Washington State’s Wine Country
The vast, wondrous Washington wine country rests east of the Cascade Mountains. Here you’ll enjoy panoramic views of rolling hills and the bright green glow of grapevines and opulent fruit orchards. Home to over 1,000 wineries, Washington earns the title of second-largest premium wine-producing region in the United States. The climate in this region brings dry, perpetually sunny summers perfect for exploring nearby lakes and snow-filled cold seasons that satisfy winter sports enthusiasts. Between Leavenworth, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima, you’ll find eating, shopping, year-round recreational activities and a plethora of offerings for outdoor adventures in Washington’s wine country.
Leavenworth, WA is a charming destination known for its unique Bavarian-style architecture, vibrant festivals and breathtaking natural surroundings. The town is also home to Leavenworth Valley wine country, one of the most popular wineries in the Northwest.
The charming village of Leavenworth is located in central Washington’s picturesque Cascade Mountains. Despite being in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, Leavenworth transports visitors directly to the heart of Bavaria with its architecture, cuisine, festivals and culture.
Leavenworth is famous for its Bavarian village. Visitors to the town will immediately notice the timber-framed buildings adorned with flower boxes and the welcoming aroma of wheat and barley from the local brewery. When strolling the cobblestone streets, you might hear the faint music of a tuba and accordion, especially during annual Oktoberfest celebrations. Meat markets proudly display locally made bratwurst, and colorful alpine murals decorate almost every corner of the town.
In the wine tasting rooms, visitors can sample some of Leavenworth’s locally produced Rieslings, pinot noirs and gewürztraminers from the blossoming wineries in the Leavenworth Valley.
While Leavenworth delights visitors with its European charm, its true splendor comes from the natural surroundings of Washington’s Cascade Mountains. Adventurers can hike alpine trails, paddle the Wenatchee River or ski Stevens Pass.
From Seattle, you can drive about 2.5 to 3 hours via US-2 E/Stevens Pass Hwy. This route leads you directly into Leavenworth and allows you to stop whenever you want. Make sure you’re prepared for winter driving if you come during the cold season!
Another easy way is to commute by taking a shuttle bus like Leavenworth Polar Express, which runs between Seattle and Leavenworth. You can also take the Amtrak Empire Builder Train for a more scenic journey. This takes over 4 hours and requires a transfer in Wenatchee.
If you don’t have time to plan your own itinerary, you can join a guided tour from Seattle for an easy, packaged experience. Various tour companies provide trips that include transport, meals and activities.
If you’re planning on a longer stay in Leavenworth, you can easily book a room at one of our Washington Inns for a comfortable and restful stay!
This charming town hosts a number of popular festivals throughout the year. Venues have live music, exciting foods and arts & crafts displays. The Washington State Autumn Leaf Festival is the oldest festival in Washington with a Grand Parade and Alpenfolks. Experience the gorgeously dense and colorful forests surrounding Leavenworth.
Christkindlmarkt, the annual Bavarian Festhalle Holiday Market begins in late November with family friendly holiday entertainment. It marks the beginning of the Village of Lights Festival when Leavenworth is illuminated by half a million Christmas lights (that stay on continually through February). Special activities happen daily, not just weekends, from carolers, Alpenhorn buglers to local artisans, Santa and crafts. The gazebo located in the center of town serves as the main stage for entertainment all day. Karneval or “Fasching” happens for three weekends in January with ice sculpture contests, a weekend fireworks show and carnival activities.
Take the family skiing, sledding and tubing at Ski Hill operated by the Leavenworth Ski Club. Head to Stevens Pass only 30 miles away for more serious skiing and snowboarding. Visit the Reindeer Farm, go on a sleigh ride, or snowshoe around the Leavenworth Golf Course trails.
Maifest kicks off the bountiful Spring season with the opening of farmers markets. There’s Maipole dancing, Bavarian music, a Grand March and Alphorn Celebration with Chainsaw carving and a Ciderfest. The town is surrounded by over 700 miles of forest service trails, perfect for hiking. If you are into climbing, there are over 50 crags within 10 miles offering spectacular views of the Cascades and the valley. It’s the kick-off for hiking the 23-mile Enchantment Loop including many alpine lakes. There are also several golf courses for every playing level including one in town with real goats.
In summer try kayaking, tubing, paddleboarding or rafting on the Wenatchee River as you can bring your own or rent equipment at several places. Head to Lake Wenatchee, Fish Lake or the Wenatchee River for seasonal recreational fishing. Visit Plain, WA and its adorable hardware store or make a reservation to ZipLine through the forest.
Mountain and road bikers will find miles of scenic byways in the area. Head out along the Chumstick Highway loop, into Cashmere’s Dry Gulch trail to Mission Ridge; past Pinnacles rock-climbing park. Or head to the Apple Capital Loop Trail in Wenatchee which is 10+ miles of scenic, groomed paths along the Columbia River where you can picnic, swim and complete a full circle from Pybus Market to Lincoln Rock State Park.
Walla Walla is a charming, green oasis set on the edge of the high desert of eastern Washington. This is a world-class wine destination that is known for having one of the best small-town main streets in the United States.
Walla Walla is a vibrant, small town surrounded by beautiful landscapes. Originally a farming community known for its wheat and sweet onions, Walla Walla has grown to be a world-class wine destination. From rolling wheat fields and apple orchards to snow-capped mountains — you won't see the same view twice in this oasis at the edge of high desert! Not only are there stunning sights enjoyed year-round, but the top-notch food and luxurious tasting rooms make for a romantic weekend destination. Home to Whitman College (founded 1859) & Walla University (1892), it's clear that education has been interwoven into life here for centuries. Plus, with summer daytime highs in the mid-80s Fahrenheit, lows around 60 and only 20 inches of rainfall each year – enjoy sunshine all year long in Walla Walla, Washington! Traveling there is easy. Drive time from Portland or Seattle is about four hours, or there are daily flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Walla Walla is graced with beautiful parks. Visit Bennington Lake with its walking trails, or Pioneer Park with its 100-year-old towering sycamore trees and beautiful duck pond and aviary. Fort Walla Walla includes a museum, military cemetery, and a wild bird sanctuary. West of Walla Walla is the Whitman Mission and Visitors Center. Set on the historic Oregon Trail, the Whitman Mission played an important part in the expansion of the west.
Main Street in downtown Walla Walla is lined with boutique shops, art galleries, tasting rooms, and restaurants.
There are over 150 Walla Walla wineries. With this many wineries there is always an event or tasting to make your visit to Walla Walla WA a special one. Hop on a bike and tour the vineyards south of town. Head to the and visit the world’s only three-hole golf course winery or visit a unique schoolhouse tasting room. Visit the Airport District. Here you will find over 20 wineries as well as shops, restaurants and bakeries, all within easy walking distance of the Walla Walla Regional Airport.
Where there is great wine, there is great food. Premier chefs are choosing Walla Walla because of the abundance of fresh, local ingredients and the wonderful local wines. Here the atmosphere is laid back, the dress is casual, but the food is world class.
Wenatchee is set at the confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. The fertile Wenatchee Valley is known as the Apple Capital of the World.
The Wenatchee area boasts a wide variety of outdoor activities year around. Hikers, walkers, bikers and cyclists enjoy the Apple Capital Loop Trail. This 11 mile paved trail runs along the Columbia River and is easily accessed from downtown Wenatchee. The Horan Natural Area is a 100 acre area converted to manmade wetlands. Set at the confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers, this area is the perfect spot for birders-watchers. The Wenatchee Forest includes 2.2 million acres and offers opportunities for mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, paddling and show shoeing. This wilderness area offer spots that are pet friendly, family friendly and handicapped accessible.
In winter, head to Mission Ridge, just 12 miles from Wenatchee for downhill skiing. Mission Ridge includes over 2000 acres and offers lots of sunshine, great powder and spectacular views. You will also find opportunities for snowboarding, cross country skiing, tubing and snowmobiling in the areas surrounding the Wenatchee Valley.
The Columbia River is lined with dams for hydro-electric power. Visit Rocky Reach Dam and Museum. Learn more about the construction and maintenance of the dam, have lunch and enjoy the views. The dam also has viewing windows to the fish ladders. Here you can watch Steelhead and Salmon heading upstream in the fall.
Wenatchee enjoys four distinct seasons. High temperatures in the winter are in the mid 30s with some snow. In the summer, highs can reach the mid 80s with lots of sun.
Wenatchee is a scenic 3 hour drive from Seattle over I-90 and the Cascade Mountains. Take US Route 97 north over Blewett Pass. This is a beautiful drive, any time of the year, but check WSDOT Pass Reports in winter.
Wenatchee WA, known as the Apple Capital of the World, celebrates with the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival each April/May. The festival extends from the last weekend in April through the first weekend in May. Enjoy great food, local arts and crafts and a wide variety of entertainment and activities. Listed as the oldest major fair in Washington state, activities include the Classy Chassis Car Show, parades and a golf tournament. This celebration showcases the bounty and talent of the Wenatchee valley.
Other local events include The Chelan County Fair, held the first weekend of September, includes lots of western fun. Watch local cowboys compete and perform in the rodeo. Enjoy lots of rides, great food and local fun. Enjoy music in June at the Wenatchee River Bluegrass Festival. This is the longest running bluegrass festival in eastern Washington and includes national, regional and local talent.
Featured Places to Stay in Wenatchee
Yakima, Washington, is located in the Yakima Valley, a stunning destination that sits in the shadow of Mount Adams and the iconic Mount Rainier. This is also your gateway into Washington's renowned wine country — with plenty of delightful vineyards and nearby towns like Zillah and Grandview just waiting to be explored.
Two majestic mountains, Mount Adams and Mount Rainier, overlook the Yakima Valley and the city of Yakima, which is located on the east desert side of the Cascade Mountains. Yakima is the largest city and the top destination in Central Washington. The Yakima Valley stretches southeast along the Yakima River from the town of Naches all the way to Tri-Cities, where the Yakima flows into the “Mighty Columbia” river on its way to the Pacific Ocean. You can learn about the fascinating geological history of the region at the Yakima Valley Museum, which explains the shrub-steppe desert environment. Mountain snows, three rivers and irrigation systems are what make the desert bloom. Yakima is also the ‘gateway’ to Washington Wine Country, with award-winning wines, tasting rooms in the vineyards and year-round events. Find your passion here: hike, fish, golf, bike, birds, music, art, dining and sunshine — there is something for everyone!
Yakima has four distinct seasons. Summer is hot and dry with temperatures reaching the mid 80s. Winter brings light snow in the area with daytime temperatures in the high 30s. This fertile valley, home to numerous orchards and berry farms, is also the largest hops-growing area in North America. You can travel the Craft Beverage Trail and enjoy great local wines and spirits. It is located just 2+ hours east of Seattle on I-90 and I-82 or 3+ hours northeast of Portland via I-84 east and U.S. Route 97 north. You can also fly from SeaTac Airport to Yakima daily.
Yakima, Washington, is also near small towns like Zillah and Grandview, Washington. Zillah, Washington, is located just 20 miles southeast of Yakima and offers a peaceful atmosphere with its small-town charm. Despite being an intimate and quaint city, Zillah is bursting with personality and a strong sense of community. This city in Yakima County is most known for its wineries, with over 15 specializing in cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot, syrah, chardonnay and riesling. Forty miles southeast of Yakima is Grandview, Washington. Grandview is known for its agriculture-based economy and production of a wide range of fruits, vegetables, wheat and dairy. There’s plenty to do in this growing community from outdoor recreation (boasting an average of 300 sunny days a year) to shopping, museum and theater visits.
Spring is characterized by sunny days, crisp nights, blossoming orchards, and u-pick farms and berry farms. Wineries host Spring Barrel Tasting weekends in April. In May, events include “Cinco de Mayo” and “Tour of Artists Homes”. The Yakima Farmer’s Market opens downtown on Sundays, mid-May through October. This is ‘farm to table’ at its freshest and best. Yakima River Canyon spring events include the Yakima Canyon Marathon, and a scenic bike ride on Your Canyon For a Day.
Summer is noted for long, hot, sunny days with cool desert nights. Locals and visitors enjoy concerts in the parks, downtown music and events, u-pick farms for berries, apples, and other fruit. Restaurants invite you to dine either inside or outside, serve local wines, beers, and meals prepared with fresh local ingredients. The Yakima Valley is the largest hops growing region in North America. You’ll see hop fields as you travel through the Valley on the Craft Beverage Trail, including breweries, wineries and distilleries. In late September, enjoy the famous Central WA State Fair, with top-name entertainers and all that state fairs offer.
Autumn is distinguished with warm and sunny days with crisp nights. Celebrate in early October harvest events and activities such as the Fresh Hop Ale Festival followed by the vineyard version, Catch The Crush. An exciting weekend tradition held every year in Yakima on the day after Thanksgiving and through the weekend is Thanksgiving in Wine Country.
Intellectually and culturally stimulating top class professional entertainment abounds in Yakima including live theatre at several venues, but most notably, the beautifully restored Capitol Theatre, a 1500 seat performing arts center in downtown Yakima. Also performing regularly at the Capitol Theatre is the combined affiliation of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra and the Yakima Symphony Chorus with performances during the fall, winter and spring. Another exciting venue for multi-genre musical concerts and art performances is Yakima’s The Seasons Performance Hall. Live music is also featured in several downtown restaurants and tasting rooms.
Winter is the “The Quiet Season” in Yakima with “dustings of snow” on the hillsides and orchards. Wineries present Red Wine & Chocolates on President’s Day weekend. Locals and visitors love to ski at White Pass on Hwy. 12, an hour west of Yakima. During the “quiet season”, concerts, theatre, art galleries, and exhibits are in full swing.
Grandview WA is a small farming community located about 45 minutes from Yakima and 45 minutes from the bustling Tri-Cities area. Set in the center of wine country, Grandview have expansive views of local farmland, snow-capped Mount Adams and towering Mount Rainier. With the dry sunny climate, it is a great spot for outdoor activities like cycling and hiking. The area is surrounded by world class wineries and tasting rooms. Cozy Rose is a romantic inn set in the heart of Grandview and the wine country. Relax in the serene, park-like setting.
Featured Places to Stay in Yakima
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