The High Desert Museum
October 2, 20237 minute read
Playing outside in Bend is sublime, but our weather sometimes has other ideas. Whether it’s a stormy day in Central Oregon, the kids need to wiggle out some energy, or you just need a break from all the fresh air and sunshine, there are plenty of indoor activities in Bend.
Check out our abundance of museums, art galleries, shopping, and family-friendly activities. Here’s our list of entertaining, relaxing, and downright fun indoor things to do in Bend.
Discover wildlife, history, and culture at the High Desert Museum. Watch river otters play, and birds of prey soar, and explore interactive exhibits and historical reenactments. The museum offers an engaging experience for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and families alike, blending hands-on learning with fascinating insights into Oregon’s heritage. The Deschutes Historical Museum delves into Bend’s rich heritage, showcasing exhibits on local history and lore. It’s a treasure trove of stories and artifacts that vividly bring Bend’s history to life.
Not far from Bend is the Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory. It offers a blend of cosmic exploration with interactive exhibits, planetarium shows, and guided stargazing. The Three Sisters Historical Society & Museum in Sisters vividly showcases the region’s past, from its Native American roots and pioneer settlements to its contemporary quilting and rodeo culture.
Experience Bend’s art scene every first Friday of the month. Embark on a gallery hop, where you can mingle, share stories, and enjoy a beverage while exploring local art displayed at each venue. During the First Friday Art Walk, music fills the streets, retail shops are open late, restaurants are bustling, and many artists are available to discuss their work.
Explore Bend’s unique Roundabout Art Route from the comfort of your car, an indoor activity with an outdoor twist. This route features over two dozen public art pieces across the city’s roundabouts, showcasing everything from colorful steel trout to peaceful bronze deer. Created by talented artists, these pieces add a creative flair to Bend’s streets, making each drive an artistic journey through the city’s culture and heritage.
Bend’s shopping scene offers a fantastic mix of local and name-brand retailers. The city’s prominent shopping districts – Downtown, the Old Mill District, and Northwest Crossing – each provide a unique shopping experience.
Downtown Bend is where you’ll find the core of the city’s shopping scene. It’s packed with boutiques featuring the latest styles and local shops offering unique, handcrafted items. The vibe downtown is lively and fun, with street musicians, art, and great places to eat, making it about more than just what you buy.
Right by the scenic Deschutes River, the Old Mill District mixes shopping with amazing views. It’s a great spot with both big-name stores and unique local shops, all set in a place with a cool historic vibe. You can take your time here, enjoying the river and green spaces as you hop from store to store.
Northwest Crossing is the newer kid on the block in Bend’s shopping world, and it’s quickly becoming a favorite. It’s got a real neighborhood feel, with everything from trendy home decor shops to awesome food markets. Plus, it’s walkable and you can enjoy farmers’ markets and live music in the summer, and excellent dining options all year long.
Have kids who need to let the wiggles out? Looking for rainy-day activities in Bend? We have all kinds of fun indoor sports and entertainment for the whole family.
Jump into the fun at Mountain Air Trampoline Park and the Trampoline Zone. These spots are great for kids and adults alike to jump, flip, and soar, burning off energy in a fun and safe environment. Or stop by the Pickleball Zone to experience eight indoor courts where you can dink, volley, and smash. For those who crave a bit of speed and competition, K1 Speed offers indoor kart racing that provides an adrenaline-pumping experience for the entire family.
For a one-stop destination for family fun, head to Sun Mountain Fun Center. They offer indoor activities like bowling, bumper cars, arcade games, and more. Or, step back in time at Vector Volcano, where vintage video games offer a nostalgic journey.
Speaking of nostalgia. How about taking a pilgrimage down memory lane by visiting the very last Blockbuster in the world? Not only can you still rent DVDs, but you can shop for nostalgic merchandise. How about a “Be Kind Rewind!” ballcap? Or t-shirts for the whole family, and even an adult onesie in the classic blue and yellow colors?
For the latest movies, visit Regal Movie Theater in the Old Mill District. Watch the latest animations and adventures to popular comedies. Plus, their concession stand has loads of sweet treats, mouthwatering popcorn, and even beers on tap for the big kids.
You’ve spent some exciting days conquering the trails and tackling the Deschutes River’s rapids with the family. But now it’s time for you. Enter a place where the stress falls away as you give in to the relaxing indulgence at a spa in Bend, Oregon.
Renowned massage therapists offer a range of treatments, from deep tissue massages at Sole Purpose Massage to romantic couple’s massage at Jinsei Spa, or choose eco-friendly treatments at Anjou Spa & Salon. With options ranging from Swedish massages to organic facials, Bend’s spas are a must-add to your vacation itinerary for ultimate indoor relaxation.
In downtown Bend, enjoy the serene soaking pools at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. This semi-enclosed oasis, adorned with sparkling turquoise tiles, evokes tropical vibes. It’s a unique experience where you can relax in warm waters while watching the snow or rain of Central Oregon gently descend through the open roof above.
Looking to challenge your muscles and your mind? Bend has indoor climbing gyms, fitness centers, and escape rooms to keep you physically and mentally fit.
When it’s just too cold to climb or seasonal closures are in place, climbing enthusiasts will love Bend’s indoor climbing gyms. Bend Rock Gym, with its three diverse gyms in one, caters to climbers of all skill levels. They offer classes, day passes, and even yoga sessions for a relaxing wind-down. The Circuit Bouldering Gym boasts 20,000 square feet of climbing space with 200 routes. They keep it fresh with 25 new routes every week and have a full bar for a post-climb drink. For an adult-only climbing experience, Boardworks Climbing introduces an innovative approach with adjustable walls and interactive training boards, ideal for both learning and advanced training.
For those dedicated to fitness goals, Bend’s gyms and fitness centers offer the perfect environment to work out, regardless of the weather outside. Enjoy everything from yoga at studios like Namaspa and Free Spirit to high-energy CrossFit, spin, and weightlifting. Juniper Swim & Fitness Center and Larkspur Community Center, managed by Bend Parks and Recreation, offer swimming, fitness classes, and cycling studios. For a comprehensive workout, the Athletic Club of Bend provides indoor tennis, running tracks, and massage therapy.
Looking for a workout for your brain? Take part in a challenging, fun, and interactive experience at Bend’s escape rooms. Puzzle Effect Escape Rooms offer puzzle-filled adventures that challenge you to use logic, teamwork, and creativity to solve mysteries and “escape” within a set time limit.
Whether it’s culture, entertainment, relaxation, or adventure you’re after, Bend’s indoor activities offer fun for everyone. The city’s indoor scene ensures that regardless of the weather or your interests, you’ll find something to enjoy. Don’t let a little inclement weather dampen your spirits; instead, dive into the rich indoor adventures in Bend.