Wenatchee, WA is located approximately one hour (40 miles) southwest of Chelan and is the largest city in Chelan county with a population of approximately 32,000. Wenatchee is known as the “Apple Capital of the World” due to the valley’s numerous orchards. Like Chelan, many people visit Wenatchee for agritourism and outdoor recreation.
Wenatchee is home to some amazing dining spots, eclectic shopping districts, awesome wineries and breweries, and numerous centers for the arts. It’s a bustling city where the people are friendly and the atmosphere is relaxed. Though it’s much larger than Chelan, Wenatchee still maintains a hometown feel.
What To Do in Wenatchee
With everything there is to do in Wenatchee, you won’t be able to fit it all in one trip. This city is just brimming with all sorts of historical sites, shopping districts, cultural centers, and recreational opportunities. Not to mention their numerous small farms, orchards, wineries, and cideries. Since there’s so much to do, the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce has some awesome pre-planned itineraries on their website. These are a great way to start planning your trip!
On the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce website, they also provide you with a ton of great visitor information. We recommend that you check it out. You should be able to find everything you need to know (and much more). Below you’ll find a quick breakdown of just some of the things you can do in Wenatchee.
- Farmers Markets
- Farms & Orchards
- Fruit Stands
- Hunting & Fishing
- Mountain Biking
- Skiing & Snowboarding
- Garden Tours
- Live Concerts
- Theater Shows
History of Wenatchee
Indigenous people were the first to live in the Wenatchee area. Archeological digs have uncovered Clovis stone and bone tools dating back more than 11,000 years, indicating that people migrating during the last Ice Age spent time in the Wenatchee area. The Wenatchee, or Wenatchi, were a tribe of nomadic people who lived off the land. Fur traders, gold prospectors, cattlemen, and missionaries were the first non-Native American people to come to the area.
After seeing its beauty, the Wenatchee area became a popular place for white settlers. The town grew quickly, especially once the Great Northern Railway decided to build a train depot approximately one mile south of the settlement. Eventually the town was mapped out and plots were sold. Within five days, $100,000 worth of property was sold. With access to the railroad for shipping goods, agriculture in the area boomed. Within a few years, the Valley was covered with young fruit trees. Apples were shipped all over the world and within 25 years, Wenatchee became the center of the greatest apple-producing region in the world. To this day, Wenatchee still thrives on its fruit production but has many other industries including tourism, manufacturing, and hydroelectric power.