244 NW Galveston Ave.), on the west side of Bend, offers sustainably farmed charcuterie and fresh meats. Check out their happy hour for $5 charcuterie boards and $4 draft brews. // For ridiculously good, fresh fish check out 5 Fusion & Sushi Bar (821 NW Wall Str. #100), from Joe Kim, a three-time James Beard Award semifinalist.
DRINK: With 19 local breweries supporting a population of just 82,000, Bend has one of the highest concentrations of breweries in the country. There's even a Bend Ale Trail, which has its own smartphone app. Any of the breweries in town will provide you with delicious, hand-crafted beer, but here are a few of our favorites. Founded in 1988 as a brewpub in downtown Bend, Deschutes Brewery (901 SW Simpson Ave.) offers one of the best brewery tours on the West Coast. Daily tours offer tastes of Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter and more. // Boneyard Beer (37 NW Lake Pl.) is known for hoppy, irreverently named ales like Hop Venom and Skunkape. You'll find their tiny tasting room on the outskirts of downtown Bend. // In addition to pouring more than two dozen housemade brews, Crux Fermentation Project (50 SW Division St.) is quite possibly the best place in Bend to enjoy Central Oregon's spectacular sunsets—the giant fire pit out back will keep you warm on cool nights. Order an Off Leash Session Ale and take it outside to the dog-friendly yard, where you'll find playful pups and some of the best food trucks in town. // Immersion Brewing (550 SW Industrial Way, Ste. 185) goes above and beyond with a brew-it-yourself experience. // Two former carpenters laid down their belts to start Bridge 99 Brewery (63063 Layton Ave.), where you'll find small batch beers sustainably made from local ingredients.
(Courtesy of Dr. Jolly's)
Good news here: Adult use of marijuana is legal in Oregon—that means anyone over the age of 21 can partake of the goods from sundry licensed dispensaries.
Bloomwell Recreational and Medical Dispensary (multiple locations) offer a deal on Munchie Mondays, with 15 percent off edibles and a wide array of flowers. // Check in at Cannabend (3312 N Highway 97) or order delivery for endless bud options including those from Roots Life Farm, which sells exclusively through the shop. // Dr. Jolly's (415 SE 3rd St.) will live up to its name with a stunning array of edibles including homemade taffy. // Find premium cannabis from Oregon's top growers at Oregon Euphorics (70 SW Century Dr. Suite 180). // Diamond Tree (2715 E. Highway 20) has two locations in and around Bend; go for reasonably priced pre-rolls.
Lava River Cave.
(Tyson Gillard via Outdoor Project)
For nature lovers, Bend is heaven on earth.
Ski: Opened in 1958, and located just 22 miles east of Bend, Mt. Bachelor has 3,700 acres of lift-accessible terrain, which makes it the highest skiable elevation in all the Pacific Northwest. You can ski 360 degrees off the summit, or take the lift halfway up the adjoining mountain, Cinder Cone, and hike the rest of the way before skiing down. //
Hike + Bike: Before you embark on any land-based adventure, stop by Pine Mountain Sports (255 SW Century Dr.), where you'll find friendly staffers who can update you on trail conditions, sell you a trail permit, rent you a mountain bike, or outfit you for a backpacking trip. Or, visit Cog Wild upstairs to schedule a guided mountain biking tour or reserve a $15 shuttle to Wanoga, Swampy Lakes or Dutchman Flats trail heads. // Mountain biking is Bend's preferred method of earning beer during the summer months, and Phil's Trail Complex is the most popular network of trails thanks to the sheer number of paths and close proximity to town. // Green Lakes Trail is a moderate, 8.4-mile out-and-back hike with views of alpine meadows, waterfalls and occasional mountain peaks. The trek culminates in an expansive view of South Sister, Middle Sister and Broken Top mountains across the surface of Green Lake. // For a similarly stunning and less-crowded option, seek out the inconspicuous green and white "Trailhead" sign two miles past Elk Lake Resort, and follow the Six Lakes Trail to Blow Lake, Doris Lake, and back—a 7.5-mile round trip. Take a swimsuit for a bracing swim in an alpine lake.
Hit the Water: Tumalo Creek (805 SW Industrial Way Suite 6) is the go-to resource for DIY paddling adventures. You can rent a kayak, canoe, or SUP kit and disembark from the back yard, which opens up to a wide, flat section of the Deschutes River. // If a guided whitewater rafting adventure is more your style, book an afternoon Big Eddy Thriller with Sun Country Tours. // Bend's Ride the River shuttle hauls folks and their floats from the Drake Park take-out to the put-in at Riverbend Park, every half hour. An all-day pass is $3, and you can bring your own inflatable ring or raft, or rent one from Sun Country Tours at Riverbend Park. // The Lava River Cave, at Newberry Volcanic National Monument, is Oregon's longest lava tube and offers a 1.9 mile underground hiking escape from the summer heat. Make sure to bring a headlamp or flashlight. // Drive the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway to see two notable waterfalls, Mt. Bachelor, Land of Lakes, and tons of other outdoor sights.
(Courtesy of The Oxford Hotel)
Bend has fully embraced AirBnB and VRBO culture, which means it's easy to rent a room or a house in a residential neighborhood. Many of Bend's sought-after amenities are located on the west side of town, and addresses that include NW in the street name are often within walking distance of the action. Accommodations in Midtown are more affordable, and still close to downtown.
In the heart of downtown, McMenamins Old St. Francis School (700 NW Bond St.) offers quirky overnight lodging with secret rooms, a restaurant, brewery, three bars, live music, outdoor fire pits, a movie theater that feels like the inside of Jeannie's bottle, and an elaborately tiled Turkish soaking pool. Really, why wouldn't you stay here? You'll even have easy access to Hugh O'Kanes Whiskey + Cigar Bar in the school's former garage. // If you're looking for something more luxe downtown, check into The Oxford Hotel (10 NW Minnesota Ave.), an eco-chic, boutique hotel with an urban cocktail bar serving organic meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. // Sunriver Resort (17600 Center Dr.), in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, has pet-friendly rooms, a golf course and spa.
HOW TO GET THERE
Heading North for the eclipse? A car with serious recreation vibes is a must for this road trip; after all, it's about the journey, right?
Let's face it, traffic on this trip is bound to be a doozy. To travel in comfort and style, splurge a bit for Audi on Demand, and reserve a 2018 Audi Q5 ($140*/day)—a dreamy SUV with plenty of room for your real kids and fur ones. With Quattro all wheel drive, it's as utilitarian as it is sporty, so put the pedal to the metal and experience the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway the way it was meant to be. Before you hit the road, the car will already feel like your own; an Audi on Demand concierge will ensure you know everything you want to. If the roaring engine and Audi's signature amenities like in-car WiFi, bluetooth, navigation, and Sirius XM radio don't do it for you, you'll dig the high-tech key (just go near the car to unlock its doors and start the engine). With Audi on Demand, you don't even have to pick up your wheels—they'll bring the car to you anywhere in San Francisco. Oh, and did we mention it comes with a complimentary FasTrak pass? Grab your camp gear and protective eyewear, and chase the eclipse in luxury. // Unlimited mileage is included on the Q5 and most other models. *7x7 readers enjoy 30 percent off with the code ECLIPSE17; audiondemand.com
30 percent off your next reservation. Voucher valid only for Audi on Demand customers age 25 or older with a valid driver's license. One driver per reservation. Excludes taxes, fuel, parking, mileage overage charges, and damages not covered by insurance. Customer is responsible for insurance, which may be purchased through Audi on Demand. Not valid for cash; no cash back. Maximum one promotional voucher or code per transaction. Promotional voucher must be redeemed by September 30, 2017. Vehicle reservation may be made up to six months in advance. Other restrictions apply. See Membership and Rental Agreements for details.
Thanks to our friends at Audi on Demand.