Let’s be honest with ourselves. Sometimes winter outdoors in Central Oregon can be a lot. Cold temperatures, short days and sketchy roads. While on many days we can rally with the best of ‘em and get out there, some days we just wanna spend more time in our backyard than in the backcountry. Here, Bend Magazine has a few recommendations to beat those winter blues without even needing to wear a jacket.
Fun for the whole family
Cold weather can be hard for parents and kids alike. From that elusive lost mitten to the rigors of layering, winter adds complexity and time—unless, of course, you opt for some fun indoors. For families in Central Oregon, there are a plethora of options. Sun Mountain Fun Center is a one-stop shop with an arcade, bowling, bumper cars, laser tag and even augmented reality games. For those looking for something with a little more bounce, Mountain Air Trampoline Park is equipped with twenty-six large trampolines enclosed by two angled trampoline walls. A basketball and dodgeball enclosure provides an area for those in need of a little competition, and the ValoJump experience combines a video screen with jumping for interactive exercise and gaming that can be played between multiple people.
For the young at heart
For something more cutting edge, stop by the Unofficial Logging Co., Bend’s premier axe-throwing bar and restaurant. With six lanes and twelve targets, the downtown location offers participants a fun way to unwind, challenge themselves and have some drinks all at the same time. Corey’s Bar and Grill has an approachable, laid-back vibe for karaoke that happens on Thursday and Sunday nights—a guaranteed good time whether you’re crooning Sinatra or sitting in the back singing along.
For lovers of the classics
Sometimes there’s no reason to mess with a good thing. Your grandparents went bowling, your parents went bowling and we still want to go bowling for some friendly competition in retro-styled rental shoes. Lava Lanes has been a staple in the shadow of Pilot Butte for decades for an afternoon or evening playing toward the pins. If classic literature is more your lane, Central Oregon is fortunate enough to have multiple independent bookstores to while away hours on a wintry day. Dudley’s Bookshop in downtown Bend has an extensive selection of fiction, outdoor and just about every other genre under the sun, along with a long list of curated recommendations from store owner and book connoisseur Tom Beans. In Sisters, visit Paulina Springs Books for a wide selection of both adult and kids’ books. The store also hosts near-weekly author events, in-person and virtually. Put all the reading to a test at Astro Lounge, in downtown Bend, which hosts the area’s longest running trivia night every Tuesday night.
For the (non-winter) sports buffs
If you love sports, but just don’t love the cold, there are options to sweat indoors. To start, fans of everybody’s favorite new sport, pickleball, play at Pickleball Zone Bend (PZB). With eight individual courts, the four-year-old facility offers memberships as well as drop-in play, along with lessons and camps. At K1 Speed Bend, drivers can race high-speed electric go-karts in a challenging indoor course. Cycling enthusiasts head to Cyclebar Bend to choose from a variety of classes catered to strength, cardio, performance and more. Finally, for rock-climbing hounds looking to keep their skills sharp in the wintertime, check out Bend Rock Gym. The area’s original climbing gym, it hosts three separate gyms under one roof that beckons climbers with more than two-hundred climbing routes and nearly as many bouldering problems.
For those who want a little screen time
Looking to level up a cold winter day? Look no farther than Vector Volcano—a perfect mix of old-school arcade nostalgia and new-school vibes (with craft beer on tap). This downtown Bend video arcade has favorites from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Fans of the big screen visit McMenamins Old St. Francis School, a converted 1936 Catholic schoolhouse with multiple pubs, restaurant, soaking pool and a fun, couch-filled theater with a full menu from the adjacent pub. The Tin Pan Theater is a 28-seat venue that shows finely curated independent films from around the world. Now that’s cozy indeed.