Yakima Blog

 

 

Most visitors think of wine when they hear Yakima, but there’s also a hopping brewery scene! Visit Yakima Craft Brewing Company for tasting flights, refillable growlers, and savory snacks chosen specifically for how well they pair with each pint. You’ll want to try the Lincoln Avenue Stout with a special coffee blend in the brew and the clean, sessionable 1982.

Hop Nation Brewing Company is all about Washington love. In the tasting room, you’ll see ideas brewing daily. Firkins are cracked on Thursdays, so the freshest cask beer is available for the weekend. Relatively new, this brewery features Master Brewer Ben Grossman and specializes in Yakima Valley Hops along with Columbia Valley Grain.

Brew Up

Bale Breaker Brewing Company is nestled on a commercial hop farm but still welcomes visitors. Check out the tasting room, or relax on the dog-friendly patio. Dubbed a handcrafted showcase of beer, the Baling Room is open Tuesday – Sunday for tastings. Try the Dormancy Breakfast Stout for a real wake-me-up.

Wandering Hop Brewery is a little operation that’s family owned and operated. You’ll want to follow them on social media to keep up with their happenings, and reach out first to schedule a private tasting and tour. This brewery is proof that great things truly come from small packages.

Where will your brew tour begin?

 

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.

 

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!

 

 

Book your table now at Carousel, the only French restaurant in Yakima and always a popular choice this time of year. Established in 2003, authentic French cuisine is the specialty here, featuring original recipes from the French chef and owner. The bistro is elegant, tucked into the Historical District with romantic ambiance and a welcome refuge.

Open for brunch and dinner, with a bistro always available, you can start Valentine’s Day with apple-cinnamon stuffed French toast or lemon ricotta pancakes for something sweet. Get the potato pancakes for brunch, or go savory with a French omelet or quiche du jour. A lamb burger, pulled and smoked chicken sandwich, or croissants with a side of crème brûlée are always in season.

Dinner Out

The Bloody Mary Bar is the focal point of brunch, but at dinner, it’s all about the appetizers like escargot, a boar plate with foie gras, frog legs and an artisanal cheese plate. That sets you up for traditional French onion soup with baguette, chicken braised in red wine, rack of lamb, rabbit or duck entrees.

For dessert, try the chocolate mousse, pumpkin-spice bread pudding, cherries jubilee or house made brittle trio. A chocolate martini, Irish coffee or Spanish coffee are also favorite ways to end this decadent meal.

 

 

 

If you’re visiting the Yakima area during Martin Luther King Jr. Day, you’ll have many opportunities to celebrate Dr. King’s teachings. The annual MLK Jr. Day Parade begins with an 11 a.m. Peace Walk at North 2nd Street and MLK Boulevard, followed by an MLK Presentation at the Yakima Convention Center. A service at Foursquare Church at 3 p.m. welcomes all. You can also head to the Lower Valley 20 minutes from downtown Yakima for a Peace Walk at W. First Street at 10 a.m.

The Southeast Community Center hosts an annual MLK Jr. Day Soup Kitchen which welcomes volunteers. Contact the center early if you’d like to volunteer, and keep in mind that last minute cancellations means it’s always possible to get added from any wait lists.

How Will You Celebrate?

The Toppenish Market Place grocery store in the Lower Valley offers a remembrance at 10:30 a.m., with proceeds benefiting the local middle school. Stop by for speeches, commemorations and shopping.

Business travelers who have the day off can reflect on Dr. King’s work with a peaceful stroll through the Yakima Area Arboretum, a visit to the Cascade Garden, or slip into one of the local libraries to enjoy works by MLK Jr.

 

 

Ring in 2017 in style. In Yakima Valley, almost all of the wineries, vineyards and restaurants are offering holiday specials with champagne toasts and seasonal fare. The annual New Year’s Bash at the Seasons Performance Hall is always a blast with live entertainment, party favors, and dancing until the wee hours.

Wilridge Winery and Vineyards is always a popular choice for NYE, where you can enjoy sweeping canyon views, or cozy up on the wraparound porch with a glass of mulled wine while you sample flights. Gilbert Cellars is also in demand, with their complementary tapas that pair perfectly with a bold red or refreshing white, perfect for the new year.

Party Planning

Carousel French Cuisine is an upscale establishment offering New Year’s Eve specials, so if you prefer fine dining over hours of dancing, make your reservations early! Of course, all meals can be paired with a local or French wine, helping you slide into 2017 with ease.

This year, New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday, which means partiers and revelers will be out in full force. Book your table or tickets early, and start designing what’s sure to be the best New Year’s celebration yet.

 

 

 

Nothing is more romantic than the holidays in Yakima where many of the vineyards are covered in snow, and you can warm up with a cup of locally-made cider, mulled wine or hot cocoa. The downtown Yakima Winter Wonderland events include a lighting of the enormous community Christmas tree, tours of downtown on horse-drawn carriages, performances by local artists, and of course, a visit from Santa—just in the first week of December!

Free horse-drawn carriage rides are available throughout the month, as merchants in the historic district host a holiday open house on some special Saturdays. Check out the ornament-making workshops at Yakima Maker Space, and don’t miss the performances by the Yakima Youth Symphony which take place throughout the holiday season.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside …

Enjoy the Sunnyside Lighted Farm Implement Parade on December 3, and don’t miss the Toy Train Christmas that takes place until December 17. Also on December 3, there’s the Holiday Crafts and Antiques Bazaar at Mighty Tieton, where you can pick up gifts, decorations and more from local artists.

On December 3 and 4, A Christmas Pops Spectacular is featured by the youth symphony, and bars and restaurants throughout town are offering holiday specials. Slip into one of the many tasting rooms for some seasonal pairings, and make this December one to remember.

 

 

There’s no better place to be than wine country for Thanksgiving, where you can pair a glass with turkey, dressing, potatoes and pumpkin pie! Every November, Wine Country Thanksgiving takes place throughout the holiday weekend, and this year there are over 50 local wineries participating. Check out the debut releases before anyone else, taste them paired with autumnal cuisine, and enjoy this beloved tradition that includes scenic drives.

Wine-makers and T-day chefs are on site to help with sauce pairings, seasoning and bringing out the flavors of the holidays. Every participating winery is offering something unique, so be sure to check them all out during your long weekend. Hop from winery to vineyard, sampling tasty treats and glasses of vino along the way. You’ve never enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast like this before!

Bottoms Up

Prefer a more traditional feast for Thanksgiving? A number of local restaurants are open on the big day. Mel’s Diner is a favorite, laidback family-owned restaurant serving traditional sides and, of course, juicy turkey cuts. At Legends Casino, you can enjoy a fantastic meal in between your favorite table games.

Many head to the Clarion for their holiday feast, and picking up a pie from Shari’s (or dining there late night!) is a popular pick when those pie cravings hit. However you want to celebrate in Yakima, you can rest assured locally owned vineyards, restaurants and diners have you covered.