There are so many fun things to do in Winthrop, WA. This funky small town is a little Western, a little pioneer, and very walkable.
This themed town sits next to the Chewuch and Methow Rivers and is in one of my favorite areas in Washington State: the Methow Valley.
To get the full experience when visiting Winthrop, I suggest choosing a place to stay within walking distance of town. The bonus of doing this is that you’ll see the town both during its daily rush of day trip visitors and in the morning and evening when there is barely anyone around.
On this Winthrop itinerary, there are wines and ciders to taste, suspension bridges to cross, museums to visit, and some downtime to relax and enjoy.
To top off this Winthrop getaway, you’ll dine at some great locations including a cocktail bar that you wouldn’t be out of place in the city, a riverside brewery that serves up fantastic hamburgers, and a generous breakfast in the state’s oldest legal saloon.
Get ready: here are all the best things to do in Winthrop, WA on a weekend trip!
Cool Things to Do in Winthrop, WA on a Weekend Trip: Day One
Sip local wine at Lost River Winery
For those that arrive via Hwy 20 the first place you’ll see as you head into town is the family owned Lost River Winery.
Go ahead and pull in for the first taste of your weekend in Winthrop!
Their wines, which source their grapes from the Columbia Valley, have won multiple awards.
Since I’m a red drinker, I’m partial to the Community Red, which you can buy in a bottle, refillable growler, or a handy pouch for camping trips!
In the tasting room, patrons receive a complimentary taste and they usually have six to eight wines available. After you find one to your liking, purchase a glass or bottle and enjoy it on the outside patio. Can you think of a better way to kick off your Winthrop getaway?
Also, patrons can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with their wine.
Summer: Daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Spring and Fall: Thursday to Monday 11 am to 5 pm.
Winter: Friday, Saturday, and Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Address: 26 WA-20 Winthrop, WA 98862
Check out the Shafer Museum
One of the coolest things to do in Winthrop on a weekend getaway is check out the Shafer Museum.
To get there, I suggest the path and stairs across the street from the Rio Vista Hotel. The path goes over a small canal and then up the hillside to the museum, so it’s a great way to combine a scenic walk in Winthrop with some sightseeing.
The museum consists of several buildings, each with a historical focus, and lots and lots of equipment used in the area from logging, mining, and farming.
There is also the “castle,” which is the cabin of Guy Warning, Winthrop’s founding father, in its original location.
The museum says the grounds are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but we found them to be open most of the night.
If you stay where we did at Pine Near RV Park, it’s easy to check out the grounds every time you walk to and from town.
The buildings are opened daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offer more insights into the area’s history.
Give yourself at least an hour or two to read the signs, look at the equipment and go through the buildings. Since it is so close to town, and it’s partially open it’s easy to make a return visit and see things you might have missed.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Suggested donation for admission is $3.
Address: 285 Castle Ave. Winthrop, WA 98862
Grab dinner and drinks at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery
When it’s time for dinner, make your way over to the Old Schoolhouse Brewery.
In the summer season, they can be packed inside and on the riverside patio. If time allows, give the staff your name, get a drink and find a spot in The Hangover while you wait for a patio table.
While you’re dining, you won’t regret it when the conversation mingles with the sounds of the river. Their food is locally sourced and the staff is super friendly.
They have year-round music, and in the summer it’s on the outside patio on Friday nights and some Saturdays.
We started with the pub pretzel with stout mustard and smoked cheddar beer cheese (this cheese was to die for!).
For dinner, I had the Schoolhouse Salad, which is mixed greens with dried cranberries, goat cheese, and a tossed IPA vinaigrette, and beer bread.
My husband had the Old School Burger made with a hand-formed patty from Thomson’s Custom Meats and then added bacon and the smoked cheddar beer cheese.
After his first bite, he promptly declared it the best hamburger he’s ever had. After that, I had to take a bite. And, while I really enjoyed my salad, the juicy burger made me jealous!
Be sure to save room for dessert: that’s next on this list of where to go in Winthrop!
Hours: Sunday through Thursday 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. (On music nights, kids welcome until 9 p.m.)
Address: 155 Riverside Ave. Winthrop, WA 98862
Grab a treat at Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe
For breakfast goodies and all-around sweets like ice cream, fudge and truffles you’ll want to stop at Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe.
During the height of the day, this locale is the hub of activity. At night and early morning, you’ll have some breathing room.
If you are up for sweets or ice cream, grab a scoop of their tasty homemade ice creams like coconut almond fudge, strawberry cheesecake or praline pecan, and then wrap up the evening with a game of miniature golf!
Hours: 6 a.m. and “until the last customer comes a’wantin’
Address: 207 Riverside Ave. Winthrop, WA 98862
Things to Do in Winthrop, WA on a Weekend Trip: Day Two
Start the day with breakfast at Three Fingered Jack’s Saloon
This day is all about walking around, which means it’s time for a hearty breakfast at Three Fingered Jack’s Saloon, the oldest legal saloon in Washington State.
It is named after Jack Lemma, a local butcher who accidentally cut off two of his fingers. Ouch, that’s gotta hurt!
The restaurant opens at 7 a.m. for breakfast. We got there around 8:30 a.m. and had no problem getting a table, but a few patrons that came in after us had to a wait a few minutes. They are also open for lunch and dinner.
I ordered the Ham Scramble with two scrambled eggs, diced ham and a grilled biscuit. My husband ordered Jack’s Country Breakfast with two eggs, sausage or back, a grilled biscuit, and a side of gravy.
The breakfast was so good, and the potatoes were some of the best we’ve every had.
Breakfast: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Lunch: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dinner: to 4 p.m. to close
Happy Hour: 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. The bar opens at noon.
Address: 176 Riverside Ave. Winthrop, WA 98862
Go for a hike along Staeekhwa Bridge and Trail
After breakfast, head right toward the north edge of town to the Staeekhwa Bridge and riverside hiking trail.
This suspension bridge is smaller than the Spring Creek Bridge and goes over the Chewah River. The trail meanders along the river with interpretive signs that note the area’s history and point out points of interest, past a fish screen, and ends at rapids up the river.
From there the trail wanders into a new housing development, so just take it back to the bridge.
Tip: The hike lasts about an hour and follows an easy grade.
Sip ciders at the Methow Valley Cider House
Head back into town, and when you come to Hwy 20 turn right and go over the bridge, through the park and across the road to Methow Valley Cider House (right next to Lost River Winery).
This is the town’s newest edition, and it has a great setup with a large cabin for tasting and casual dining, a partially covered patio (dogs allowed here), and an area for kids that includes a rock climbing wall.
Along with their refreshing ciders, they have a selection of beer and wine, as well as, handcrafted sausages by Thomson’s Customs Meats, salads, appetizers and cider donuts. On some Friday and most Saturdays, they have live music from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
We started with the $5 sampler tray each. I particularly liked the Pinnacle Goat, a flavorful ginger-infused cider, and the Howling Wolf, a hopped cider. So I ordered a glass of the Pinnacle Goat, and my husband who is more of a beer drinker got a beer.
I also ordered one of their signature sausages the pork Honey Bear Brat, which is infused with their Honey Bear Cider. The sausage was sweet and flavorful; however, my only wish was that there was more creativity with the condiments like grilled onions, or roasted red peppers and feta cheese.
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Address: 28 WA-20, Winthrop, WA 98862
Stroll across Spring Creek Bridge
After you’ve enjoyed your ciders, head back into town and take a right to the south end of town and cross Spring Creek Bridge.
It’s a short walk across the bridge and goes right over the Methow River with views of where the two rivers converge.
While we were there, we saw deer munching the greens along the river and bald eagles in the trees. It’s also a good place to see seasonal salmon spawning!
Wander and window shop around downtown Winthrop
Time to stroll off some of that cider with a walk around the cute town of Winthrop, WA.
If you’re feeling peckish, head to the Winthrop Emporium and buy some snacks to enjoy in your room or in the park. If not, walk around town and take in the vibe.
There are lots of interesting shops to peruse, like seeing a glass blower in action at Glass Works of Winthrop, picking up a new favorite read at Trails End Bookstore, or adding to your wardrobe at The Courtyard Quail and French Quail Boutique.
In the winter, it’s an outdoor ice rink. In the summer, it’s an outdoor roller rink. How cool is that?
Have a chic dinner at Copper Glance
For your last evening, dine at Copper Glance, a hip and locally sourced restaurant and cocktail bar. I’ll warn you in advance, the service might be slow, but it will be worth it!
The night we were there the place was packed inside and outside, and there was only one server, and one bartender for most of the evening. Needless to say, service was slow, and having worked in the restaurant industry I felt sorry for our waitress.
It is a new restaurant, so hopefully the kinks are being worked out, and they’ll have the staff they need to accommodate its popularity (It was busy well into the late evening).
After realizing the situation, we decided to switch gears mentally back into laid-back vacation mode. We sipped our drinks‒an Alcachofa with tequila for me ($9) and a Stella Artois ($4) for the husband ‒ and just enjoyed having a table outdoors.
Their menu is very eclectic and has Asian and European-inspired dishes, as well as, comfort foods. We started with the Charcuterie & Cheese Board, which comes with aged cheeses, rotating cured meats, house pickles and vegetables, stone ground mustard, olives, and bread. That was quite a filling spread, so we opted to split the Beef Satay with a tamari sesame ginger sauce.
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Address: 134 Riverside Ave. Winthrop, WA 98862
Weekend in Winthrop Day 3: Departure
Grab a bite for the road at Rocking Horse Bakery
Today, your weekend in Winthrop is coming to an end, so you’re going to have a lighter breakfast and indulge in your specialty coffee habits at Rocking Horse Bakery.
We highly recommend the cinnamon pull aparts and breakfast sandwiches, but we didn’t love the Cinnamon Roll.
If it’s a clear day, sit at the picnic tables in the back next to the river. If you are a bread lover, buy a loaf to take home with you — it’s quite good!
Afterward, take one last walk around town or return to the museum to see anything you’ve missed.
Optional: Stop at Lake Diablo Lookout on the way home
If you return home via HWY 20, be sure to stop at the Lake Diablo Lookout.
The views from this location are absolutely mind-blowing!
Where to Stay in Winthrop
River Run Inn
Our stay at River Run Inn did not disappoint. It has an ideal location next to the river, and you are close to downtown but far enough away that it feels like you are on a Methow Valley retreat. Its amenities, such as a large grassy yard with games, hammocks, fire pits, and an indoor pool and hot tub, encourage fun and relaxation.
Since there were three of us, we chose to stay in a cabin which gave us a little more room to spread out. The cabins are staggered which provides more privacy between the cabins. If you are on the porch, there is additional greenery and trees between the cabins to give an extra layer.
Our cabin featured a bedroom with a queen-sized bed, a living room with a futon sofa, dining area with table and chairs, a porch with a grill and outdoor seating, a gas fireplace, and a full kitchen with pots, pans, and dishware.
It was a wonderful time and I highly recommend it!
Book your stay on Hotels.com here.
Pine Near R.V. Park
This cute RV park also hosts several cabins which are a great choice for where to stay when you’re visiting Winthrop.
We were pleasantly surprised by its simple yet modern comforts which included a plush queen bed (which we both slept great on), two nightstands, two cushy chairs, a small refrigerator, microwave, AC, and heat.
Outside amenities included a large outdoor mat, two Adirondack chairs, a table, and a portable fire pit (kettle grill) which was a great place to end the evenings!