by Visit Walla Walla
As the unofficial capital of Washington wine country, Walla Walla is home to more than 120 wineries, a nationally recognized culinary scene, access to an abundance of outdoor recreation, and an arts & entertainment scene that rivals cities many times its size. This community of just over 30,000 residents is known for many things, including its friendliness and hospitality, the quality of its wine, and of course the famous Walla Walla Sweet Onion. Walla Walla is an easy and scenic four-hour drive from Seattle, Portland, or Boise and can be accessed via Alaska Airlines daily non-stop flights from Seattle.
Yes this post is supposed to be about things to explore in Walla Walla other than wine, but exploring wine is so fun we couldn’t leave it out. Thanks to a truly unique combination of climate, character, charm, and culture, the Walla Walla Valley has transformed into one of the finest wine regions in the world, with more than 120 wineries that call it home. Our wineries and tasting rooms are distributed across five districts: Downtown, Westside, Southside, Eastside, and the Airport. Each region has its own distinct feel, yet all combine to make Walla Walla Valley a wine country unmatched.
As some of the country’s most talented winemakers have flocked to Walla Walla to start their own wineries, chefs from Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and other culinary capitals have followed to offer gourmet fare with a farm-to-table twist. Whether it’s fine dining or a casual meal, breakfast at the café, or an evening at the wine bar, there’s something in Walla Walla for every palate. Add in a growing number of breweries and distilleries, and you can see why Sunset Magazine has called Walla Walla one of its favorite small-town foodie havens.
From exquisite resorts and comfortable hotels, to charming B&Bs and historic guest houses, Walla Walla has plenty of options to rest, recharge, and relax during your stay. Some of Walla Walla’s most notable accommodations blend historic properties with modern convenience, including the Marcus Whitman Hotel and The Inn at Abeja. The romantic Cameo Heights Mansion west of town provides a secluded retreat for couples, while the brand new Eritage marks the region’s first true luxury wine country resort.
Arts & Culture
With one-of-a-kind theaters, unique museums, one of the country’s top bronze foundries, public art displays throughout the region, and the longest continually running symphony west of the Mississippi, Walla Walla is as fertile ground for culture as it is for grapes. The renovated Gesa Power House Theatre – converted from a former Walla Walla gas plant – created a historic venue for live theater, musicals, and other live shows. The Little Theatre of Walla Walla, Whitman College’s Harper Joy Theatre, Walla Walla University, and Walla Walla Community College all provide performances throughout the year and make for a great evening activity during your trip. A host of acclaimed, award-winning musicians transform every summer and winter into an ongoing musical experience. Founded in 1907, the Walla Walla Symphony’s season runs from September through May. Every January and June, the music of the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, fills the wineries, streets, tasting rooms, and other unique venues of Walla Walla.
Walla Walla’s mild and dry climate makes it an ideal destination all year long to hit the links – especially for those who are interested in playing one of Washington’s best courses. Wine Valley Golf Club was ranked by Golf Magazine as No. 5 on their list of Best New Golf Courses in the country, and GolfWeek has ranked it No. 2 for Courses You Can Play in Washington. Golfer’s can extend their golf trip with rounds at five other golf courses within an hour’s drive of town, including Veteran’s Memorial Golf Course and the Walla Walla Country Club.
Beloved for the rural farm roads that meander through rolling wheat fields, Walla Walla is celebrated as one of Washington’s top road cycling destinations. The nearby Blue Mountains offer experienced riders steep climbs and sharp turns to attack, while the flat lands and paved trails that run through Walla Walla’s historic neighborhoods and farmlands are perfect for cruising.
During the annual spring and fall migrations, birders flock to Walla Walla to marvel at the more than 300 bird species that call the area home. The nearby McNary Wildlife Refuge and Walla Walla River Delta are two of the best spots to catch a glimpse of the migratory birds as they return to or pass through Walla Walla after wintering in South America or summering in Alaska and Canada.
The history of Walla Walla is a combination of geological marvels, ancestral inhabitants, intrepid explorers, early settlers, and agricultural riches. Fort Walla Walla Museum, Whitman Mission, and the Kirkman House Museum all tell this complex story of days gone by and how that history has formed the Walla Walla of today. Many of the museums host special events, workshops, demonstrations, and seasonal activities that the whole family can enjoy.
While wine remains the top draw in Walla Walla, there’s always something new to discover in Walla Walla. Find your next small town adventure at www.wallawalla.org, or check out our short destination video HERE.