Five Ways to Enjoy Valentine’s Day in Bend, Oregon

The history of Valentine’s Day is shrouded in mystery. Thought to have its roots in a February-ish ancient Roman fertility ritual, the day as we know it is named after a Christian martyr named Valentine. Even experts don’t really know how the holiday became what it is today – a day of love, Hallmark cards, dinner dates and boxes of Sweetheart candies.

However it came into being, it is now a celebration of love from exchanges in Kindergarten classrooms to parents desperately searching for a babysitter so they can have a night out together. Since you’ve likely already missed the window for making a dinner reservation that starts before 10pm, we’ve rounded up five easy ways you can still make Valentine’s Day special in Central Oregon:

1. Stay home. Decorate your house with some sweet Valentine’s Day swag (check out the selection at our own Cutest Store Ever) and throw your own dinner party. You can pick up ready-made goodies at Tate and Tate and some fancy sweets at Little Bite Cafe, All Mixed-Up or The Sparrow Bakery. Wine from portello winecafe, and you’ve got a complete dinner and never even had to leave the neighborhood. If you have kids have them act as your maître d – they’ll have fun serving you.

2. Take a walk in the park. We have no shortage of parks and open spaces in NorthWest Crossing – and in Bend – and if this weather holds, it will be beautiful. And it is a good way to connect. A University of Minnesota article says: “According to a series of field studies conducted by Kuo and Coley at the Human-Environment Research Lab, time spent in nature connects us to each other and the larger world…. It appears as though nature inspires feelings that connect us to each other and our environment.” (You MAY want to take the walk on Saturday instead of Sunday as rain is in the forecast.)

3. Participate in a run. There are actually two runs taking place on Valentine’s Day – Central Oregon Running Klub’s Hot Chocolate Run with a start and end at *Larkspur Park* by the Bend Senior Center on Reed Market Rd. It’s free and you can even bring the canine love of your life. The Snow Wars Royal Runs will start at the Les Schwab Amphitheater Ticket Office and the trail will wind along the Old Mill District & Deschutes River, with a mixture of paved paths and groomed trails – and even few themed obstacle challenges.

4. Go to a live music performance. The Central Oregon Symphony Winter Concert Series happens to have a matinee performance on Valentine’s Day this year…so grab your love and go listen to commissioned pieces by Copland and Thomson and pieces by Liszt, Prokofiev and Wieniawski. High Desert Chamber Music’s Valentine’s Day concert is also a good option, performing pieces inspired by love and romance in downtown Bend.

5. Festival! The 2016 Oregon Winterfest will be in full swing on Valentine’s Day. The final day of the three-day festival, this is a massive celebration of winter with ice carving, the infamous Metal Mulisha, the K9 Flying dogs and much more. Pack up the family and spend the day with one another, loving on this beautiful season in Central Oregon.

So no matter how Valentine’s Day began, let’s celebrate it for what it is today – a time for love and enjoying each other!

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