Best Things to do in Walla Walla

Check out some must-do activities while visiting Walla Walla

If you’re looking for an escape from the big city, Walla Walla is the perfect destination. Nestled in the Blue Mountain region of Washington State, this charming town is home to some of the best wineries in the country. But there’s more to Walla Walla than just wine, the area offers a wealth of outdoor activities and cultural attractions as well as amazing places to stay, such as the famous Marcus Whitman hotel.

Blue Mountain Lavender Farm Experience
Blue Mountain Lavender Farm

Walla Walla has amazing wineries and a strong food scene complementing one another. Because it can be difficult to sift through all the amazing things to do in the Pacific North West, here are our top picks for things to do in Walla Walla’s beautiful setting:

Take a hot air balloon ride over the Walla Walla Valley

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience while in Walla Walla, you should consider going on a hot air balloon ride. Home to the beautiful views of the blue mountains, rolling hills, and what feels like never-ending vineyards, a hot air balloon ride is definitely a must-do activity while in town. High in the sky, you’ll have the opportunity to see the luscious wheat fields that are a staple in Eastern Washington. Anyone with an adventurous spirit will be blown away by the breathtaking views provided by downtown Walla Walla and the greater Walla Walla Valley area. 

Hot air balloon ride in Walla Walla
Hot air balloon ride in Walla Walla Washington, with Seattle Ballooning

One of the best parts about taking a hot air balloon ride in the Walla Walla Valley is the views that you’ll get to see while admiring the beautiful landscape from high up in the sky. It’s an amazing way to take in all that this charming town has to offer, not to mention it’s a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else!

The hot air balloon rides in Walla Walla launch from a variety of locations based on the winds that day. Often the balloons launch 5 miles South of Walla Walla, allowing flights over the Southern Walla Walla vineyards. Your pilot will take the balloon to different altitudes to catch winds in different directions. At times you’ll be over a mile high above the valley, and other times, you’ll fly 5-10 feet above the vineyards.

Although Seattle Ballooning provides sunrise and sunset flights each day, the pilots all say their favorite flight is at sunrise.

Walla Walla Ballooning Rides
Walla Walla Ballooning

Opening as Seattle Ballooning’s second location in Washington State, Walla Walla Ballooning offers sunrise and sunset flights from September through Nov 1st.

Walla Walla Balloon Stampede – Hot air balloon festival

For the ultimate thrill-seeker and photographer, You won’t want to miss The Walla Walla Balloon Stampede. The balloon festival takes place October 19th-23rd, 2022, and Seattle Ballooning’s Walla Walla hot air ballooning location is the only commercial balloon company offering rides to the public during the week of the annual event! They offer both private and group rides, so you can choose the best option for your needs. Whether you’re looking for a romantic experience for two or a fun activity for a group of friends, Seattle Ballooning’s Walla Walla location has you covered.

So if you’re looking for something special to do during your stay in Walla Walla Valley, be sure to consider enjoying the stunning views by booking a hot air balloon ride. It’s definitely a trip you won’t regret!

If you happen to be in Walla Walla in October, you should join Seattle Ballooning for The Walla Walla Balloon Stampede. 30+ hot air balloons fly every morning. It’s a pretty fun experience.

Explore Walla Walla Valley’s beautiful attractions

For those who prefer to stay on solid ground, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy in Walla Walla. Whether you are looking for family-friendly activities or romantic adventures, we’ve got you covered.

Induldge in Walla Walla’s farmers market

The Downtown Walla Walla Farmers Market is a must-see for anyone visiting Walla Walla. It takes every Sat from May through October from 9am to 1pm. There are always delicious food trucks and really neat vendors. This last week we ate some delicious microgreens and watched a live blacksmith demonstration by Ben from Czyhold Metal Design! He is a local of Walla Walla and an incredible metal artist.

Walla Walla farmers market

At the Walla Walla farmers market, you’re sure to find something you love! The market is a true community event, and everyone is welcome. So be sure to stop by next time you’re in town!

Walla Walla Ballooning Farmers Market
Walla Walla Farmers Market

Hit the tees and go golfing in Walla Walla

Walla Walla is home to some great golf courses within a few miles of downtown. With lush greens and stunning mountain views, golfing in Walla Walla is a must-do for any sports enthusiast. Walla Walla has a wide variety of choices for golfers to choose from. Veterans Memorial Golf Course and The Wine Valley golf club are the best courses. When it’s raining out, be sure to check out Divots Golf Walla Walla. It’s a fun indoor golf course that serves Divots brand Walla Walla Valley red wine. Golfers will find plenty of options in Walla Walla that will suit their specific needs for their stay, including several championship-level golf courses located in and around town.

Walla Walla Parks and historical museums

While visiting the beautiful region of Walla Walla, try exploring the many parks and fields surrounding the area, such as the beloved Blue Mountain Lavender Farm, Howard Tietan Park, and Pioneer Park. Stroll around the town and visit the many cultural icons Walla Walla has to offer such as, book shops and museums, like the Kirkman House Museum and the established Fort Walla Walla Museum, or pop into the Gesa Power House Theatre for a variety of plays and musical attractions that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Walla Walla Historic Sites
Historic Sites in Walla Walla

Get a taste of Walla Walla’s wine scene

Walla Walla is home to over 130 wineries, making it potentially the best concentration of wineries in the country for wine tasting. The region is known for its red wines, but several white and sparkling wine producers are sure to please every guest. Many of the wineries offer tours and tastings, so you can learn about the wine-making process and try some of the excellent wine selections offered.

One of the coolest parts about Walla Walla’s wine country is the opportunity to see it from a birds-eye view. From Seattle Ballooning’s Walla Walla hot air balloon rides, you’ll get an experience above vineyards. You’ll fly by patrons tasting wine and might even land at a winery doing a special release. We can tell you there is no better tour in Walla Walla than hot air ballooning. Seattle Ballooning’s pilots will point out the best wineries in the valley and give you the experience of a lifetime.

Yellow Hawk Winery and Resort

One of our favorite places to get lunch and also “launch” is Yellow Hawk Winery and Resort. They have delicious wine, amazing burgers, and a fantastic charcuterie plate. You’ll want to make reservations in advance! If you choose to stay there, you’ll often get the chance to see the balloons inflating. Yellow Hawk has a beautiful field in front of the winery where Seattle Ballooning gets the opportunity to launch hot air balloons.

Hot air ballooning above Yellow Hawk Resort
The view above Yellow Hawk Winery and Resort from a hot air balloon

Walla Walla wineries owned by celebrities

Walla Walla has no shortage of celebrity-owned wineries. Doubleback Winery is owned by former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe, while Nocking Point Wineries is co-owned by Stephen Amell, who is famous for his role on the TV show Arrow. Drew Bledsoe has always loved good wine and grew up in Walla Walla. Stephen Amell joined his friend Drew to create a delicious brand of accessible wines. They have a really fun team and a laid-back tasting room on Alder St. in downtown Walla Walla. Seattle Ballooning often launch their hot air balloons from Doubleback Winery. One of the little-known things about Doubleback is the grape vines on the property are in the shape of a hot air balloon and basket. Cool right?

Doubleback Winery vines in the shape of a hot air balloon

Waterbrook Winery

Waterbrook Winery, established in 1984, is a Walla Washington pioneer that today features an awe-inspiring state-of-the-art winery with year-round events and hospitality. The 49-acre estate vineyard produces wines true to a variety full of depth & structure which are representative of Columbia Valley’s best. Try stopping by for a tour and a glass of their mouth-watering Sauvignon Blanc.

Waterbrook Winery Walla Walla
Waterbrook Winery

Northstar Winery

Northstar Winery was founded in 1994 when it became one of the first wineries to be established on Washington’s newly created Olympic Peninsula. The region has since been recognized as a hotbed for Merlot-producing wines with characteristics similar to those found along France’s Bordeaux region due largely thanks to its cooler nighttime temperatures and a longer growing season that help even out ripening levels while also locking down acidity– resulting both full-bodied yet balanced offerings like our 1996 vintage bottled under “Mer Soleil.”

Northstar Winery Walla Walla
Northstar Winery

Pepper Bridge Winery

Pepper Bridge Winery represents the pioneering spirit of the Walla Walla Valley. Owned and operated by three families–the McKibbens, the Murphys, and the Pellets–the winery is a leader in quality winemaking, hospitality, innovative technology and vineyard development. For over twenty years their hard work and dedication to the Walla Walla Valley has helped define it as one of the great wine regions of the world.

Pepper Bridge Winery Walla Walla
Pepper Bridge Winery

Vineyard Lounge

The Vineyard Lounge is the perfect place to spend an evening with friends. This wine bar is located in the Marcus Whitman Hotel and is home to one of Walla Walla’s most extensive wine lists, with interesting cocktails and traditional mixed drinks available. The Vineyard Lounge is home to an awesome onsite restaurant as well, meaning it has something for everyone! If you’re looking for cold winter nights spent cozying up next to a fire or warm summer evenings sitting on the outdoor patio drinking deliciously crafted drinks, they specialize in making that happen the best way it can be enjoyed. The menu at this phenomenal venue offers everything from delectable appetizers, such as salads & soups, to their all-leading entrees that include small plates, pub fare, and a variety of meat-based dishes including steak and salmon.

The Vineyard Lounge Walla Walla
The Vineyard Lounge

There are a number of ways to go about it, but we recommend hiring a driver and taking a tour of some of the area’s most popular wineries.

Fall things to do in Walla Walla

Fall in Walla Walla is beautiful. The leaves are changing, the grapes are being harvested, and over 30 hot air balloons come out for the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede. One of the coolest events of the Stampede is the hot air balloon golw that occurs on Sat night at Howard Tietan Park. If you are wanting to come fly over the wineries and join 30 balloons in the air, you’ll want to book your flight. Spots are very limited for the event as the majority of the balloons only fly in the morning each day.

Fall in Walla Walla
The Walla Walla Balloon Stampede in Walla Walla Washignton

Our favorite Walla Walla restaurants

As hot air balloon pilots, we love good food and delicious wine. There are so many amazing restaurants in Walla Walla. The other day while visiting Alton winery, we got the recommendation to try The Kinglet.

The Kinglet

The Kinglet was an amazing recommendation! We sat at the chef’s table and ordered the tasting menu. It was incredible. Also, the pastry chef Courtney, chef Kevin Chrisman’s wife, is very good. Her pastries are incredible. This makes sense as she was the pastry chef at a Washington DC restaurant when they received a Michelin star. The service is fantastic, the atmosphere is vibing, and the flavors and techniques were flawless. Hands down one of our favorite meals I’ve had in years.

El Sombrero

If you are looking for delicious Mexican food, this is your spot. Although most people go there for the margaritas. The fish bowl margarita is one of a kind. It comes in a giant wooden bowl and is large enough for at least two people. As a dessert aficionado, I could eat flan for every meal. I skipped the food and just ordered two of those…delicious.

Our favorite places to stay in Walla Walla

I think we all know Airbnb is a great option if you don’t want to stay in a hotel. If you are wanting to stay in a unique hotel in downtown Walla Walla, we’d suggest checking out the Marcus Whitman hotel.

The Marcus Whitman hotel in Walla Walla is a historic landmark that offers guests a unique and memorable experience. The hotel is named after Dr. Marcus Whitman, who was one of the first white settlers in the area and played a significant role in the early history of Washington state.

The Marcus Whitman hotel features beautifully restored architecture and décor from the early 1900s and offers guests all the modern amenities they need for a comfortable stay. The hotel is also centrally located in downtown Walla Walla, making it easy to explore all this charming town offers.

Conclusion

Walla Walla may be the perfect destination for your next escape to the Pacific Northwest. With its charming small-town atmosphere and abundance of outdoor activities and cultural attractions, there is something for everyone in this picturesque corner of Washington State – and don’t forget the wine! With some of the best wineries in the country, Walla Walla is a wine lover’s paradise when paired with the perfectly-tailored culinary scene available. So visit Walla Walla and experience the adventurous spirit that they share – we’re sure you won’t be disappointed!

Common FAQ’s about adventures in Walla Walla Washington

What is Walla Walla famous for?

Walla Walla is a small city in southeastern Washington state that is best known for its sweet onions, hot air balloon rides, and world-class wines. The Valley is home to more than 100 wineries, making it a popular destination for wine lovers worldwide. The region’s climate and soil are perfect for growing onions, and the Walla Walla Sweet Onion is considered by many to be the best in the world. Hot air balloon rides are popular year-round in Walla Walla through Seattle Ballooning, thanks to the city’s mild climate and beautiful scenery. Whether you’re looking to enjoy some of the best wine in the world or take in the beauty of the Walla Walla Valley from above, Walla Walla is the perfect place to do it.

What do people from Walla Walla call themselves?

The people of Walla Walla, Washington are known by a variety of names. Some call themselves “Walla Wallans,” while others refer to themselves as “Washingtonians.” There is no definitive answer, but the most common explanation is that the name “Walla Walla” comes from a Native American term meaning “many waters.” It’s believed that the first settlers in the area adopted the name, and it has been passed down through generations. Today, the people of Walla Walla are proud of their heritage and their unique place in the world. Whether you call them “Walla Wallans,” “Washingtonians,” or something else entirely, one thing is for sure: the people of this small town are truly one of a kind.

Is Walla Walla worth visiting?

We absolutely think Walla Walla is worth visiting! It’s a quaint little town with a lot of character. The people are friendly, and there’s always something going on. If you are going to visit Walla Walla, don’t forget to book your hot air balloon ride over the vineyards. We recommend it!

How far in advance should I reserve my Walla Walla hot air balloon ride?

Hot air balloon rides in Walla Walla fill up very quickly.  We would suggest booking your hot air balloon ride as soon as possible.  Weekend hot air balloon rides fill up very quickly.  If you are in town on a weekday, you may get lucky and find an empty spot!

Hot Air Balloon Pilot Eliav C.
About the Author

Chief pilot of Seattle Ballooning. I get the opportunity to provide luxury hot air balloon rides just South of Seattle in front of Mt. Rainier. When you do what you love, it’s not considered work.

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