The Yakama people were the first known inhabitants of the Yakima area, inhabiting the Yakima Valley. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition came to the area and discovered abundant wildlife and rich soil, prompting the settlement of homesteaders. A Catholic Mission was established in Ahtanum, southwest of present-day Yakima, in 1847. The arrival of settlers and their conflicts with the natives resulted in the Yakima War. The U.S. Army established Fort Simcoe in 1856 near present-day White Swan as a response to the uprising. The Yakamas were defeated and forced to relocate to the Yakama Indian Reservation. Yakima County was created in 1865. When bypassed by the Northern Pacific Railroad in December 1884, over 100 buildings were moved with rollers and horse teams to the nearby site of the depot. The new city was dubbed North Yakima and was officially incorporated and named the county seat on January 27, 1886. The name was changed to Yakima in 1918. Union Gap was the new name given to the original site of Yakima.
The city of Yakima is located in the Upper Valley of Yakima County. The county is geographically divided by Ahtanum Ridge and Rattlesnake Ridge into two regions: the Upper (northern) and Lower (southern) valleys. Yakima is located in the more urbanized Upper Valley, and is the central city of the Yakima Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The cities of Selah and Union Gap lie immediately to the north and south of Yakima. In addition, the unincorporated suburban areas of West Valley and Terrace Heights are considered a part of greater Yakima. With these cities included in the immediate area, population within 20 miles of the city is over 123,000. Other nearby cities include Moxee, Tieton, Cowiche, Wiley City, Tampico, Gleed, and Naches in the Upper Valley, as well as Wapato, Toppenish, Zillah, Harrah, White Swan, Parker, Buena, Outlook, Granger, Mabton, Sunnyside, and Grandview in the Lower Valley. As of 2006, the estimated population of the metropolitan area is 233,105.
Yakima has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with a Mediterranean precipitation pattern. Winters are cold, with December the coolest month, with a mean temperature of 28.8 °F (−1.8 °C). Annual average snowfall is 24.6 inches (62 cm)., with most occurring in December and January, when the snow depth averages 2–3 inches. There are 24 days per year in which the high does not surpass freezing, and 3.6 nights where the low is 0 °F (−17.8 °C) or lower. Springtime warming is very gradual, with nighttime freezes ceasing by mid-May. Summer days are hot, reaching the mid to upper 80s °F (29-32 °C), but the diurnal range is very large, with lows falling into the upper 40s to low 50s °F (9-12 °C). Autumn cooling is very rapid, with freezes beginning in late September to early October. Due to the city's location in a rain shadow, precipitation, at an average of 8.26 inches (209.8 mm) annually, is low year-round, but especially during summer.
The Yakima Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official tourism office for Yakima, Yakima County and the Yakima Valley.
Visitor Information Center, 101 Fair Avenue, ☎ +1-(509) 575-3010 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Toll free: (800) 221-0751 (USA and Canada). edit
Yakima Air Terminal IATA: (YKM) is a commuter and general aviation airport with turboprop aircraft, but the largest in the center of the state. Connections are via Seattle-Tacoma on Alaska Airlines .
Seattle International Airport IATA: (SEA) is the next nearest commercial airport with more flight connections to a variety of places in the U.S. and internationally. From the airport the Bellair Airporter operates regular buses out to Yakima via North Bend, Cle Elum and Ellensburg.
Except Greyhound and Bellair which have their own stops/station in separate locations (see below), the central bus station is at 105 S 4th St (S 4th St between E Walnut St & E Chestnut Ave) for the local Yakima Transit, Ellensburg Commuter and the Yakima-Prosser Community Connector,
Greyhound, 602 E Yakima Ave Ave, ☎ 509-457-5131 (toll free: 1-800-231-2222), . Travels along Interstate 90 & 82 between Seattle, Ellensburg, Yakima, Sunnyside, Pasco (Tri-Cities); and Stanfield, OR. Passengers transfer buses in Spokane, Seattle, Tri-Cities (to get to Walla Walla, NE Oregon or Portland), Portland or Stanfield (Greyhound buses traveling along I-84) to get to additional cities.edit
People for People Community Connector goes between the Yakima Transit Center at 105 S 4th St to 7th & Stacey in Prosser (via Wapato, Toppenish, Zillah, Granger, Sunnyside & Grandview). Passengers can continue from Prosser to Richland (in Tri-Cities) on Ben Franklin Rt #170 via Benton City.
Ellensburg Commuter (Yakima Transit Rt #11) goes up to Ellensburg & Central Washington University (CWU) campus.
Bell Air Airporter, Smitty Conoco @ 3508 Fruitvale Blvd, ☎ 360-380-8880 (toll free: +1-866-235-5247), . goes from the SeaTac airport (in Seattle) via North Bend, Cle Elum, and Ellensburg to the Yakima Air Terminal and Smitty's Conoco (or known as 'Log Cabin Cafe') at 3508 Fruitvale Blvd. Makes a stop into the downtown Seattle Amtrak station on request only, Bus does not stop there automatically.edit
Yakima is located along Interstate 82, approximately 143 miles southeast of Seattle (2hr 15min), 204 miles southwest of Spokane (3hr 30min), 80 miles northwest of the Tri-Cities (Richland-Kennewick-Pasco) (1hr 30min) and 186 mi northeast of Portland (3hrs).
From Seattle, take I-90 East to the I-82 off ramp, Exit 110, just beyond the exit to Ellensburg. Keep right on I-82 East and take exit 31A-31B to North 1st Street / Naches. Yakima can be accessed from Exits #31 ("31A 1st Ave" & "31B Naches") through 36 ("Union Gap") from along I-82, after crossing over the Naches River (if going "east" from Ellensburg towards Richland).
From Spokane, take I-90 West until exit 110, I-82 East, continuing until exit 31A-31B to North 1st Street / Naches.
From the Tri-Cities, take I-82 West until exit 33. Merge onto East Yakima Avenue.
From Portland go east on Interstate 84 to US Hwy 97 in Biggs Junction at Exit 104, which is 20mi/64km east of The Dalles. Go north, on US Hwy 97 to cross the bridge over the Columbia River into Washington state and up to WA-Hwy 14. Go left (west) on Hwy 14 and right (north) on US Hwy 97 to Toppenish. Upon reaching Toppenish you can go left (north/NW) on U.S. Hwy 97 to Yakima or go forward into town on WA-22 (locally named "Elm St" & "Evergreen Hwy") to I-82 and go I-82 west to Yakima.
A scenic alternative route from the Ellensburg region is the old canyon highway, SR 821, a two-lane road that winds through the Yakima River gorge between Exits 3 and 26, bypassing the Interstate over the mountain ridges. During the daytime, the views are lovely and there are several spots midway to stop, fish, and even camp. Be cautious of rocks on the road, though, and stick to the Interstate at night.
Yakima Transit operates local bus routes in & around Yakima (city limits on Rt #1-9), Selah (Rt #10) & Ellensburg (Rt #11, mentioned under 'Get in' heading),
Locally, the road running east & west as Yakima Ave (in downtown), Summitview Ave (west of downtown) & Terrace Heights Dr' (east of I-82) divides the addresses & streets from "North" & "South" while Front St (through downtown), the main railroad yard / tracks (south of downtown), & Main St (S 1st St becomes 'Main St' south of Valley Mall Blvd), running north & south, just west of I-82, divides the addresses & streets from "West" & "East". The numbered streets running north and south are "Avenues" (such as N 2nd Ave) west of Front St and as "Streets" (such as S 3rd St) east of Front St.
Manic Thunder Improv - A troupe of comedians from very different backgrounds who have entertained in theater, television, impressionism, drama, comedy, film, stand-up, musicals, variety, children's theater, large and small stage alike. Shows are every Friday night at Glenwood Square (51st and Tieton) with their two-hour show starting at 8 pm (ages 16+). The first Saturday of every month features an all ages family friendly "Manic Matinee" at 3pm!
McAllister Museum of Aviation - Originally opened in 1926 as a flight school by brothers Charlie and Alister McAllister, it was one of the longest running flight schools in the Northwest. After Charlie's death at age 95, the school was transformed into the museum it is today. It is located at the East end of the Yakima Airport, next to Cub Crafters, near the corner of 16th and Washington.
Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center - Established in 1980, the Yakama Nation Cultural Center (YN CC) is a unique, multifaceted facility offering a variety of programs that share Yakama Nation's history and culture with all. It offers the Yakama Nation Museum, Heritage Inn Restaurant, Winter Lodge, Heritage Theater, Yakama Nation Library, and CC gift shop. The Cultural Center is open to the general public seven days a week and is a wonderful cultural experience.
Yakima Area Arboretum - Established in 1967 by the Central District of the Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs (36 garden clubs in all), the Yakima Area Arboretum is a non-profit organization supported by the generosity of its members and sponsors, and through the hard work and dedication of its staff and volunteers. The Yakima Area Arboretum is a living museum, of over 1000 specimens of trees, forbs, grasses and shrubs, on 46 acres of land managed as collections, display gardens and natural areas.
Yakima Convention Center - Centrally located, the Yakima Convention Center is your best choice for a Pacific Northwest convention or event. It features 41,000 sq. ft. of versatile column free, carpeted meeting space that includes the South Ballroom (6000 sq. ft ballroom, divisible into 6 breakout rooms), the Alex Deccio Ballroom (23,400 sq. ft. ballroom, divisible into 8 breakout rooms), pre-function space (11,600 sq. ft.), two conference rooms, and an outdoor plaza (7,000 sq. ft.). It is the perfect place to gather and enjoy the Yakima Valley's 300 days of sunshine.
Yakima Speedway - With over thirty races each season, Yakima Speedway provides the ultimate racing experience in Yakima, Washington.
Yakima Valley Museum  - Located in Yakima’s beautiful Franklin Park, offers historical exhibits on the Yakima Valley—its natural history, Plateau cultural objects, pioneer life, early city life, and the roots and development of the Valley’s fruit industry. The museum also features a functioning replica of a late 1930s Art Deco soda fountain. Furnished with salvaged and restored parts of soda fountains which once operated in Yakima, this piece of history serves ice cream treats and other fountain favorites for visitors to the museum and Franklin Park.
Yakima Sportsman State Park, (Three miles southeast of downtown Yakima), . Summer: 06:30h-22h; Winter: 08-17h. A 247-acre camping park created by irrigating a patch of otherwise desert river floodplain.edit
The Capitol Theatre - is an arts theatre that hosts an array of performances from broadway shows, comedic acts, and musical talents. Recent performers include Bill Cosby, Bryan Adams, and Joe Bonamassa.
The Seasons Performance Hall - is a premier concert and arts venue that offers an incomparable selection of musical performances by some of the most thrilling national and international performers of today. Recent performers include Band of Horses and Ed Kowalczyk.
Yakama Legends Casino - Yakama Legends Casino features all of your favorite Vegas-style games with a hometown flair! Featuring 1,400 of the newest, hottest slots around, there is no doubt that your favorite machine is waiting. If tables are your game, they feature a great mix including Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Pai Gow, 3-Card Poker, Spanish 21 and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. There is also live Keno with payouts up to $50,000.
Yakima Valley SunDome - is an events arena that host a variety of shows and musical performance. Recent performers include Elton John and Carrie Underwood.
Yakima Valley Wine Tours - Yakima is in wine country and there are a plethora of wineries either in, or within close proximity, to the city.
Sometimes there will be an advisory issued for poor air quality due to stagnation. Because of Yakima's location within a mountain valley, air sometimes settles and becomes stagnate for an extended period of time. During this phenomenon, pollutants often accumulate and subsequently the air quality becomes poorer than usual, and can affect those individuals who have existing respiratory conditions.
You can refer to the National Weather Service website on air quality to see if any such advisories have been issued for the Yakima Valley region.
There have been confirmed cases of hantaviral pulmonary syndrome in the Yakima Valley; the most recent of which occurred during the summer of 2011.
Although this disease is very rare, it is important to always take precautions when entering confined spaces, or places that are dusty and underexposed to sunlight, where conditions may be ideal for the presence of a rodent population.
For more information on prevention and transmission, visit the CDC website  on hantaviruses.
During the summer months, the temperature in Yakima and the greater Yakima Valley often exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are to be outside for long periods of time, be sure to drink plenty of WATER and limit the intake of alcohol and caffeine to prevent dehydration and heat stroke. Should you be planning on venturing off into the surrounding landscape, follow desert survival guidelines. Make sure you KNOW where you are going, tell someone where your destination will be, and take an ample water supply with you.
Yakima has experienced a significant increase in gang activity throughout the past decade due to its population growth. This has resulted in a rise of violent crime within the city limits, although incidents of violence are mostly isolated to particular neighborhoods (mostly on the east side).
During the late summer of 2010, the West Valley area of Yakima experienced a string of burglaries. Take precautions to protect your personal property.
In reality, Yakima is very nice place to visit and the surrounding scenery is just as wonderful as its sun abundant climate. The problems it does have are typical in most mid-size cities and rarely effect the average person.
The best way to stay safe is to just BE SMART. Be vigilant! Most often when people find themselves in a bad situation, it is because they put themselves in that situation. If you need help, there is a often visible police presence in the more troubled locales.
Yakima Valley Jobs is an online resource for employment in various industries throughout the region.
Worksource Washington-Yakima, 306 Division St (along Division btwn. S 3rd & 5th Ave, south of downtown), ☎ 509-574-0100, . is also another online and state governmental resource for employment throughout the state as well as referral services to local employers. They have computers, phones & fax machines for people to use for the purpose of searching for work as well as classes on basic use of computers, resume writing and other topics related to job searching. edit
Mexico, 2132 3rd Ave, Seattle 98121, ☎ +1 877 639-4835 (email@example.com, fax: +1 206 448-4771), . Consul comes out every once and while to serve the needs of the local Mexican community. edit
Boulder Cave, (32 miles west of Naches. Take State Route 410 to Milepost 95.4, turn left on paved road.), . April 1 - Oct 31. Unlike many Washington caves, Boulder Cave is formed from volcanic rock which was eroded away and collapsed. A fun boulder scramble, suitable for kids. Bring a flashlight. The short loop trail has a branch which is wheelchair accessible. Day use only. Part of Wenatchee National Forest.$5/vehicle, $15/bus. edit
White Pass Ski Resort, 48935 US Highway 12 (20 miles east of Packwood, 50 miles west of Yakima, on US highway 12), ☎ +1-(509) 672-3101, . Ski area centrally located to a variety of cities in Washington state.edit
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