Where to Stop During Traffic Delays

Traffic delays can be frustrating and time-consuming, but when you find yourself stuck in Ellensburg, Washington, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. This charming town, just beyond the frequented road-trip gas stations, offers numerous opportunities to make the most of your time while waiting for traffic to clear. Whether you’re in need of a delicious bite to curb your appetite, an evening to try something new, or some fresh air while waiting out road closures, Ellensburg has a unique and welcoming ambiance that will ensure that you can turn an inconvenience into a memorable experience. Extend your travel plans! Click here to start planning your “off the beaten path” getaway!

Explore Downtown Ellensburg

One of the best places to while away your time during a traffic delay in Ellensburg is the city’s vibrant downtown area. It’s packed with boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and historic charm.

Shopping: Downtown Ellensburg offers a unique shopping experience with boutique stores, antique shops, and craft galleries. Explore the mural-lined streets, and you’re sure to discover something unique and authentically Ellensburg. Outdoor enthusiasts can also find gems among our town. From places like Reds Fly Shop and Mountain High Sports, you can shop for adventure beyond our city limits! Click here to learn more about shopping in Ellensburg.

Cafes and Restaurants

Satisfy your taste buds with a variety of culinary experiences. Our town has a thriving food scene with local restaurants and cafes serving everything from gourmet coffee to farm-to-table cuisine. Whether you’re looking for bolstering burgers from the Pearl Bar and Grill, homemade pasta from Ellensburg Pasta Company, or elevated southern comfort food from Julep, your taste bud will thank you for taking the Ellensburg exit. Click here to experience dining in Ellensburg.

Don’t forget about our breakfast and brunch scene which is vibrant 7 days a week! From bold blends from our numerous coffee shops to the unique and delicious dishes from The Early Bird, you will have ample opportunity to fuel up before you hit the road. Click here for early eats in Ellensburg.


Historic District

Stroll through the historic district and admire the well-preserved architecture. You’ll find beautifully restored buildings and historic markers that share the city’s fascinating past. Make sure to check out the Davidson Building, a local landmark with its distinctive turret. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled, meticulously restored murals, animal sculptures, and art installations line the streets of Ellensburg. Click here to learn about the outdoor artworks throughout town.

Make it a Date Night

Wine, Dine, and show your loved one a good ole time with a night out on the town. Ellensburg has plenty of Dining, Craft beer, wine, and cocktails, as well as local artists sharing their love of art with the public. They say the ticket to one’s heart is through their stomach and wow, Ellensburg is producing a lot of love because these local restaurants are serving up some delicious food, ambiance for days, and an unforgettable date night.

Click here to learn about top date night destinations in Ellensburg.

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Central Washington University Campus

If you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, consider a visit to the Central Washington University (CWU) campus. The sprawling campus offers beautiful landscaping, colorful trees, and rustic brick buildings.

The campus is dotted with scenic spots that are perfect for leisurely walks or sitting and enjoying the fresh air. The Japanese Gardens are a serene oasis within the campus that’s open to the public.

Art Museums and Galleries

With the many artisans and creatives living in and around Ellensburg, it is no surprise at the amount of Galleries and museums residing within city limits.

Explore artistic destinations like Gallery One, a nonprofit public visual arts center dedicated to showcasing local as well as national and international artists. The Clymer Museum of Art, a haven for Clymer art fans, with one of the largest collections of John F. Clymer originals. The Kittitas County Historical Museum, a great place to learn about the valley’s evolution, with information on pioneers, local Native American tribes, and more. Even the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery at Central Washington University, where some of the freshest, developing art talent can be found.

Click here to view Ellensburg Art Galleries


Olmstead Place State Park

If you have more time to spare during your traffic delay or your four-legged passenger news to stretch, a visit to the Olmstead Place State Park is highly recommended. This park is located a bit outside Ellensburg and offers a serene escape into nature. The park has well-maintained picnic areas, making it an ideal spot for a relaxed meal amidst beautiful surroundings. Enjoy a picnic while soaking in the natural beauty.

If you’re looking to stay a little longer, locals would definitely recommend taking a leisurely walk or hike on the park’s trails. The scenery is particularly stunning during the spring and summer months when wildflowers are in full bloom and during the fall when the leaves change to their fiery hues.

Click here to learn more about parks in Ellensburg.

Wine Tasting

Central Washington is known for its vineyards and wine production. If you’re a wine enthusiast, a visit to a local winery can be a delightful way to pass the time.

Explore the local wineries, where you can savor a selection of wines produced in the region. Many of these wineries offer tastings and tours, allowing you to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle.

Click here to view wine tasting rooms.


Local Breweries

If breweries are more your style, you’ll be the first to raise a glass to best case scenarios. Fill your travel delays with locally crafted brews! From rotating seasonals to draft staples, Ellensburg is home to many of Washington’s premier breweries such as Enchantment Brewing, Iron Horse, not to mention Ellensburg Brewing and Tilted Tree Cider house. Click here to learn more about breweries in Ellensburg.

Practical Tips for Navigating Traffic Delays in Ellensburg

While making the most of your time in Ellensburg during traffic delays is rewarding, it’s essential to stay informed and plan accordingly:

  1. Check Traffic Updates: Keep an eye on current traffic conditions through your smartphone or a local radio station. This information will help you decide how much time you can spare for exploring the city.
  2. Be Mindful of Time: Ensure you return to your vehicle well before traffic starts moving again to avoid any further inconvenience.
  3. Plan for Safety: Remember to adhere to safety guidelines when exploring Ellensburg. Be mindful of road conditions, crosswalks, and pedestrian areas.

Ellensburg is a city that seamlessly combines history, culture, and natural beauty, making it an excellent place to explore during traffic delays. By visiting the downtown area, the CWU campus, local museums, parks, and more, you can turn an otherwise frustrating situation into an enriching and enjoyable experience. So, the next time you find yourself in traffic, take to the streets of Ellensburg and remember that there’s a world of opportunities waiting for you just off the exit.