15 Best Things to Do in Centralia, WA

Centralia, WA
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You can find the charming city of Centralia in Lewis County, Washington.

Between Seattle and Portland, it is an ideal commerce and trade hub.

The town of Centralia made its fortune with lumber, coal, and agriculture.

Today, Centralia practically bursts at the seams with unique shops and trendy restaurants.

Many of these locations are in charming buildings with notable architecture from a bygone era.

You'll also discover large murals showing off historical events scattered downtown.

Not only does the city boast a well-known history, but there are also quite a few things to do even for the casual visitor.

Here are the best things to do in Centralia, WA:

Get Lost in the Historic Downtown Centralia

Buildings along Downtown Centralia
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The Downtown Centralia Historic District offers a fusion of creative energy and vibrant art in the heart of the community.

Locals sip on a freshly brewed cup of joe from one of their local coffee shops.

Shoppers eagerly browse endless booths and shelves filled with antique collectibles and boutique clothes shops.

You can take strolls through Washington Park.

Otherwise, you could enjoy a romantic walk down memory lane.

Take in everything this charming little community has to offer, including dining options and exceptional sights.

Carnegie public library at Downtown Centralia
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Historic Downtown is home to a diverse selection of locally-owned shops and galleries.

You can find artisans of all sorts selling their stunning wares such as handmade jewelry, homemade chocolates, and beautiful handcrafted furniture.

Buy one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones back home.

These stores are unique because they offer customers an outlet to interact with the people living in Centralia.

With a rich tapestry of businesses, it's no wonder much love is coming back to Centralia.

Fox theatre at Downtown Centralia
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Rectangle Gallery & Creative Space is in the heart of Centralia, inside a building built in 1912.

Its owners have cleverly converted the building into an artistic haven for many of the area's talented artists.

This wonderful, cooperative gallery showcases the original artwork of 21 of the best artists in Southwest Washington.

Rectangle Gallery hosts open exhibits where anyone can walk in and enjoy the space at any time.

Courses and workshops also provide the room, classes, and resources needed to spark the community's creativity.

Classes here range from varied topics that challenge students to flex their artistic muscles.

Artists with strong foundations in the form teach these courses.

Learn from creative pros and develop your skills.

Play Ball Games at Fort Borst Park

Historic blockhouse in Fort Borst Park
TateRay, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you're an outdoorsy type with a competitive streak and a need for speed, Fort Borst Park should please you.

Fort Borst Park is an essential landmark in the city of Centralia.

This well-developed park showcases the beautiful confluence of the Skookumchuck and Chehalis rivers.

It's home to a long list of major attractions such as the Schoolhouse, Old Borst Homestead, Fort Borst Blockhouse, and Arboretum.

The park serves as a venue for various recreational activities, including baseball and softball, soccer, and kickball.

Within the park, there are four ball fields, many soccer fields, and additional grassy areas where visitors can play various games.

Additional sports facilities at Fort Borst Park include an indoor pool and an outdoor tennis center.

You'll also find water access at Fort Borst Lake, a concrete boat ramp along the Chehalis River, and adjacent river frontages.

These amenities make Fort Borst Park an excellent spot for large groups.

Take advantage of group picnic shelters and book indoor facility rentals to suit your needs.

Play Bowling at Fairway Lanes

If you're looking for a place in Centralia to go bowling with a group of people, look no further than Fairway Lanes.

Fairway Lanes has the perfect ambiance and lighting, as well as affordable prices that won't put a dent in your pocketbooks.

You can gather groups of all sizes and levels of experience bowl together at this fantastic location.

Stop by the Rock N Bowl at Fairway Lanes on a Friday or Saturday night.

This bowling center has the cutest inside bar that mixes the perfect drink.

They also have large televisions for watching the Seahawks.

See Your Favorite Films at Fox Theater

Exterior of Fox Theater
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Centralia Historic Fox Theatre offers the cream of the crop in entertainment.

This sophisticated and luxurious setting is the ultimate place to see your favorite musicians perform live.

You can also see your favorite films with friends and family.

Your tickets will grant access to a gorgeous Art Deco theater in downtown Centralia.

Back facade of Fox Theater
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Fox Theatre belongs to William Fox's chain of art-deco theaters.

This one opened in Centralia, Washington, on September 10th, 1930.

The golden age of cinema came to a close as Americans became more digitally oriented.

Still, Fox's unique design and natural setting would become an essential factor in its longevity.

See Stunning Views of Centralia at Seminary Hill Natural Area

In the most eastern part of Centralia, you'll find Seminary Hill offering stunning views of Centralia and the surrounding areas.

You'll also see incredible sights of Chehalis and the Skookumchuck or Chehalis River Valley.

Various groups, like the Friends of Seminary Hill, exerted great effort to establish public participation and enjoyment opportunities at Seminary Hill.

At the edge of Barner Drive, you can find a trailhead that offers access to two miles worth of trails.

Look for the entrance sign offering a map of the area.

Meet the Borsts at the Historic Borst Home Museum

Exterior of Borst Home Museum
TateRay, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Historic Borst Home Museum is a fantastic place for history buffs visiting Centralia.

For over 150 years, the Borst house has stood by the banks of the Chehalis River.

Two influential settlers, Joseph and Mary Borst, first bought the land in 1857 and built a home on it.

The museum provides an educational experience through "living history."

See volunteer reenactors, wearing vintage clothing, portray one of the Borsts who settled in this area.

The furnishings are original, and there are also pictures of what the area used to look like.

Outside, you'll find a vast garden area.

The Master Gardener's group maintains the garden.

You can also tour the one-room schoolhouse model, which adds to the authenticity of the location.

Children love to see residents from the past; adults love learning exciting bits of history.

The block house is an impressive structure.

Likewise, it's not hard to spend a few hours enjoying the wheelchair-accessible trails and scenery.

Get the Best Deals at the Shady Lady

Exterior of The Shady Lady
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The store offers many delightful antiques and collectibles for any collector or enthusiast at heart.

From exceptional home goods to clothing, antique furniture, beds, baths, spa supplies, and sometimes giftware, every item from this store is unique and charming.

The staff members here treat their customers like friends.

Everyone is always welcome at this incredibly trendy shop.

It's now a favorite hot spot for locals and visitors alike.

On the second floor of the Shady Lady is the Bordello Museum.

It's a small presentation that gives an excellent historical background of the town.

You should check this space out at least once if you happen to be in the area.

Check out Agricultural Memorabilia at the King Agriculture Museum

There are no other agricultural museums between Portland and Seattle larger than King Agriculture Museum.

This museum resides in the Lewis County Lumber building.

Constructed as the Kane Pneumatic Shock Absorber Company in 1916, this building has undergone a transformation into a unique space.

Visitors can learn about early 20th-century agricultural history at this museum.

Find over 70 antique tractors, several antiques from the early days of agriculture, and some logging equipment.

You'll also find the old 1949 John Deere Model D here.

Likewise, you can find pieces from the Seattle Kalakala Ferry, and a variety of railroad memorabilia.

The owner, Dave King, will even give you a personal tour of some of the attractions.

Curl Up with a Good Book at Centralia Timberland Library

Exterior of Centralia Timberland Library
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to a Carnegie grant, the Ladies of the Roundtable built the Centralia Timberland Library in 1913.

In 1977-78, they remodeled and expanded the lovely 6,200-square-foot public building, with the help of an Economic Development Grant.

The finished product is a much more spacious library that serves all kinds of patrons.

Interior of Centralia Timberland Library
© Steven Pavlov / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Senapa

The Centralia Timberland Library has a very eccentric interior.

It retains many unique features from the old Centralia High School building, including the main staircase and its chandelier.

There are also four fireplaces scattered throughout to keep it cozy, featuring pieces of artwork from library patrons.

There are cozy areas for study, reading nooks for relaxing, and a particular place for kids and teens to curl up with a good book.

The library has annexed its services to nearby Timberland.

Hang Out with Family and Friends at Rotary Riverside Park

The Rotary Riverside Park sits between Interstate 5 and historic downtown, along the banks of the Skookumchuck River.

The Centralia Rotary Club used to own and develop approximately 4.5 acres of Rotary Riverside Park.

In 1983, Centralia acquired it from a donation.

This park has at least 44,000 square feet of recreational opportunities and various activities that anyone can enjoy.

Rotary Riverside Park provides a beautiful and prestigious space for you to enjoy with family and friends, both for leisure activities and special occasions.

The park comes fully equipped with restrooms, parking areas, paved walking tracks, and hard surface roads.

There are many sports fields, picnic facilities, and shelters here where you can play with the children or relax under the trees on a sunny afternoon.

See Fantastic Live Shows at Evergreen Playhouse

Established in 1959, Evergreen Playhouse is a treasure for Lewis County.

Local theatre arts lovers established the theater, which continues to provide enjoyment for local audiences every year.

They produce high-quality theatrical productions and partner with talented individuals who wish to make their mark in the industry.

Evergreen Playhouse offers residents of Centralia a chance to get away from their stressful lives and enjoy quality theater.

Talented actors and dedicated volunteers ensure kickass showtimes.

Evergreen stages six performances per season.

These shows include high-quality entertainment such as comedies and dramas (including classic plays), mysteries, animated musicals, and more.

There's also a concession stand here that serves beer, wine, soda, and popcorn.

Enjoy Roller Skating at Centralia Rollerdrome

Centralia Rollerdrome is an excellent roller skating rink in West Maple Street, Centralia, Washington.

Without straining your body or your wallet, you'll skate for hours on end here.

The Centralia Rollerdrome offers its patrons a clean, safe and fun environment for skating.

While you're on the rink, spend some time checking out all the other things they have to offer too.

You'd be surprised at the many activities you can do in one easy-to-access location.

They've got a bouncy house with ball pits, arcade games and carnival treats, a snack bar, and a party room available for rent and reservations.

They allow both traditional skates as well as rollerblades.

Enjoy Nature at Schaefer Park

Schaefer Park is the ideal place to relax and enjoy the nature around you.

The Skookumchuck River nearby allows you to fish or swim or go on a kayak expedition.

You can also visit trails that will allow you to see the environment.

Enjoy a quiet retreat just a quick hike from Interstate 5 or downtown Centralia.

You can also cross the cool bridge next to Skookumchuck River, which can be pretty satisfying.

There is a picnic shelter in Schaefer Park where families can come together to share meals, engage in games, and chat with each other.

The park also has horseshoe pits, playgrounds, and group picnic areas open from early March to late October.

Schaefer Park sits just north of Centralia city limits at the intersection with Big Hanaford Road.

Craft Your Own Souvenir at Central Glass Works

Spending a hot day of glassblowing at Central GlassWorks is an excellent activity for everyone.

They offer hands-on classes for beginners and quirky and interesting pieces in their gallery.

You also get to learn up-close as the glassblowers create works of art that take shape right before your eyes.

Central Glassworks is a perfect place to hold birthdays and work gatherings.

Parents and kids can spend quality time together creating beautiful pieces with hand-shaped light bulbs, marbles, beads, flowers, and colorful creations.

Once you've finished your masterpiece, you can continue to view the beautiful hand-blown works at their gallery.

Their exhibit items constantly change, depending on current fashions.

Final Thoughts

Although people know Centralia as a rest stop while traveling on trains and rivers, it has so much more to offer.

A downtown area full of historic charm comprises places like quaint shops and restaurants.

Experience the sights, sounds, tastes, and culture of this multi-faceted destination with these must-see attractions.

Book your Centralia trip today!