Four Reasons You Need to Visit Ellensburg this Summer

Ellensburg, Washington, is a beautiful city in the Pacific Northwest with so much to offer throughout the year. If you find yourself in this unique city, there is plenty to do and see to keep you busy! Ellensburg sure is a popular tourist destination and is known for its small-town charm and rich history. Here we have six of the best things to do in Ellensburg, and the best part is, they’re free!

Wine Bars & Tasting Rooms

Ellensburg is at the heart of Washington wine country, and there is a wide array of local wineries and tasting rooms for you to visit. There is nothing better than being able to support local businesses while also getting to see the beauty of the region firsthand, so visiting them all will allow you to see more of our downtown core and beyond. Visit one of the following wineries and tasting rooms during your visit to Ellensburg this summer and have a relaxing, fun night out:

Elevage Tasting Room & Brix Wine Bar

This winery features local wines and beers in addition to salads, paninis, bruschetta, and other daily dinner specials. They also serve their own wine, Raised by Wolves.

Photo courtesy of Brix Wine Bar
Photo courtesy of Canyon Winery

Ellensburg Canyon Winery

This winery is one-of-a-kind as it uses wine grapes that are grown at Cox Canyon Vineyards, which happens to be the first commercial vineyard in Kittitas County. What’s even better is the fact that award-winning wines have been produced from these grapes. Be sure to check out Ellensburg Canyon Winery to enjoy lovely wine from the oldest vineyard in the area!

Gård Vintners

An unmissable downtown tasting room. Here you can indulge in highly-pointed wines, delicious appetizers, buy charming gifts, and observe a display of rotating local art.

Photo courtesy of Gard Vintners
Photo courtesy of Ellensburg Angler

Fly Fishing

Nothing says summer better than lake days. When you visit Ellensburg during the summer, you can bet on having the best lake day ever at Lake Easton State Park. Although fishermen come to the Yakima River year-round to fish, summer is the prime time to come down here and cast your line. Another great bonus is that children under the age of 14 fish for free, so you can come down with the kids and have them experience the adventure of fishing, while also seeing the beautiful, scenic nature around them. For more permit information go to

Scenic Drives

You don’t have to just dream about going on a sweet drive with stunning views, you can do it yourself this summer in Ellensburg! Check off this delightful item from your bucket list when you go on a drive on one of the following routes:

State Route 821

State Route 821, which stems from Main Street in downtown Ellensburg, is one of the most scenic drives in the area. The drive offers stunning views from a winding road full of cliffs and turns. The drive is bound to kick in your adrenalin and give you a ride to remember! On this scenic route you’ll follow the stunning Yakima River, and if you’re driving during sunset hours, you can see the sun beautifully illuminating the scenery.

Photo courtesy of WA-DNR

The Teanaway

To see marvelous pastures and farmlands on distant hills, make sure to embark on this ride. There are plenty of roads to take here so you are bound to create an adventure of your own. An added bonus is that you can stop by stunning farmhouses and barns to snap some social media worthy pics!

Museums, Galleries, and Historic Buildings

There is so much to see in Ellensburg, and for those of you who appreciate the arts and architecture, this is definitely a place you’ll want to visit! There are many local artists within the area, so much of their work is up on display. Meanwhile, there is also an opportunity to learn about the rich history of the area while visiting some museums and historical buildings. Here are a few suggestions, out of the many options that are available:

Davidson Building

This building is truly remarkable. Not only is it a recognized landmark of the city, but it also pays tribute to the city’s rise from the fire. The building was built by a local attorney, John B. Davidson, who spent tens of thousands of dollars on this construction in 1889. In 1979 the building underwent a significant renovation and though it has changed throughout the years it still carries history and symbolism with it to this day.

Photo courtesy of KCHM

Kittitas County Historical Museum

This museum was first started in the 1960s by The Kittitas County Historical Society, which was made up of many of the valley’s pioneer ancestors. The museum has since relocated and expanded to be what it is today. It carries a lot of educational value, while also serving as an entertaining way to spend the day. In addition to permanent exhibits that portray the history through photographs and slides, Native American basket collections, antique doll and buggy collections, and so forth, there are also several family events offered throughout the year that you can partake in.

Leah Polacek Butterfly Garden

If you are one that is more drawn to serene experiences this will surely catch your eye. This butterfly garden, located on the campus of Central Washington University, is one of the very few open-air butterfly gardens to be located on a campus worldwide. This garden was created to honor the daughter of an instructor who passed away from cancer. The garden is an educational and spiritual resource as it not only offers signs that follow the life cycle of a butterfly, but it is also a place where visitors and community members can enjoy solitude. In addition to this, there are butterfly releases that take place to honor those that have passed in addition to other celebrations of life. A butterfly is a symbol of transformation and freedom, as such this place holds a special meaning and place in many people’s hearts. Be sure to not overlook the possibility of stopping by here on your visit to Ellensburg this summer!

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