Yakima Blog

 

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.

 

 

Treat Dad to a feast fit for a king at the local Bob’s Burgers and Brew where burgers (and a lot more) are done right. Enjoy a special dining experience with fast, friendly service and full flavors you’ll never forget. Only the best ingredients are used, and there are over 20 burgers on the menu along with the tender hand-picked cod dishes. Grab a sandwich, grilled on a French roll, and don’t forget about the luxury salads sure to satisfy even the biggest appetites.

Bob’s is also open for breakfast as well as a massive Sunday brunch. Available to cater to parties of all sizes, choose from the fire-side room or a banquet hall. Whether Dad wants an eggs benedict and French toast or the biggest deluxe burger in town, Bob’s is the place to be with beer on top, handcrafted cocktails and a pub with plasma televisions.

What’s on the Menu?

Burgers are king here, starting with the Western BBQ Burger with six ounces of beef topped with American cheese and smothered in Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce. Try the Guacamole Bacon Burger with Hormel smokehouse bacon, pepper jack cheese and house sauce. The Hawaiian Ham and Pineapple Burger is a sweet surprise, with Swiss cheese, savory sauce and grilled pineapple rings.

Here for Sunday brunch? Don’t miss out on the all-you-can-eat buffet with the ultimate omelet station as the star! From flapjacks to house potatoes, hash browns to scratch biscuits, it’s the ultimate meal for the dad in your life. (Plus, the Bloody Marys are famous!)

 

 

Although the Pacific Northwest is well-known for sustainable fare and locally-sourced ingredients, sometimes you need authentic Indian cuisine to pair with that perfect regional wine. Taj Palace is Yakima’s premier Indian restaurant, known for having traditional curries and tandoori dishes as well as an impressive lunch buffet.

It’s recommended you make a reservation for dinner because, as Yakima’s only Indian restaurant, tables can fill up quickly. Specials fuse classical dishes with Washington favorites, like the Wild Salmon dish that is marinated with Indian herbs and spices and served with a house salad.

Spicing Up Your Getaway

Tandoori options fresh from the clay oven are popular, like the Tandoory Murg featuring a full chicken leg quarter marinated in a creamy yogurt and offset with vinegar and spices before being served to your table on a sizzler. Also try the Rack of Lamb and numerous naan specials, like the sweet Kabuli Naan with cashews, raisins and cherries.

Save room for dessert, like Rasmali, a delicious food consisting of homemade cheese patties swimming in an almond-sweetened cream. Coconut and mango ice cream are also sweet ways to cool off this summer!

 

 

Big, juicy, homemade comfort food at its finest. In Yakima, you’ll find a plethora of burger destinations, starting with Bob’s Burgers and Brew. Pairing your favorite sandwich with craft cocktails and beers, this local chain is a favorite hangout. Try the Ranch Burger with smokehouse bacon and American cheese, the Hawaiian Ham and Pineapple for a touch of sweetness, or the Bleu Cheese with an addictive special sauce.

Miner’s Drive-In is a touch of nostalgia with a drive-through window that’s been slinging burgers since 1948. Jumbo patties and shakes are staples, and it’s where you’ll get traditional burgers done right. Double down with the patties, choose your toppings, and always leave room for one of their famed monster shakes.

Burger Up!

Try Famous Burger and Teriyaki Sandwich for some American-Asian fusion. It’s a no-frills establishment with counter service, best known for their namesake burger. However, there’s a variety of other burger and sandwich options, some featuring sweet and sour sauce while others put chicken as the star.

Burger Ranch is a local favorite, known for their from-scratch offerings and the freshest ingredients around. Here, you’ll find classic burger concoctions, but you can also customize your burger to suit your whims. It’s a great choice for a quick and delicious bite.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.