Yakima’s Unique Attractions 2

Let your OOTs (out-of-town guests) in on the distinct history of Yakima Valley as they are invited to learn about the unique Indian heritage represented through the area’s attractions.  By heading a little southeast {into Toppenish}, your guests can experience “where the West still lives in the City of Murals & Museums”  {and even a casino to boot}! 

First Stop: Cultural Center

yakama nation cultural center 2

Opening in 1980 and built on ancestral land, the Yakama Nation Cultural Center allows guests a peak into the preserved heritage of the Yakama tribe’s history and legacy from past to present. The 12,000 square-foot museum chronicals the Yakama’s past through “dioramas and static and live exhibits,” life-size dwellings, special sound effects and music, as well as guided tours Monday through Friday.  Today, the Yakama Nation Museum holds its own as one of the oldest Native American Museums in the United States. 

For directions + prices, events, productions and movie night information please visit the Cultural Center’s website here and have fun!

Yakama Nation Cultural Center


Second in line: The Toppenish Museums

Okay so there are two pretty cool museums in Toppenish that are definitely worth mentioning. The first one on my list might catch the attention of you beer connoisseurs out there :).

Hop Museum

hop museum

Not only are hops required to preserve the great flavor of beer, but they have historical significance to the county {and even enough so as to be featured in the murals around Toppenish}.  A substantive part of the Yakima Valley, the hops that are grown in the fields around town account for almost 80 percent of the nation’s production! In order “to preserve the heritage of the odd, little perennial vine, the American Hop Museum was started . . . to help educate the public about the more than 400 hundred years of hop production in the U.S.”

The museum “features historical photographs, early agricultural machinery, and a variety of displays that depict life in the early-growing days in New England,” as well as its rapid expansion into the Pacific Northwest. 


The next museum…

The Old Railroad Museum

railway museum logo

In order to preserve the Valley’s railway legacy {as you’ll see a few more railway relics mentioned this week} a vintage, 1911 Northern Pacific Railway depot was transformed into a museum located in the city of Toppenish. Now known as the Northern Pacific Railway Museum, a passenger train was restored by volunteers just 14 short years ago and now boasts a dozen oak display show cases that include dinner settings, railway artifacts, and a mannequin dressed as  a train conductor from the past.  This is quite a neat collection and a great chance to view the foundation of the Yakima Valley. 

{Note: The museum does do caboose rides on certain weekends; please check the Yakima Valley Visitor’s Guide for more information.}

rail museum

…and Third


The Toppenish murals really are a must-see when you’re visiting Yakima.  I haven’t been down there to see these since I was {way} younger but these pictures are making me want to go back sooner rather than later!

{a little background}

The Toppenish Mural Society began in 1989 with a dozen artists gathering to paint an entire mural together {titled “Clearing the Land”} in a single day’s time to commemorate the Washington Centennial celebration. . . a tradition that continues to this day. 

This beautiful wall art, in fact, has won several awards including the Governors Art Award and a national Prettiest Painted Places award.  The program’s success is due, in large part, to the quality of artists selected to participate in the “mural-in-a-day” program.  The murals, displayed on various buildings all over town, range in size and are made up of a diverse selection of paintings that reflect the city’s theme of “where the west still lives”, as well many of the men and women who’ve made contributions to the city. 

While the murals can be viewed year round, May through September {prime wedding time} is the best time to visit as the city offers a narrated horse-drawn wagon tour of the murals’ history!

The Mural Tours are located at 1550 Gibson Road and begin daily at 10 a.m.  Cost is $12 per adult; $10 for seniors and $4 for children 12 and under.  For more information on the tours visit the City of Toppenish home page. 

Toppenish Mural Tours

Last stop . . . roll the dice @ {Legends Casino}

Legends Casino In and Outside

After soaking up the rich history of the Valley inside the Toppenish city limits, relax and have some fun at the Yakama Nation Legends Casino!  This sizeable casino features 1,200 of the newest, hottest slots and numerous Vegas-style table games . . . and promises “no doubt that your favorite machine is waiting!”  Table games include a mix of Blackjack; Craps; Roulette; Pai Gow; 3-Card Poker; Spanish 21 and Ultimate Texas Hold’em . . . they even host live {Keno} with payouts of up to $50,000 {what a nice wedding gift that’d make J}.  Must be 18 to play all games.

Legends’ inclusive website lists all their games along with an explanation of how each game is dealt, played, card logistics and rules . . . perfect for casino newbies!  Live Action Poker is also available most days of the week {check website for buy-in amounts, rules and available times}. 

If you’re not into the gaming scene {or have kids tagging along} but would like to experience the casino, check out the Mountain View Buffet “for the ultimate dining experience”.  The buffet hosts an array of gourmet ethnic cuisine, freshly carved meats, London broils, New York loins and a variety of soups, salads and breads {and dessert too, YUM!}.

Anyway, that’s it for the Toppenish experience! Bride + grooms, encourage your OOT’s to get out and experience the deep-rooted history and seasoned culture of the Yakima Valley {it’s actually pretty cool!}

 More tomorrow, see you then . . . thanks for stopping by!


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