Things To Do

 

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?

 

 

More than 30 miles of trails encompass the Cowiche Canyon Trail system, perfect for hiking and biking. From Cowiche Canyon West to East, the Uplands/Scenic Trails, and the summitview of Snow Mountain Ranch, there’s a trail length and challenge for every outdoor lover. Conveniently located just a few miles from downtown, it’s the trail system that gives you a gorgeous introduction to wine valley.

Although summer is usually prime time for hikes, it’s still best to check the “mud-o-meter” at every trailhead to see if any sections are likely to be slippery. Unfortunately, much of the landscape is vanishing, but Cowiche Canyon Trail is both a conservation effort and an opportunity to get up close and personal with native plants and natural landscapes.

Take a Hike!

Cowiche Canyon Conservancy skirts the various trails, featuring tree-covered streams and slopes peppered with sage. You’ll find plunging cliffs and thriving wildlife. The area is free to explore thanks to a land trust. Discover this Central Washington gem, located barely west of Yakima.

With 5,000 acres of meadows full of flowers, oak-filled woods, basalt cliffs, and grasslands, it’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll or picnic. Beavers, great blue herons, and salmon are just a few of the local residents who call the protected area home.

 

 

The Fairgrounds is home to the best Fourth of July celebration in wine country, with admission free from noon until 11 p.m. The Yakima Transit Park and Ride offers free shuttles to the fairgrounds all day, so it’s easy to get the party started. Park at the Gateway Center, Eisenhower High School or Wide Hollow School with shuttle service every 15 – 20 minutes from 3:30 – 11:30 p.m.

A nostalgic Fourth of July celebration brings the community together at this old-fashioned event with carnival rides, face painting, classic contests and much more. Food vendors dish up American favorites as well as locally sourced ingredients for truly Pacific Northwest specialties.

Celebrate Summer with a Bang

The fireworks display is the biggest in the region, taking place at dusk and lasting 20 minutes. Seating is available at the fairgrounds, but some visitors prefer to bring their own lawnchairs and relax while taking in the celebratory environment.

Come hungry and ready to showcase your patriotism at the biggest party of the summer. Of course, being wine country, vineyards will also be representing with options to pick up your favorite bottle or two to take back to your guest room.

 

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.

 

 

Located at the Yakima Airport, the McAllister Museum of Aviation is open Thursday – Saturday, and admission is free (although donations are appreciated). The entire museum is available as a rental venue, a popular and unique option for weddings and gatherings, and with a constant influx of visiting aircraft, no two visits to McAllister are the same.

Current highlights include a Lance Sorensen 1976 Gumman AA5A-0144 Cheeta and a Cubcrafters Carbon Cub FX. Many Saturdays, their  “unique airplane presentations and flying demonstrations” program brings one-of-a-kind aircrafts to Yakima, and the public is welcome for workshops, demonstrations, and of course plenty of photo opportunities.

Flying High in Yakima

Oftentimes, visitors are joined by school programs. Children have been falling in love with McAllister for decades, and hundreds of kids visit the site every year. The museum partners with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles program, giving children from 8 – 17 the chance to participate in ground instruction and complimentary airplane rides. All costs are donated by local pilots and philanthropists.

Year-round, visitors with children can also join the Young Eagles program. Regular Yakima visitors often get a membership, and for just $30 per year, you get voting rights, museum library access, newsletters and the opportunity to support this beloved museum. A recent agreement with the Seattle Museum of Flight allows access to both organizations for a double whammy of high-flying fun.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Nothing says romance like a horseback ride through wine country. Yakima Valley is full of horseback riding options, suitable for all abilities and nearly all ages. Cherry Wood offers a variety of packages including winery rides from tasting room to tasting room, or select a cowboy limo tour if February in Yakima proves to be a bit too chilly for an outing.

Red Mountain Trails lets you choose from a wagon ride tour, horseback rides and more—including a brand new winery tour by horseback! Trail rides range from one to three hours, and can include tastings at Kiona Winery and more. Wagon rides start at 20 minutes, or you can upgrade to a wagon ride dinner for $95 per person. Bicycle rentals are also available, whether you simply want a tour, a solo rental, or a tasting package.

Riding and Dining

Happy Trails is a local Yakima outfitter specializing in true “horse adventures.” Their goal? Make the ride as wonderfully memorable as possible and much more than what you’d expect. Training is available for new riders, and experienced riders always have options for more challenging outings. Two-hour rides start at $80, or you can opt for a full eight-hour package for experienced riders for just $180.

The Pacific Northwest is best explored on horseback where you can really immerse yourself in the incredible landscapes. Tour wineries, get back in touch with nature, or enjoy a family outing like never before. Time to giddy up!