Sitting along the picturesque Deschutes River in central Oregon, the Old Mill District offers some of Bend’s best restaurants, stores, art galleries, and event spaces. Once home to a large lumber company, the area now draws visitors with its numerous walking paths lining the river, outdoor cafes, and an outdoor amphitheater for concerts, seasonal festivals, and other events.
Nature enthusiasts will love exploring the area’s several short trails, which wind through the mountains and range 1–2.4 miles (1.6–3.9 kilometers) in length. Hand-painted signs along the trails explain the history of Bend. In the summer, tourists and locals alike rent inner tubes and float down the calm waters of the river; during the cooler months; indoor shops and restaurants offer relief from the cold.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Check the online schedule at the Old Mill District’s site ahead of time for concerts and events.
- Stay overnight at one of five hotels that are a short walk away.
- Wear comfortable shoes for walking on the trails.
How to Get There
Few tours visit the Old Mill District, so it’s best accessed on your own by car. If coming from the south, take Colorado Ave. (Exit 138) and follow the signs. Those coming from the North will take Reed Market Rd. (Exit 139) and follow the signs. Parking is available off Bond Street, Columbia Street, and Upper Terrace Drive.
When to Get There
Open from 10am-8pm Monday through Saturday, and 11am-6pm on Sundays, the Old Mill District can be visited year-round. In the summer, hop in the river for floating and water sports, or stay dry on land at one of the restaurants with patio seating or enjoy an outdoor concert. In the cooler months, stop by for shopping and indoor dining after a day of winter sports.
Float on The River
The Old Mill District is a hub of activities and a great starting point for a day on the river. Head to Bend Park & Float for rentals, snacks, activities, and more. This is a popular starting point to jump in the river with a river tube, stand-up paddleboard, or a kayak.