20 BEST ACTIVITIES IN YAKIMA
20 BEST ACTIVITIES IN YAKIMA
LEARN MORE ABOUT 20 BEST ACTIVITIES IN YAKIMA AND DISCOVER THIS AMAZING TOWN AND THE BEST THINGS TO DO THERE
20 BEST ACTIVITIES IN YAKIMA
In addition to being home to some of the best vineyards in the world, Yakima, Washington, offers a tonne of other activities, such as visiting the agricultural museum and exploring the neighboring canyon. Yakima is a family-friendly location that is just about a 2.5-hour drive from Seattle and has convenient access to Mount Rainier National Park. The best things to do in Yakima are listed below.
1- SEE THE DISPLAYS IN THE YAKIMA VALLEY MUSEUM
One of the best things to do in the city is visit the Yakima Valley Museum, which is a 65,000 square-foot museum that has a whole lot of things waiting to be discovered.
The museum focuses on Yakima’s natural and cultural history as well as the surrounding area.
Some of the main topics you can learn about at the museum include pioneer life, indigenous populations and the early economic development in the area.
Permanent exhibits include the ‘Making a Home 1869’ and ‘Making a Mark Beyond the Valley’.
There’s also the Yakima Memory collection which features more than 9,000 digitized photographs about the culture and history of the area.
Yakima Valley Museum is at 2105 Tieton Dr, Yakima, WA 98902.
2- WALK OR BIKE THE YAKIMA GREENWAY
If you are searching for outdoor spaces in Yakima, then why not head to the Yakima Greenway.
This greenway stretches for more than 20 miles (32 km) and allows you to see many of the city’s top attractions.
There are many water bodies along the greenway including Lake Aspen, Myron Lake and Willow Lake.
There’s a lovely river that flows nearby and the greenway is surrounded by trees and beautiful plants and flowers.
This 20 mile (32 km) trail is a point to point trail meaning you will have to turn around if you want to finish where you started.
Though you may prefer to walk, biking could allow you to see the greenway in its entirety.
3- RELAX IN THE YAKIMA AREA ARBORETUM
The Yakima Area Arboretum is more than 40 acres (16 ha) of immaculately manicured gardens and open green space.
One of the best times of year to visit the arboretum is in July when the flowers are in full bloom.
Some of the best places in the arboretum to see include the buttery garden, the wetland trails and the ornamental fruit tree collection.
There are more than 1000 different tree, flower and plant species at the arboretum.
This is a super peaceful place to visit and although it’s just off Interstate 82, the trees surrounding the arboretum create a shield of silence.
A top tip for visiting: you are allowed to pick the fruit from the trees!
Yakima Area Arboretum is at 1401 Arboretum Dr, Yakima, WA 98901.
4- EXPLORE YAKIMA RIVER CANYON
The river canyon meanders its way between Yakima and Ellensburg through a striking desert and basalt cliff landscape.
Instead of traveling on Interstate 82 why not head out along the more scenic Yakima River Canyon route.
Along the River Canyon there are a few recreational stops to enjoy.
There are four recreation sites that include Big Pines, Roza, Umtanum and Lmuma Creek.
Here you can go camping, access the river and go boating, tubing, swimming and fishing.
5- SEE A SHOW AT THE CAPITOL THEATER
Yakima has a vibrant art scene and there’s no better place to visit for a taste of it than The Capitol Theater.
This downtown theater puts on Broadway musicals, classic productions and even rock concerts.
There’s even a local series that brings in expert speakers to discuss topics in various fields.
6- VISIT JOHNSON ORCHARDS
If you are in search of some of the best local produce then head on down to Johnson Orchards.
This family-owned orchard opened in 1904 and it is still many peoples favourite place to pick up juicy fruit and other supplies.
The best time to visit the orchard is between mid-June and August.
If you love cherries, you can purchase them by the pound between mid-June and late July (the perfect road trip snack).
They have a variety of other seasonal fruit like apricots, peaches, nectarines and you can purchase other sweet treats from the Little Bake Shop.
Johnson Orchards is at 4906 Summitview Ave, Yakima, WA 98908.
7- HIKE THE COWICHE CANYON TRAILS
The Cowiche Canyon Trails offer some of the best places to go hiking in Yakima.
There are around 20 miles (32 km) of hiking trails in the canyon all with something beautiful and unique to discover.
It’s not just for hikers, horse riders and mountain bikers can hit the trails too.
The Cowiche Canyon Trail is 5 miles (8 km) and takes you to the canyon floor past wildflowers and by the side of streams.
There’s also the Cowiche Canyon Uplands which is a three-mile (4.8 km) trail which provides visitors with shrub-steppe (a unique natural grassland) scenery.
So, pack plenty of water and put on your hiking boots and see what Yakima has to offer in terms of hiking.
8- SHOP IN THE DOWNTOWN YAKIMA FARMERS’ MARKET
Farmers markets are great fun and the Yakima Farmers’ Market is no exception.
On Sundays between May and October right outside the Capitol Theater you will find the farmer’s market.
Head to the market for local produce, artisan crafts and handmade confectionery.
They also serve up hot food, coffee, and sandwiches.
There are more than 20 vendors at the market so there’s plenty to see and choose from.
There is also usually live music playing to add to the atmosphere.
Downtown Yakima Farmers’ Market is at 15 W Yakima Ave, Yakima, WA 98901.
9- VISIT THE YAKAMA NATIONAL MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER
The Yakama National Museum and Cultural Center is run by the National Park Service and is part of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail.
The center offers a variety of exhibits designed to showcase the history and culture of Yakima as well as educate both locals and visitors.
At the museum you can find archeological, photographic, art, media, ethnographical and paper collections to explore.
Yakama National Museum and Cultural Center is at 100 Spiel-yi Loop, Toppenish, WA 98948.
10- EXPLORE YAKIMA SPORTSMAN STATE PARK
If it’s nature you are looking for on your trip to Yakima then you must add a visit to the Yakima Sportsman State Park to your itinerary.
This 266-acre park is just outside of the city over the Yakima River.
One of the most popular activities in the park is bird watching as there are more than 140 species either calling the park home or migrating through.
If you want to find a wonderful camping spot then there are plenty of spots hidden among the trees.
Another of the park’s best activities is freshwater fishing.
You will need to obtain a license before fishing (for 15 years of age and older) but it’s easily done online or in town at a variety of stores including Walmart.
Yakima Sportsman State Park is at 904 University Pkwy, Yakima, WA 98907.
11- HIT THE SLOPES AT WHITE PASS SKI AREA
If you are visting Yakima in winter and want to hit the slopes then you must head to White Pass Ski Area.
The White Pass Ski Area is 53 miles (85 km) west of Yakima and it offers a little relief from the crowds compared to Washington’s more well-known ski resorts.
Whether you ski or snowboard, are a beginner or a complete novice you will feel welcome at White Pass.
There are six chairlifts, ski rentals and plenty of runs for all abilities.
White Pass Ski Area is at 48935 US-12, Naches, WA 98937.
12- DRIVE THE WHITE PASS SCENIC BYWAY
If it’s scenic drives you are looking for, try the White Pass Scenic Byway.
This route is on U.S. Route 12 and is best accessed from Chinook Pass at the intersection of Route 410 and U.S. Route 12.
The views from the byway are impressive but just off the road are an array of stunning landscapes from waterfalls, to volcanoes, and wild backcountry.
Some places just off the byway include Mt. St. Helens Windy Ridge and Mt. St. Helens Johnston Ridge.
13- VISIT THE CENTRAL WASHINGTON AGRICULTURAL MUSEUM
Another of the best places to learn about the local area is the Central Washington Agricultural Museum.
This museum is actually in Union Gap rather than Yakima but it’s just 7 miles (11 km) south of downtown.
At the museum you can view a large collection of farming equipment.
From vintage tractors to old fashioned plows this is a wonderful place for history lovers and agricultural enthusiasts.
There’s an epic Farm Equipment Yard which features hundreds of tractors which have been donated over the years.
Throughout the year there are many activity days to enjoy, including Civil War reenactments and the Annual Old Steel Car Show.
Central Washington Agricultural Museum is at 4508 Main St, Union Gap, WA 98903.
16- JOIN IN THE FUN AT THE FRESH HOP ALE FESTIVAL
From breweries to ale celebrations, you can check out the Fresh Hop Ale Festival.
This festival is a non-profit whose aim is to showcase Yakima Valley’s hops while supporting the arts and science organizations of the Yakima Valley.
The Fresh Hop Ale Festival is a wonderful weekend of conversation, live music, celebration, competition and of course good beer!
With more than 45 breweries, wineries and cideries showcasing at the event this is a go to place for good grub and even better drinks.
The Fresh Hop Ale Festival is held at the SOZO Sports Complex, 2200 South 36th Avenue, Yakima, WA 98903.
17- SEE VINTAGE AIRCRAFT AT MCALLISTER MUSEUM OF AVIATION
From cultural and agricultural museums another of the best educational places to visit in Yakima is the McAllister Museum of Aviation.
This museum has plenty of information on local and national aviation.
The museum might appear small but it’s crammed with information and plenty of things to see.
From vintage aircraft to aviation information from around the world, there’s plenty to see at the museum.
It is also one of those places that will keep the kids occupied but also allow adults to learn more about aviation.
McAllister Museum of Aviation is at 2008 S 16th Ave, Yakima, WA 98903.
18- GO RAFTING AND KAYAKING ON THE YAKIMA RIVER
The Yakima River is an excellent place to enjoy kayaking or rafting.
The Canyon River Ranch is one such company where you can rent all the gear for a perfect morning or afternoon on the river.
They offer self-guided paddle rafting along a seven mile (11 km) stretch of the Yakima River.
River Rider also offers rafting trips from Leavenworth down river towards Yakima.
Take in the surrounding scenery of the Yakima Valley while enjoying your time on the waters.
Kayaking or rafting is an excellent outdoor activity.
19- HIKE THE YAKIMA RIM TRAIL
The Yakima Rim Trail is an out and back trail that’s 9.2 miles (14.8 km) in length.
It’s considered a moderate trail and has a 2,434 ft (741 m) elevation gain.
This trail leads you along the spectacular Yakima River before heading uphill for views of Selah Cliffs and Selah Butte.
There’s no doubt that this is a challenging hike but the views from the top are well worth it.
On a clear day you can see all the way across to Mount Rainer.
20- ATTEND CENTRAL WASHINGTON STATE FAIR
The Central Washington State Fair is held annually in September and dates back to 1892.
If you are heading to Yakima in September there is no place better to bring the kids.
With so many family-friendly activities to take part in this is many young people’s highlight of a visit to Yakima.
With rides, slides, food stalls, music and entertainment it’s all happening at Central Washington State Fair.
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