Located southeast of Mount Rainier National Park, Yakima and the surrounding Yakima Valley is one of the best apple-producing regions in the world, one of the top wine regions in the nation, and a producer of roughly 75 percent of all hops grown in the U.S. The sunny skies and mineral-rich soil can't take all the credit, though–its success is thanks in great part to the city's durable entrepreneurial spirit. Yakima event venues pay homage to this and more.
Yakima Air Terminal, which serves the area, offers scheduled service on Alaska Air to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
One of the Pacific Northwest's most popular meeting and conference venues, Yakima Convention Center is close to hotels and downtown attractions. The center has 41,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 6,000-square-foot ballroom and 11,600 square feet of pre-function space. It also has 23,400 square feet of column-free meeting space, capable of seating groups of more than 3,000 people. Additionally, the attractive, light-filled Yakima Convention Center has wired Internet and Wi-Fi access in convention rooms, audio-visual equipment, free parking and an onsite caterer.
There are several traditional venues in Yakima for large conferences, tradeshows and galas. Home to the annual Central Washington State Fair, the 120-acre State Fair Park has several event venues, including the recently remodeled 16,000-square-foot Modern Living Building, which can seat 800 theater-style or 480 in rounds of eight. Also in State Fair Park are the Neoclassical Pioneer Hall with nearly 9,000 square feet of floor space, seating up to 330 guests in rounds; the State Fair Room, 5,800 square feet, seating 240 guests in rounds, 330 theater-style, and 192 classroom-style; and Yakima Valley SunDome, which can be configured for tradeshows or arena-style meetings and is a popular spot for concerts, sports, with seating for 7,000.
With great weather and a plethora of activities, Yakima makes it easy for groups to take advantage of time outside the boardroom. The Yakima Valley Museum takes guests on a trip through the valley's history, with exhibits ranging from Yakama Indian artifacts to a collection of neon signs from the region's past. The museum offers several meeting spaces, including an Art Deco ballroom, unique 1930s Yakima soda shop, and restored 1900s orchard house and gardens. The American Hop Museum offers a one-of-a-kind meeting experience, thanks to its historic equipment, photos, and artifacts detailing the harvesting and brewing of hops in one of the largest hop-producing regions in the world.
From hops to grapes, no visit to "Washington's Real Wine Country" would be complete without stopping at one or two or five of its famous vineyards. Groups can plan a day of tastings and tours at nearby wineries, thanks to local charter transportation companies such as A&A Motorcoach and Aladdin Limousine. Or, host a wine dinner at Bonair Winery, whose art gallery can accommodate 50 guests. Scenic Maryhill Winery features a pavilion area, arbor, amphitheater and stage, and a breathtaking setting overlooking the Columbia River Gorge Bluff. Overlooking the Yakima River, the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center is a unique facility that promotes Washington State wine and food through classes, demonstrations, and education programs. Its Vineyard Pavilion is an indoor/outdoor event space with a catering kitchen and Wi-Fi.
Photo by Flickr user : Atomic Taco