20 Best Things to Do in McMinnville, OR

McMinnville, OR
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Surrounded by vineyards and natural wonders on all sides, McMinnville is the seat of and largest city in Yamhill County, Oregon.

Visit this place if you’re looking to spend more time admiring nature and away from the endless grind of city life.

There’s no shortage of parks and conservation areas to explore here, so you’ll never run out of things to do.

Aside from that, the place also boasts a thriving wine industry.

You can also spend your time hopping from one tasting room to another and sampling different local drinks.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your choices, here’s a good starting point of things you can do in McMinnville, OR:

See the Planes at Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

An aircraft in front of Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
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The mission of the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is to inspire a community for innovation and discovery as they preserve aerospace history and honor the pilots who served.

The museum houses 150 aircraft alongside displays of various innovators, pilots, and veterans from all over the world.

Blackbird aircraft displayed in Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
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Exploring the place will give you a glimpse into aviation history you won’t find anywhere else.

Get up close and personal with antique planes and learn about their history.

Learn about their notable flights, and how the pilots have sped through the air to perform acts of bravery and heroism.

Interior of spruce goose aircraft in Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
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Sip Fine Wine at R Stuart & Co. Tasting Room and Wine Bar

Making a reservation at the R Stuart & Co. Tasting Room and Wine Bar is a decision you won’t regret.

Located just a few blocks from their winery, it is the perfect destination for people looking to taste authentic Oregon drinks.

Bring someone special with you, and you can even make a date out of it.

Have a great time over a delicious bottle, maybe even linger over a glass to spend more time in each other’s company.

Afterward, don’t forget to purchase a bottle to take home and share with your other loved ones.

Visit the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center

Exterior of Yamhill Valley Heritage Center museum
M.O. Stevens, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll find the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center in the southern area of McMinnville.

This place is one of the top destinations for people with a fascination for the city’s local history and culture.

Once there, you’ll find a vast space filled with countless displays and exhibitions that showcase the area’s agricultural history and heritage.

A vintage stagecoach on Yamhill Valley Heritage Center's hay field
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See a collection of over a hundred antique tractors, horse-drawn equipment, and many other items.

You’ll also visit a schoolroom from the 1800s and see what it was like to gain knowledge inside such a building.

A horse sculpture made out of farming equipments in Yamhill Valley Heritage Center
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Explore the Brittan Vineyards

The tasting room of Britan Vineyards is located in downtown McMinnville, and a visit there means you’re in for an absolute treat.

Make a reservation and try out the quality drinks they serve there, all made from local vineyards.

Wine tasting is a great activity with company, so bring a few companions so you can all experience good wine together.

The atmosphere is warm and pleasant, which adds to the experience and enhances the taste of the wines even more.

Grab a Bite at 1882 Grille

If you’re looking for a locally owned restaurant with great food and a strong connection to the surrounding communities, head to the 1882 Grille on 3rd Street.

They source ingredients from local farms, so you can be sure everything is fresh and of the best quality.

The place has two main dining areas: the first and third floors.

In the former, you can eat in the whiskey bar, back patio, or the gardens.

If you choose to go to the third floor, you’ll go up to a rooftop view, outside seating, and a full bar.

Whichever you choose, the restaurant will ensure you’ll have the best dining experience possible.

Spend the Day at Galen McBee Airport Park

The Galen McBee Airport Park got its name from McMinnville's first parks and recreation director and airport manager.

The area will undoubtedly be a breath of fresh air for its visitors.

See the crystal clear creek that flows all year round, soft trails surrounded by towering trees, and various micro-environments that are hard to ignore.

There are also picnic tables and resting stops for people who want to sit back and take in the beauty of their surroundings.

Whatever you came to that place to do, you’ll find what you’re looking for the longer you explore the park’s natural wonder and beauty.

Splash around at Wings and Waves Waterpark

Exterior of the Wings and Waves Waterpark
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While McMinnville is best known for its beautiful natural scenery and the vineyards that cover the area, there’s more to the place than that.

If you’re looking for an easy, fun time, visit the Wings and Waves Waterpark.

It’s a beautiful swimming area where you can soar and glide through the water with your family.

Waterslides in Wings and Waves Waterpark
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Feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins as you fall through their slides, emerge through the air, and right into the water.

The indoor pool is innovative and ensures that every visitor is having fun their entire stay there.

You'll have every opportunity to experience as many adventures as they wish to undertake.

Interior of the Wings and Waves Waterpark
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Enjoy a Glass at Walnut City Wineworks

Walnut City Wineworks seeks to promote unique wines with distinct identities that were made with sustainable and ethical practices.

Located on 17th street in the repurposed Willamette Valley Walnut Co.building, you can feel the marks of the past the moment you step in but without all the pretensiousness.

All their wines are made from fruits from nearby vineyards, giving them a distinctive Oregon taste.

Stop by the establishment and try out what they offer.

Who knows what you’ll find and what drinks you’ll fall in love with?

Explore the Discovery Meadows Community Park

If you’re traveling with your family, you may want to check out the Meadows Community Park and take the opportunity to spend some quality time with your loved ones.

The place is an award-winning park with a host of amenities for visitors of all ages.

You can be sure that every family member will have the time of their lives.

However, the massive playground and fountains are one of the area's highlights.

Let your kids run around the place and enjoy themselves while burning some excess energy and making new friends.

Grab a Meal at La Rambla Restaurant and Social Room

You can find La Rambla in the oldest brick building in the city.

Besides great food, it has an air of history and culture you won’t find anywhere else.

As a perfect representation of a restaurant in the middle of Oregon's wine country, the place serves excellent drinks paired with delicious meals that’ll leave you wanting more.

It’s an ideal destination if you’re looking for good food since it blends the charm and freshness of the Northwest with the exciting flavors of Spanish cuisine.

As an award-winning restaurant, La Rambla serves exquisite meals made with all the care and passion of its skilled chefs.

One of the highlights of their menu is their tapas or small plates, so make sure to sample those if you get the chance.

You can try out their lamb skewers, roasted baby carrots, or empanadas.

Whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed.

Visit the Erratic Rock State Natural Site

Erratic rock in Erratic Rock State Natural Site
M.O. Stevens, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Erratic Rock State Natural Site is a state park.

One of the most notable features of the place is the 40-short-ton glacial erratic or a rock deposited from glaciers.

These rocks are different from the native stones of the area washed away from the Missoula floods.

The thing is impossible to miss, sitting on top of a foothill of the Northern Oregon Coast range.

Scenic view from Erratic Rock State Natural Site
Dhoustonjackson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The rock itself floated from the Columbia river thousands of years ago, traveling for over 500 miles to land in its current spot.

A trip to this park will take you back to the beauty and majesty of Mother Nature.

Enjoy the vastness of our world in this place.

Drink More Wine at Terra Vina Wines Tasting Room

The Terra Vina Wine Tasting Rooms is impossible to miss, for it's sitting right in front of the Atticus hotel.

It's also one of the prime destinations for wine in the area.

Wine is exceedingly common in the area due to the high number of vineyards surrounding it.

However, each vineyard has its charm and special favors that you won’t want to miss.

The place offers indoor and outdoor seating, so you’re free to choose which environment fits your mood and preferences best.

While you’re there, you’ll get the opportunity to experience different kinds of red wine.

Figure out which you like best and which bottle you’d like to bring home as a souvenir for your friends and family.

Explore the Miller Woods Conservation Area

One of the most beautiful things about McMinnville is the unspoiled nature that still exists within and around it.

You’ll never feel trapped or caged in by cities or human settlements because nature is always just a stone’s throw away.

It’s never hard to get away from the hustle and bustle and find peace for yourself.

The Miller Woods Conservation Area is open to visitors from dawn until dusk.

People have ample time to explore and wander through the beautiful forests and gigantic trees that populate the area.

Take advantage of the chance to enjoy the dynamic wonders of the environment firsthand.

See the many beautiful aspects of the natural world that you haven’t thought about before.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Ed Grenfell Park

A creek at Ed Grenfell Park
M.O. Stevens, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Edward Grenfell was one of the founders of the Yamhill County Parks Board.

Out of generosity, he donated the five-acre parcel of land to the city, for use as the park that now bears his name.

If you’re looking for peace, where you can be with yourself and nature for a while, then this is the place for you.

The park is filled with native trees and shrubs, further enhancing the feeling that you’ve wandered into a new piece of land long ago.

You'll feel like you've stepped well away from the chaos of busy cities.

A visit to this place is a great way to unwind.

Just let the scent of the trees and the fresh breeze take over.

Let go of all your worries and anything that stresses you out.

Have a picnic with your loved ones or sit back and relax in one of the shelters while marveling at the beautiful sight of the native forest.

Try French Cuisine at Bistro Maison

French cuisine is well known for being some of the best in the world.

If you want to test that, visit Bistro Maison and sample what they offer.

In this restaurant, you’ll find a calm, relaxed, and unpretentious atmosphere that you can see reflected in the Parisian bistros of the same kind.

Their staff has a combined experience of more than 50 years in the food and wine industry in Paris, Rome, and New York.

They know how to create luxurious dishes for their patrons.

If you get the chance to visit, try something from their lunch menu and see for yourself how great the place is.

Whether you go for a sandwich classic or a steak tartare, you’ll find a unique and delicious spin on French-style dishes that you won’t taste anywhere else.

Enjoy a Drink at Troon Vineyard Biodynamic Wine Bar

The Troon Vineyard Biodynamic Wine Bar is located on 3rd street, in the heart of the city.

It has become an excellent destination for locals and visitors alike who want a unique wine tasting experience.

The place offers a wide range of wines from their winery nearby, all of which are worth trying.

Their drinks are naturally crafted from natural fruit varieties from Southern France, giving them a unique and classic flavor.

Whether you’re specifically looking for new and unusual flavors or want to have a good time with friends, you’re sure to love your experience in this wine bar.

Join a Wine Tasting Session at Lundeen Wines

Lundeen Wines is your best choice for a local wine adventure in McMinnville.

Though it's not the only one, it has proven itself as a cut above the rest.

This family-operated winery takes pride in its Pinot Noir collection, which has been a Lundeen staple since 2006.

But if you're not into that, there are also a variety of sparkling wines to choose from.

Sign up for a 90-minute wine-tasting session, and taste the experience for yourself.

Lundeen Wines is on Northeast 17th Street.

You can never watch too many live performances while in McMinnville.

And at Gallery Theater, you are in for an entertaining treat.

Managed by The Gallery Players of Oregon, this theater has provided the best productions in the community since 1968.

From fantasy musicals like Into the Woods to modern renditions of classics, including Pride and Prejudice.

There are many show genres to choose from, and many are family-friendly too!

So, foster your love for the arts and book your ticket to Gallery Theater's next show.

You can find this theater on Northeast Ford Street.

If you've got an eye for quality fine art, Ten Oaks Gallery will not disappoint.

This gallery offers a home for many arts of various mediums by Pacific Northwest artists.

It features mixed media artworks, paintings, metal adornments, and other ceramics art that you can actually buy onsite or online.

Ten Oaks Gallery also has a vineyard in Salem, which is about 12 minutes from McMinnville.

This site is the primary venue for the gallery's "Meet the Artist" series.

But its main gallery within McMinnville is on Southwest Baker Street.

Get your art souvenir at this classy art center!

When it comes to outdoor art, Mason-Rivera Sculpture Garden & Art Gallery occupies one of the top spots of the best art centers in McMinnville.

Spanning 2 acres, this garden-and-gallery showcases the masterpieces of Cristi Mason-Rivera and Joe Rivera.

It has been serving the local community since 2006 but under a different name—The Stastny Gardens and Art Gallery.

In 2017, the place changed its name to the one it still uses today.

Some of the artworks you can expect to find within this eclectic sculpture garden are welded metal and natural stone art.

The indoor gallery also has the best displays of local art.

Mason-Rivera Sculpture Garden & Art Gallery is open daily and all throughout the year on Caleb Payne Road.

So, make sure to visit this place while on your McMinnville trip!

Spend Time with Nature at the Rotary Nature Preserve at Tice Woods

Though McMinnville is famous for its collection of art galleries and wineries, it has a few natural areas worth checking out too.

One of these is the Rotary Nature Preserve at Tice Woods.

Opened in 2005, the site is an ideal spot for some wildlife discovery and birdwatching.

You'll find two ponds, an upland forest, and a wetland within the site.

And for your active trekking within nature, there's a one-mile paved walkway.

To reach the Rotary Nature Preserve at Tice Woods, head over to Northeast Baker Street.

Final Thoughts

When you travel to McMinnville, you’ll often be in awe of its beauty.

There are so many things to do, and everything you see blends in so well with the natural world.

You'd almost think it’s always been part of the environment.

So book your trip today and see this graceful elegance for yourself.

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