From dinosaurs to white water to food, the Yakima Valley is full of fun things to do rain or shine, 365 days a year. If you are looking for something to do with the whole family, a few close friends, or maybe on your own for that all important “me time,” you don’t have to wander far. There are all kinds of things to do in Yakima Valley.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

The Yakima Valley is home food and beverage galore. The area has more fresh and local produce than just about anywhere else nearby due to the abundance of farms in the area. Needless to say, you’ll have no trouble finding restaurants to try, from breakfast to burger joints to must-try restaurants. Don’t like wine? No worries. Yakima has got you covered there too. The area is the country’s top producer of hops, which means breweries flourish in the area too!

Yakama sportsman park
Wetlands like these also serve as a sanctuary for many types of birds, and are popular with birdwatchers. Photo courtesy: Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission

Yakima Sportsman State Park

904 University Parkway, Yakima

If you are looking to get out into nature, the Yakima Sportsman State Park is perfect. Boasting 266 acres of nature’s finest, including ponds, lakes, rivers, wetlands, forest and green spaces, it has something for everyone. The park is a wonderful place for bird watching. Whether you are an ornithologist or just a novice, there are 140 bird species that call the wetlands, ponds and grasses (created by the Yakima River flood plain) home. See extravagant wood duck, herons, hawks and more.

For tree lovers, Yakima Sportsman State Park is a paradise as well. Many species grow here, putting on spectacular displays throughout the seasons. Look for dogwoods, catalpas, chokecherries, and more. Fisherman will also find something to do here, with fishing allowed in the ponds, rivers and lakes.

Yakima Sportsman State Park offers campgrounds, restrooms, hiking trails and picnic areas. There is one kitchen shelter with electricity, plus a few other roofed shelters. Playgrounds for kids, volleyball and horseshoes round out this amazing park.

Be sure to check out the Juan A. Alvarez Outdoor Living Classroom, where visitors can learn more about the wetlands. A Discover Pass is required. The park is open March 1 through November 30 for both camping and day use.

Yakima Area Arboretum

1401 Arboretum Drive, Yakima

The 46-acre Yakima Area Arboretum is full of fun things to do for kids and adults alike. The arboretum has more than 1,000 species of flora, including trees, grasses and shrubs. Aside from walking through the gardens and natural areas, they also have classes and events throughout the year. Take a garden tour, sign your child up for a Nature Day Camp, enroll in the Naturalist Training Program, or attend a plant sale or show. Not sure when to visit? Check out their season highlights list to pick the time of year that interests you the most. The Yakima Area Arboretum is open year-round, seven days a week from dawn to dusk.

Yakima Valley Museum
The Yakima Valley Museum has an extensive collection covering the entire known history of the Yakima Valley. Photo courtesy: Yakima Valley Museum

Yakima Valley Museum

2105 Tieton Drive, Yakima

If you are looking for some local history, then the Yakima Valley Museum is a must. Covering the area’s entire known history – including a section that offers a peek at what the Yakima Valley looked like 10,000 to 25 million years ago – its collection is impressive. Permanent displays include extensive collections of the Yakima Native American tribe, settlers from the 19th century and more. See a collection of horse-drawn vehicles and learn about how the Yakima Valley came to be known as the “fruit bowl of the nation.” View over 10,000 historical clothing items spanning three centuries. For the kids, be sure to check out the Children’s Underground, a hands-on portion of the museum with educational activities. Thirsty? Check out the Museum Soda Fountain, a replica of a 1930s Art Deco soda fountain that is still in operation. While at the museum, take a the short three-block walk to the Gilbert House, a 1898 farmhouse on the National Register of Historic Places.

Yakima Valley Trolleys

306 West Pine Street, Yakima

Take a ride on history with the Yakima Valley Trolleys! Hailed as “America’s last intact, early 20th century, interurban electric railroad,” the trolleys are a fun way to see Yakima and learn some American history at the same time. The rides start from the Yakima Valley Trolley museum, and run Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, May through September. Rides follow the Pine Street or Selah Street lines. Five miles of the original 44-mile track completed in 1913 remains, connecting Yakima to Selah. Before or after your ride, be sure to stop by the museum and check out their collection, that includes seven streetcars. They also have original line maps and buildings, including the carbarn and powerhouse, from the 1900s. There are sometimes special events, such as a Christmas Trolley with Santa, so check their upcoming events calendar for up-to-date information. Trolley rides are subject to change, check the website or call before going.

Whitewater rafting in Yakima
Rafting the Tieton River is something you won’t soon forget with your amazing guides from Wildwater River Guides. Photo courtesy: Wildwater River Guides

Tieton River Whitewater Rafting

If you are looking for something exhilarating, check out the Tieton River with WildWater River Guides. This class III+ river will give you an adventure of a lifetime. The river is a late summer rafting trip dream. WildWater River Guides has all the gear you need and the highest certified guides, so you can be sure you are safe. Come by yourself and make new friends, or plan a group trip for your birthday, business or just for fun.

Central Washington Agricultural Museum

4508 Main Street, Union Gap

Union Gap is a fun town to visit simply for its history – it’s one of two towns in Washington State that still operates under its original territorial charter of the “Washington Territory.” It follows that it would also have an impressive museum, the Central Washington Agricultural Museum. Started by one man’s vision to preserve the agriculture heritage in the area, the museum sits on 15 acres leased to them by the town. Created with an Old West feel, it is constructed of semi-open buildings to house exhibits. Large farm equipment is displayed on circling terraces between a windmill and the ring of buildings. They have over 150 antique tractors and 1,000 pieces of historic machinery. There are cabins, farmsteads and even a boxcar to explore. Volunteers create active demonstrations on how the tools were used. Walking and driving tours are available. There is also hiking available on the acreage beyond the museum, making it a great stop to stretch your legs or to spend the day with the family. Throughout the year, the museum holds special events, check its calendar for more information.

Granger Dinosaurs
Granger’s stegosaurus is located at Hisey “Dinosaur” Park. This dinosaur was built during the 1994 Dino-N-A-Day event. Photo credit: Nancy Mortensen, City of Granger

Dinosaur Town

Main Street, Granger

If you are looking for something a little different to explore, head to Granger and check out its prehistoric residents. Part of a main street revitalization project in 1994, the Granger Public Works Department was put in charge of creating dinosaurs. The first was a baby brontosaurus. Now, there are 32 dinosaurs throughout Granger, giving it the name “Dinosaur Town.” Each year, on the first Saturday in June at Hisey “Dinosaur” Park, they hold Dino-N-A-Day, where attendees get to help create the next dino to join the town. While many of the dinosaurs are in parks, look for the T-Rex coming out of the Public Works building at 503 Main Street.

To see the Dinosaurs, just head to Main Street in Granger and drive. You can’t miss them! Stopping at the parks for photo ops, a bathroom stop at Hisey Park (just look for the volcano, that’s the bathroom!) or even a picnic is a great thing to do as well.

Things to do in Yakima Valley Teapot Sevice Station
This cute service station has a deep history and is a fun place to visit. Photo credit: City of Zillah

Teapot Gas Station

117 First Avenue, Zillah

A short stop for the history buff or maybe even a tea fan, is this adorable Teapot Gas Station. In 1922, Jack Ainsworth built the teapot gas station in response to the Teapot Dome Oil Scandal in Wyoming. Once built, the teapot gas station operated like a regular station, and was run by Ainsworth, who also owned the Old Dalton Trading Co. General Country Store next door. When I-82 took over its original location, the teapot was moved to its current location. It is now a visitor’s center with historical information and products. It is located in Teapot Dome Memorial Park, along with Fallen Firefighter Memorial and the Zillah Veterans Memorial.

Toppenish Murals


Those who love art will love spending a day in Toppenish looking at the Toppenish Murals. The first mural was commissioned in 1989, as part of Washington’s centennial celebration. The wall-sized mural was painted in just one day by several artists and is titled “Clearing the Land.” The Mural Society was formed soon after and since then, 78 murals have been added to the town. Each year, on the first Saturday in June, you can come and watch the Mural-In-A-Day celebration, where they will paint an entire mural in one day – it might be the only time watching paint dry is fun. You can also see the murals via horse-drawn covered wagon. For tours, call 509-697-8995 or email Check out this map of the Toppenish Mural locations.

Yakama Nation Museum

Spiel-yi Loop, Toppenish

Those interested in Native American history cannot miss the Yakama Nation Museum & Cultural Center. Located in Toppenish, they have the museum, as well as the Yakama Nation Library, Heritage Theater and Winter Lodge. The 12,000-square foot museum focuses on the history of the Yakima Native American tribe. It is one of the oldest Native American museums in the United States. The exhibit is expansive and thorough. Be sure to check out the Winter Lodge, a Yakima Nation building that stands 75 feet tall and holds conventions, trade shows, exhibits, celebrations and more. Its design is worth a look. The Heritage Theater shows popular films, film festivals, performing arts and conferences. Don’t forget a stop at the gift shop, full of plateau arts and crafts made from Yakima artists as well as other Native American art. Each of the buildings, including the gift shop, has its own hours. To see up-to-date hours for each one, check their website.

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