The Friendliest City in America
Walla Walla is unique. Vineyard culture has turned this pretty, little farm town into a hub of fine living in Eastern Washington.
Voted “Friendliest City in America,” Walla Walla is a place where natural beauty, amazing wineries, tip-top restaurants, arts, outdoor living and small town friendliness come together to create a community unlike any other. Walla Walla is populated by intelligent and creative people who skillfully seek an outstanding way of life. In fact, Walla Walla was recently touted by Sunset Magazine for not only owning America’s Best Main Street, but also for being a Favorite Small-Town Foodie Haven.
A vibrant reflection of the past and the present, downtown Walla Walla is the place where you begin to discover what makes Walla Walla so special. A walk down tree-lined streets reveals a funky mix of vintage shops, boutiques, cafes, bookstores, tasting rooms, restaurants and more. Add in the numerous pieces of public art and special events, like Feast Walla Walla, the seasonal Farmers Market, outdoor concerts, an artful nightlife, and you start to see why downtown has been recognized time and again as one of the best, small town Main Streets in the country.
The valley itself offers a diverse variety of striking landscapes: bordered by the Columbia River basin and its desert beauty as you enter from the west, rolling wheat fields and vineyards through the surrounding countryside, and the scenic Blue Mountains to the southeast. Walla Walla is the regional hub of hiking, climbing, fishing, camping, boating, cycling and all things outdoors.
Expect the best of the four seasons with cold and snow in winter, temperate sunny springs, blustery winds in the fall, and golden sun-warmed days of a hot, dry desert summer.
Walla Walla has long been known as one of the most fertile agricultural areas in the nation, producing such crops as wheat, asparagus, strawberries and the famous Walla Walla Sweet Onions. However, it’s as wine country that Walla Walla is most celebrated. With more than 100 wineries representing a wide range of varietals, it doesn’t take long to see why.
Arts are Alive in Walla Walla
From ever-present public art to the longest running symphony west of the Mississippi, to the theaters, museums and displays of art found throughout the region, Walla Walla is as fertile ground for culture as it is for grapes.
Musicals, comedy and drama can be found on stage in several locations in the Valley. The Little Theatre of Walla Walla, Whitman College’s Harper Joy Theatre, Walla Walla University, and Walla Walla Community College all provide top-notch performances throughout the year.
The recent renovation of the former Walla Walla Gas Plant into the 340-seat Power House Theater provides a home for Shakespeare Walla Walla and a venue for other live shows. The design was inspired by Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre in London.
During the twice-annual Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, music fills the streets, coffee shops, tasting rooms, libraries and parks of Walla Walla. A host of acclaimed, award-winning musicians take to the streets and transform three weeks of summer and a week of winter into an ongoing musical experience.
You’ll find bluegrass, jazz, blues, rock and every genre you can imagine in Walla Walla’s performance halls, restaurants and wineries.
The Walla Walla Dance Festival also brings in nationally known artists for performances at the 1,400 seat Cordiner hall.
The Good Life — Outdoors
Walla Walla sits in a sunny valley surrounded by rolling hills covered with dark green vineyards, and behind those hills stand the sublime Blue Mountain range and the Umatilla National Forest with a lifetime of hiking, fishing, camping and cycling opportunities. Walla Walla is a place where you find not only fresh air, but a fresh perspective. With rolling hills, miles of trails, nearly 300 days of annual sunshine and the many waters that give the region its name, Walla Walla is the region’s hub for all things outside.
Walla Walla is a cyclist’s dream. Beloved for the rural farm roads that meander through rolling wheat fields, friendly drivers and lots of fellow cyclists, Walla Walla is celebrated as Washington’s top road cycling destination. The nearby Blue Mountains offer experienced riders steep climbs and sharp turns to attack, while the flat lands and paved trails that run through Walla Walla’s historic neighborhoods and farmlands are perfect for a cruise. An easy ride from town, Bennington Lake offers challenging mountain bike trails. The nearby Blue Mountains offer miles and miles of singletrack trails for mountain bike adventures. Fort Walla Walla Park gives BMX bikers and skaters of all ages a place to show off their skills. The pro-style BMX track is host to competitions throughout the year, while the nearby skateboard park is the perfect place to dial in a new trick. At the Mill Creek Sportsplex you can ride a new skatepark designed by the renowned Oregon-based, Dreamland Skateparks.
Walla Walla’s mild and dry climate makes it an ideal destination all year long to play a few rounds of golf — especially for those who are interested in playing one of Washington’s best. Wine Valley Golf Club was ranked by Golf Magazine as #5 on their list of Best New Golf Courses in the country. Veterans Memorial Golf Course, The Walla Walla Country Club, Pheasant Creek Golf Course, Touchet Valley Golf Course, Milton-Freewater Golf Course and Wildhorse Resort & Casino Golf Course are all within an hour drive of Walla Walla and offer a wide range of golf course styles, amenities and challenges to choose from.
Even More Outdoor Fun
During the winter, Walla Walla is a great base camp for skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and other winter adventures. Ski Bluewood, located 52 miles southeast of Walla Walla in the Blue Mountains, includes two triple chairlifts, a day lodge, 21 ski runs, and a half-pipe for snowboarders, along with ski and snowboard rentals and lessons. At Spout Springs, located across the border at Oregon’s Tollgate Mountain, you can enjoy night skiing and an extensive network of cross-country trails.
During the annual spring and fall migrations, birders flock to Walla Walla to marvel at the more than 330 bird species that call the area home. The McNary Wildlife Refuge and Walla Walla River Delta are two of the best spots to get a glimpse of the migratory birds that return to Walla Walla each year after wintering in South America. The Blue Mountain Audubon Society is a great resource for local birding tips and planned tours.
The name Walla Walla means place of "many waters”, so naturally the area is a rewarding hot spot for fishing, canoeing, and family water fun. The Columbia and Snake River systems and the lakes and streams of the Blue Mountains are teaming with trout, while the 52-acre Bennington Lake offers year-round angling, flat-water paddling, and areas for hunting.
Walla Walla is a Family Place
Although Walla Walla is known for its award-winning wine, there are plenty of things to see and do to keep the whole family busy. During the summer, cheer on the Sweets, Walla Walla’s West Coast League baseball team. With a wide variety of local vendors, farmers and artisans offering produce, handmade crafts and more, the Walla Walla Farmers Market is a great place to take the family shopping for a meal or a souvenir. The Sweet Putt features indoor and outdoor mini-golf while the Ice Chalet offers year-round ice skating.
If your family feels like playing, Walla Walla has 15 public parks to explore, totaling 600 acres. They feature 20 miles of hiking trails, state-of-the-art playgrounds, dog parks, disc golf, tennis courts, swimming at Jefferson Pool and more.
The history of Walla Walla is a combination of geological marvels, ancestral inhabitants, intrepid explorers, early settlers, and agricultural riches.
The museums of Walla Walla tell a complex story of days gone by and how they have intertwined to form the Walla Walla of today. Many of the museums host special events, workshops, demonstrations and seasonal activities the whole family can enjoy.
Walla Walla is located on the Oregon Trail, where the Whitman Mission National Historic site attracts thousands of visitors each year.
A trip through the mission provides a deep education into a tragic and controversial story that you and your kids won’t find in a textbook. Drop in to the Fort Walla Walla Museum for a taste of life in the 1800s.
Children of all ages can explore their dreams through hands-on, interactive experiences at The Children's Museum of Walla Walla.
Main Street is a delight of attractive, small boutiques, galleries, an ice cream shop, coffee bars, bakeries, and of course, tasting rooms.
Easy Living and Low Costs
Walla Walla residents enjoy a high standard of living and benefit from very low housing prices. In fact, housing in Walla Walla costs just 58% of what you’d spend in Seattle. Overall, Walla Walla living costs 30% less than in Seattle. For example, a salary of $50,000 in Walla Walla is the equivalent of a salary of $71,000 in Seattle. A salary of $88,000 in Walla Walla is the equivalent of a salary of $125,000 in Seattle.
The sale price of an average home in Walla Walla is just $205,000.
Walla Walla experiences beautiful summers averaging 86 degrees and mild winters with daytime temperatures around 44 degrees. Walla Walla rarely sees snow on the valley floor.
Walla Walla is served by Alaska Air with service several times daily to Seattle. From there you can get a flight just about anywhere. Our airport features a new, ultra-modern passenger facility terminal and free long-term parking.
Walla Walla is also close to many other great places. It’s about four hours by car from Portland, Boise, and Seattle. It is about three hours from Spokane and Mount Rainier National Park. In just two hours you can be at the trailhead for the hike to the 9,572’ peak of Eagle Cap in the Wallowa Mountains.
Walla Walla has six vibrant public elementary schools, two middle schools and two excellent high schools. There are also several private schools in the area that serve students from K through 12.
The three colleges are hubs of activity, sprinkling Walla Walla’s calendar with live music, lectures and lifelong learning. Whitman College, rated among the top colleges in the country, is a four-year liberal arts college and is Washington state’s oldest institute of higher leaning. Walla Walla University offers liberal arts, professional, and technical programs. Walla Walla Community College was named co-winner for the Top Community College in the Nation, plus they offer an associate's degree in winemaking and grape growing through its 10-year-old Center for Enology and Viticulture.
We have great hospitals too. Both Walla Walla General Hospital and Providence St. Mary Medical Center have been recognized nationally for their high quality care.