Walla Walla, Washington, is one of the best hidden gems in the Pacific Northwest. This small city has a lot to offer if you’re searching for something unique and exciting!
With its beautiful scenery, excellent restaurants and wineries, friendly locals, and incredible outdoor activities year-round – Walla Walla has something for everyone. Here are 15 things you should do when visiting this charming town to ensure your trip is the best!
1. Hot Air Balloon Over Hills At Seattle Ballooning
A hot air balloon ride with Seattle Ballooning offers a unique opportunity to take in breathtaking views of Walla Walla from above its rolling hills and picturesque vineyards.
You can choose to join a shared hot air balloon flight with four to eight additional guests or opt for the luxury of an intimate private ride just for two. You will be in safe hands as all flights include experienced pilots and commercial-grade balloons.
You will have the option of choosing either a sunrise or sunset flight. When booking, you should note that sunrise flights are recommended for those with young kids or older individuals, as the winds tend to be calmer.
A shared flight costs $325 per guest, and all prices include helping with set-up and takedown if desired. For private experiences, you can expect to pay upwards of $1600 for two people, with the cost decreasing per person depending on the number of people in your group.
Overall, a hot air balloon ride over Walla Walla is an experience you won’t soon forget! Enjoy panoramic views from the sky and make an adventure of it by helping with set-up or pack-up. Whether you opt for a shared flight or private experience, Seattle Ballooning will ensure your time in the air is absolutely amazing!
2. Taste Award-winning Wines at L’Ecole No. 41
Visit this historic Frenchtown Schoolhouse to sample some of L’Ecole No. 41‘s award-winning wines! This third-generation, family-owned winery has been producing ultra-premium and distinctive wines for over three decades.
They have won multiple international awards for their wines. Visitors can partake in a tasting to explore the flavors of their portfolio while learning more about Washington wine growing. All the staff here are super knowledgeable, and the classical ambiance is perfect.
The fee for tastings is $20 per person, but this will be waived with any purchase over $40. Overall, the prices are worth it for the quality of the wine you get.
3. Explore History at the Whitman Mission National Historic Site
Take a step back in time at the Whitman Mission National Historic Site. This site details the impacts of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, two Protestant missionaries who established a mission among the Cayuse Tribe in 1836.
Today, visitors can explore interpretive trails to learn more about this eventful history and view artifacts from Cayuse’s life.
A full-scale replica of an Oregon Trail wagon is also displayed at the site, another reminder that many immigrants came through Walla Walla on the Columbia Plateau. Other activities available include taking a self-guided audio tour, attending ranger programs (during summer months), and watching A Prophecy Fulfilled.
Visiting this site is free of charge. However, donations are encouraged to help preserve its natural beauty for future generations!
4. Blend Your Own Wine at Northstar Blending Experience
Head to Northstar Winery and take part in the 90-minute blending experience offered on Friday through Sunday. You’ll get a chance to try some of their limited-release wines before crafting your own red wine blend with expert guidance from the staff.
You’ll be able to learn from the experts and get an intimate experience with Walla Walla’s finest wines.
When finished, you’ll leave with your own custom-crafted bottle of wine to take home! Plus, the experience is just $125 per person (or only $65 for club members), making it a great value too.
5. Go to an Old School Movie Drive-In at the Milton-Freewater Drive-In Theater
This is a unique and fun way of spending your evening! This is right over the Washington border in Oregon. This family-owned and operated theater has been entertaining people since 1961.
Movies are shown every Friday through Tuesday night with a rotating playlist, starting at dusk and changing times depending on the season.
When you arrive, the gates open at 7:00 PM, and tickets are cash only. The full snack bar has many choices to choose from, such as homemade pizzas, theater popcorn, candy, hot dogs, pretzels, nachos, chili sausage dogs, sodas, and more. General admission for adults costs $8, while for children (11 and under) is $2.
The Milton-Freewater Drive-In Theater is definitely worth it! Not only will you have a unique and fun experience, but the prices are very affordable. The snack bar has many choices to choose from, so there’s something for everyone. Plus, they show movies every night of the week, which gives more options when picking out a movie to watch with your friends or family.
6. Attend the Sweet Onion Festival
When in Walla Walla, be sure to attend the Sweet Onion Festival! This annual event celebrates the area’s famous vegetable and is a fun-filled weekend for all ages.
There are games such as sweet onion sack races and bowling, chef demonstrations, live entertainment, and plenty of vendors selling tasty snacks. The festival also offers a great opportunity to explore the local area!
When you attend the Sweet Onion Festival, expect a weekend full of fun for everyone! You can participate in onion-themed games, enjoy some live music and entertainment or browse the stands of local artisans. There are also chef demonstrations from talented chefs who will be preparing a range of sweet onion recipes and other dishes!
The Sweet Onion Festival is completely free to attend, making it an excellent value for visitors. With plenty of activities and entertainment available throughout the weekend, you will have a great time without breaking the bank!
The Sweet Onion Festival in Walla Walla is a great event for all ages. With free admission and plenty of activities, you can experience the town’s famous vegetables while exploring local artisans and enjoying live entertainment. Whether it’s participating in sweet onion-themed games or watching chef demonstrations, this festival will provide an unforgettable weekend!
7. Catch a Live Performance at the Gesa Power House Theater
The Gesa Power House Theater is a unique venue located in the historic 120-year-old Walla Walla former Gas Plant building. The theater was inspired by Shakespeare’s Blackfriar’s Theater in London and hosts a variety of plays, musicals, and concerts. It’s the perfect place for an entertaining night out!
The interior of the building will transport you back in time and make for a truly memorable night out. You can expect comfortable seating, excellent sound quality, and top-notch performances from local talent as well as national acts.
Tickets for events at Gesa Power House Theater typically range from $20-$40 and are definitely worth the cost. With great performances and excellent sound quality – you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience!
Gesa Power House Theater is an amazing venue located in a historic building that is sure to take you back in time. Catch a show and experience local talent as well as national acts, all for a reasonable ticket price! With its unique setting, excellent sound quality, and top-notch performances – Gesa Power House Theater will certainly make for an entertaining night out.
8. Play Golf at Wine Valley Golf Club
The Wine Valley Golf Club is a perfect destination for golfers looking to challenge themselves. Located in Walla Walla, this stunning Dan Hixson design offers rolling hills and multiple lines of play that can test the skillset of even some of the most seasoned players.
Golf Magazine has also honored the course as one of the best new courses in America.
When you visit Wine Valley Golf Club, expect to have a great experience with excellent service and some well-maintained amenities. The rates are reasonable for what’s offered. Early bird (before 7:30 AM) 18-hole rounds start at $150 Monday through Thursday and go up to $190 Friday through Sunday for standard play. All fees include cart access as well as range balls.
Wine Valley Golf Club is a great place to visit for golfers who want a challenging game! The course offers challenging yet fair play, and the fees are reasonable considering what’s included.
9. Enjoy Bird Watching at the Walla Walla River Delta
The Walla Walla River Delta is a prime spot for birdwatching in the area. It’s home to more than 337 species of birds, making it an ideal destination for any avian enthusiast. The delta was created when Lake Wallula formed behind McNary Dam, and silt deposited over 40 acres of land. It’s now a large mudflat with plenty of invertebrates, attracting thousands of birds yearly during migration season.
The Walla Walla River Delta is free to visit, making it a great destination for birdwatching enthusiasts of all budgets. However, depending on when you go, certain restrictions may be due to hunting seasons that run from mid-October through January each year.
The Walla Walla River Delta is an ideal destination for birdwatching and wildlife enthusiasts, with a wide variety of native species to observe and raptors hunting in the area throughout certain times of the year.
10. Hike Around Bennington Lake
When you’re in the Walla Walla area, be sure to check out Bennington Lake. This man-made lake is surrounded by picturesque views of the northern Blue Mountains and plenty of open spaces for a great hike.
You can choose from more than 20 miles of trails, with longer perimeter hikes or shorter out-and-back routes. The lake is full of rainbow trout, so you could even stop by to fish!
When you visit Bennington Lake, expect to see plenty of birds and other wildlife. The hiking trails have slopes ranging from easy to moderate difficulty levels.
Visiting Bennington Lake is completely free, so you don’t have to worry about any additional costs. It is definitely worth the visit, as it offers a great outdoor activity in Walla Walla.
11. Bike Through the Kooskooskie Ride
The Kooskooskie Ride is a great way to explore the beauty of Walla Walla and its surroundings. This bicycle trail takes you from downtown all the way east towards Mill Creek Road, with plenty of tree-lined county roads in between for a peaceful ride.
With an elevation gain of 1594 feet, it’s definitely more challenging than some other trails around, but not so much that even beginner riders can’t handle!
Plus, when you reach your destination at Pioneer Park Rose Garden, there are lots of beautiful sights to take in before heading back home again – perfect for those looking for something different or just wanting to get away from city life without going too far out into the wilderness.
The Kooskooskie Ride is free of charge, so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot on this outdoor activity – just make sure that your bike’s in good condition and ready for some off-road fun!
The scenery along the way here is definitely worth it. There are plenty of rest stops and picnic spots if you want to take a break from the pedaling.
All in all, this is an amazing way to experience Walla Walla’s lovely countryside – just make sure that you’re prepared for some hills on your journey!
12. Jet Ski with Pacific Shorz Powersports
When visiting Pacific Shorz Powersports, you can expect an all-inclusive rental experience with no additional costs. The beachside service allows easy access to the Columbia River, and free parking is also provided! Additionally, food vendors and bathrooms are nearby, so visitors have everything they need in one convenient location.
The costs for Pacific Shorz Powersports range from $130 to $345 depending on how long you’re renting the jet ski, what day of the week it is, and a refundable deposit fee of $500. Despite this steep cost, visitors will surely have an amazing experience that will last a lifetime!
Overall, Pacific Shorz Powersports offers one-of-a-kind jetski experiences with unbeatable views and lots of fun. With their all-inclusive rental experience, a convenient location on the Columbia River, and top-notch customer service, you’re sure to have an exciting and unforgettable day!
13. Try Out Wine Slushies at Plumb Cellars
If you’re in the downtown area, be sure to check out Plumb Cellars and try their delicious wine slushies. This local winery has been around since 2003, when three couples took a chance to make high-quality wines from home.
Visiting Plumb Cellars is a great experience. The inside tasting room has been furnished with wine barrel furniture, and they also feature local art on the walls each month. Plus, their patio offers even more seating during warmer months, where you can enjoy your drinks while listening to live entertainment!
Plumb Cellars is known to be generous with its wine club membership, offering discounts that make it worthwhile if you’re a regular visitor.
And don’t forget about those tasty slushies! They come in grape flavor, which makes them perfect for cooling off during hot summer days – plus, they are something unique not many other wineries offer around here!
All-in-all, Plumb Cellars provides an enjoyable experience where visitors enjoy delicious drinks and learn more about what the local area has to offer.
14. Explore Military History at Fort Walla Walla Museum
Fort Walla Walla Museum is a great place to explore the military history of the region. Located on a 19th-century fort, this museum features exhibits and artifacts that tell stories about pioneers, soldiers, and Indigenous culture in an interactive way. The Pioneer Village offers visitors insight into what life was like during these times, with several original buildings such as log cabins, blacksmith shops, and schools.
When you arrive, there is plenty of outdoor space for recreation, including a picnic area, trails, and a BMX track. Inside the museum are over 50 thousand artifacts, from historic photographs to interactive displays that help visitors learn about the rich heritage in the valley region. You can also explore two gardens on-site with native plants and trees.
The Fort Walla Walla Museum is completely free to the public, so it’s definitely worth a visit. There are also other activities, such as guided walking tours, educational programs for kids, volunteer opportunities, and special events throughout the year.
15. Stroll Around Pioneer Park
Pioneer Park in Walla Walla is a picturesque, peaceful park where you can take a leisurely walk while admiring its lush gardens and aviary. You’ll find plenty of recreational facilities, including soccer fields, pickleball courts, and softball fields, as well as an outdoor playground for the kids. There are also wheelchair-friendly walking paths surrounded by trees that provide shade from the sun on hot days.
When you visit Pioneers Park, expect plenty of activities for everyone in your group! For those who like to stay active, there are sports fields such as soccer or pickleball courts, as well as softball diamonds which make it great for games with friends and family.
If you’d rather relax then explore one of their walking paths surrounded by lush gardens or check out an outdoor aviary filled with birds chirping in the background. There’s also plenty of playground equipment for children and a duck pond to observe!
The amenities are great, from sports fields that can be used for casual games and pick-up matches, wheelchair-friendly paths surrounded by trees providing shade all day long, an outdoor aviary full of birds singing away, and much more.