About Yakima

 

Yakima is home to the last operating, turn of the century interurban electric railroad-and it’s a trip you have to take. At the Yakima Valley Trolleys museum, you’ll see modern trolley operations and can even charter your very own trolley for any special outing. The operating season is now extended through September with trolleys operating on the weekends, and private rentals available year-round.

Stop by South 3rd and Pine Street between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday to hop aboard at the Carbarn. Trolleys whisk you down charming Pine Street along the Selah line. Fare is just $6 for adults and $4 for children.

Trolley-ing Along

In the museum, you’ll see classic trolleys like the Flatbed locomotive and line car built in 1910, the steeple cab freight locomotive from 1922 and the double truck steel car built in 1930. Popular with filmmakers, the local trolley system hasn’t changed in 100 years, though maintenance is an ongoing priority. Vintage trolleys from Yakima have been in-demand with filmmakers for decades, especially since they operate through orchards, antique commercial districts and offer a great view of the river canyon.

The Carbarn and trolleys look just like they did in the early years, including the upkeep of two electric freight locomotives and four streetcars. Let the trolleys take you back in time, whether it’s for a romantic outing, photography or film project, or simply to satisfy the history buff in you.

 

A Yakima landmark since 1904, Johnson Orchards is open to the public and has a knack for whisking you back in time. The fruit packing warehouse opened in 1916, specializing in tree-ripened cherries and still in full operation today. At Johnson’s, you can buy cherries, peruse the orchard’s u-pick for what’s in season or opt for pre-picked goodies and produce. Buckets and harnesses are available for u-pick, and the trees are tended so that no ladders are needed.

You’ll also find Baron Farms grass-fed meats here along with gorgeous bouquets. There’s Blueberry Hills Sorbatto for a sweet treat and The Little Bake Shop offers scratch-made pastries. Grab some Purple Star wine, made by the Johnson Family’s nephew Kyle, and pair it with the treasures you uncover.

Yakima Goodness

A lot has happened since these Swedish immigrants bought farmland at the turn of the century. With a commercial kitchen added in 2011, freshly baked pies and other patisserie favorites became a local favorite. This family-run business has gone from depending on dirt roads and wagons to being the driving force behind a major four-lane arterial pathway.

Although many other farms and orchards have gone the way of shopping centers, Johnson Orchards remains fixed in the community. It’s a slice of paradise within the city, a place where you can always count on the freshest treats and delicious wines. In autumn, try Johnson’s for pumpkins, corn and your favorite fall specialties.

 

 

Nestled slightly southwest of downtown Yakima, this sprawling park is dedicated to youth recreation and outdoor lovers. Featuring basketball courts, soccer fields, plenty of shady picnic areas, and an equestrian arena, it’s the perfect destination for families looking for a spot to gather at the tail-end of summer.

Indoor meeting spaces are popular for weddings, family reunions, and corporate gatherings. Home of the WSU Master Gardener’s Demonstration Garden, visitors are also treated to a gorgeous garden largely featuring native plants. Soccer tournaments are held here, including the Yak Attack 5v5 and other major events. The park is located at 107 West Ahtanum Road in nearby Union Gap, WA.

Park and Rec

Tuesday evening is open ping pong night throughout 2017, hosted by the Yakima Table Tennis Club. Stop in for some fun and new friends. Throughout August, the Ben Franklin Middle School Essay Contest at the nearby Olde Yakima Letterpress Museum is being exhibited.

Check out the hiking trail heads located at the nearby Central WA Agricultural Museum and don’t miss the Cabela’s Weekend Workshops every Saturday and Sunday in 2017. Ahtanum Youth Park is close to all the big events in Union Gap. What special event is calling to you?

 

 

It’s berry season in Yakima Valley and your chance to stroll the gorgeous orchards to “cherry pick” your bountiful harvest. Yakima has been irrigated since 1889, offering a perfect agricultural setting with five wine growing regions. The desert soil with volcanic ash creates rich crops starting in April and stretching all the way through November. It’s the biggest crop in the Pacific Northwest.

Choose from several farms, or visit them all! All Natural U Pick is family-friendly with toys for kids, a picnic area, and an eclectic offering of fruits and veggies. Bill’s Berry Farm in Grandview is famous for their apple cider press. Don’t miss their Cherry Festival the last Friday and Saturday of June from 9am – 5pm where you’ll be treated to entertainment, contests and the best cherries in town.

‘Tis the Season

What can you expect to find in June? It’s the season for broccoli, blueberries and apricots, satisfying your sweet and savory cravings. Pick cherries and hunt for the perfect chard, cauliflower and cabbage. Currants and gooseberries are also in season, along with raspberries and rhubarb.

Hunt for a basket of the perfect strawberries, and get the freshest zucchini you’ve ever tasted. Nothing compares to snagging the idyllic bounty from local farms, whether it’s for a business outing, family time, a date, or simply to explore your adopted valley solo.

 

 

Welcome spring in Yakima at the Yakima Area Arboretum, a dedicated city green space that encompasses 46 acres. Here, you can stroll through natural areas and gardens, and take in stunning tree collections. Nature walks are a great way to discover the valley, or perhaps you want to try out a gardening class. In the spring, it’s common to see weddings, workshops and fieldtrips happening in the arboretum.

Considered one of the most stunning places in Washington State, it’s a real treasure within the valley. Open daily from dawn until dusk, you’ll also want to visit the on-site Jewett Interpretive Center and the Tree House Gift Shop (Monday – Saturday). There’s never an entrance fee to the arboretum, and dogs on leashes are welcome.

Discovering the Garden

Enjoy a self-guided tour, and see the blossoming fruit trees in April. Start at the Interpretive Center with a complimentary tour map. Private/group tours are also available, and free, but contact the arboretum staff in advance for scheduling.

Prefer a more challenging outing? There are two orienteering courses, one 0.5 miles from the center and another one mile away. Directions to the courses are on the self-guided map and offer a great way to explore even more of the garden. In April, the garden really starts to come alive with colors, blooms and animals. Come discover the real Yakima.

 

You don’t need to road trip to Seattle for a festive St. Patrick’s Day (although it’s certainly a beautiful drive!). Yakima is home to a number of quaint celebrations, including the annual La Salle High School’s St. Patrick’s Day Gala. Tickets are available to the public for $75 and includes a traditional Irish dinner with catering by Rich Sisters.

As a fundraiser, the gala offers entertainment by Beltaine-Celtic Fusion and includes a live auction and raffle with over $10,000 in prizes. Good Vibrations plays a range of hits for dancing into the wee hours. In the morning, you can kick off the festivities with the complementary Annual Shamrock Cup 6k Run and Walk at 9 a.m. for just a $20 entry fee.

Celtic Dining

Yakima might be known for wineries and Northwestern cuisine, but there are also some British-leaning venues in town. McGuire’s Irish Restaurant and Pub is a favorite, where you’ll find genuine Irish dishes, a darts room, the best fries in Yakima, and of course green beer for the holiday weekend.

The best bars for celebrating include Bill’s Place which features a shamrock on the awning year-round. Bert’s Pub was the first bar in the country to open after Prohibition, and the Scottish legacy can still be felt in the interiors (although initially Grant’s Pub, it turned into Bert’s Pub when ownership changed hands). Where will St. Paddy’s Day find you?

 

Aptly named, the Teapot Dome used to be a gas station and was designed to look like a teapot. It’s an homage to the Teapot Dome Scandal that surrounded the Harding presidency. The scandal sent Albert Fall (Interior Secretary) to prison for leasing government oil reserves around the country, and it’s become a landmark in Yakima.

Visitors can find the Teapot Dome at 117 First Avenue in nearby Zillah. Appreciate the unique architecture of this tiny station, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Other “teapot architecture” can be found around the nation, including the sister station in Teapot Dome, Wyoming.

A Cuppa History

Yakima Valley’s Teapot Dome was erected in 1922 and became a fixture along US Route 12. You’ll notice the circular frame of the roof and the “handle” made of sheet metal. A concrete concoction makes up the spout. In the early part of the twenty-first century, these buildings were crafted as roadside attractions and were especially prevalent in the 20s and 30s.

Yakima’s gas station was functional for years. However, when Interstate 82 was created less than one mile away, customers stopped coming to the Teapot Dome for anything more than a novelty picture. The city bought it in 2007, rehabilitated it, and relocated it to its current home on First Avenue.

 

 

The Yakima Valley SunDome is one of the most noticeable landmarks in the area and a popular events venue year-round. Ideal for shows, sporting events, concerts and more, it can accommodate 8,000 people yet still be an intimate and even formal venue. There are seemingly endless seating options available, and an expert events staff member can help you create the perfect gathering of any size.

The dome is also conveniently close to your Ledgestone Suites guest room, and it is just a short drive from many of the most popular destinations in the Pacific Northwest. The Columbia River Circuit Finals Rodeo takes place at the dome November 4 – 5, bringing the top rodeo in the area to the region where the top 12 finalists tackle bareback, tie-down roping, team roping, barrel racing, bull riding and more.

Dome Events

November 11 –  12, head to the Dome to check out the WIAA volleyball games. Get an all-tournament pass for just $16, and see the best 1A, 1B and 2B teams compete. November 12 – 13 brings the Yakima Gun Show to town, hosted by Sports Connection. Parking is free for this event, and vendors can still pick up a table for just $60. Stop by and admire the goods, sell, or pick up a new firearm.

Keep an eye on the calendar for new events, or contact the Dome directly to discuss hosting your own.

 

 

The streets (and vineyards!) of Yakima come alive each Friday evening, starting with the First Fridays and Monthly Sip and Stroll. Every first Friday, stroll the downtown streets and check out numerous live music options at wineries, specials at tasting rooms, exhibits at galleries, and of course prix fixe menus matched with the month’s finest wine picks. For a warmup, the third Thursday of the month features Sip and Stroll, where you can get punchcards from numerous shops and, when complete, you’re entered to win a gift basket from local wineries.

Fantastic restaurants have popped up in recent years, along with classic standbys. Many give a nod to the season and utilize local, organic and seasonal ingredients. Plus, the happy hours around downtown can’t be beat with two-for-one specials and samples galore.

A Night to Remember

Swing into one of the many wine bars and bistros, which pepper the area from Yakima all the way to Prosser. A lot of wineries have shifted into downtown, offering a full wine bar experience in addition to the tasting rooms at the vineyards. From signature weekend events to special winemaking dinners and tapas nights, there’s always something exciting happening.

Don’t miss out on the Prosser Summer Beer Fest at Whitstran Brewing on July 9 from 5-10pm, either! For just $20, you have access to sample regional beers, live music, and delectable food, and help this local brewer celebrate 20 years in Yakima.

There are some real show-stopping hikes in Yakima, but the Skyline Ridge/Rim in the L.T. Murray State Wildlife Recreation Area is especially beautiful. Here, you’ll find prime desert hiking that takes the cake for the entire Washington state. Along the farthest eastern edge, the absolute best views can be found. Discover desert wildflowers that pepper the otherwise brown hills and create a rich hue in the spring and summer. Birds such as hawks, eagles, bluebirds and swallows join you—and you might even spot a badger, hare, coyote, bighorn sheep, elk or deer along the route.

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There’s an official trail, marked by a trailhead, but more adventurous folks can park half a mile short of the trailhead to climb up the grass-covered slopes to the ridge. This puts you smack in the middle of animals and plants, and you feel like you’re taking a leisurely walk in nature’s most beautiful garden. It’s also safe, relatively easy, and you can’t get lost. The gentle slope ensures your car is always visible, and once you’re at the top, you get a great view of the cliff to the Yakima River.

Rim Views

Turn left, and you’ll walk along the rim to find the official trail. The trail brings you close to the rim while keeping the river visible. From here, you can walk the entire rim, enjoying the aroma of wild bouquets. Sage is especially prevalent, but as spring turns to summer, a bevy of flowers fight for your attention. You’ll also get whiffs of onions, parsley and new grass.

Take advantage of one of the warmer weekends and discover the beauty of one of Yakima’s best trails. Suitable for many ages and abilities, it’s a must for anyone in the area who wants to get a peek at what wine country really has to offer.