Last Updated on October 4, 2022 by admin
Walla Walla is one of my favorite destinations in Washington State! The city is packed full of wineries, historic buildings, and excellent restaurants. There are over 120 wineries in the Walla Walla Wine Valley, so if you like wine tasting, there’s a lot of ground to cover. In addition to some of the state’s best wineries, there’s also a number of historical sites and gorgeous outdoor recreational opportunities. Walla Walla is known as “the town so nice, they named it twice!” In this post, I’m sharing 25 things to do in Walla Walla.
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About Walla Walla
Walla Walla Valley is Washington’s second American Viticultural Area (AVA). There are over 120 wineries in Walla Walla, so wine enthusiasts from all over the world travel to Walla Walla to do wine tastings. The Walla Walla Valley is comprised of 6 different wine districts: Westside, Downtown, Airport, Eastside, Southside, and Oregon.
Walla Walla’s historic downtown has been rated as one of the Best Main Streets. For a list of all of Walla Walla’s accolades, including “America’s Best Wine Region” and “Great American Main Street Award”, click here.
The name Walla Walla is an indigenous term meaning Many Waters. When Lewis and Clark arrived, the Native Americans told them that they called the river Wallah Wallah. Lewis and Clark then named the tribe the Walla Walla. Later, a trading post was named Fort Walla Walla. Today, Walla Walla is the name of the city as well as the valley.
25 Best Things to Do in Walla Walla
We’ll start this list off with wines, but after that, we’re sharing 25 amount of things to do in Walla Walla other than wine tasting!
Map of Activities
Here’s a map we created of the various activities in Walla Walla:
1. Take a Wine Tour
There are over 120 picturesque wineries and tasting rooms to visit in Walla Walla. Many of the wineries have unique theming. Some will make you feel like you’re in Tuscany, while others celebrate Rock-n-Roll. Some of my favorite wineries in Walla Walla include Va Piano Vineyards, Long Shadows, Valdemar Estates, Sleight of Hand Cellars, and Castillo de Feliciana. (Check out our full article on our 10 Favorite Wineries in Walla Walla for full descriptions!)
The best way to visit multiple wineries in one day is to book a wine tour. When you book a tour, you’ll have a sober driver so that everyone in your party can participate in wine tasting. (This is perfect for bachelorette parties, family vacations, and romantic getaways.) If you book this wine tour, you’ll be able to customize your tour so that you can choose which wineries to visit. I took a wine tour with several of my friends and it was such a fun experience!
2. Pioneer Park
940 E Alder St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Pioneer Park is Walla Walla’s oldest park. It was established in 1902 and is one of Walla Walla’s most popular parks. In addition to lots of green space, the park offers walking trails, a large playground, and sports fields. Be sure to check out their pickleball court!
While you’re at Pioneer Park, check out the Memorial Rose Garden, which is maintained by the Walla Walla Rose Society. Also be sure to stop by the newly remodeled Pioneer Park Aviary. Travelers have reported ducks, waterfowl, and peacocks at the aviary.
Pioneer Park also has ponds, a restored wedding fountain, and a historic bandstand. The park is a great place to explore and enjoy a sunny day. The park is located about a mile east from the downtown area. There’s restrooms and parking available.
3. Downtown Farmers Market
106 W Main St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Walla Walla is an agricultural hub. The region is known for its production of wheat, sweet onions, grapes, and potatoes. One of the best ways to experience Walla Walla’s agricultural harvest is to attend the Farmers Market. The Downtown Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays during the warmer season. (See their schedule here, which tends to run from May through October). Be sure to buy some Walla Walla Sweet Onions if they’re in season! We bought a bag of onions on our last trip and they were so delicious. We actually enjoyed the onions raw because they were so sweet! We added them to our burgers and
4. Maple Counter Cafe
209 E Alder St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Have an epic breakfast at Maple Counter Cafe. Whether you’re planning a full day of wine tasting or outdoor recreation, you’ll want to have a solid breakfast before starting the day. After seeing hundreds of reviews about the Maple Counter Cafe, we had to check it out. I ordered the Apple Pancake, one of the house specialties, and it was massive! (Tip: I recommend sharing this one!)
5. Explore the Historic Downtown
38 E Main St Suite 101, Walla Walla, WA 99362 (recommended starting place)
Walla Walla’s Main Street is absolutely beautiful. You’ll find well-maintained historic buildings and old lamp posts. The downtown area is actually a National Register Historic District. (Officially listed in 2021!) You really get a sense that you’re traveling back in time. Some of the oldest buildings actually date back to 1869. For a detailed description of the various buildings, click here.
There are over 30 tasting rooms downtown, which means that it’s super convenient to visit multiple wineries within walking distance of hotels like the Marcus Whitman Hotel or The FINCH. We really enjoyed wine tasting at Barons, and we’ve also heard good things about Seven Hills Winery. Plumb Cellars was definitely a popular gathering place. They offer wine slushies, and they often also have live music!
My favorite store in the downtown area was the bookstore. (No surprise there!) Book & Game was right on the corner on Main Street, and we picked up a few books and some board games for future game nights. (We really like the UNLOCK! series, which is like an escape room you can puzzle through at home.)
We enjoyed walking through the downtown area during the early evenings. We visited during the summer, and there were lots of fresh flower baskets, which really added to the charm of the downtown area.
6. Outdoor Sculptures
Walla Walla has dozens of outdoor sculptures. You can see the city of Walla Walla’s outdoor sculpture walk here. Some examples of sculptures include “A Delicate Balance” (2005) by Wayne Chabre and Jeanne McMenemy, “A Farmer’s Prayer” (2017) by Jeffrey Hill, and “The Thinker” (2002) by Ralph Tretheway.
Whitman College also has an outdoor sculpture walk. The self-guided walk showcases 21 different outdoor sculptures.
7. Visit the Marcus Whitman Hotel
6 W Rose St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Even if you’re not staying at the Marcus Whitman Hotel, it’s worth visiting just to see the historic lobby. The hotel was opened in 1928, and it has retained much of the original decor and furniture from that era. The terrazo floor was completely restored to its original condition. (If you’re a Disney fan, it reminded me of a not-so-scary Tower of Terror vibe!) The hotel has won numerous awards, including Hotel of the Year by the Washington State Wine Commission. It’s also the tallest building in the city, so you can’t miss it!
The Marcus Whitman Hotel has several tasting rooms conveniently located within the hotel itself, including Lodmell Cellars, Mansion Creek Cellars, L’Ecole Heritage Wine Bar, and Locati Cellars. (Tip: The L’Ecole Heritage Wine Bar is open later than most tasting rooms in Walla Walla, so it’s a great place to stop by after an early dinner!)
The hotel also has a fine dining restaurant, called the Marc Restaurant. We dined there on our first evening and really enjoyed the food.
Finally, on the second floor there is an art gallery with 35 paintings by Dave Manuel. The paintings depict the life history of Marcus Whitman and his family.
For booking information at the Marcus Whitman, click here.
8. Heritage Square Park
116 E Main St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
At the time of this writing (2022), Heritage Square Park in downtown Walla Walla is undergoing a redesign. The new park will feature gathering areas, a water feature for youth, and a stage area for performances. See more about the plan and updates here.
9. Bright’s Candies
11 E Main St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
During our visit to Walla Walla, it was clear that Bright’s Candies was a very popular store downtown. The store has been operating since 1934! In addition to selling candies and gourmet confections, they sell ice cream. It was the perfect treat for us after a day of wine tasting! (Buying a box of chocolates also makes for a great souvenir!)
10. Fort Walla Walla Museum
755 NE Myra Rd, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Fort Walla Walla is a 19th century military fort, and the Fort Walla Walla Museum is dedicated to preserving its history. The museum features a 17-building pioneer settlement, 5 exhibit halls, several gardens, and a gift shop. The fort was an active military base from 1856 to 1910.
The museum features a stagecoach, exhibits about the Oregon Trail, and the oldest locomotive to operate in Washington State (the Blue Mountain). There’s also an exhibit on the Washington State Penitentiary (including an original bucket cell from the jail).
11. Whitman College Campus
345 Boyer Ave, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Whitman College is a liberal arts college in Walla Walla. The college was founded in 1859 and boasts a small student to faculty ratio.
12. Whitman Mission National Historic Site
328 Whitman Mission Rd, Walla Walla, WA 99362
The life and death of the Whitmans is explored at the Whitman Mission Museum. The Whitmans created a mission at the site, and Marcus Whitman learned the Cayuse language in order to communicate with the local tribe. The Whitman Mission was an important stop along the Oregon Trail, and tensions with the Cayuse began to rise as more and more settlers arrived to the valley. In 1847, 11 members of the Whitman Mission were killed by members from the Cayuse tribe. The National Historic Sites explores the meeting of two cultures.
13. Gesa Powerhouse Theatre
111 N 6th Ave, Walla Walla, WA 99362
The Gesa Powerhouse Theatre resides in a 120-year-old building that used to be a gas plant. Today, you can watch live performances. You can check out their calendar here.
14. Kirkman House Museum
214 N Colville St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
The Kirkman House Museum is a well-preserved historic Victorian Italianate mansion in Walla Walla. Construction on the house began in 1879 and housed the Kirkman Family. The Kirkman family was wealthy due to the ranching business. Their home was the grandest in the region. The house is unique due to its Italianate brick style during a period of history in which construction of brick homes was rare. (It’s actually the second-oldest brick building in all of Walla Walla.) The house has a rich 130-year history. In addition to being a family home, it was also used as a dormitory for Whitman College, an apartment home, and now a museum. At the time of this writing, the museum is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10am to 2pm. An adult admission ticket is $10. Check the museum’s website for current information.
15. Frenchtown Historic Site
8364 Old Hwy 12, Walla Walla, WA 99362
The Frenchtown Historic Site marks the site where 19th-century settlers and Native Americans lived in Walla Walla Valley. Many of the settlers were French Canadian, hence the name. It also marks the location of the Battle of Walla Walla. You can learn more about the history here.
16. 1st Avenue Plaza
The idea for the 1st Avenue Plaza began in 2020 during the covid-19 pandemic. The city wanted to offer citizens an outdoor space to gather, and so they closed down one of the city’s side streets to create a public plaza. You can read more about the renovation here. The city worked with the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute to incorporate indigenous elements into the design, as the area was a gathering place for the Cayuse and Walla Walla people. The new plaza will be named Walawàla Plaza.
17. Veterans Memorial Pool
505 E Rees Ave, Walla Walla, WA 99362
The Veterans Memorial Pool is an outdoor aquatics center. The center has swimming lanes, a splash pad, and some waterslides. At the time of this writing, an adult entry pass is $6.
18. Washington Park
700 W Cherry St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Washington Park is a great place for families to spend a warm summer day. The park has a splash pad, playground, walking trails, soccer fields, and basketball courts.
19. Divots Golf
519 W Main St, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Try your hand at virtual golf at Divots Golf. You’ll be able to play golf year-round regardless of the weather. You can also choose from more than 100 golf courses around the world to play on.
20. Outdoor Golf
If you like to play golf, you can choose between Veterans Memorial Golf Course and Wine Valley Golf Club.
21. Children’s Museum of Walla Walla
77 Wainwright Dr, Walla Walla, WA 99362
The Children’s Museum of Walla Walla has indoor and outdoor exhibits designed for interactive play. Some examples of the exhibits include a toddler room, light room, building room, farm produce room, and doctor’s office.
22. Museum of Un-Natural History
4 & 1/2 West Main over Tallman’s, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Looking for a unique experience? Check out the Museum of Un-Natural History. You’ll see all sorts of creative and unconventional works.
23. Arthur G. Rempel Nature Trail
755 NE Myra Rd, Walla Walla, WA 99362
The Arthur G. Rempel Nature Trail is located in the Fort Walla Walla Natural Area. There’s a series of trails that are relatively flat and total about 1.5 miles. We always recommend carrying the 10 essentials whenever you go hiking.
24. Attend a Wine Event
Throughout the year, Walla Walla hosts wine events. You might be especially interested in attending the Spring Release Weekend, the Fall Release, the Walla Walla Wine Walk, and the Holiday Barrel Tasting. See the full event schedule here.
25. Blend Your Own Wine
1736 J B George Rd, Walla Walla, WA 99362
After learning all about wine during your visit to Walla Walla, try blending your own! Northstar Winery offers wine blending experiences. You can read more information here.
Walla Walla with Kids
Although Walla Walla is known for its wine tasting, there’s plenty of things to do with children.
Here’s some ideas:
- Visit the Veterans Memorial Pool and go swimming
- Visit the Children’s Museum of Walla Walla
- Get ice cream at Bright’s Candies
- Visit the Fort Walla Walla Museum
- Play indoor golf at Divots
- Visit the aviary at Pioneer Park
There’s also several activities just outside of the city of Walla Walla that are worth visiting. These include:
- Tamastslikt Cultural Institute: Learn all about the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla Tribes.
- Boldman House Museum: Visit a Victorian home built in 1880.
- Dayton Historic Depot: Visit the railroad depot and museum.
- Blue Mountain Lavender Farm: Stroll through lavender fields and buy lavender products.
- Palus Museum: See artifacts from the Palus tribe.
How to Get to Walla Walla
Walla Walla is located in the southeastern portion of Washington State.
Walla Walla is about 261 miles east from Seattle. (It’s about a 4 to 4.5-hour drive depending on traffic.)
Walla Walla is about 153 miles south of Spokane. (That’s about a 2.5 to 3-hour drive.)
And, Walla Walla is very close to the Oregon border. (One of our servers told us that she prefers to get her gas in Oregon so she doesn’t have to pump it herself.) The state line is just about a 10 minute drive south of Walla Walla. Walla Walla is about 3.5 to 4 hours away from Portland, Oregon.
You can also fly into Walla Walla Regional Airport (ALW). The flight from Seattle to Walla Walla is just a little over an hour long.
Where to Stay in Walla Walla
There are lots of unique places to stay in Walla Walla. Here are some ideas:
- The Finch: This hotel is centrally located downtown. This new hotel has fresh rooms and lots of outdoor gathering areas.
- Eritage Resort: This luxurious resort has countryside views, a fine dining restaurant, and beautiful guest rooms.
- Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center: The Marcus Whitman is the tallest building in Walla Walla. The historic hotel has decor from the 1930s and is centrally located. We stayed here during our last visit to Walla Walla, and we really enjoyed it. We’d definitely recommend it to others!
- Cameo Heights Mansion: This luxurious bed and breakfast is located in the nearby town of Touchet. The mansion is adults-only and features uniquely-styled rooms, a pool, and a fine dining restaurant. This location would be perfect for a romantic getaway!
- The Inn at Abeja: If you want to stay at a winery, check out the Inn at Abeja. This winery has cute cottages and suites.
For a full list of accommodations in Walla Walla, click here. (There are dozens of properties to choose from!)
We also wrote an article going into more depth about places to stay in Walla Walla. Click here to read the full article.
What to Pack for a Trip to Walla Walla
Here are a few things we recommend that you bring with you:
- Comfortable walking shoes: Don’t plan on wearing heels or anything uncomfortable. Many of the wineries have gravel or dirt paths, so you’ll want to wear something comfortable. If you’re visiting during the summer months, I recommend a good pair of sandals.
- Power Bank: We always keep a fully-charged power bank with us while we’re out exploring. That way, if our phone battery is running low, we can easily plug it in and re-charge on the go. We rely on our phones heavily for navigation and photography, so this product is a must for us.
- Notebook: During our last trip to Walla Walla, we brought a notebook to take notes of the different wines we tried. We wrote down the different labels, types of wine, and our impressions. It was really fun to compare notes! (And it also helped us to remember our favorite wines to look for at home!)
- Sun Hat: Don’t forget sun protection while you’re visiting the different wineries!
- Small crossbody purse: To easily carry your identification and credit cards.
(Click on any of the above images for shipping and pricing information.)
Summary: Our Adventure in Walla Walla
I’ve been to Walla Walla twice: once with my friends for a bachelorette party, and once with my husband for a weekend getaway. I’ve truly enjoyed the city during both visits, and I’ll definitely return for my trips. I hope that you enjoy your trip to Walla Walla as well!
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If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in the following posts:
- Our Favorite Wineries in Walla Walla
- Best Places to Stay in Walla Walla
- Our Full Review of Castillo de Feliciana
- Our Stay at the Historic Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla
- Our Experience at Long Shadows Vintners in Walla Walla
- How to Book a Wine Tour in Walla Walla
- Chelan’s Best Wineries
- Full Guide to Woodinville’s Wineries
- 32 Things to Do in Chelan
Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please see individual websites embedded in this post for the most current trip-planning information.
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