Pybus Public Market draws visitors and locals alike with its lively assortment of vendors and restaurants. // © 2016 Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce
Feature image (above): With its colorful flowers, towering evergreens and stone walkways, Ohme Gardens provides stellar views of Wenatchee and surrounding mountains. // © 2016 Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce
It’s easy to overlook Wenatchee in favor of higher-profile tourism draws in the Pacific Northwest. But travelers who take the time to visit the north-central Washington town will be delighted by what they find, from shopping and recreation to locally-made wines and beers.
The heart of Wenatchee is its historic district, dotted with signage describing its colorful past. A stroll along its main street feels like a tour of small-town America, with contemporary boutiques and eateries making their home in handsome old buildings.
Beyond its commercial core awaits plenty of opportunities for outdoor action, from warm-weather biking, hiking and water sports to schussing the slopes at Mission Ridge ski area.
Here are five recommendations to help visitors get outside and be well-fed in Wenatchee.
Apple Capital Loop Trail
A mere three blocks from downtown, this 10-mile-long paved path is Washington state’s longest loop trail and provides commercial Wenatchee with a beautiful backyard. Walkers, joggers, cyclists and skaters take full advantage of the shoreline route, which passes parks and natural wetland habitats as it hugs both sides of the Columbia River. Clients who want to explore it at length can rent cruiser bikes from Arlberg Sports, just steps from the trail.
Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel
The closest hotel to the historic district, Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel makes a perfect Wenatchee home base. Its 147 rooms, some of which are pet-friendly, come with a handy minifridge and Starbucks coffee. The indoor-outdoor pool is a hit with families. The property’s ninth-floor Rivertop Bar & Grill boasts mountain and water views to accompany tasty tapas and American fare. Business travelers like its location right next to the convention center, which is accessible via skywalk.
In 1929, Herman and Ruth Ohme decided to turn a dry, desolate bluff into a family garden, which they designed, planted and watered by hand. It eventually grew from a private retreat to a popular visitor attraction and county park. Today, the lush, 9-acre oasis features towering cedars, tranquil ponds and waterfalls, stone pathways and benches, cheery wildflowers and panoramic views of the Columbia River Valley and Cascade Mountains.
Pybus Public Market
You might call this Wenatchee’s answer to Pike Place Market in Seattle. Bordering the Apple Capital Loop Trail, the renovated 1946 steel warehouse is a bustling hub. Its 20 year-round tenants sell local specialties including baked goods, fresh produce, meat, seafood, cheese, wine, beer, flowers and oils. Its restaurants provide indoor seating as well as dining on a riverview patio. Live music adds to the fun. Don’t miss the spinach and gorgonzola strata at Cafe Columbia.
The Wenatchee area lays claim to a dozen wineries. Credit the region’s warm summer days and cool autumn nights for its impressive varietals. Favorites include Stemilt Creek Winery, with a tasting room one block away from Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel. A short drive from town leads to Chateau Faire Le Pont Winery, whose outdoor deck makes a sweet sipping spot. Martin-Scott Winery, located in East Wenatchee, invites guests into its tasting room on the weekends.