18 best things to do in Yakima


Fall in Washington’s Yakima Valley means three things: the harvest, the fresh hop season, and the harvest of farm-to-fork. With over 120 wineries, 3,000 farms, and the largest hop-growing area in the United States, a long weekend is perfect for exploring all the region has to offer. The Yakima Valley is often referred to as “America’s Fruit Bowl”. With 300 sunny days a year and a rich history, fall is a great time to explore the Yakima Valley. Yakima is located in central Washington, about a 3 hour drive from Portland and just over 2 hours from Seattle.

The Yakima Valley region consists of many towns, cities and villages. My visit covered Yakima, Prosser, Union Gap, Toppenish, and Wapato.

Note: my trip was sponsored by Yakima Valley Tourism and Campbell Coop Ranch. All thoughts and ideas are mine.

Jo-anne bowen

1. Learn about hops and taste beers at Bale Breaker Brewing (Yakima)

Bale Breaker Brewing grows its own hops and makes its own beer. It is the only brewery in the United States to be located in the middle of a hop field. Bale Breaker Brewing is Washington’s third largest independent brewery. It has just been awarded Small Brewery of the Year at the GABF (Great American Beer Festival).

Two flights are offered: 1. Core Beer and 2., Experimental / Limited Release. My visit was during the fresh hop season, so I chose the experimental flight. What a delight! With names like “In The Lup IPA” and “Loral Fixation Fresh Hop IPA”, you know you are going to be in for a treat.

Guided tours are available and food trucks are also on site. Indoor and outdoor picnic tables are available. Families are welcome.

A cove in Cowiche Canyon
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2. Cowiche Canyon East Hike (Yakima)

Enjoy a leisurely hike along Cowiche Canyon East. The Cowiche Canyon East is part of the larger Cowiche Canyon Trail system covering 900 acres with 13 miles of unpaved trails. Check out this link for a trail map. Look for a variety of flora and fauna in a riparian area. The Cowiche Canyon was once the track for the Burlington National Railroad. Built in 1913, the line was used to transport apples to Yakima production facilities.

Wine at Owen Roe Winery
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3. Sip superior wines at Owen Roe (Wapato)

Owen Roe sources grapes from 12 wineries in Washington and Oregon. Winemaker and co-founder David O’Reilly is recognized by Wine spectator and others. Enjoy a tasting inside or outside. Two flights are available. We especially appreciated the knowledge and storytelling from our tasting room chef, Susan.

Picnics are welcome.

Wine at Caves Gilbert
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4. Enjoy a sip at Gilbert Caves (Yakima)

Stop at Gilbert Cellars at Hackett Ranch, where fifth-generation fruit growers have established their tasting room amid apple trees and vineyards. Enjoy the tasting called “Gilbert Experience”, a flight of one white and four reds. Snacks are available including a picnic plate of cold cuts, cheese and crackers. On weekends, look for the Weenie Roast Kit and the Smores Kit. Information on special events like MITV (Music in The Vines) can be found in its newsletter. Events sell out quickly.

Airfield Estates: Vintage photo of WWII pilots trained here
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5. Take flight in the Airfield Estates (Prosser) tasting room

Airfield Estates Winery founder H. Lloyd Miller leased land from Olympic Air Transport at the start of World War II. This land was used to build an air base for training military pilots. More than 600 pilots have been trained on this site. After the war, the unique buildings were used as part of Miller’s farming operations. The switch to grapes came in 1968 and now consists of 950 acres of wine grapes from 27 different varietals.

Now run by the fourth generation, there are three tasting rooms: Prosser, Vancouver, WA and Woodinville.

Yakima Valley Museum in Yakima, Washington
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6. Explore history through the Yakima Valley Museum (Yakima)

The Yakima Valley Museum is a treasure trove of 48,000 artifacts telling the story of Yakima Valley. The collections include over 3,000 vintage apple box labels, over 9,000 garments from the 1800s to the present, military uniforms and gear, vintage neon signs, 300 quilts and the exhibit from Judge William O’s office. . Douglas

(the judge was from Yakima). These are just a few of the collections. Please see their website (link above) for more information.

You can easily enjoy 3-4 hours here. After visiting the museum, be sure to visit the 1930s Art Deco soda fountain next door.

Yakima Nation Cultural Center
Heidi Ihnen Photography / Shutterstock.com

7. Learn more about the Yakama Nation at the Yakama Nation Cultural Center (Toppenish)

Visit the Yakama Nation Cultural Center to learn about the history of this region’s original inhabitants. (Yes, the spelling is correct. Yakama is the name of the original tribe; the city is now called Yakima). With 12,000 square feet of exhibits, the cultural center is one of the oldest Native American museums in the United States.

Plan to spend 2 to 4 hours there. No indoor photography is allowed.

Gas pumps at the Central Washington Agricultural Museum
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8. Explore agricultural heritage at the Central Washington Agricultural Museum (Union Gap)

Explore the Central Washington Agricultural Museum, the largest agricultural museum in the Pacific Northwest. The 15-acre Museum Park preserves the agricultural heritage of the Yakima Valley and can be enjoyed on a walking or driving tour.

The museum has over 10,000 artefacts from all facets of farm life: horse-drawn machinery, tools, harvesting equipment, home life, John Deere tractors and a vintage 1930s gas station. Families in the area donated all of the artifacts.

Watch for annual events such as the Old Steel / Car Show which takes place on the 3rd Sunday in April, the celebration of Union Gap Old Town Days each Father’s Day, and the Central Washington Antique Farm Equipment Exposition which takes place on the third. August weekend.

Plan to spend 3 to 4 hours there. For baby boomers and seniors, there are plenty of memories to savor.

Capitol Theater in Yakima, Washington
Capitol Theater (Photo credit: Jo-Anne Bowen)

9. Stroll through historic downtown Yakima

Admire the Capitol Theater, originally built in 1920 and restored in 1978. Listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, the 1,500-seat venue hosts many events. Check out the link for the latest productions.

Look for street art and other historic buildings such as the 1908 Town Hall. Notice the ghost signs, old advertising signs, painted on the brick walls of old buildings. Most of the ghost panels were painted in the 1920s and 1930s.

Stop by the delicious Vintage Me, a boutique that combines old and new. There is a mix of vintage treasures, gifts, clothing, jewelry and more!

Mural in downtown Toppenish
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10. Explore the historic wall paintings of downtown Toppenish

Toppenish has been called “the city of murals” and calls itself “where the west still lives”. Stroll through the city center to see the 78 historically accurate murals, or you can arrange a horse-drawn cart tour. Each mural is historically accurate and celebrates events from the 1840s to the 1940s.

Click this link for a downloadable wall guide or stop by the visitor’s center for a hard copy.

Fruits for Sale at Ahtanum Berry Patch
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11. Walk around the Ahtanum berry patch (Yakima)

Stop by the Ahtanum Berry Patch for a selection of berries including blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, plus delicious baked goods! In season, take advantage of auto-pick and even guided tours in auto-pick.

12. Enjoy fruits and gifts at Johnson Orchards (Yakima)

Visit Johnson Orchards which has been offering quality fruit since 1904. You can also visit the 1916 Fruit Packaging Warehouse. The shop offers many local produce. Take the time to enjoy the pumpkin.

A meal at the main stop on the avenue
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13. Dine on Mexican / American cuisine at the main stop on Av (Yakima)

Enjoy unique Mexican and American cuisine at Main Stop On The Avenue, just outside of downtown. Look for exciting dishes like chorizo ​​benedict and scrambled machaca. Breakfast and lunch are served throughout the day.

Menu at Lulu's Lunchbox
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14. Enjoy homemade delicacies at Lulu’s (Yakima) lunchbox

For homemade soups, salads and sandwiches, stop by Lulu’s Lunchbox, located inside Vintage Me. Vintage 1950s furnishings and decor will tempt you. There is also a full service coffee bar.

15. Dine at a local favorite: Cowiche Canyon Kitchen (Yakima)

A local favorite is the Cowiche Canyon Kitchen, where all the breads and pastries are fresh daily. The menu ranges from burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads to rack of lamb and market fish. All ingredients are locally sourced. Try the shrimp and avocado salad topped with Mexican Green Goddess dressing. Delicious.

The couple sitting next to me also recommended EZ Tiger, just up the street.

Los Hernandez Tamales in Union Gap, Washington
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16. Award winning Tomales at Los Hernandez Tamales (Union Gap)

Enjoy award-winning James Beard tamales at Los Hernandez Tamales. Appreciated by locals and tourists for 30 years, the site is popular all year round and especially in spring with asparagus tamales.

Campbell Coop Ranch
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17. Enjoy a farm stay at Campbell Coop Ranch

Campbell Coop Ranch is a unique Airbnb that invites you to try a farm stay. Hosted by Jill and Murray, you can get involved as much as you want. I had a wonderful time interacting with the animals. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can have all the privacy you want. The old 1,000 square foot chicken coop is exquisitely renovated and accommodates up to five people with four beds. There is a lovely fenced yard with a barbecue and outdoor furniture. Enjoy the fresh eggs of the day.

The historic House Hotel in Yakima, Washington
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18. Sleep in the historic Maison hotel (Yakima)

A charming historic boutique hotel, the Maison Hotel is located in the heart of downtown, a short walk from restaurants and the Capitol Theater. Originally built in 1911, the Hotel Maison building began life as a Masonic temple for the Yakima Freemasons. Check the lower level hallway for old photographs of Yakima – some dating from the 1920s.

The 35-room hotel is wheelchair accessible and offers listening devices and braille.

A visit to Yakima Valley has something for everyone. Whether you love craft beer, enjoy tasting wine, have a history buff and / or love unique architecture and museums, Yakima Valley has something for everyone.

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