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There's More To Yakima

Perhaps it’s the four seasons or the nearly 300 days of sunshine a year that draw nearly 250,000 residents and more than half a million visitors to the Yakima Valley annually. Perhaps it’s the sweet smell of a valley that’s lush with orchards, vineyards and gardens.

Perhaps it’s the diversity and cultural opportunities that create a heritage rich with multi-generational families and new families sharing community-sponsored events and neighborhood-organized barbecues and holiday parties. Maybe it’s the central location—to Seattle, Spokane or Portland—to the mountains, the ocean, rain forests or the Columbia River. Perhaps it’s that feeling of belonging, even when you’ve just arrived, that inspires thousands of new families to call Yakima home every year.

So it was no surprise to us that when The Early Show’s Dave Price toured the country as part of The Great American Adventure Winnebago Tour, he and the CBS morning show team stopped in Yakima where he gushed to viewers nationwide about the agricultural bounty he discovered. At one point, Price even challenged The Early Show anchor Harry Smith to pick any letter of the alphabet and Price would name a fruit or vegetable grown in the Yakima Valley that started with that letter.

Most people think of apples when they speak of the Yakima Valley. The area is home to more than 50 varieties of apples. But few know that the United States produces 24 percent of the world’s hops, and about three-fourths of the U.S. crop comes from the Yakima Valley. And in the past 20 years, Yakima Valley wineries have continued to receive increasing acclaim. The magnificent vineyards of the sun-drenched valley lie in the same latitudes as the great wine-producing regions of France. As a result, Yakima’s hand-crafted award-winning wines have enjoyed an explosion in popularity.

Located at the confluence of the Naches and Yakima Rivers, Yakima serves as the gateway to the Cascade Mountains to the west and the bountiful Yakima Valley to the east. The city of Yakima is the business and commercial hub of Central Washington, serving a populace of about a quarter of a million people. The Yakima Valley boasts of excellent education, culture and, of course, recreation.

Yakima offers so many attractions that you’ll want to plan to stay a while or make multiple trips to see everything. Depending on when you arrive, the city also plays host to a substantial calendar of events throughout the year.