Updated: Jun 22, 2020
If you live in Washington, you probably know about Lake Chelan. It is a great summer destination if you love water sports, relaxing, or being in the sun. Lake Chelan is about 3 hours (without traffic), over the mountains in Eastern Washington. Believe it or not, I used to go to Chelan to lay in the 100 degree sun and float in the lake for just a day!
More recently I got the opportunity to join some friends in Lake Chelan during the winter! I couldn’t pass up the chance to see one of my favorite destinations covered in snow! If you are looking for some things to do in Chelan during the winter, keep reading.
The best way to do Chelan in the winter is to go during their Fire and Ice Festival. It usually runs for two weekend in the middle of January.
Lake Chelan is a place known for wineries. There are too many to count, but I do have some recommendations:
Benson Vineyards Estate Winery - Benson has arguably some of the best views of the lake
Tsillan Cellars Winery - This may be 2nd place for views!
Karma Vineyards - Drink wine in a cave? Yes, please! We got to go here for the official Winterfest Happy Hour event!
Vin du Luc - This winery is definitely more of a summer winery. The views are amazing here.
Tunnel Hill Winery - I didn't go to Tunnel Hill on our most recent trip, but I have been here in the past and love their outdoor space
Fielding Hills Winery - I have now been here on several occasions and love it! They have a great indoor and outdoor space
Chelan Craft Cidery - No, this isn't wine, but this cidery just opened in January 2019. It has a small tasting room but delicious cider. We got a ginger cider!
Did I mention the wine is good in all of these wineries?
There are a bunch of good spots to eat at but here are some I recommend:
Sorrento Restaurante - If you are feeling fancy, come here! I highly recommend you get a reservation. I had the most delicious tortellini, calamari and dessert assortment
Local Myth Pizza - I had a lot of wine by the time I made it here, but if you want something casual, try their pizza ..and get a beer too!
Blueberry Hills Farm - This is one of the most well known places to get breakfast. There are a few things I should warn you about: you may need to practice your patience. The line to order can be long, finding a table may be challenging (it is a seat yourself restaurant) and you may have to wait upwards of 50 minutes for your food, but it is worth it!
Stormy Mountain Brewing Company - I LOVE breweries. It has become a tradition for me to find breweries in every city! This one has a great atmosphere and is right in downtown Lake Chelan.
Andante - Feel like a good Italian dinner? Check this place out! It is a smaller restaurant but a candlelit dinner here is unbeatable.
Stormy Mountain Brewing Company - If you just want a beer, you have to come here!
My Buddy's Place - This bar is in downtown Manson. It is a super divey bar, but that makes the atmosphere even better!
BC MacDonald's - If you are looking for convenience and a drink, BC is right in downtown Chelan. Don't expect a lot and you will have a good time.
A Shot of Gratitude - This is a tiny restaurant & bar but is a lot of fun!
Senor Frogs - Don't expect the Senor Frogs you might have visited in Mexico. However, this is one of the more popular spots for bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Fire & Ice
And the main reason why you are probably in Lake Chelan is for Winterfest. We pre-ordered our tickets online for Saturday which included the wine walk and the wine tent. We were given 20 drink tickets, which we thought was a lot at first. It turns out a lot of the red wines are 2 tickets. We ended up getting through the tickets in about four hours. There are a ton of ice sculptures to look at and a lot of the wine tasting is done in the shops in Chelan. It encourages you to also shop while you drink!
Getting Around Chelan
If you plan to try and catch an Uber, think again. Uber has finally come to Chelan, but not in the availability we are all used to in large cities. We heard from locals that some people from Seattle will drive over on busy weekend to drive. That wasn't really the case for us. We ended up lucking out by asking around town and being recommended to contact Jeremy. You set your route and pick up spots with him ahead of time and he will give you a rate. We were driven from Manson back around the lake to the Chelan side (about a 30 minute drive) where he then took us to 3 different places. I highly recommend him. He is very knowledgeable and also seems to know everyone in town.