Plastered all over shops, counters, cars, bikes... you get it. The decals, though at times cringe-worthy, embody the core vibe of Bend. Be f'n pleasant, because, yes, this IS Pleasantville—and we like it that way. So practice the Leave No Trace principles, pick up after yourself, use trails gently, don't steal, don't flip people off and be patient: things take extra time here. Breathe in that beauty.
Listen, it may look super sunny and warm out right now, but trust us, because we're at 3,623 feet, temperatures can get super wacky, with evening temps averaging 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit below the daytime high. So layer up, preferably with flannel because that's the PNW uniform. They don't call it the High Desert for no reason. Actually...
There's a reason we've also been crowned Beer Town, USA. At last count, there are 24 craft breweries in Central Oregon, with 16 in Bend. About 50 percent of visitors visit at least one brewery while here, so prepare for what we like to call "the big bloat," which is why all those mountain biking and ski trails come in handy. There's even a Bend Ale Trail. No, don't do it all in one day.
OK, you've gone through your first panic-driven roundabout. Now, for the love of all things holy, use your turn signal when exiting! Bend has at least 20 of 'em, so you'll have plenty of practice. Each one's filled with an awe-inspiring, perhaps puzzling and at times eye-blinding art sculptures (watch for those reflective mirrors), so they're kinda fun once you figure them out. There's even an entire Roundabout Art Route devoted to it. Yes, that's a thing. No, we haven't done it.
Though you may hear the aforementioned Bendite complain about it, let's be honest, you probably came here from somewhere way more congested. It takes 20 minutes to move across Bend or to get to Sisters; Redmond is 14 miles away, and Smith Rock takes 45 minutes. But a better way to move? Bike your butt off. You'll notice increasingly more bike lanes.
With 22 cannabis dispensaries in Bend alone, there's plenty of top-notch quality bud to go around. Though legal to consume for anyone over the age of 21 (yes, even you, Texas, just bring valid I.D.), smoking publicly is not. So puff, puff, pass at home. Or in your Airbnb— I'm sure they'd love it.
Or at least it feels that way. With a reported 50 percent of residents owning a pooch, there's a reason we were crowned Dog Town, USA, by Dog Fancy magazine in 2012. With 13 off-leash areas in city parks and national forests, eight dog parks and more than 40 eateries and breweries offering pet-friendly dining spots, this is the spot for your furball. There's even a Bend Pet Parade on July 4 and a wiener dog race for Oktoberfest.
Not to be confused with Westside Tavern (you'll end up there one morning and wonder where it all went wrong). There's a small geographic rivalry divided by Third Street—or what we like to call the "moat." West side is old-school Bend, meaning rickety mill houses—now dubbed cute—close to breweries and the river, whereas the east side is burgeoning with new development...and increasingly, breweries. Go figure. West side definitely has "the vibe," but if you're looking to buy or rent, northeast or southeast is your best bet.
Do it once. And then avoid eye contact with anyone who's waving at you from one from then on... because you're a local now.