By Amanda Bedortha

Named after the historic Shevlin-Hixon Lumber Company and Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company, Bend’s Old Mill District has attracted visitors to its mixed-use retail, recreation, and dining space since it first opened in 2000. Year after year, the area continues to grow, offering even more reasons to spend the weekend in one of Central Oregon’s most historic districts.


Morning starts with a stop in for brunch (starting at 9 am) at Craft Kitchen & Brewery. The Craft French Toast or Logger Breakfast paired with a house coffee will get you fueled for the day ahead. After breakfast, head down to Wheel Fun Rentals to pick out your bike of choice: Surreys, kids bikes and trailers, tandem bikes, and tag-alongs are available to rent by the hour. Take a self-guided tour of the area along the Deschutes River or just ride from Point A to Point B inside the Old Mill District’s 270 acres.

After a leisurely bike ride, kick things into high gear with a visit to Bend Whitewater Park. This popular floating experience starts at Riverbend Park and ends at Drake Park in downtown Bend. After getting wet and wild, grab some grub at Greg’s Grill. The Blue & Balsamic Burger or Tempura Fish & Chips are sure to fill empty bellies.

To wind down the day, stroll through some of the Old Mill District’s 55 shops. If you’re craving something sweet, pop in to Sweet Tooth Candy Shoppe to sample from more than 350 varieties of bulk candy. While in the area, be on the lookout for the District’s artistic touches, including the Colorado Avenue tunnel mural, the stair mural near the Regal Cinemas, and murals on both the front and backside of the stage at the Les Schwab Amphitheater.

An elegant dinner at Mio Sushi to finish, and it’s off to bed at the recently opened SpringHill Suites.


With a busy day ahead, grab a quick and filling breakfast burrito and organic coffee from Strictly Organic Coffee Co., and then walk down to TumaloCreek Kayak & Canoe to get fitted with a stand-up paddle board, canoe, or kayak. Located right on the river, the shop offers lessons for first-timers looking for some assistance and guidance.

For lunch, visit Anthony’s at the Old Mill District for wild-caught, fresh Northwest seafood. Try the pan-fried oysters and the Dungeness crab toast. Once refueled, head to Confluence Fly Shop, where they will get you outfitted with everything you need to spend a couple of hours on the river fly fishing. While there, try your hand at their 12-hole golf-style casting course—the only one of its kind in North America. Located on the Deschutes River, the course is the perfect spot for practicing essential casting skills.

For dinner or the “best happy hour in town,” try Level 2 Global Food and Lounge: Fish plates and local brews line the menu. Settle in for the night at Hilton Garden or a little further down the road at the Mill Inn Bed & Breakfast before hitting the road for a scenic trip back to the Willamette Valley.

Art in the High Desert festival

Art and crafts will line the banks of the Deschutes River in Bend come August 25-27 for the juried not-for-profit Art in the High Desert festival. The work of artists from around the nation and Canada working in ceramics, photography, painting, sculpture, fashion design, jewelery, woodworking, and more will be on display. And forget macaroni art, this is a bona-fide arts gathering for aficionados looking for treasure.

Anthony’s at the Old Mill District

Bend Whitewater Park

Confluence Fly Shop

Craft Kitchen & Brewery

Greg’s Grill

Les Schwab Amphitheater

Level 2 Global Food and Lounge

Mill Inn Bed & Breakfast

Mio Sushi

SpringHill Suites

Strictly Organic Coffee Co.

Sweet Tooth Candy Shoppe

TumaloCreek Kayak & Canoe

Wheel Fun Rentals