Fondly referred to as the “Palm Springs of Washington”, Yakima Valley gets over 300 days of sun a year. Which makes it no surprise that the area is rich in hops, grapes, and produce (over 1,000 varieties of produce are grown here). There are over 120 wineries in this region, making it a perfect weekend wine getaway from Seattle or the Eastern side of the state (the city of Yakima sits exactly half-way between Seattle and Walla Walla). But there’s so much more than wine here – fantastic restaurants, endless hops fields, and incredible produce make this a great place for any food lover to spend a few days.
-Where to Stay-
The Hotel Maison is the perfect mix of modern convenience with historic elegance. Built in 1911, it’s located right in the center of downtown Yakima and is the perfect home base for your Yakima Valley getaway. You can easily walk to the Downtown Farmer’s Markets, restaurants, bars, and shops. Complimentary continental breakfast is offered daily.
-Where to Play-
The Downtown Yakima Farmer’s Market is an incredible collection of food producers, artisan makers, flower stands, buskers, and other delights. I was astounded by so much fresh produce for sale here. There are lots of farms and fruits and vegetables grown in Walla Walla where we live, but there were even more here. More types of tomatoes than I could imagine and massive bouquets lined the streets, along with so much more. Open Sunday from 9am – 1pm, May 23rd – October 10th.
Washington Fruit Place & Gifts at Barrett Orchards offers freshly harvested fruits, local gifts and home decor, and a scoop shop on-site with locally made ice cream. It’s owned and run by husband and wife team Mark and Cheryl Barrett, and they were kind enough to give us a tour of the apple orchard where the shop sits.
Apple Valley Emporium (or AVE) is a community-focused natural wine and skate shop in the heart of Yakima. A beautifully curated selection of low intervention wines, magazines from around the world, and some very cool merch make this a must-visit, even if you’re not a skateboard enthusiast (and if you are, you definitely can’t miss this)! I am super excited to get into the canned piquettes we picked up here!
-Where to Eat-
Los Hernández has a cult following. I’ve heard stories of people driving hundreds of miles to load up coolers full of their tamales (they offer fresh and frozen, and many will make the drive to eat them fresh and also stock up on the frozen ones). I had the pleasure of meeting Felipe Hernández a few years back and while we enjoyed fresh asparagus tamales (a seasonal favorite), he told me how he started this business over 30 years ago selling his sister’s handmade tamales door to door from a cooler. Don’t let this modest story fool you; Los Hernández was awarded a James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award in 2018.
Hoptown Pizza is serving up some serious wood-fired goodness in the Yakima Valley, y’all! I could sit and watch them pull pizzas out of the oven all day. They have your classics here but are also mixing it up with unique pies highlighting local ingredients (we got to try a pizza with peaches they were working on when we visited and I was blown away). They offer an extensive tap list and a killer outdoor area, too.
A chef-driven menu with incredibly seasonal fare is what you’ll find at Crafted, and everything we had here was exceptional. The menu is extremely creative and changes daily. We sat at the chef’s table and I highly recommend it so you can watch the symphony of beautiful plates and desserts being assembled. We enjoyed:Kusshi Oysters with Watermelon Jalapeno Mignonette + Orange “Chicken of the Woods”, Yakima Nation Fried Sturgeon + Crispy Pork Curry and their take on s’mores for dessert.
Located inside the old Train Depot downtown, Main Stop on the Ave. is serving up hearty, homestyle breakfasts combining Mexican ingredients with American cuisine. I opted for their monster breakfast sandwich and it did not disappoint. You will not leave here hungry!
This historic building that houses Main Stop on the Ave. also has a darling coffee shop in it. Don’t miss North Town Coffeehouse for great lattes and photo ops.
Javi’s Chicken and Churros was utterly delicious and just the thing we needed after three action-packed days. It’s actually about 40 minutes east of Yakima; still in the Yakima Valley but a bit of a drive if you’re staying in the city of Yakima (and on your way home if you’re headed east to Walla Walla like we were). We came at the end of the lunch rush and were dismayed to hear they were out of chicken, but couldn’t have been happier with the tacos and birria ramen we opted for instead.
-Where to Drink-
Gilbert Cellars has long been one of my favorite wineries (and if you follow me on social media, you probably already know that). Their absolutely stunning tasting room, fantastic staff, and delicious wines make it very hard not to love. It’s family-owned by the best people you’ll ever meet, and the grounds could not be more beautiful.
Owen Roe has been crafting wines in the Pacific Northwest since 1999. Their tasting room is lovely, and hundreds of wine barrels stacked inside and out make for a special experience where you feel very close to the winemaking. We were lucky enough to visit during harvest and got to actually see grapes coming and being processed. They gave us a tour of the winemaking facility, and told us if you call ahead they can usually make arrangements for any guest to do this.
Two Mountain Winery is family-owned and they have been farming the Yakima Valley for four generations. 100% of their wines are estate-grown. Located in the Rattlesnake Hills of the Yakima Valley, we enjoyed outstanding wines and service here. If you sit inside you’ll literally be in their barrel room (so cool) or you can sit outside and take in the beautiful hills.
Treveri Cellars has long been a favorite of mine. Enjoy their champagne-method sparkling wines by the glass, in a flight, or in a sparkling wine cocktail. They produce an impressive collection of sparkling wines (including non-traditional varieties like Riseling and Müller-Thurgau). Their outdoor tasting space has the perfect backdrop of vineyards and rolling hills for sipping on some bubbles (which is my favorite pastime). Hungry from all that wine tasting? Treveri offers cheese plates, sandwiches, salads, and more for noshing.
This was my first visit to J. Bell Cellars and I was captivated by the incredible outdoor tasting space and delicious wines. Enjoy the farm animals, a koi pond (you can feed them), and lavender fields as you taste through their wines (which have no added color, tannins, or yeast). There are endless photo opportunities here as well as a restaurant on site, Il Grasso (which we heard from locals is amazing, sadly it wasn’t open the day we were there).
As much as we (clearly) love wine, we would have been remiss not to visit at least one brewery in Yakima Valley, where 75% of the United States’ hops are grown. Bale Breaker Brewing sits in the middle of a hop field and boasts an incredible indoor and outdoor seating area. The beer is (obviously) wonderful here, but I also have to mention their Lime Agave Ranch Water hard seltzer – to die for. Bale Breaker is great for families and often has food trucks on site.
Yvette Lippert says
Thank you for coming to the Yakima Valley and showing just a few of many gems we have here.
Stephanie Forrer says
Thanks so much for reading! We loved our time in the Yakima Valley and will definitely be back soon!