• Photo: Jen Lynn Arnold / Shutterstock


Bend, Oregon's largest city east of the Cascades, is once more one of the fastest-growing cities in the state, recovering abundantly from the hard-hitting recession. Construction is booming and new businesses seem to open every day. The people of Bend continue to enjoy an enviable climate, proximity to skiing, dynamic lifestyle, and a reputation as a playground and recreational escape. At times it seems that everybody in Bend is an athlete or a brewer, but it remains a tolerant, welcoming town, conscious of making a good first impression. Bend's heart is an area of about four square blocks, centered on Wall and Bond streets. Here you'll find boutique stores, galleries, independent coffee shops, brewpubs, fine restaurants, lively nightlife establishments, and historic landmarks such as the Tower Theatre, built in 1940. A few traditional barbershops and taverns are also spread around, keeping it real.

Neighboring Mt. Bachelor, though hardly a giant among the Cascades at 9,065 feet, is blessed by an advantage over its taller siblings—by virtue of its location, it's the first to get snowfall, and the last to see it go. Inland air collides with the Pacific's damp influence, creating skiing conditions immortalized in songs by local rock bands and raves from the ski press.

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