Wenatchee, WA in a Weekend

I'm a Pacific Northwest transplant and even though I've lived on the west coast for twenty years, I'm still discovering some pretty amazing locations. Western Washington is very different than Central or Eastern Washington. Growing up in the midwest, you could go from one end of the state to the other and not notice much of a difference, but Washington has the Cascade Mountain Range and a little thing called the rain shadow, which to be totally honest, I learned about while watching the Magic School Bus with my kids. 

mother and teenage son on a hillside

The biggest difference between Western Washington and Eastern Washington is the climate. 

While Western Washington {including the Seattle area} is much milder and rainy, Eastern Washington has hotter summers and colder winters and to be honest, less rain all around, which makes it a major win in my book! Yeah, for 300 days of sunshine! I have a love/hate relationship with snow and since moving to Washington, I can usually scout out snow on my own terms, which I actually really love. But that usually requires a trip over the mountain pass and this year, it included a weekend in Wenatchee, Washington that our whole family enjoyed. Wenatchee makes a great side trip if you are visiting the greater Seattle area because it will give you a glimpse into how very diverse the state of Washington is. If you live in Western Washington, Wenatchee is worth a visit {especially for the weekend}, and here are my top picks of things to do when you go.

mission ridge ski resort

Visiting Wenatchee, WA for a Winter Weekend

mission ridge ski resort

Before winter break I asked all the kids {I've got three of them-aged 20, 16, and 13} what they wanted to do and they all said they wanted to go skiing. We have several places to ski that are close to home, but none of us had been to Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort, not even my husband who grew up in Washington so that made the list and we decided to make a weekend of it in Wenatchee.
We tried Rover.com for the first time to find a dog sitter for Frankie, our 9-year-old Yorkie with some, let's just say, anxiety issues. We had a great sitter that was just down the road from home. I'd highly recommend using Rover if you need dog boarding for a trip, need a daily dog walker or a house sitter to check in on your furry friends.

Here's a link for $20 off Rover so you can get started! 


Wenatchee is only about a two and a half to three-hour drive from the Seattle area. It's one of the most beautiful drives you can make though you can also hop on a quick flight as well. If you are making the drive in the winter, make sure you are checking on the driving conditions over the pass. You will usually find wet or snowy conditions near the summit so just be prepared.

Where to stay in Wenatchee

We checked into the Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel in the center of downtown and were welcomed in with a barrel of fresh apples {Wenatchee is the apple capital of the world!}, a roaring fire and some hot cider and cookies. 

wenatchee chamber of commerce, things to do in eastern washington

We've learned through the years of traveling that our brood is considered a "large family" and most hotels consider children over the age of 12, adults. Finding hotel accommodations for five adults is generally pretty tricky and usually requires us booking multiple rooms. Sometimes those rooms are on opposite sides of the hotel and require our family to split up for our stay. The Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel has a suite with an adjoining room which made it perfect for our family. We could be close to each other but we all had our space.

pybus public market farmers market

What to do in Wenatchee

After we checked in, we headed over to the Pybus Public Market. It's an easy walk from the hotel if you are up for it, but there is also plenty of parking on site if you want to make the drive. Pybus market has live music every Friday night so it's worth making a stop in. 

Hungry after a long drive {fine...long for us!}, we stopped into the Pybus Cheese Shop. The five of us sampled cheeses and settled on a cheese tray to share. 

the cheese shop in pybus public market

After a little fuel, we browsed at some of the specialty shops in the market and decided to sit down for dinner at Fire. There was something for everyone from wood-fired pizza to salads and everything in between.  We ended the night with some treats from Ice, the chillest place in town for gelato and crepes. Also, we could still stay seated at our table and order from there, so I call that a win. 

Fire and Ice restaurant in Pybus public market

A little after dinner swim in the indoor pool at the hotel and a soak in the hot tub followed by a few rounds of cards in our room helped us finish off our evening. We wanted to hit the hay early so we could get ready early because Saturday was a ski day!


Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort is just 12 miles away from the hotel. It's a quick 25-minute drive up the mountain where you gain elevation pretty quickly. The Coast Hotel offers a ski package, so don't forget to look into that if you are planning on skiing during your time in Wenatchee. One of the most stressful parts of the morning pre-ski for our family is getting everyone in their gear. The kids are mostly self-sufficient now, but no one likes being cold and then walking a long way in ski boots. No one.

I was pleasantly surprised when a mountain host wandered up to our car as we shimmied into our snow pants, with a sled offering to take our skis up to the lodge for us. You betcha! That's one less thing to carry as we amble awkwardly from the parking lot to the lodge for our lift tickets. 

teenage girl skiing Mission Ridge with fresh snow

Mission Ridge has a small mountain feel with big mountain runs. There are only four chairlifts, and our families only major complaint about the day was how outdated the lifts felt. I'm not an expert but I'm also no stranger to a chairlift and there were a few times I felt like I wasn't going to make it on the chair. Our youngest son, who has been skiing for a decade, felt uncomfortable getting onto chair three. All that aside though, the sites from the top were beautiful and there was rarely a line for the lift.

family skiing mission ridge

I spent most of my time going up chair two to the top because the view was so clear and amazing the day we came. Our family found another mountain host at the top of chairlift two who was happy to snap a picture of our whole family {a super rare occurrence for us!} while pointing out the beautiful scenery and mountains from the top. 

midway lodge restaurant on mission ridge

Our family met up for lunch at the Midway Lodge, the mountains on-hill restaurant at the base of chair two before we headed back out for more skiing. Saturdays on Mission Ridge have night skiing from late December to late February. You can even catch some live music on Saturday nights. Check the website for the most up to date operations schedule. 

mcglinns restaurant public house

After a long day of skiing, we headed back to the hotel to shower before hitting McGlinn's Public House in downtown Wenatchee. Several conversations with different locals on the chairlifts, let us know that this was THE place to eat in town. 

There is no shortage of live music to be had in all of Wenatchee {I'm a huge fan!}, so check the events page to see what night you can expect it at McGlinn's. Once again we found that traveling with five is a bit of a challenge and had to wait for quite some time to get a table that would accommodate us. Plenty of parties of 2-4 were seated ahead of us but because of the restaurants' layout, an extra seat couldn't be added on most of the tables, so we had to wait until something opened up. If I dine here again, I'd call ahead. 

The long wait did allow the time to people watch and it was evident that Wenatchee is a small town and McGlinn's is where the locals come to gather. 


We slept in and lazily wandered the downtown Wenatchee area. We were visiting on a holiday weekend so mostly I just window-shopped while the shop-keeps enjoyed their day off. I made a mental note of a few shops that caught my eye so I can come back in the summer and discover a whole 'nother layer of this quaint little town. There were plenty of boutique shops to discover and antique shops to explore.

downtown Wenatchee shopping

If you aren't too tired from skiing the day before, you can head over to the Apple Capital Loop Trail and bike, run or walk around the paved 20+ mile path. There are some great resources for things to do and information about upcoming events on the Visit Wenatchee website. We discovered a few easy hikes for some beautiful views of the area before we packed up the car to start our drive home.

hiking in Wenatchee

You can find more information about hiking Wenatchee here. 

If you aren't too tired of the snow just yet, you can drive into Leavenworth, WA and enjoy some time in the Bavarian downtown as a little side trip on your way home.  

How far away is Leavenworth, from Wenatchee you ask? It's only about a 30-minute drive!

Leavenworth, WA day trip

Here are some more tips on things to do in Leavenworth, WA in the spring.

We loved visiting Wenatchee as a family in the winter and look forward to discovering it all over again in the summer when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. Wenatchee is the perfect backdrop for some pretty amazing family time with lots of outdoor activities the whole family can enjoy year round. Until next time apple capital!

disclaimer: this post is sponsored by the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce. All opinions are 100% my own. 

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