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Experience a Slice of Yakima History

Experience a Slice of Yakima History

The history of Yakima has been lovingly restored and immortalized in the unique buildings of Downtown Yakima.  Repurposed into winery tasting rooms, coffee shops, bistros and even a boutique hotel, the downtown business owners have worked hard to keep the architectural details of the past. And the work continues as more of the historic buildings are being restored in Downtown Yakima.


Come experience Yakima’s “jewel box,” the centerpiece of Downtown Yakima. The iconic building was built in 1920, and is the hub for theatrical and symphony performances. When it was originally built, it brought in the best vaudeville acts of the time, continuing after the invention of moving pictures.  

In 1975, shortly after it was purchased by the City of Yakima, The Capitol Theatre unfortunately burned, leaving only the façade. Yakima residents worked together to rebuild it, raising the money to fully restore the grand theatre to its original glory. The generosity of the locals has continued to this day, bringing national tours performances and subsidizing many of the shows and events.

The inside of the theater features the beautifully restored murals on the ceiling as well as the rich architectural details. The best way to view these is to attend one of the performances. Upcoming performances and events for this year include;

Shanghai Acrobats of the Peoples Republic of China - September 8, 2016, 7:30 pm.

The Complete History of America Abridged – Special Election Edition - October 14, 2016, 7:30 pm.

The Yakima Symphony also performs both their Classical Series and Pops Concerts at the Theatre throughout the year.  For a complete listing, click here.

Classical Mystery Tour - September 17, 2016 - 7:30 pm.

If you can’t make it to one of the performances, there are free personal tours available at the Theatre, Monday-Friday from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. Contact arts@capitoltheatre.org to schedule your visit. 



Spend the night in Downtown Yakima in a renovated Masonic Lodge! Built in 1911 by the freemasons, the building originally housed retail and commercial spaces on the lower levels, and a Masonic Ceremonial Temple on the 6th floor.  The Classical and Second-Empire style of the building was restored in the recent remodel to a boutique hotel, where the corridors showcase both local artists work and photos of historic Downtown Yakima. Experience the luxury of the modern, surrounded by the ambience of a bygone era.



To experience an iconic Yakima restaurant, dine at Gasperetti’s before the show at the Capitol Theatre. For over 50 years, Gasperetti’s gourmet restaurant has offered fine dining in the Yakima Valley. Chef Brad Patterson’s menus reflects the bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables, paired with the fine wines produced right here in the Yakima Valley!



Strolling through the streets of Downtown Yakima, stop at Kana Winery in the historic art deco Larson Building, where you can notice the restoration and repurposing in process on the facades of other Yakima Avenue historic buildings.

Just a few blocks away in Historic Front Street, enjoy two other winery tasting rooms: Antolin Cellars is in a historic Northern Pacific Railroad building, and Gilbert Cellars is housed in a turn-of-the-century building that was once a saloon. If craft beer is what you are looking for, the rustic Hop Nation Brewery is in a one hundred year old fruit packing warehouse, which was last used to house hops. 

Enjoy your morning coffee at North Town Coffeehouse in the historic Northern Pacific Railroad Depot on Front Street. The Depot was built in 1910 and the coffee shop in the lobby still sports unique architectural interest. Hundreds of people disembarked from their ride on North Pacific Railroad to find work in the timber and agricultural industries.

And one of those travelers bought acreage to the west of downtown where he started his orchard. So as you prepare to leave Yakima, be sure to stop at Johnsons Orchards to visit their 1916 packing warehouse and purchase some of their farm fresh fruit to bring home a taste of Yakima’s history!


To learn more about Yakima history visit the Yakima Valley Museum, Yakima Electric Railway Museum (take a trolley ride!), McAllister Museum of Aviation, Olde Yakima Letterpress Museum and the Central Washington Agriculture Museum.  Happy exploring!