Take a look back in time with a visit to one of Yakima’s 63 historic and cultural sites. Museums, cultural centers, theaters, and other historic destinations capture the Valley’s rich heritage and cultural traditions. Nature preserves, green spaces, and local and state parks provide endless opportunities to make the most of the Yakima Valley’s four seasons of sunshine and enjoy the stunning landscapes. Unique educational and cultural experiences demonstrate the diversity of the region.
Catch a glimpse into years past with museums and historic cultural sites that capture the rich heritage of the Yakima Valley, from the significance of aviation and railroads to the Valley’s history, to celebrations of the Valley's diverse cultural influences.
Yakima Valley Museum Experience the rich, cultural history of the Yakima Valley through exhibits that capture the importance of the Valley's agricultural heritage, preserves Native American traditions, and portrays Yakima’s pioneer and early city life. Th
e 65,000 sq. ft. museum, located near downtown Yakima in beautiful Franklin park, hosts several special events throughout the year and operates the Children’s Underground, an interactive learning center which offers museum-related educational activities and programs for children ages 5 to 15. Don’t forget to stop by the Museum Soda Fountain for ice cream treats and other fountain favorites in a functioning replica of a late 1930s Art Deco soda fountain furnished with salvaged and restored parts of authentic Yakima soda fountains.
Northern Pacific Railway Museum Originally built by the Northern Pacific Railway in 1911 as the Toppenish Railroad Depot, the Northern Pacific Railway Museum opened in 1992. Offering caboose rides during special events, depot and engine tours and educational programs, the museum is dedicated to promoting the significance of the railroad to the Yakima Valley’s history. The museum features western art shows, music festivals, and seasonal celebrations such as Haunted Train and Pumpkin event and Toy Train Christmas.
McAllister Museum of Aviation The original McAllister Flight School operated for 73 years in Yakima, becoming the oldest continuously operating flight school in the Northwest. Now a museum of aviation, dedicated members share their passion with the community by bringing vintage aircraft and aircraft with historical significance to the Yakima Valley. The museum contains memorabilia of early flight, including displays of nose art popular on World War II fighter planes.
Central Washington Agricultural Museum Founded in the mid-1970's by several prominent farming families, the Central Washington Agricultural Museum's 17-acre park features a wide variety of exhibits and farming equipment that teaches younger generations what farming life was like over a century ago. The museum hosts annual events, equipment demonstrations, and has facilities available for public use.
American Hop Museum The Yakima Valley is one of the largest hop producers in the world, and the American Hop Museum is located in right in the heart of the Valley’s hop fields. Plan a visit to learn more about the unique history of Yakima’s hop industry or reserve the museum for a special event.
Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center Fashioned after an ancient Yakama winter lodge, the Center preserves the history of the Yakama Nation people in one of the oldest Native American Museums and shares Yakama beadwork and regalia in the unique gift shop. Visit life-size dwellings of the Valley’s Plateau People and learn and explore detailed dioramas and exhibits that tell the story of the Yakama people. Grab lunch at the Heritage Inn Restaurant, catch live storytelling performances, find Native American literature at the Yakama Nation Library, and make plans to attend events hosted throughout the year, such as the Yakama Nation Treaty Days Parade and Pow Wow Celebration.
Yakima’s North Front Street Historic District Home to vibrant new boutiques, signature downtown restaurants and a modern, upscale wine bar, the Old North Yakima Historic District on North Front Street, captures the character of the city in its earliest days. The cobblestone street and beautifully restored historic buildings offer a glimpse into the past, as well as fantastic shopping and dining.
The Capitol Theatre Yakima’s grand, historic vaudeville theater is listed in the National Register of Historic Sites. Home to more than 150 events each year, the theatre features touring Broadway musicals, including the traditional Best of Broadway series, as well as sassy and irreverent Broadway on the Edge performances, children’s programming, performances by the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, the Yakima Symphony Orchestra Choir, and the Town Hall lecture series.
Toppenish Murals The city of Toppenish, just 30 minutes southeast of Yakima, features one of the Northwest's leading attractions with more than 70 large outdoor murals depicting the area's history and culture between 1850 and 1950.
With four seasons of sunshine and starry nights, Yakima County is home to numerous outdoor venues that let you make the most of the climate and the beautiful landscape. From nature preserves and wildlife viewing areas, to Arboretum and Greenway spaces and the many parks found throughout the Valley, you’ll always find a new way to enjoy the outdoors.
Yakima Area Arboretum The Arboretum is a living museum of plants and trees, both exotic and those native to Central Washington’s semiarid climate. Stroll through the 46 acres to view more than 2,000 specimens on land adjoining the Yakima River’s riparian habitat. Lovingly maintained by dedicated stewards and supported by local members, the Arboretum is intended to create a foundation for the Yakima community, providing inspiration through convenient access to beautiful landscapes. The grounds are open every day from dawn until dusk. The Arboretum hosts classes and workshops and several annual events, including an Arbor Day festival, a spring plant sale, Autumn Bounty celebration, and the Holiday Luminaria.
Yakima GreenwayThe Greenway, which runs through the arboretum, is another facet of Yakima County’s abundant outdoor experiences with convenient access for all. The privately funded Greenway stretches from Selah Gap to Union Gap and west along the Naches River. Thanks to the work of the Yakima Greenway Foundation and others throughout the community, the Greenway is preserved as a living resource for future generations, providing more than ten miles of paved pathways connecting parks, river access landings, nature trails, fishing lakes and protected natural areas. The Greenway is home to several annual events, including Case of the Blues and All That Jazz, the Gap2Gap relay, and Rock the Gap.
State Fair ParkHome to two important venues, the Yakima Valley Sundome and the Yakima County Stadium, State Fair Park is located in the city of Yakima. Don’t miss the Central Washington State Fair in September and enjoy year-round sporting events, concerts, trade shows and community events. Catch a baseball game during the Yakima Bears Baseball Club’s summer season at Yakima County Stadium.
Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park Created as a national historic preserve, the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park near Vantage, along the Columbia River, is a registered national landmark consisting of three areas: The Heritage Area houses the park's Interpretive Center, the Natural Area has a hiking and interpretive trail, and the Wanapum Recreation Area. Visit the park for recreational activities, including picnicking, hiking, fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming, and camping. Just below the Interpretive Center you’ll find a collection of rare Native American petroglyphs.
Fort Simcoe State Park Located in the Cascade Mountain foothills in an old oak grove watered by natural springs, Fort Simcoe State Park is on the Yakama Indian Nation Reservation. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the park features a wealth of interpretive opportunities, exploring mid-19th century Army life and telling the story of culture clashes between the local Native American people and settlers who vied for the Yakama territory.
Mount Rainier National ParkThis National Park abuts Yakima County and is one of Washington State’s treasures. With an elevation of 13,211 feet, Mount Rainier is a mountain climber’s dream. It is the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 states with 26 major glaciers, and provides a spectacular backdrop for the Yakima Valley.
Parks and Wildlife Areas Visit one of the 35 community and neighborhood parks in the city of Yakima, as well as parks in neighboring communities from Selah to Grandview and Toppenish. Plan a visit to one of the many wildlife areas to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. For more information on wildlife viewing in our region, click here.
Just a short drive from Yakima, find unique cultural experiences, from the Stonehenge Memorial and rare petroglyphs at the nearby Maryhill Museum, to workshops with world-renowned signing chimpanzees. There’s always something new to share.
Yakima Valley TrolleysCatch a ride on an historic trolley along America’s last intact, early 20th century electric rail line. Yakima Valley Trolleys offer scheduled rides in Yakima from late May through Labor Day. Think about renting or chartering a trolley for a special occasion, plan a visit to the holiday Santa Trolley, or view the museum collection.
Maryhill Museum Plan a trip to one of the Northwest’s most fascinating cultural destinations just a little more than an hour away on 6,000 acres overlooking the Columbia River. View a world-class collection of art at the Maryhill Museum of Art and rare petroglyph and pictograph displays on the Temani Pesh-wa Trail. Stop at the Stonehenge Memorial and hike through hillsides blanketed with wildflowers.
Hillside Desert Botanical Gardens View more than 20 gardens of winter hardy desert plants that thrive in Yakima’s semiarid climate. Enjoy the magnificent displays of cactus and succulents. Bloom times run from late April to July.