From craft spirits to public art, Walla Walla’s hidden gems offer experiences beyond the Valley’s renowned wines and restaurants.
(WALLA WALLA, Wash.) — A visit to Walla Walla often begins — and ends — with its world-class wines and eclectic restaurants. But exploring the two only scratches the surface of this unique and historic region in Southeastern Washington.
From thought-provoking history and art museums to an emerging craft spirits scene to the area’s own natural beauty, there is so much to unearth in Walla Walla that is wholly unexpected.
“Walla Walla’s modern reputation has been built largely on its wine and culinary scenes, and rightfully so, but there is so much else for visitors to see and experience,” said Ron Williams, executive director at Visit Walla Walla. “Whether looking for an excursion from an otherwise full itinerary of wine tasting or a visit that is altogether different and new, Walla Walla is truly a destination that invites travelers to discover everything this region has to offer.”
When it’s time for your own exploration of the Walla Walla Valley, here are some suggestions, many of which might not be first to come to mind:
Fort Walla Walla Museum: Located on the grounds of a 19th-century military fort in what is now Dayton, just northeast of Walla Walla, the Fort Walla Walla Museum tells the story of a region known as the “Cradle of Pacific Northwest History.” With a Living History series and more than 50,000 artifacts and photographs, Fort Walla Walla tells that history in a unique and compelling way. While in Dayton explore the Dayton Historic Depot, which dates back to 1881, or enjoy lunch at the historic Weinhard Cafe.
Bennington Lake: Not far from some of the most popular Eastside Wineries, Bennington Lake’s trail system and abundant wildlife have made it a favorite of hikers, birders, anglers, runners, and boaters.
Museum of Un-Natural History: Perched in a loft in downtown Walla Walla, The Museum of Un-Natural History features the Dada works of local artist Gerald (Gerry) Matthews. Surreal, witty, and a little absurd, the museum has become a can’t-miss stop in Walla Walla.
Walla Walla Food Tours: One never wants to venture too far from the fork when in Walla Walla. Walla Walla Food Tours offers a delicious and entertaining guided culinary walking tour through historic and charming downtown.
Monteillet Fromagerie: Pierre-Louis and Joan Monteillet brought the first farmstead artisanal cheese facility to the Valley, and it’s been a perfect fit. The couple handcrafts small batches of cheese from the milk of their own French Alpine goats and Friesian and Lacaune sheep for an Old World experience unlike any other in the Valley.
Whitman College Sculpture Walk: The campus of Whitman College is itself a work of art. A self-guided stroll through campus reveals nearly two-dozen sculptures, many by the hands of local artists, in this impressive display of public art.
Distillery Tour: Walla Walla is hardly reserved for oenophiles. With DW Distilling, Shot in the Dark Craft Distillery, Walla Walla Distilling Company, and 2nd Street Distilling Company, Walla Walla has become an emerging hub in craft spirits.
For more information on these and many other well- and lesser-known Walla Walla activities and attractions, or to start planning a visit, go to visitwallawalla.com.
About Walla Walla:
As the unofficial capital of Washington wine country, Walla Walla is home to more than 120 wineries, a nationally recognized culinary scene, access to an abundance of outdoor recreation, and an arts & entertainment scene that rivals cities many times its size. This community of just over 30,000 residents is known for many things, including its friendliness and hospitality, the quality of its wine, and of course the famous Walla Walla Sweet Onion. An easy and scenic four-hour drive from Seattle, Portland, or Boise, Walla Walla can also be accessed via Alaska Airlines daily non-stop flights from Seattle. For more information and to begin planning a trip to Walla Walla, visit www.visitwallawalla.com.