5 must-do activities in Central Oregon over the holidays

Snowshoeing on Vista Butte across from Mt. Bachelor last year. Pray for snow!

There’s nothing better than being in Bend during the holidays. Each day offers a host of wintertime shenanigans. Here are our top five picks for making the most of your time off.

1) Hit the Slopes at Mt. Bachelor! More lifts and runs are scheduled to open the day after Thanksgiving with quite a bit of manmade snow until Mother Nature is expected take over later on the weekend. So keep doing that snow dance and follow the snow report so that you can get the first tracks of the season!

2) Work up your Turkey Day appetite with a holiday run! Bend has no less than three awesome organized runs Thanksgiving morning alone. The Central Oregon Thanksgiving Classic offers a 5k, 10k, and family friendly Gobbler Walk. If you like pie, try out the I Like Pie Thanksgiving Day Run/Walk that includes a baking contest. Or participate in the 4th Annual Bend Turkey Trot in NorthWest Crossing. Then, stay in shape and earn your Christmas cookies in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk that precedes the annual Christmas Parade, December 7 in Downtown Bend.

3) Do some serious holiday shopping at the Old Mill District. It features popular stores like Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Zumiez, REI and more. Check out these Black Friday Specials to get you started. But if you need more help finding the perfect gift for little Sophie besides a pony, Santa will arrive via helicopter around 10 am to begin his Santaland duties. They’ve also got carriage rides, carolers, and kids’ activities to make the season bright. If you want some more cute, quirky, local gifts, hit up Small Business Saturday in Downtown Bend. They’ll have some great deals at popular stores like Hot Box Betty, Local Joe, and Tres Jolie.

4) The Christmas Tree Lighting has been a tradition in Bend for years. But this year we’re doing something a little different. Crews just planted a brand new tree in a more spacious locale at the top of Drake Park by Brooks Street and Franklin Ave. The festivities get underway at 6pm on Saturday, November 30. There will be caroling and free samples from Luv’s Donuts, and Santa will light the tree at 6:45 pm.

5) Make a night out of a show at the Tower Theater. The Tower has a great line-up for the holiday season that includes “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with pianist David Benoit, flamenco guitarist Todd Haaby, and “Take 6” a cappella group. Also, don’t forget your tickets for The Central Oregon School of Ballet’s Nutcracker Suite December 7-8 at the Bend High School auditorium, the High Desert Chamber Annual Music Gala at Broken Top Club, and Jazz Night at the Oxford Hotel.

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