Sisters, Oregon is one of our favorite towns. It’s the ultimate base camp for outdoor activities. Located at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, Sisters offers the best location for scenic drives, hiking, relaxing walks, and camping excursions.
Aside from nature, this small Central Oregon city is also known for its unique Old West ambiance and creative arts community.
If you’re wondering what to do in Sisters, don’t worry! The beautiful natural wonders of the city and its surrounding area is enough to keep you occupied for days. Whether you visit the waterfalls, lakes, rivers, or mountain trails, you can choose to challenge yourself with fun outdoor activities or take it easy and enjoy the scenic views.
We think the charm of Sisters downtown district is an attraction in itself. Stroll or bike through the old-fashioned signs and Wild West-themed buildings. Then, grab a bite or drink at the delicious restaurants lining the streets.
The community proudly hosts a variety of events embracing their traditions. Depending on when you visit, you can catch a roots music festival or even a rodeo.
Keep reading for our list of the best things to do in Sisters, Oregon!
How to Get to Sisters, OR
Sisters, Oregon is located on the east side of the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. Sisters is accessible via highways 20, 22, 126 and 242.
For directions to Sisters, Oregon from Bend, follow US-20 W which only takes 30 minutes.
From Eugene, take OR-126 E and US-20 E. The drive leads you through Willamette National Forest and is about 105 miles or around a 2-hour drive.
If you’re coming from Salem, take OR-22 E. It’s also a little over 2 hours. Salem is also the fastest route to go through if you’re driving from Portland (I-5 S and OR-22 E).
The closest commercial airport you can fly in is Redmond Municipal Airport (RDM). It’s approximately a 22-mile drive away from Sisters.
Top Things To Do in Sisters Oregon
Let’s dive into the best activities in Sisters…
Go for a hike in Sisters
You’ll find some of the best hikes in Central Oregon nearby. Thanks to the area’s clear skies, the weather in Sisters is great for hiking almost year-round.
Some of the best Sisters Oregon hiking trails include:
- Peterson Ridge Trails is a fun network of mountain biking and hiking trails for all skill levels just South of town.
- Indian Ford Meadow Preserve is a peaceful walk through nature with mountain views.
- Wychus Creek Trail includes a one-mile accessible trail to the cliffside overlook as well as longer options for intermediate hiking.
- Proxy Falls is a short loop off the McKenzie Highway to a spectacular double waterfall in the forest.
Visit waterfalls near Sisters
One of the best things to do around Sisters is visit the many waterfalls in the surrounding area. The drive alone through McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway brings you to some like Tamolitch Falls and Tumalo Falls in Deschutes National Forest.
In the Cascades, an area west of Sisters, you’ll find Proxy Falls, stunning two-veiled falls plunging into a canyon in the Willamette National Forest. Within the forest, you’ll also find Sahalie and Koosah Falls.
Shop in downtown Sisters
Aside from its rich natural wonders, Sisters is also known for its charming downtown district. The Western-theme means you’ll find all sorts of old-fashioned facades, colorful signs, and unique stores.
You can shop for fun souvenirs like Western clothes and accessories, Old West trinkets and antiques, modern art, and handmade crafts.
Visit art galleries
There are also several art galleries located downtown, specifically in the Hood Avenue Art District. Some worth checking out are Raven Makes Gallery, Hood Avenue Art, and Clearwater Gallery, and Ken Scott’s Imagination Gallery.
Grab a bite and get drinks in downtown
After shopping and strolling through downtown, recharge by grabbing a bite in one of the many local restaurants in the area. From coffeeshops to delis, there are lots of classic choices to fit all budgets and palates – see details below.
Cap the day off by relaxing back and enjoying a glass of wine or craft beer from the local brewery or pubs.
Explore Sisters by bike
A great way to explore downtown and the surrounding areas is by biking around. You’ll find lots of bike rentals and local bike shops in town.
If you’re up for a challenge you can also try the mountain bike trails around Sisters. The Peterson Ridge Trail in the south of the town is a local favorite, suitable for beginners to experts.
Catch a Film at Sisters Movie House
Sisters Movie House, in the Five Pines resort area off of Highway 20, is not your average movie theater! With a barn-like exterior, the small theater rooms give the feel of an old-time cinema, while showing first run films.
In addition to popcorn, the theater serves a variety of hot menu items and beer on tap. Or you can pop over to Three Creeks Brewing next door when after the show.
Drive the scenic McKenzie Highway
The McKenzie Highway offers some of the most breathtaking views of Sisters. The McKenzie Highway is part of the McKenzie Pass – Santiam Pass National Scenic Byway and travels through designated wilderness areas, waterfalls, historic sites, and many other natural wonders.
Keep in mind that this highway is closed during the winter from mid-November to mid-June. But during summer, the scenic drive is a must-do.
Visit local lakes
Taking trips to the nearby lakes is one of the most common things to do near Sisters. Another popular place to visit is Suttle Lake. It’s a fun destination for all sorts of outdoor activities, especially stand-up-paddle boarding because of its wide-open waters against the picturesque view of Mt. Washington.
Aside from swimming in the lake, you can also try kayaking or motorboating. For more relaxing activities, you can simply camp by the shores, relax, and enjoy the lakeside views.
Go camping by the Metolius River
If you want to spend more time by the Metolius River, you have several camping choices. The campgrounds line the river with all kinds of accommodation options. You can choose from luxury cabins, boathouses, vintage lodges, and a river resort.
There are also RV campsites and tons of amenities like nearby restaurants and stores stocked with groceries.
Go skiing during winter
If you’re visiting Sisters during winter, go to Hoodoo Ski Area, a 30-minute drive away from town. There are 34 ski runs available and a park specially designed for sledding or tubing called the Autobahn Tubing Park.
If you want a larger ski resort, you can drive for an hour to Mt. Bachelor Ski and Snowboard Resort, Oregon’s largest ski resort. There are over 100 ski runs to choose from for all skill levels and an 800-foot ride in their Snowblast Tubing Park.
Play golf at Aspen Lakes Golf Course
Aspen Lakes Golf Course is a public golf course in Sisters. The landscape of the course has signature red bunkers, a naturally occurring phenomenon because of the red cinder in the geology of the land.
This makes for a unique landscape in contrast with the vibrant green grass and the amazing views of the Cascade Range and mountains in the backdrop.
Capture the beauty of Sparks Lake
Taking photographs of nature and the scenery is one of the best free things to do while traveling around Oregon. We recommend checking out Sparks Lake, located west of Bend along the Cascade Lakes Highway. It’s around an hour’s drive from Sisters.
The deep green forests, clear water, and stunning views of South Sister, Broken Top, and Bachelor Butte make it a photographer’s dream. You can take one-of-a-kind pictures especially during sunset or sunrise.
Where to Eat: Best Sisters Restaurants
The best food in Sisters can be found in the restaurants in the downtown district, within walking distance from one another.
Top specialties include breakfast and coffee. You’ll have no problem finding a local bakery like Sisters Bakery selling freshly made baked goods and house brewed coffee. Brunch menus of bacon, omelets, and pancakes are also popular.
A local favorite for lunch or dinner is Sisters Meat and Smokehouse. All their sandwiches are made with meats smoked in-house.
If you love Mexican cuisine, then Rancho Viejo is the place to dine. Enjoy delicious tacos or enchiladas with a cocktail in their festive interior atmosphere.
For more options for drinks or a night out, check out Three Creeks Brewing. They serve quality craft beer and have a variety of starters, burgers, and pizza in their menu.
For desserts, visit Sno Cap Drive In, a beloved institution known for their homemade ice cream, sundaes, and old-fashioned milkshakes.
Where to Stay: Best Sisters Hotels
Deciding where to stay in Sisters is important in ensuring you have the best trip possible. There are several factors to consider when choosing such as your budget and what area you want to stay in.
If you want to stay in the downtown district, then Sisters Bunkhouse is right in the heart of downtown, making it easy to walk to any shop or restaurant during your stay. Keep in mind that this is the only hotel right in the middle of downtown. If you love the central location, you can also look into private rentals through Airbnb.
For those who want to take in as much of the outdoors as possible, then cabins like in Five Pine Lodge are ideal. There are also resorts like Suttle Lake Lodge or Eagle Crest Resort, which are great for families.
Events in Sisters Oregon
Events are an important part of the community. Here are some of the top events in Sisters.
The Outdoor Quilt Show is the biggest outdoor quilt show in the world. It always takes place on the second Saturday of July every year, attracting over 10,000 visitors from all over. Each year there are over 1,300 quilts on display created by artists of all ages and backgrounds.
Aside from the exhibitions, there are also classes and workshops taught by masters to celebrate the community and the American art and tradition of quilting.
Sisters Rodeo held the second weekend of June every year, is the ultimate Western event. Join in watching professional cowboys and cowgirls put on amazing performances in everything from barrel races, bull rides, parades and more!
The Sisters Folk Festival is a three-day music festival held every year on the weekend after Labor Day. The festival showcases roots musicians playing everything from blues to rock and country. The lineup usually features around 30 artists that will be playing across 7 different venues.
Sisters Harvest Faire is a two-day event that takes place every second weekend of October. The fair is held in downtown Sisters and showcases quality handcrafted items from local vendors and businesses in town.
We hope this guide gives you a good idea of all the fun activities you can do in Sisters. From outdoor recreational sports, to exploring downtown’s restaurants and galleries, or watching a rodeo or music festival, you won’t run out of fun things to do in Sisters, Oregon!
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