Few places in hte country rival the Pacific Northwest’s beauty, and one of its most stunning locales is Washington’s Wenatchee Valley. Nestled in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains, this picturesque area—known as the “Apple Capital of the World”—features an abundance of outdoor adventures and versatile spaces for meetings, conferences and conventions.
Getting Down to Business
Whether you’re planning a corporate retreat or a full-scale convention, Wenatchee Valley can accommodate. Smaller groups should check out the Confluence Technology Center. It features 11 different conference rooms, ranging in size from 400 square feet to more than 2,900 square feet, and can hold groups as small as 10 or as large as 150.
Town Toyota Center is not only the place to go for concerts and sporting events—this year’s schedule includes Sheryl Crow, Travis Tritt and Steve Miller Band—it’s also available for private events and conventions with a 40,000-square-foot trade show floor and a 17,000-square-foot concert and event space that can accommodate 4,700. A 17,000-square-foot skating rink is also available with seating for 500.
Located in Wenatchee’s downtown core is the Wenatchee Convention Center. Offering 50,000 square feet of customizable meeting space, the center can accommodate up to 1,500 people. Options include a 10,000-square-foot ballroom, 7,500-square-foot exhibition hall and 14 smaller breakout rooms, ranging from 500 square feet to 2,000. Adjacent to the convention center is the Numerica Performing Arts Center, which is also available for events. Planners can rent the auditorium, upper and lower lobbies, and the stage for groups of up to 550.
As an added convenience, the 147-room Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel connects to the convention center via sky bridge. The hotel offers mountain and Columbia River views, complimentary Wi-Fi and fitness and business centers.
Wining and Dining
While apples may have put Wenatchee on the map, grapes also take center stage. It wouldn’t be a trip to Wenatchee without enjoying a tasting at some of the area’s world-class wineries, a number of which can also host your group events in unique, intimate settings.
Chateau Faire Le Pont offers seating for more than 200 guests outside and up to 120 inside. With stunning views of the Cascades, on-site catering and A/V capabilities, this promises to be a meeting no one will forget.
Nearby Silvara Vineyards offers 1,500 square feet of elegant, flexible meeting space with a breathtaking view of the sprawling Cascade Valley. Its award-winning wines are complemented by exceptional cuisine. As Winery Director Teresa Shahbaghlian says, “The food in this region has been gaining recognition over the last few years,” satisfying clients as diverse as Microsoft and Boeing, as well as weddings and other private celebrations.
For post-meeting fun, outdoor activities take center stage any time of year but especially during the summer months, thanks to nearby Wenatchee National Forest’s 1,735,394 acres— it’s a hiker’s dream. You can also book a side trip to the Ohme Gardens. Sitting on a bluff above the city, it offers a mile of relaxing trails, waterfalls and reflecting pools that make for an ideal, quiet afternoon getaway.
Situated on the Columbia River, Wenatchee provides easy access to a variety of water sports as well. You can take a calm, relaxing paddle along the river while observing local wildlife, such as deer, eagles, herons and more. Or if you prefer more of an adrenaline rush, the Wenatchee River is Washington’s most popular white-water destination, with 100,000 thrill seekers braving its Class III and IV rapids each year. Local outfitter River Recreation can even set up an outing for your entire group. Its team of river professionals has worked with the likes of REI and Amazon, and can accommodate groups of up to 150. Operations Manager Don Martin says braving the whitewater provides a unique opportunity for groups to “work on team-building,” adding that, “rafting is really a team sport; to get downriver, you have to work together.”
Of course, there is no need to rough it. At River Recreation’s base-camp facility, guests can enjoy a private picnic area, Wi-Fi and changing rooms. With the company’s Whitewater and Wine package, you can even spend the morning on the river and the afternoon being shuttled among three local wineries. If you prefer suds over sips, Paddles and Pints offers a similar escapade, substituting breweries for vineyards, along with camping and dinner.
For an authentic Wenatchee shopping experience, stop by the Pybus Public Market. Located just a few blocks from the historic downtown district, this is one of the most unique shopping destinations in Washington. Home to more than a dozen local restaurants, artisan merchants and specialty stores, it’s located in a renovated steel-products warehouse and showcases the wares of 19 year-round merchants and businesses that Executive Director Steve Robinson says strive to “provide products that are unique, different, and very high quality.”
Inspired by the Ferry Building in San Francisco and Pike Place Market in Seattle, Pybus promotes community through art, music, education and commerce, and helps support more than 50 area farms as the home of the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market. “We strive to create an experience from the moment you walk through the door,” says Robinson.
Clearly, when it comes to meeting destinations, Wenatchee Valley is the pick of the crop.