The high desert city of Bend, Oregon is something of an outdoor recreation mecca, ideal for skiing at nearby Mt. Bachelor in winter and hiking, cycling, rafting, kayaking, and plenty of other pursuits throughout the rest of the year. A fast-growing community with a population that's increased from 52,000 in 2000 to more than 80,000 today, Bend is situated in the center of the state, on the eastern side of the Cascade Range, roughly a 3 1/2-hour drive southeast of the state's largest city, Portland, and a 2 1/2-hour drive east of Eugene. As this free-spirited, outdoorsy city with an abundance of locavore-minded restaurants and superb craft breweries has grown, so too has the increasingly visible gay scene. Also, as a popular weekend destination with those from other parts of the state, Bend sees quite a few LGBT visitors.
In June, the city of Bend hosts Central Oregon Gay Pride at Drake Park on the southwest side of downtown beside the beautiful Deschutes River. The festivities take place from noon until 6 pm and include live music, food and community vendors, and plenty of activities.
Bend Gay Resources
Although Bend has no LGBTQ-specific bars, the city is home to a number of lounge, microbreweries, restaurants, and cafes that draw a mixed crowd, including Seven Restaurant and Nightclub, which is traditionally an official sponsor of Central Oregon Pride. It's a fun place to hang out during Pride weekend, as are other favorite watering holes and eateries around town, including the "farm-to-shaker" Dogwood Cocktail Cabin, the popular Middle Eastern restaurant Joolz, the renowned Deschutes Brewery & Public House, and the Pan-Latin-Spanish tapas restaurant and bar Barrio.
For more tips on where to stay and what to do in the area as well as general tourism information, drop by the website of the Bend Oregon Visitor Bureau.