Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Hermiston, OR

  • Published 2023/01/26

Situated in the heart of Columbia Basin is the charming city of Hermiston, known as the largest city in Eastern Oregon.

The city of Hermiston is the gateway to exciting exploration opportunities and endless adventures.

You can explore a plethora of parks, encounter the majestic wildlife in the area, and escape from the hustle and bustle of busy city life.

Are you planning a weekend getaway to Eastern Oregon soon?

Then, read on for the 20 best things to do on your trip to Hermiston, Oregon!

Explore the Scenic Hat Rock State Park

Scenic view of Hat Rock State Park

Lara J /

Hat Rock State Park is a desert oasis in Hermiston boasting 735 acres of natural land surrounded by rolling sagebrush hills.

Enjoy a short day trip exploring the scenic natural area where you can encounter various local wildlife.

You can bring some snacks and enjoy a hearty lunch bordered by the scenic sights of nature.

There are plenty of historical information boards that you’ll encounter on your hike, which showcase the history of Hat Rock State Park.

The grounds of Hat Rock State Park

Real Window Creative /

Hike the Trails of Oxbow Trail

Get lost in the serene sight and sounds of nature as you explore the paved hiking trail in Oxbow Trail.

Whether you’ll be taking a nice long hike or a short casual hike, you’ll get to see the rich flora and fauna of Hermiston.

This 222-acre natural land is home to a variety of native plants and wildlife that you’ll encounter along your hike.

If you get tired, you can relax on the benches placed along the trail and enjoy a serene time under the canopy of trees.

A trip to Oxbow Trail makes for a laid-back outdoor adventure to appreciate the fascinating sight of nature at Hermiston.

Appreciate the Fascinating Sight of Nature at Riverfront Park

Aerial view of Riverfront Park

MIM1765, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Riverfront Park is another spot tucked in the west of Hermiston to adore the calming sight of nature.

This park is a great place to go to whether you’re alone, with your significant other, with friends and family, or with the youngsters to appreciate the peaceful scenery.

You can pack some grubs and lay out a blanket for a vibrant picnic day trip with the charming sight of the glistening water.

Don’t forget to wear your best outfit and snap some pictures with the beautiful scenery of Riverfront Park as your background.

A short trip to Riverfront Park makes for a quick nature respite to get away from the stress of your daily care.

Meet New People and Celebrate Lively Events at Umatilla County Fair

If you enjoy meeting new people, trying out festival foods, and joining lively events, then don’t miss out on the Umatilla County Fair.

It has been a tradition for Umatilla County locals to celebrate the county fair, which started in 1912.

The Umatilla County Fair is a 4-day celebration every summer that features live music concerts, livestock auctions, carnival rides, and a lot more!

You shouldn’t miss out on an exciting day at Umatilla County Fairgrounds when you visit Hermiston during the summer, so make sure to include this on your itinerary list to Hermiston.

Learn about the Heritage of Railways at Maxwell Siding Railroad Museum

If the combination of nostalgia and railway history fascinates you, then don’t forget to visit the Maxwell Siding Railroad Museum in Hermiston.

This railroad museum showcases the original railroad tracks built in the 1880s, along with plenty of historic artifacts and memorabilia that represent railroading history in Hermiston.

Aside from the artifacts, you can also see plenty of historic pieces of machinery like the 1910 rotary snowplows, restored railroad cars, and more!

The Maxwell Siding Railroad Museum is a mecca for train lovers and history buffs, so be sure to stop by to see this quaint historic place on your trip to Hermiston.

Take a Stroll at Butte Park

The grounds of  Butte Park

Williamborg, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking for a park where you can spend a whole day without any dull moments, then Butte Park is the place you’re searching for!

This park in Hermiston is the perfect spot to enjoy the outdoors for all ages, and you’ll surely appreciate the beautifully landscaped space that features charming natural sceneries.

Butte Park boasts a large play area for the youngsters to have a blast, and there are four soccer fields for games.

You can set up a picnic and BBQ day out with the family in the dedicated picnic shelter surrounded by the magnificent sight of the park.

The main attraction in the park is the Hermiston Butte, a popular climbing destination for all skill levels despite its steepness.

If hiking and climbing seem a daunting task for you, you can take your time climbing the Butte, and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the place.

A trip to Butte Park won’t be a dull one because the park has got so much to offer to keep your day trip brimming with fun memories.

Spend a Game Night with the Family at Desert Lanes Family Fun Center

Nothing beats the classic bonding time spent playing games and testing your skills in the bowling alley, so head out for a day of fun and games at the Desert Lanes Family Fun Center!

This family entertainment center features a bowling alley for a bit of fun competition with friends and family.

Aside from the bowling lanes, you can also play in the selection of arcade games in the entertainment for some added fun.

After your tiring round of bowling game, you can hang out in their lounge area and order some hearty grubs for some energy boost.

The Desert Lanes Family Fun Center is the best place for family fun, and you’ll surely be fascinated with the number of activities that will delight both the young and the young at heart.

Unwind and Enjoy a Quiet Time at Harrison Park

This quaint park in Hermiston is the perfect spot if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of your daily cares.

The Harrison Park is tucked away in the serene area of the town, where you can stroll through the paved walking trails lined with lush greeneries.

The park also features a small play area for the youngsters to enjoy their time and run around in the large open field.

Whether you want to go on a peaceful jog, stroll through the nature trail, sit down to relax, or get active in the large grassy area, this park has everything covered!

Don’t forget to consider stopping by at Harrison Park for a short day trip of peace and relaxation.

Shop and Dine at Hermiston’s Downtown District

Roemark's Building in Downtown Hermiston

MIM1765, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A trip to Hermiston wouldn’t be complete without strolling through the shopping and dining district in town, so don’t skip on a stroll through Hermiston’s Downtown District.

Scour through the selection of shops offering specialty items, trendy stuff, and antique finds.

Not only will you bring home unique souvenirs, but you’ll also be supporting local businesses in Hermiston.

Stop for some grubs in the restaurants or cafes to relax and energize after your tiring stroll through the shops.

Aside from shopping and dining, you can also join local events to meet friendly locals and get acquainted with the town’s tight-knit community.

Beat the Summer Heat and Cool-Off at Hermiston Family Aquatic Center

If the weather gets a bit toasty on your trip to Hermiston, you sure would want a place to relax and escape the scorching summer heat.

The Hermiston Family Aquatic Center is the ideal place to cool off from the summer heat and spend a vibrant day with friends and family.

You can wade two of the pools, splash down the water from the three water slides, or float your stress away in the lazy river as you appreciate the fascinating view of nature.

This aquatic center is located right under Hermiston’s iconic Butte, which means that you’ll also get a glimpse of the charming natural scenery on your visit.

Watch Car Racing at Hermiston Raceway

Spend a night of thrill and excitement on your trip to Hermiston in this oasis of horsepower, the Hermiston Raceway.

Amp up your weekend nights and catch a show of the exciting local racing show in Hermiston Raceway.

Aside from the racing shows, you’ll surely enjoy the lively atmosphere of the crowd as you watch the thrilling race.

You can also watch the sky shine with the enthralling fireworks display in Hermiston Raceway.

Enjoy some drinks and tasty snacks while you watch the race car shows, and don’t forget to liven up the night so bring your friends and family.

A weekend night spent at Hermiston Raceway will surely delight both the young and the young at heart, so be sure to check for updates and purchase your show passes from their website!

Spend a Fun-filled Day with the Youngsters at McKenzie Park

The grounds of McKenzie Park

Williamborg, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You wouldn’t have to worry about straying too far away from the city center to enjoy the outdoors because McKenzie Park is nestled in the center of the town.

Don’t forget to pack some tasty snacks and set up a laid-back picnic day with the family.

There is also a play area in the park with plenty of facilities to delight youngsters of all ages.

You can also join the regularly held events in the park and meet interesting new people.`

A short day trip to McKenzie Park makes for a delightful experience for families visiting Hermiston.

Explore Hermiston Community Center

Are you searching for a venue to hold a large or small gathering?

The Hermiston Community Center welcomes more than 200,000 guests annually to its events and programs.

Numerous conference rooms, reception areas, a performing arts theater, and recreational amenities are available at the Community Center.

The Great Room is transformable into a performing arts venue for musical or theatrical performances.

The Boardroom can accommodate your small conference of up to 15 people, while the Rotary Altrusa Room can fit a medium-sized gathering of up to 30 individuals.

Learn Something New at Hermiston Public Library

The Gladys Avenue-based Hermiston Public Library offers access to data, academic, and cultural resources via programs, services, films, journals, newspapers, and an ever-growing book and e-book collection.

It is a part of the Sage Library System, a combination of more than 70 libraries that uses the Evergreen system to exchange and showcase its holdings.

Through this technology, more than a million books and resources are accessible.

Thirty-four thousand volumes, microfilms, books on CD, movies, and magazines are housed in the Public Library.

Within the Hermiston Public Library is a minor Spanish-language collection.

More than 200 Spanish-language books and several Spanish-language films are offered for checkout.

Pay a Visit to the Maxwell Siding Event Center

Before absorbing the name of Hermiston in 1907, the community was known as Maxwell Siding, thus the name.

Maxwell Siding Event Center was formerly a railroad freight dock constructed in 1914.

The Event Center, situated in the middle of downtown Hermiston, directly next door to Nookie’s Restaurant, accommodates up to 100 guests indoors and has a 1,100-square-foot enclosed outside deck for extra sitting.

The Pavilion is a shaded outdoor space for events held outside, farmer’s markets, wedding celebrations, and more.

Additionally, they provide setup, onsite parking, tables, chairs, linens, food, and alcohol services.

Jump, Run, and Enjoy at Funland Playground

The Funland Playground represents Northwest’s biggest, most interesting, welcoming playgrounds.

It is an exciting place for kids of all ages and abilities to play, learn, and interact.

Funland Playground was recently rebuilt using the strongest and most vandal-resistant materials possible.

Several features of the playground are created with children with learning issues in mind.

It is undoubtedly a must-see attraction with three themed areas—the Wild West, Adventure, and Farmland—as well as a barnyard, a pirate ship, a wagon train, gigantic fruits and vegetables, a 6-foot watermelon slice, and more!

Explore and delight at Hermiston’s larger and improved Funland Playground!

Grab Dinner at Last Chance Tavern

Last Chance Tavern is a family-friendly local tavern specializing in food and beer!

It is a relaxed, comfortable setting focusing on down-home cuisine that is of a higher caliber than typical pub fare.

The immense menu has crowd-pleasing options, including their renowned chicken fried steak, breakfast all day, and delectable weekly specialties.

With several beers available on tap, bottles, wines, and non-alcoholic alternatives, there is something for every beer enthusiast.

Grab a drink at Last Chance Tavern and then watch a game in any of their flatscreens, play the Oregon lottery, or challenge some pals to a fun game of pool.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Get Lost in Nature at the Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge

Signage of Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge

Robert Mutch /

For outdoor junkies and nature lovers, the Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge is the ideal place to visit near Hermiston.

A 15-minute drive to Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge is truly worth it once you get to explore the scenic 3,117 acres of natural land.

This wildlife refuge is the perfect place to go birdwatching because many native birds thrive in the area.

You can explore the marshes on a kayak o a canoe, hike through the paved walking trails to see plenty of wildlife, and enjoy a serene time surrounded by nature’s relaxing sights and sounds.

Wade the Waters at the McNary Beach Recreation Area

The McNary Beach Recreation Area is another nature respite among the suburbia located just 15 minutes away from the city of Hermiston.

You can wade the beach’s waters and bask under the sun to cool off on a hot, sunny day.

There are dedicated picnic spaces in the area to enjoy your lunch with the fascinating view of the glistening water of the river.

Watch out for the majestic birds soaring up in the sky and explore the natural space to see various wildlife living in the area.

Don’t forget to wait for the sun to set and marvel at the magnificent sight of the golden hour on your trip to McNary Beach Recreation Area.

Book Your Tee Time at the Big River Golf Course

If your weekend getaway wouldn’t be complete without spending a challenging tee time, then tee off at Big River Golf Course in Umatilla, located just 15 minutes away from the city of Hermiston.

Test your golfing abilities with the challenging elevation changes, sand traps, and funky holes on your tee time.

The Big River Golf Course is located along the picturesque Columbia River and sits above the wildlife preserve.

As you tee off, you’ll also marvel at the panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Don’t forget to book your tee time with Big River Golf Course for a sensational golfing experience with awesome views.

Final Thoughts

The quaint city of Hermiston makes for an idyllic weekend getaway with the family, where you can experience the remarkable exploration opportunities that will delight the young and the young at heart.

Don’t forget to reference this list if you’re planning a trip to Hermiston so you won’t miss out on exciting activities in the city.

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