Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Yakima, WA

  • Published 2023/04/19

Known for its truly rich agricultural produce, Yakima is the 11th-largest city by population in Washington.

It is situated about 60 miles southeast of Mount Rainier.

Yakima is situated in Yakima Valley, which grows 77% of the total crops in the United States.

The city has vast fields of crops, wine orchards, and beautiful apple gardens.

That said, there’s much for visitors to explore, from open farmlands and apple orchards to microbreweries and deluxe wineries.

Apart from that, the city is also famous for various festivals and fairs that take place on a regular basis.

It’s an excellent destination to consider, whether you’re traveling with your significant other or with the whole family.

The following are the best things to do in Yakima, Washington:

Participate in the Central Washington State Fair

A ferris wheel at Central Washington State Fair

Michelle Baumbach /

The Central Washington State Fair is organized in Yakima County every September.

The fair was organized for the first time in the year 1892 and has been a successful event since then.

It is conducted for the basic objective of promoting, developing, and cultivating an interest in farming and growing crops in Central Washington.

Tower swing ride at Central Washington State Fair

Michelle Baumbach /

Along with that, the event also aims at increasing the interest of the young generation and making them understand the importance of farming and growing crops.

The fair also exhibits horticulture and various other types of farming.

Farmers from all over the country offer their agricultural produce here, making this fair a success.

Children on a Central Washington State Fair ride

Michelle Baumbach /

Enjoy Fun and Food at the Yakima Folklife Festival

The Yakima Folklife Festival is conducted by the Yakima Folk Life Association community in partnership with the Yakima Valley Museum.

It is generally organized on weekends, from Friday to Sunday.

This festival is no less than a blessing for people who wish to engage in various sorts of activities.

It’s a great opportunity to sip on your favorite bine or beer and the best food.

Various types of youth activities are also scheduled in the playground.

There is also an open mic stage for all those who are interested in giving performances.

The Yakima Folklife Festival also gives local artisans a chance to display their crafts.

All in all, the festival is going to be one of the best weekends in your life.

Try Fresh Hop Beer at the Fresh Hop Ale Festival

Yakima’s farms produce more than 75% of the total hop crops in the United States.

The Fresh Hop Ale Festival is organized by a non-profit organization with the goal of presenting the country’s top 10 beer festivals.

This festival also supports art and science organizations that exist in Yakima.

It is one of the greatest hopping festivals that is organized around the world.

You can have an unending supply of beer or ale without any judgments.

In addition to that, you can also buy some crafts and paintings to display in your homes.

See the Fascinating Displays at the Yakima Valley Museum

The Yakima Valley Museum is one of the top attractions in the Yakima Valley.

It is spread over an area of 65,000 square feet.

The museum has a very rich collection of horse-drawn vehicles, including a stagecoach.

It also has a historical exhibition of the Washington DC office, a statue of a Supreme Court Justice, an exhibit of petrified trees, a display of vintage neon lights, and a schedule of special exhibitions.

This museum is a great place to visit for students who are interested in research and history.

Its collections are always open for research via appointment.

There is also an underground interactive learning center in the museum that offers educational services for children aged five to 15 years.

The Yakima Valley Museum also has a replica of a soda fountain, along with a Victorian farmhouse that is filled with furnishings.

Do Some Light Reading at Yakima Valley Libraries

Yakima Valley Libraries is a public library with 17 branches located throughout the county.

All the libraries include public access to reading materials like books, research papers, CDs, audiobooks, DVDs, and more.

The best part about these libraries is that they offer all the material in two languages, English and Spanish.

Although many of the libraries are very small in size and offer limited services to two small communities, you can still visit these libraries for a short reading.

Admire the Beautiful Flowers at the Yakima Area Arboretum

Full bloom at Yakima Area Arboretum

Michelle Baumbach /

The Yakima Arboretum, which is spread over 46 acres of land, is a site in Washington adjoining the habitat of the Yakima River.

This site was developed after the 19th century for vegetable farms as well as for chicken.

Pretty flowers in Yakima Area Arboretum

Michelle Baumbach /

The arboretum currently provides habitat to almost 1,000 native and exotic species of woody plants, a great variety of flora and fauna, a beautiful natural herbarium, and a variety of gardens.

It comprises a butterfly garden, rose garden, iris garden, Japanese garden, dryland gardens, and more.

Attend an Exciting Event at the Iconic Yakima Valley SunDome

Exterior of Yakima SunDome

User:Cacophony, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Yakima Valley SunDome is an infrastructural wonder in Yakima, Washington.

This ground has enough seating capacity for more than 6,000 people.

Throughout the year, the Yakima Valley SunDome hosts a lot of events for sports like soccer, football, volleyball, basketball, and boxing.

The venue also hosts events such as circuses, horse races, and concerts.

Agricultural shows, trade shows, symposiums, meetings, and conventions are also held here.

The SunDome in Yakima Valley is the second dome in the world that used a concrete sectional roof design, the first one being the Kingdome in Seattle.

Purchase Souvenirs from the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center

When in Yakima, you should definitely check out the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center.

The place is open to the public from Wednesday to Saturday all around the year.

It offers detailed information about the culture of the state in producing wine.

You can also gather a significant amount of information about breweries, outdoor adventure sites, family tour places, and tourist attractions.

Travel consultations are also available to help plan your entire trip.

You can also buy Yakima Valley-themed gift baskets for your loved ones, including locally produced gifts, food, and beverages.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Yakima Sportsman State Park

Yakima is famous for promoting sportsmanship and sporting culture among its people.

Carrying forward this objective, Yakima Sportsman State Park is a public recreation facility that is entirely managed by the state.

The 247-acre park is situated along the flood plains of the Yakima River.

It offers a wide variety of outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, picnic grounds, and more.

Yakima Sportsman State Park is also home to almost 140 species of birds that are spread throughout its grasslands, pond habitats, and marsh.

Some of these species are hawks, red-wing blackbirds, and herons.

The park also offers almost two miles’ worth of trails that can be used for hiking.

Try the Handcrafted Beers at Bale Breaker Brewing Company

Bale Breaker Brewing Company is a new addition to Yakima’s infrastructure.

It was opened to the public in 2013 and has become the fifth-largest independent microbrewery in the area.

The brewery has a variety of handcrafted brews on exhibition.

It has a 30-barrel brewhouse and 41 fields of pale ale, top cutter, and bottom cutter imperial.

To visit this place, you have to get an appointment.

On your tour, you will be shown the history of this company as well as the production process that they follow.

Sample Exquisite Wines at Kana Winery

Kana Winery is a privately owned and managed winery certified by the authorities.

It has several vineyards throughout the Yakima Valley and other areas.

This winery offers a variety of red and white wines at affordable prices.

It also boasts a hospitality center and a tasting room with bistro-style seating.

You can also enjoy discounts if you visit the winery any day from Monday to Thursday.

Guests are welcome to join the winery’s open mic nights and live music performances while tasting their expertly curated wine.

Taste Purple Star Wine at Johnson Orchards

Johnson Orchards provides services in packaging and warehousing seasonal fruits.

There are a variety of homegrown fruits that can be identified in this orchard.

Some of them are signature cherries, apricots, pears, apples, peaches, and nectarines.

Tripod caramels and a variety of little pastries are available here as well.

On-site, you can also buy purple star wine, which is crafted and bottled right in front of your eyes.

Explore the Cowiche Canyon Trails

Scenic view of Cowiche Canyon Trails

Michelle Baumbach /

The Cowiche Canyon Trails are operated by the Cowiche Canyon Conservatory, which covers more than 5,000 acres of land.

The conservatory boasts more than 30 miles of accessible nature trails.

Beautiful plants along Cowiche Canyon Trails

Michelle Baumbach /

This region presents a variety of natural ecosystems that include grassland areas, oak-lined woodland areas, basalt cliffs, and meadows that are blooming with wildflowers.

There is also a great variety of wildlife that is present in the radius.

Try Your Luck at the Nob Hill Casino

The Nob Hill Casino is one of Yakima’s premier entertainment zones.

It offers a complex and entertaining nightlife for visitors who are aged 18 years and above.

This place offers seven table games that include blackjack, poker, Pai Gow, and more.

The competition will be cutthroat, and you will surely enjoy playing these games around the room.

Pool tables and race books are also offered.

The casino also has a steakhouse serving a variety of traditional American dishes, along with a cocktail lounge.

Get Tickets to a Show at The Capitol Theatre

Entrance to the Capitol theatre in Yakima

Heidi Ihnen Photography /

The Capitol Theatre is Yakima’s primary venue for performances in the arts.

It was established in the year 1920 and was originally known as the Mercy Theatre.

At present, the theater has a maximum seating capacity of 1,500.

Exterior of The Capitol Theatre

Capture 11 Photography /

While visiting this place, you can enjoy a large number of local and global events that include performances by people from Yakima’s local communities.

You can also purchase tickets for musical performances or community concerts.

Interior of The Capitol Theatre

Steve Groom, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tour the Winery at Gilbert Cellars

A tiny, family-run vineyard in Yakima, Gilbert Cellars produces both red and white wines that have won numerous awards.

Also known as the Hackett Ranch, Gilbert Cellars has a tasting facility that serves wine samples and gourmet cheese platters, which are also available for sale.

Winery tours are offered by appointment, displaying the winery’s activities and past.

Furthermore, a lawn-style amphitheater hosts live music performances all year long, including the Music in the Vines concert series.

Appreciate the View of the Yakima River Canyon

In the middle of Yakima and Ellensburg, the Yakima River meanders in a gentle bend through a gorge of basalt rocks and desert landscape.

The Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway affords significantly more incredible vistas than the highway, which it parallels and serves as a scenic alternative to Interstate 82.

The majority of the canyon, including four approved recreation areas, is under the control of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Umtanum, Luma Creek, Big Pines, and Roza are the four locations.

The Yakima River Canyon is an excellent place to enjoy all sorts of summertime activities.

It’s a popular location for swimming, fishing, tubing, and other water sports.

Drop by the Yakima Greenway

The waters of Yakima Greenway

September Autumnleaf…, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Yakima Greenway presents one of the finest ways to move around the city.

It connects several of the greatest natural sites in the city across a distance of more than 20 kilometers.

A playground in Yakima Greenway

September Autumnleaf…, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The greenway leads to Sherman Park’s off-leash dog area, and much of the route is lined with water.

The Yakima Area Arboretum and other bodies of water, such as Myron Lake, Willow Lake, and Lake Aspen, are accessible from the greenway.

Expect to see other trail users, such as bikers and parents with strollers, both during the week and more so on the weekends.

The road of Yakima Greenway

September Autumnleaf…, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Buy Fresh Products at the Downtown Yakima Farmers Market

Vendors and shoppers at Downtown Yakima Farmers Market

Michelle Baumbach /

Are you on the lookout for a place that sells fresh ingredients, vegetables, and meals?

The Downtown Association of Yakima runs the Downtown Yakima Farmers Market, a neighborhood farmers market in the center of Yakima.

The market’s goal is to give Washington State’s farmers, specialized food producers, artisans, craft manufacturers, and entertainers a venue to sell their meals and handcrafted goods directly to customers while also giving consumers the chance to check them out.

Fresh produce at Downtown Yakima Farmers Market

Michelle Baumbach /

It offers a fun weekly meeting spot for the neighborhood throughout the agricultural growing season.

Visit the Downtown Yakima Farmers Market and browse through all that the vendors have on offer.

Flower vendor at Downtown Yakima Farmers Market

Michelle Baumbach /

Wine and Dine at WaterFire Restaurant & Bar

The flavors of the world are the source of inspiration for Yakima’s WaterFire Restaurant & Bar.

Their meals are designed by Chef Derrin and take into account the local bounty and seasonal changes.

They buy their supplies from ranches and farms in the Northwest.

You’ll discover inspirations from all around the world on their seasonally changing menu, along with their inventive but affordable cuisine.

WaterFire Restaurant & Bar is known for serving their delicious Washington beef steaks with mashed potatoes, Parmesan risotto, roasted Yukon potatoes, and French fries.

Craft cocktails, draft beer, white wine by the glass or bottle, non-alcoholic beverages, and more are available on their beverage menu.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Franklin Park

Franklin Park is among Yakima’s public parks offering plenty of outdoor activities for the family.

Right along South 21st Avenue and Tieton Drive, this 16.7-acre is close to the Yakima Valley Museum on the south.

During the summer months, you can take a dip at the outdoor swimming pool to beat the heat; kids can enjoy zooming down the slides and splattering at the wading pool.

Play at any of the eight pickleball courts or three tennis courts at the park.

Little tots can jump around, climb and have fun in the playground area, too.

Likewise, you can also have a relaxing picnic at the shelters and pavilion.

Franklin Park also hosts the Outdoor Summer Sunset Concert Series so you can enjoy free concerts on all Fridays in July and August.

Enjoy Tee Offs at Fisher Park Golf Course

Fisher Park Golf Course is a city-owned and operated golf course located at South 40th Avenue.

This 9-hole par 3 golf course is seasonal and opens from mid-March to October.

There’s no need for you to book tee times but the golf course is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The relaxing park setting is also one of the good things you’ll enjoy on this course.

Likewise, ladies can also have fun golf games every Friday for Ladies’ Night.

For some golf lessons, LPGA Class A Teaching Professional and First Tee of Yakima Director Mollie Thola hold classes for young to adult golfers.

Kids and teens can sign up for Pee Wee Golf Lessons, Junior Group, or Junior Intermediate Golf Lessons; you can also learn together with your kids in the Parents-n-Peewees Class.

Adult lessons include the Senior Group, Adult Beginning, and Adult Intermediate Golf Lessons; otherwise, you can also book private golf lessons.

Fisher Park Golf Course rental is also available for private events and functions.

See the Exhibits at the McAllister Museum of Aviation

Get to know Central Washington’s aviation history and its developments at the McAllister Museum of Aviation.

Take a guided tour of the museum on South 16th Avenue and browse more than 50 displays, aircraft models, and engines that tell the story of aviation in the region.

Catch featured displays like Bob Hill’s Model Aircraft and the Charles Lindbergh exhibit.

You’ll learn about Leonardo DaVinci’s early illustration of the Parachute and Ornithopter and view the Wright Flyer aircraft model.

Likewise, see antique various objects like the Red Fuel Pumps and Helmet Displays that showcase the early helmets and hats from the Golden Age to the present.

Get to know about the history and developments of the McAllister Flying Service, learn facts about the woman pilot Alys Mckey, or browse through Air Fair Poster Collection by local artist Phil Kooser.

One of the major highlights of the museum is the aircraft displays featuring the BD-5B Kit aircraft and Sceptre Composite Aircraft, along with various aircraft engines like the Pratt and Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major, Continental A-65, McCullock 4316 Target Drone Engine, and much more.

Just west of the McAllister Museum of Aviation, you’ll also find one of the old red fuel trucks bought by Charles McAllister.

Try Ciders on Tap at Tieton Cider Works

Drop by the Tieton Cider Works cider bar located on West J Street and choose from a variety of year-round signature flavors, limited releases, and specialty ciders.

Fruits used to make their ciders are sourced from Harmony Orchards, the largest cider apple and Perry pear orchard in Washington state.

Try ciders on taps like Cranberry, Tieton Bone Dry, Red Flesh Rosé, Rose Hip, or Imperial Apple,

They also have year-round varieties like Lavander Honey Cider, Imperial Apple Cider, Bourbon Barrel Peach Cider, and Apricot Cider, to name a few.

Get to try their limited-release selections including Hazy Strawberry, Cranberry Cider, and Bourbon Barrel Cherry.

Likewise, their Single Varietal Series like the Golden Russet, Porter’s Perfection, and Ashmeads Kernel Cider are definitely a must-try.

Or drink other unique flavors like the North Ranch Series which include Hard Apple Cider, the semi-sweet Berry Cider and Pear Cider.

There are also plenty of fun events you can catch at the venue like outdoor concerts, tastings, and indoor happenings like Cider Nights.

Tieton Cider Works also organizes Bocce games on Thursdays so there’s more to enjoy with families and friends.

Enjoy Arts and Drinks at Collab

If you’re looking for another place to hang out, try the unique experience at Collab.

This cafe is located on South 1st Street and is open from Friday to Saturday.

Owned by Maddie Hicks and run together with partner Emi Ramirez, they started the concept of combining arts, community, and beverages in 2019.

If you’re also an art aficionado, you’ll admire the beautiful creative works of art displayed at this coffee shop.

You can catch galley shows and events every first Friday to see other works of local artists.

While appreciating the artwork, you can enjoy any of the coffee brews on the menu like Espresso, Cortado, Cappuccino, Latte, Cafe De Olla, or Batch Brew.

They also serve loose-leaf Black, Green, Peach, and Herbal teas, along with Housemade Chai, Hot Cocoa, and Canela Con Miel.

If you prefer to order drinks, you can ask from the list of Red or White wines, Rose, or Bubbles selection available.

Other beverages at Collab include Estella Beer, Single Hill IPA, Ginger Beer and

non-alcoholic Fizzy Water or Juice.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Historic Fort Simcoe State Park

Located on the Yakima Indian Nation Reservation grounds, Fort Simcoe State Park is one of the existing forces from the pre-Civil War era.

It is included on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered to be one of the top historical sites in the pacific north-west.

While walking around, you will see a large number of homes belonging to officers as well as preserved fort buildings.

There is also a tribal jail, blockhouse, and a restored barrack in this park.

You can enjoy various activities at the park, such as birdwatching and camping.

Join a Wine Tour with Wineries Express

Less than 10 minutes outside the city of Yakima, Wineries Express is the most famous wine tour company in the Yakima Valley.

It is owned by private individuals and hence, private services are available for small groups.

If you are traveling with a group of about 15 people, you should definitely check this place out.

Through the services of this company, you can tour a variety of breweries.

Wineries Express also offers deluxe tours and does not charge extra fees for tasting.

Packages also include complimentary plates at the top wineries in the region.

The Yakima Valley is one of the best places in the world for travelers who are interested in wines, beers, ales, and other exotic drinks.

Final Thoughts

Since the city of Yakima is situated in Washington’s beautiful Yakima Valley, which is well-known for its apple orchards and wineries, there are several breweries, tasting rooms, and vineyards close by.

Travelers thinking of visiting this city won’t need to worry because Yakima has a ton of fascinating tourist attractions to offer.

Plan a trip to Yakima, Washington, and discover the top attractions and activities in this popular tourist destination.

Don’t forget to use this list of things to do in Yakima to guide you!

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