20 Things To Do In Walla Walla

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In the lower middle part of Washington State, Walla Walla fuses a creative and laid-back feel with the liberating energy of the countryside. It’s a charming destination and a leading wine region with over 120 wineries offering a huge range of varietals including Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. It also has a fantastic small town main street, with a charming tree-lined downtown filled with cafes, bookstores, vintage shops, restaurants and tasting rooms. As one of the most fertile agricultural areas in the nation, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh produce like strawberries, asparagus and, of course, their famous sweet onions.

Public art, outdoor concerts and its vibrant farmer’s markets showcase the pride and essence of the city’s community spirit. Situated about four hours south-east of Seattle and five hours from the state capital of Olympia, Walla Walla is a delightful escape form the city to reconnect with Americana. For this reason, it is a popular destination for a long weekend, especially in the warmer months. Here are the things to do in Walla Walla.

Walla Walla, Washington

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20 Things To Do In Walla Walla

1- Go Wine Tasting

Farmer Swirling White Wine In A Wineglass On His Farm
Wine tasting is one of the top things to do in Walla Walla.

As mentioned, there are over 120 wineries dotted around Walla Walla and the surrounding regions, so any visit here is incomplete without checking out one or two of them.

Each winery has its unique selling point and most have cellar doors you can visit, as well as restaurants to dine at. So you should do some research to see which ones appeal to you the most.

Seven Hills Winery, Caprio Cellars and Dunham Cellars are a good starting point. You may like these tours:

2- Explore Downtown Walla Walla

Walla Walla’s downtown area is a major highlight to any visit to the city.


It is filled with several beautifully restored buildings that date back to the early 1800s and give the place a bit of a ‘Hallmark Movie’ feel.

For those who enjoy shopping you’ll find plenty of funky boutique stores selling top-end western wear, chic and vintage clothing and various other treasures to browse.

There are also several bookshop and art galleries to peruse, as well as cafes and restaurants that showcase the region’s excellent wine and food scene.

3- Shop In The Farmer’s Market

Display Of Fresh Cabbages At A Bustling Local Farmers Market
Visiting the downtown Farmer’s Market is one of the things to do in Walla Walla.

If you happen to time your visit between the months of May and October you should take the opportunity to visit the Downtown Farmer’s Market.

As well as being a terrific place to interact with the locals, you will be able to buy all manner of treats and goodies including cinnamon rolls, wines cheeses, freshly baked bread, honey and fresh fruit and vegetables from the local producers.

The market runs from 9 am to 1 pm and it’s a good idea to skip breakfast or lunch before you go there.

4- Go On A Hot Air Balloon Ride

Beautiful Hot Air Balloons Over Blue Sky
Going on a hot air balloon ride is one of the things to do in Walla Walla Washington

Walla Walla is beautiful at ground level but it is quite something else when seen at elevation from a hot air balloon.

Blue Mountain Balloons can take you up on a private tour or as part of a group to showcase amazing views of the Blue Mountains, Columbia River and rolling fields of the Walla Walla Valley.

Try to book a trip at sunrise or sunset when the dawn or dusk colours make the experience even more magical.

5- Join The Walla Walla Balloon Stampede

If you don’t have a head for heights to go on a hot air balloon ride then you should at least make an effort to see the annual Walla Walla Balloon Stampede – if your visit be over the long weekend in October.

This event is held over five days at Howard Tieten Park, during which time several colourful balloons take to the air to create a wonderful visual spectacle.

You’ll need to get there for around 7.15am as that is typically when the balloons take off.

If you can’t get there at that time don’t worry, there are plenty of games, activities and music to keep you entertained for the rest of the day.

6- Visit A Lavender Farm

For those wanting to explore the surrounding agricultural landscape, a great place to visit is the Blue Mountain Lavender Farm.

It is situated on the fringes of town and provides a spectacular setting of vibrant flowering plants to walk through, pick and photograph.

The farm is only open between 1st June and 15th July every year.

However, when it is open, there is a lovely boutique store there that sells artisanal lavender-related goods, such as lavender scented baths, dried bouquets, beauty products and chocolate treats.

7- Have A Round Of Golf

walla walla pga qualifier golf course
Playing at a PGA golf course is one of the things to do in Walla Walla.

If you are into golf you should take the opportunity to play 18-holes at the Wine Valley Golf Club.

One of just five PGA qualifiers worldwide, the course has a very good reputation thanks to Golf Magazine recently naming it the fifth-best new venue in the nation.

Surrounded by a picturesque rolling hillside and featuring stunning greens and fairways, it is a course that will challenge every level of golfing standard.

8- Visit The Fort Walla Walla Museum

History buffs will no doubt want to check out the Fort Walla Walla Museum.

It resides within the grounds of a military fort that dates back to the 19th century and comprises a lovely collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase what life was like in the Walla Walla Valley at that time.

The museum is big, with over 50,000 photographs and artifacts on display, covering aspects like the pioneer era, agriculture and military history.

Its main drawcard is the Pioneer Village which incorporates fifteen original structures that include a school, blacksmith shop and log cabins.

9- Drink Local Cider

Apple Wine Glass, Apples, Bottle Of Cider
Cider tasting is one of the things to do in Walla Walla.

If you are not a huge wine drinker, then perhaps you might like to indulge in a tipple or two of cider?

Spread across 1,400 acres, the Blue Mountain Cider farm grows more than fifteen different varieties of apples, all of which are sustainably and organically farmed within the valley.

These include American types like Golden Russet and Jonagold and European versions like Pippins, Winesaps and Gravenstein.

From these apples they produce an incredible range of cider which you can taste on a tour of their estate in Milton-Freewater.

Their taproom serves tasters, flights and pints of hard cider, as well as a handful of local microbrews which they rotate.

They also have a large games room with a darts board, pool table, pinball machines, foosball and cornhole.

10- See A Movie At The Drive-Ins

Love the movies? Then you’ll want to pop over the border to Milton-Freewater in Oregon (just 10 miles) where you can take in a film the old fashioned way – at a drive-in.

This fabulous outdoor cinema has been in operation since 1961 and is a terrific place for families, friends or couples to come and enjoy an evening out.

It screens movies every Friday to Tuesday and has a playlist which they rotate.

Generally speaking, screenings start at dusk.

11- Watch A Show At Gesa Power House Theater

If the cinema is not your thing, how about the theatre?

Located within the former Walla Walla Gas Plant – which dates back to the early 1900s – the Gesa Power House Theater is a tremendous 300-seat venue.

It is blessed with an interior that was inspired by Blackfriar’s Theater in London and hosts several concerts, musicals and plays throughout the year.

12- Go Cheese Tasting

Artisan Food Stalls, Cheese
Visiting the Walla Walla Cheese Company is one of the things to do in Walla Walla.

Turophiles will want to get their fix at the Walla Walla Cheese Company over in nearby Milton-Freewater.

They offer a superb selection that includes the likes of Gouda, Havarti, Cheddar and Jack but with a bit of a twist.

Think caraway Havarti, coffee cheddar, garlic and sweet onion cheese curds, dill Havarti and even some varieties infused with beer and treat your taste buds to a culinary treat.

Please note, they are currently not open on Sundays to Tuesdays.

13- Explore Kirkman House

Built between 1879 and 1880, Kirkman House is Walla Walla’s only remaining example of Victorian Italianate architecture.

The grand residence is located on North Colville Street and is the second oldest brick building in the city.

You can tour the building to see a collection of period pieces that showcase what life was like here in Victorian times.

They can also learn about the owners, William and Isabelle, and the development and history of the area.

14- Discover The Whitman Mission

Another notable point of historical interest in Walla Walla is the Whitman Mission National Historic Site.

It relates the story of Marcus Whitman who settled in the area with his wife in 1836 to spread Christianity to the native Indian people and establish a mission.

Unfortunately, conflicts fostered between the missioners and the Indians, partly due to the Native American culture being ignored and almost 50% of the native population dying from measles after the introduction of more settlers.

It exploded in 1847 when 11 members of the mission were murdered by the native Indian people.

You can find out more about what happened by visiting the Whitman Museum.

There is a film you can watch called ‘A Prophecy Fulfilled’ and check out a small display of archaeological artifacts, Native American cultural items and possessions of those who lived in the mission.

15- Eat And Drink At The Big House Brew Pub

Golden Deep Fried Onion Rings
Visiting the Big House Brew Pub is one of the cool things to do in Walla Walla.

In the same way as you can’t come to Walla Walla without checking out some of the wineries, you also can’t come to Walla Walla without going to the Big House Brew Pub to try some of the biggest onion rings you are ever likely to see!

As well as being massive in size they are also incredibly tasty and sweet, to the point that it’s almost impossible not to order a second serve! While eating them, you might as well enjoy a beer too.

The raspberry wheat variety is incredible.

16- Discover Farm-To-Table Menus

Talking of food, Walla Walla has an outstanding culinary scene which you should make an effort to explore.

Many of the best venues are grouped together in the downtown area, so the best thing to do is have a stroll around and see which place takes your fancy.

Most of the restaurants proudly offer menus that are farm-to-table inspired.

Some notable ones to consider are the Walla Walla Steak Co, Brasserie Four, AK’s Mercado and T-Macs.

All of these venues are known for their generous portion sizes, so you will need to bring your appetite.

17- Attend The Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival

In the late 1800s a French soldier decided to bring sweet onion seeds along with him when he moved to the region.

To his undoubted delight, he found that the area possessed a terrific climate to grow the crop.

Today the area is synonymous with the vegetable, which is honoured in an annual, family friendly festival.

Taking place over the course of a weekend, the event takes place in the downtown area and comprises various games, musical performances and food stalls.

While there you can partake in a game of Sweet Onion Bowling (just like ten pin bowling but with an onion rather than a bowling ball).

You can also enter the Sweet Onion Sack Race and enter an onion ring eating competition.

You will also find a market with stalls selling crafts, arts and local produce and vendors selling creative dishes that champion sweet onions.

18- Walk Around Bennington Lake

For those who fancy stretching their legs, a good place to do this is at Bennington Lake.

This shimmering man-made lake is just five miles from downtown and provides stunning views of the northern Blue Mountains.

It also has plenty of greenspace and over 20 miles of trails you can hike along.

Additionally, the lake is a noted spot for fishing and birding as it is stocked with Rainbow Trout and is home to a wide range of bird species.

19- Drink Wine Slushies

Cocktail Wine Slushies Frozen Pink Wine On A Pink
Drinking sine slushies is one of the fun things to do in Walla Walla.

As well as the region’s wonderful wines you should make a point of trying a wine slushie!

Over at Plumb Cellars on Main Street, you can buy these refreshing beverages to take with you on your exploration of downtown.

They offer an excellent way to cool off during a scorching summer day.

20- Go On An Eastern Washington Road Trip

If you have a bit more time available to you, explore eastern Washington in more detail.

The area features stunning landscapes of geological diversity and plenty in the way of outdoor recreation opportunities.

The magnificent Lake Lenore Caves, Steamboat Rock State Park and Palouse Falls are just three of the many places you can visit.

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Spencer Samaroo
Spencer is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years experience producing written content for tourism-related businesses. A thalassophile who was afflicted with wanderlust from a young age, he has visited over 40 countries in the world. An ex-pat Brit who now lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, he cites Miami Beach in the USA and Palm Cove in Australia as his favourite travel destinations. Specialising in writing about beach destinations around the world, he would probably bleed sand if you cut his arm open