Yakima Community Highlight
Nestled near the center of the state, Yakima, Washington boasts a rich history that includes apples, hops, and agriculture. Today, more than 90,000 people live in Yakima making it the 10th biggest city in Washington.
Yakima is only a few hours away from three of the Pacific Northwest’s biggest cities. It is 142 miles southeast of Seattle and 192 miles southwest of Spokane. It’s also 185 miles northeast of Portland.
The Yakama tribe lived in the valley long before settlers arrived. In 1805, Lewis and Clark were the first explorers to the region. Between 1805 and 1858, relatively small numbers of settlers and missionaries came to the valley. More people arrived after the end of the Yakima Indian Wars in 1858.
Yakima City was officially incorporated in 1883. Several years later, the city moved 4 miles north to be closer to the new Northern Pacific Railroad line. The new settlement was named North Yakima. In 1918, the Washington State Legislature renamed the city “Yakima.” The original site of Yakima City is now Union Gap, Washington.
The 2010 U.S. Census listed Yakima with 91,067 residents. 2015 population estimates suggest that the population has grown to 93,357.
Yakima has warm summers and cold winters. Average summer temperatures range from the high 40s to the high 80s. Average winter temperatures range from the low 20s to the mid-40s. Located in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, Yakima only averages 8 inches of precipitation per year.
Agriculture has always been an important part of Yakima’s economy. Today, the Yakima Valley is one of the world’s top apple producers. It also produces 75% of the hops used in the United States. Manufacturing, wineries, and outdoor recreation also play important roles in the regional economy. The 3 largest employers in Yakima are: the Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, the Yakima School District, and Walmart.
As Washington State’s 10th biggest city, Yakima has a variety of transportation options. For drivers, Interstate 82 and US Route 97 go through Yakima. Also State Route 24 and State Route 821 terminate near the city. Public bus service is offered by Yakima Transit. McAllister Field offers daily Alaska Airlines flights to Seattle
The Yakima Valley has an interesting collection of museums including: the American Hop Museum, the Yakima Valley Museum, and the Northern Pacific Railway Museum. The American Hop Museum chronicles the important role that hops play in American beer making. The Yakima Valley Museum provides educational exhibits on different aspects of regional history. The Northern Pacific Railway Museum is located in the former rail station that helped the region grow in the 1880s.
Yakima Valley also hosts a handful annual events, including: Yakima Folklife Festival (July), A Case of the Blues and All That Jazz (August), the Central Washington State Fair (September), the Fresh Hops Ale Festival (October), and the Yakima Downtown New Year’s Eve (December.)
With over 90,000 residents, there is always something to do in Yakima. So take the time to visit. Start with the options covered here, and then set aside time to explore. Something unexpectedly intriguing will happen, and then explore more.
Northern Pacific Railway Museum. “Northern Pacific Railway Museum.” (http://www.nprymuseum.org/NPR%20Museum.htm) retrieved October 1, 2016.
Wikipedia. “List of cities in Washington.” October 1, 2016. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_in_Washington) retrieved October 1, 2016.
Wikipedia. “Yakima, Washington.” September 22, 2016. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakima,_Washington) retrieved October 1, 2016.
Yakima Transit. “History.” 2016. (https://yakimatransit.org/history/) retrieved October 2, 2016.