(WALLA WALLA, Wash.) — A winter visit to Walla Walla might seem like a revelation, but for those in the know, it’s one of the most magical times of the year. Downtown’s twinkling lights set a festive atmosphere for boutique shopping, winemakers pour their newest releases, reservations at some of the most sought-after restaurants are easier to obtain, and the bustle of summer and fall are replaced with peace and solitude aplenty.
Signaling the arrival of winter in Walla Walla, the downtown Parade of Lights celebrates the holiday spirit with a parade of decorated floats on the first Saturday in December (Dec. 3). The festive vibes continue with Walla Walla Valley Wine’s Holiday Barrel Tasting (Dec. 2-4). This three-day event is filled with wine, food, art, music, and — most importantly — the opportunity to sample future releases straight from the barrel. From wineries to lodging, the town is alive with festive spirit, special promotions, and holiday cheer.
While Walla Walla is best known for its wines, this agricultural community is also home to a handful of local breweries and cideries. Walla Walla BrewFest (Feb. 18) celebrates the valley’s long history of brewing and growing hops, barley, and more, and features the best of Washington and Oregon breweries in downtown Walla Walla.
Walla Walla’s signature winter event, the monthlong Walla Walla Restaurant Month, returns in February to spotlight the valley’s culinary stars, from fine dining to casual cafes. The month is a celebration of the region’s bounty and the local farmers and ranchers who have made the region the “Breadbasket of the Pacific Northwest.” Locals and visitors return to take their place at the table with prix fixe menu offerings, curated wine tastings, and special lodging packages. Please note that the current landing page reflects February 2022 offerings and will be updated soon for 2023.
Outdoors, avid skiers and snowboarders can enjoy short lift lines, uncrowded slopes, some of the best tree skiing and riding in the Northwest at nearby Ski Bluewood. This independently owned ski hill with a family friendly vibe, boasts Washington’s second-highest base elevation (4,545’), more than 300 inches of snow annually, and a variety of terrain ranging from groomed runs to tree skiing and snow-cat accessible terrain. The recently renovated lodge has a “sit and stay awhile” atmosphere, and while leaving may be hard, downtown Walla Walla is only one hour away for the perfect ski-by-day and wine and dine-by-night experience.
During the winter, lodging in Walla Walla is easier to come by and often accompanied by special rates and packages. Take your pick from options that will fit every budget and wide range of experiences. The recently opened Royal Block Hotel and Stella’s Homestead offer boutique lodging opportunities in the nearby town of Waitsburg. The Finch, Best Western Plus, and Hampton Inn provide a modern downtown experience. Bed and Breakfast lovers will rejoice with a stay at the luxurious, adults-only, The Barn B&B or in one of Eritage Resort’s 20 luxury suites and lakeside bungalows. The Marcus Whitman Hotel offers more of a historical vibe. Newly renovated, The GG (formerly Green Gables Inn) is tucked away among some of Walla Walla’s most historic neighborhoods and offers another glimpse into the past.
For additional Walla Walla inspiration or to start planning your stay visit WallaWalla.org.
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, an abundance of easily accessible nearby 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 flight from Seattle. For more information and to begin planning a trip to Walla Walla, visit www.wallawalla.org.