Food & Culture
Food & Culture
As Central Oregon has grown in population, so has its culture, with fresh talent arriving every day, bringing new restaurant options, excellent local music, and vibrant visual arts and theater that keeps getting better and better. National acts like Jack Johnson and Ben Harper say Bend is their favorite place to play, and for more sophisticated tastes there are plenty of classical, jazz, pop and world-music acts performing at the Tower Theater and established festivals. Foodies, beer fanatics, and even shopaholics will not be let down by the variety and quality of experiences in this hip mountain town.
Concerts & Theater
The open-air Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend’s Old Mill District can accommodate 8,000 people and regularly brings a variety of acts from Willie Nelson to Death Cab for Cutie. The Tower Theater in downtown Bend is a restored former movie theater renovated in 2004 in Art Deco style, and is a great place to have a more intimate musical experience with a solo artists like Brandi Carlile or a colorful production like Gaelic Storm.
Whether your style is boutique hopping downtown, or perusing through larger chains like the Gap and Victoria Secret in the Old Mill, Bend offers a wide variety of shopping experiences for all. During the First Friday Art Walk, shops in downtown, and galleries in the Old Mill District, stay open through the evening, offering wine samples and a social atmosphere to enhance your shopping experience.
Bend has one of the highest number of breweries per capita of anywhere in the world. While Deschutes was the first and remains the largest, this company paved the way for spectacular growth, and Bend is a bonafide destination for beer connoisseurs. Fill up at a one of the many growler stations, take a spin on the pedal-powered Cycle Pub, or enjoy the sunset over a micro-crafted beer. Breweries and pubs in Bend, Redmond, Prineville and Sunriver range in size from the colossal Deschutes, to tiny “nanobreweries” that occupy taps at farmers’ markets, festivals and specialty pubs. In between these extremes is a wide assortment of operations that range from industrial chic to studiously funky.
Whether your looking for an authentic Indian or Mediterranean meal, casual pub fair or the finest steak and seafood, Bend’s restaurant scene is a destination in and of itself. As Bend’s population has grown, the city has attracted world-class chefs who have infused the culinary landscape with creativity and style. Most establishments are licensed to serve spirits and take pride in their selection of local beer on tap. Most of Bend’s boutique eateries are located downtown, along the major though fares and in the Old Mill District. But don’t overlook the resorts, where most restaurants are open to the public, and offer incredible dining atmospheres along with creative menus.