With an average of 300 days of sunshine a year and breathtaking vistas, it is easy to understand why Yakima, Washington, is rapidly growing. The city saw a 33 percent increase in population between 1990 and 2000. By 2007 about 75,000 people lived within the city limits. Yakima is located in central Washington, at the confluence of the Naches and Yakima Rivers. The Yakima Indians inhabited the area when the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through the valley in 1805. Lewis and Clark's report of rich soil and abundant wildlife attracted homesteaders and trappers.
Important employers in the Yakima Valley include:
Yakima's downtown neighborhood fell into disrepair over the years, but currently the Committee for Downtown Yakima (CDY) is leading an effort to revitalize the area. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to promoting downtown Yakima, fueling economic development and improving the experience of visitors to downtown. The committee is funded by contributions from area businesses and matching funds from the city. The CDY has helped attract new hotels, condos, and restaurants to downtown, as well as update the facades of buildings and install new streetscape.
Yakima has a fair share of higher educational institutions for a city of its size. They are:
Fans of professional sports will find plenty of excitement on Yakima's active sports scene. The city is home to four minor league sports teams and is known as the sports capital of central Washington.
Yakima Bears: The Bears are a minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. The team has played their games at Yakima County Stadium since it opened in 1993.
Yakima Sun Kings: The Sun Kings are a member of the Continental Basketball Association. The team, which plays at the Yakima Valley SunDome, won the CBA Championship in 2007.
Yakima Reds: The Reds are a soccer team that plays their home games at Marquette Stadium.
Yakima Mavericks: The Mavs are a minor league football team that plays at the five-thousand-seat Zaepfal Stadium.
Yakima offers a diverse cultural scene that reflects the city's historical roots in agriculture and the railroad industry.
American Hop Museum: The nation's only hop museum is located in nearby Toppenish. The museum preserves and displays historical hop-producing equipment, photographs, and artifacts.
Larson Gallery: Founded in 1949, the Larson Gallery is the largest and oldest noncommercial art gallery in central Washington. It hosts art exhibits, workshops, and educational events.
Northern Pacific Railway Museum: The Northern Pacific Museum is located in a historic railroad station in Toppenish. Visitors can tour the restored depot and view exhibits that explain how trains contributed to the growth of the Yakima Valley.
Yakima Valley Museum: This museum is dedicated to the history of the Yakima Valley, including the valley's natural history, Native American culture, the pioneer era, and the agriculture industry. It is housed in a 65,000-square-foot facility in Yakima's Franklin Park.