Either one would work well for you.
The drawback for Sisters is that the main road that goes through town gets very congested in the summer, especially on weekends, so it can be slow going and of course crowded even to just wander the town. That said, it is a great little town and there are some nice places to stay. When we go there, we stay a couple miles out of downtown.
Both areas are hugely popular in the summer and so whatever you choose, I would suggest securing a place very soon. The good places book up to a year in advance. Hiking and scenery are easily accessible from either town, so you don't need to worry about that at all.
How long are you planning to stay in the area? If it's three or more nights I suggest one night in Sisters (perhaps at the Five Pine Resort, which has a small pub, movie theater, and other amenities nearby) and two in Bend (maybe at Ameritel/Hilton Garden or Seventh Mountain, depending on your budget).
These are just a "wild stab". Agree that if we knew more specifics then better recommendations will follow.
We are planning to stay 2-3 days in the Bend/Sisters area - hope to see a few of the sights already mentioned in previous questions, as well as do some hiking, scenic drives, and just enjoy the beauty of the area. We'll be coming from Crater Lake, then after a stay in this area moving on to Mt. Hood and Gorge area. Ideally, we'd prefer to stay in the same place for the 2-3 days, but that's not essential. In reading replies, it sounds like there are more recommendations to stay out of town in either location. Would we primarily be coming in to B or S for dinner and evening fun then? How far apart are they? Could we stay at one but visit the other one evening? I appreciate the info on a need to reservations soon. Any other thoughts to share? Thanks SO MUCH for the help!
Okay, Bend is it then. Thanks so much for your input. You've mentioned several places, and I've looked them up online. How is the McMenamis (spelling?) that used to be a school? Also, it's probably listed under another thread, but do you have top recommendations for food? We love great food, but in a casual, fun want-to-hang-out-there kind of environment. Suggestions?
I haven't stayed at OSF (McMenamins) and I only know one person that has. They found it to be loud. The Ameritel is located in the Old Mill District and it has restaurants and shopping. To me, downtown is "walkable" from that hotel (it's maybe 1.5 miles, depending on which route you take. The Oxford Hotel is located downtown.
Food... now you're talking...
Old Mill District (mostly chains with a few standouts): Kona Mix Plate (Hawaiian), Cafe Yumm (rice bowls and healthy fare), Flatbread Community Oven (pizza, pasta)
In between Old Mill and downtown: The Taco Stand (lunch), Strictly Organic coffee (bakery, sandwiches), Sparrow Bakery (Stumptown coffee, artisan bakery, YUM!), Jackson's Corner (casual), Brickhouse (BEST steaks)
Breakfast or coffee downtown: Alpenglow (for sit down, full breakfast), Lone Pine or Thump (coffee), 10 Below (in the Oxford)
Some of my favorite lunch spots (I work downtown): Pizza Mondo (great lunch specials), Super Burrito (cheap, fast, filling)
Some good middle of the road, sit down places are:
Deschutes Brewery (just expanded and usually extremely busy but it's like mecca for fans of their beers), Brother Jon's Alehouse, Amalias
Other pubs downtown include: Silver Moon (great burgers and salads), JC's (their label is Wildfire), McMenamins (trademark slow/no service), The Summit (Burgers, sammies, pasta), Bend Brewing Company (pub menu)
For an upscale dinner try: Five Spice (sushi), Zydeco (dinner)
We stayed here last summer and just happened to find it on one of our drives. We loved our stay here! So peaceful and beautiful!