Yakima valley christopher boswell zu5d9u

Storm clearing over agricultural land near the Yakima River

The Yakima valley might not top your list of weekend road trip destinations—but it should. Getting there takes roughly the same amount of time as a trip to Seattle—minus the horrendous traffic. And now might be the time to go: as temperatures cool down, events ramp up. Here are 5 reasons to get out and visit this fall. 

Chinook Fest

This outdoor music festival in nearby Naches, WA is as much about appreciating all the goodness the PNW has to offer as it is about enjoying some of the best blues, folk, Americana, and roots rock artists around. Set in the stunning central Cascades, most festivalgoers camp on-site and enjoy local craft beer, wine, food and other vendors. This is no mud-covered Woodstock: the festival places an emphasis on keeping the wilderness as beautiful as they found it.

  • When: Friday, September 11th – Sunday, September 13th
  • Where: Jim Sprick Community Park, 13680 WA-410, Naches, WA
  • How much: prices vary depending on the day but a full weekend pass is $95. Grab tickets at chinookfest.com/tickets

Washington Wine Express

If you were bored at your last regular ol’ wine tasting, maybe it’s because you weren’t on a train. The Mr. Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum has you covered. They offer five wine tastings, live entertainment, and dinner all aboard a charming, historic locomotive.

  • When: Saturday, September 26th at 3:30pm
  • Where: Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum, 54124 Mountain Highway E, Elbe, WA
  • How much: $60 

Fresh Hop Ale Festival

This Yakima brew fest could give some in Portland a run for their money. In addition to the 40+ breweries, wineries, and cider makers the festival offers live music, a Beer Bike, and, wait for it, a cigar tent. Currently in its 13th year, Yakima’s fresh hop fest claims to be the first of its kind and has been voted one of the top beer festivals in the country.

  • When: Saturday, October 3rd at 5:00pm
  • Where: 7 S 3rd St, Yakima, WA
  • How much: $35 general admission (includes 3 half pints) 

Harvest Celebration Weekend at Maryhill Winery

Ah fall. Time to bask in the crisp air, changing leaves, fresh cider, and squished grapes between your toes. Yes, it’s grape stomping season and Maryhill celebrates with two full weekends of wine tasting, bocce ball, live music, marshmallow roasting, tie-dying, and plenty of purple feet. And you don’t actually have to drive all the way to Yakima for this one.

  • When: Saturday, October 3rd – Sunday, October 4th and Saturday, October 10th – Sunday October 11th
  • Where: Maryhill Winery, 9774 Highway 14, Goldendale, WA
  • How much: free admission

Central City Comic Con

Yes, Yakima has a Comic Con! If you can’t make it to the Portland con this year, why not make the trek to Yakima’s inaugural nerd fest, complete with a cosplay pub crawl, zombie prom, and, not one, but two former Power Rangers. 

  • When: Friday, October 23rd – Sunday, October 25th at 5:00pm
  • Where: Yakima Convention Center, 10 N 8th St, Yakima, WA
  • How much: tickets start at $25 a day or $55 for the weekend
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