It’s the town so nice they named it twice, the namesake of a sweet onion varietal, a wine region in Southeast Washington climbing the industry’s ranks, and the place to get away from the Pacific Northwest’s famous rain. Walla Walla, Washington, might be on the crossroads to and from the cities of Boise, Spokane, Seattle, and Portland, but it’s a destination in itself.
Here are 13 must-see stops on a Walla Walla road trip.
Head to Tranche, a vineyard in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, for live music and food trucks. According to hospitality manager Terra Luthi, Tranche is an excellent introduction to the city: “At Tranche, we want people to know why the wines and grapes grown in our corner of the world are so amazing, but by offering music every weekend, we’re also able to show off the other aspects of Walla Walla that a visitor might not get to see otherwise: a community that loves the arts, loves great wine, and loves welcoming new people to join in the fun.”
2. Wine Valley Golf Club
Those who pack their golf clubs everywhere they go should get up early and hit the green at the Wine Valley Golf Club. While Walla Walla has a variety of golf courses to choose from, the course at Wine Valley is a favorite because of its location: Surrounded by the rolling wheat fields that make this area Washington’s bread basket, you’ll almost feel like you’re on another planet.
3. Bacon & Eggs
You’ll want to arrive early at Bacon & Eggs, the place to eat breakfast and brunch in Walla Walla. Customer favorites include the breakfast sandwich, migas, and stuffed brioche french toast. You also can’t go wrong ordering a cinnamon roll (or two) for the table as a breakfast appetizer.
4. Downtown Farmers Market
See why this area is not only called Washington’s bread basket, but its salad bowl. In addition to fresh fruits and veggies, the Downtown Farmers Market features coffee vendors, honey, flower stands, shaved ice, bread and bakery items, soaps, and more. The farmer’s market is open seasonally (May to October) on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
5. Whitman Mission National Historic Site
Experience Walla Walla’s Western history by visiting the Whitman Mission National Historic Site, at the site of the former Whitman Mission at Waiilatpu. In 1847, several individuals from the mission were killed in an attempt to hold Dr. Whitman accountable for the deaths among Native Americans during a measles outbreak. At this national historic site, the National Park Service strives to break down the narrative surrounding the controversial incident and walks visitors through the time leading up to and after that violent day in history. There is no fee to enter the site.
6. The Happy Wanderer
Walla Walla has an excellent culinary scene overall, but there are particularly great options when it comes to Mexican food. The Happy Wanderer uses local, fresh, quality ingredients to make an assortment of dishes such as tacos, sopes, tortas, and more. It also has excellent vegetarian options.
7. Kinhaven Winery and Vineyard
This family-run, small-lot winery is what Walla Walla wine is all about. There is something special about small businesses run by families, and Kinhaven is no exception. After experiencing a warm welcome, the stunning surroundings, and delicious wine, you’ll understand why this place is considered a haven.
8. Walla Walla General Store
Walking through this shop is like walking through your friend’s home. You know, the one who has great taste. Friends Jean and Peggy put their heads together to create a curated specialty shop so you can take a bit of Walla Walla back home with you.
9. Hattaway’s on Alder
The Northwestern and Southeastern corners of the U.S. unite at Hattaway’s, which uses ingredients local to the Pacific Northwest to create southern dishes. Starting with the chips and dip is a must; ingredients include caramelized onion sour cream, fresh potato chips, chive, and smoked salmon roe. From there, you can choose from the field, water, and pasture categories for your main course, including fried brussels sprouts, roasted oysters, and chicken and grits.
10. Pine Cone Creamery
Pine Cone Creamery is a locally-owned ice cream shop that makes premium, hand-crafted ice cream. You’ve been warned—after trying some of its specialty flavors that you can’t find anywhere else, you’ll crave it, which just means you’ll have to return to Walla Walla.
11. Popular Donuts
People might get upset that this donut shop is on the list because they don’t want Popular Donuts to get even more popular than it already is—yet, the donuts are too good not to include. This place skips the flashy frosting and pumps out excellent, traditional donuts. The crowd favorite is the apple fritter, but they’re known to sell out quickly.
12. Pioneer Park
Walla Walla’s oldest park, Pioneer Park was established in 1902. Nap under large trees, relax along a pond, or meander through the flower gardens and outdoor aviary in this public park. If you’re feeling up for a bit of play, the park also has soccer and softball fields, pickleball courts, and table tennis.
13. Ice-Burg Drive-In
Before heading out, swing by this traditional drive-in for a juicy burger and impressively crispy fries. To top off your meal, choose from dozens of milkshake flavors (there is no bad choice), which have been satisfying diners for decades.