Winter, spring, summer or fall, Walla Walla is a picture-perfect getaway
Open skies, foodie experiences, mountain views, biking, hiking, festivals, music — that’s just the beginning of what you can experience in Walla Walla, Washington.
The renowned wine-growing region boasts an abundance of outdoor recreation, arts and culture, and family-friendly fun. From the tranquility of the Blue Mountains to downtown parades, there’s a lot to “pair” with your favorite vintage in any season.
When it’s time to satisfy your wanderlust, set your destination to Walla Walla. Here’s a little inspiration for your road trip.
Come springtime, the Walla Walla Valley is a green, lush paradise — spring is arguably its most delightful season. Visiting in spring offers a different take on local agriculture and production, allowing you to see the seasons evolve through the eyes of farmers and the wine-making community. You see spring happening in front of your eyes.
Spring is an ideal time to explore the Blue Mountain Range, aka “the Blues.” Not only are the Blues an inspiring photographic backdrop, they’re also a stellar outdoor playground. Pair hiking and exploring with wine tasting and you have all the ingredients for a perfect spring adventure.
The local arts scene also comes alive in springtime with immersive activities. Here’s a sampling of what you can do:
Take a walking sculpture tour
See sculptures in the natural setting imagined by the artists on Whitman College’s self-guided outdoor sculpture walking tour. Wander through campus at your own pace and see up to 27 works of art that were either created by alumni or commissioned by graduating classes.
Join the First Friday art walk
Get inspired at ArtWalla’s First Friday Art Tour. As the name suggests, galleries open their doors on the first Friday of the month from April through October. Plus, each tour hosts an artist pop-up from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Showroom on Colville. The art stays up and is available for purchase throughout the weekend.
Get interactive at The Refinery
Create your own work-of-art at The Refinery, a community pottery and art studio. This interactive space offers workshops for people of every skill level. From Craft Camp to Clay Curious, the studio has curated experiences for all.
Tip: Get ready for your road trip with a AAA Membership. Get peace-of-mind on the road plus discounts on hotels, car rentals and gas.
With 130 wine tasting rooms (30 are downtown), 2,900-acres of grapes and more than 135 wineries, it’s no surprise that wine aficionados flock to Walla Walla each summer. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to wine experiences.
But, there’s more to enjoy in summer, including festivals and the performing arts. Here’s a handful of fun options:
Walla Walla Movie Crush: This micro-festival showcases short cinema, from vintage filmmakers to fresh upstarts. It’s a shorts-travaganza.
Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival: With more than 40 performances per season – half of them free – the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival brings sumptuous sounds to wineries and production facilities, theatres, libraries and more in June. Plus, there are concerts in January, too.
Blood of the Gods Annual Merrymaking: This new, in-depth experience melds heavy metal, art and wine.
Tip: It’s not just grape vines that thrive in southeastern Washington. Farmers produce some of the freshest fruit (strawberries and apples) and vegetables (asparagus and sweet onions) you’ll ever taste.
Gorgeous fall colors are just the beginning when it comes to the beauty of Washington’s southeastern region in fall. The main event is the annual Fall Release Weekend, when wine lovers can taste and buy newly-released wines. Held during the first weekend in November, visitors can meet the winemakers. This is a very popular event, so be sure to make hotel reservations in advance (use your AAA Washington membership to save on hotels).
While Fall Release Weekend is the must-attend event for wine connoisseurs and collectors, there’s plenty of wine to go around. In fact, it’s much easier to get mid-week hotel reservations. So, if your travel plans are flexible, consider visiting Monday through Thursday.
Wherever your travels take you, please drink responsibly. Choose a designated driver, walk to your destination, use public transportation or book a private shuttle.
You might be surprised to learn that southeastern Washington has snow sports, too. Spend the day snowshoeing through vineyards, cross-country skiing on miles of groomed trails, or downhill skiing and snowboarding at nearby BlueWood ski resort. Then, top it all off with a great glass of wine.
In December, wine lovers flock to the annual Holiday Barrel Weekend. At this event, you can sample future releases straight from the wine barrel. Many wineries deck their tasting rooms in holiday lights and present live music — it’s a laid-back weekend.
February means BrewFest, a one-day event that celebrates Walla Walla’s thriving beer and cider industry. (Editor’s tip: Year-round, visitors can sample dozens of local craft beers and ciders in restaurants and tasting rooms.)
Winter is also time cozy up with a great book — and there’s no better place to find one than the annual AAUW Book Sale, one of the largest book fairs in the country. You can browse more than 40,000 titles at this event, which benefits community nonprofits.
Planning a trip to Walla Walla? Here are some quick facts to get you on your way.
- Location: Southeastern Washington, 13 miles north of the Oregon border
- Weather: 260 days of sunshine a year! The city averages 20 inches of precipitation per year.
- Population: Close to 34,000
- The Drive: Walla Walla is about 4.5 hours by car (275 miles) from Seattle, 4 hours (250 miles) from Portland and Boise, and just over 2.5 hours from Spokane (150 miles).
- Name: Walla Walla means the place of “many waters.”
- French Connection: The Walla Walla Valley’s latitude of 46 degrees North is the same latitude line that runs through France’s Burgundy and Bordeaux regions.
- Local Events and Activities: Visit Walla Walla is a terrific resource to plan a trip. Check event listings for festivals and exclusive events.
Plan your next adventure
With a quintessential small-town feel, immersive wine experiences, sports and recreation, culture and festivals, and a wealth of sunshine, Walla Walla offers visitors an amazing experience in all four seasons. You’re guaranteed to savor every minute of your time in this beautiful corner of Washington state.
For more travel tips and special events, check out Visit Walla Walla.
— Written by: AAA Washington staff
— Top photo: Visit Walla Walla
Road Trip Tips
Before you go: Get ready for your road trip with a AAA Membership. Get peace-of-mind on the road plus travel and insurance services and much more.
Save on car insurance: AAA members save up to 8% on car insurance.
Get battery service: AAA Mobile Battery Service uses state-of-the-art technology to accurately diagnose battery-related problems. We’ll even replace your battery with a brand-new one if necessary, at a special member price.
Save with AAA member discounts: AAA membership gives you access to exclusive entertainment discounts nationwide.