Pasco, Washington, is one of the destinations known as the Tri-Cities, which also includes the towns of Kennewick and Richland. The region is known for its more than 300 days of sunshine each year, making it a great place for outdoor activities. Pasco has become a regional hub for youth travel soccer and baseball teams, and it’s no wonder with its 20 soccer fields, seven baseball fields, and eight softball fields. There are 15 miles of paved trails overlooking the mighty Columbia River. This vibrant town is a fun mix of urban and agricultural with food festivals throughout the summer.
Thank you to Visit Tri-Cities for hosting me on a press trip to learn about the destination. All opinions are my own.
1. Country Mercantile
The Country Mercantile is a can’t-miss destination. What began as a family-owned fruit stand is now a market that is the place to go for everything local. The on-site chocolate factory is a sight to behold with handcrafted candies made throughout the week. The deli is perfect for lunch with not only gourmet sandwiches but a variety of authentic Mexican enchiladas and tamales. The market has fresh local produce. There are hundreds of local gourmet sauces, pickles, salsas, jellies, jams, and dressings — the most I’ve ever seen at one location. There are 15 flavors of salsa and house-made chips. House-made ice cream and Italian gelato are sure to please at the ice cream shop. Well worth the stop.
2. Sacajawea Historical State Park
Sacajawea Historical State Park is located on the banks of the mighty Columbia River. This is the site where the Lewis and Clark expedition camped for two nights at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Open seasonally, the Sacajawea Interpretive Center is a museum with interpretive exhibits on the Corps of Discovery, Sacagawea, and the native tribes of the region. Take some time to explore the grounds. Renowned artist Maya Lin created an art installation that consists of seven basalt story circles with artwork etched into the sides of each circle. The riverbanks are a birdwatcher’s paradise with hundreds of birds flocking to the area. (Spelling note from Washington State Parks: Recent scholarly research and study of the original journals indicate that both the preferred spelling of this historical figure’s name is Sacagawea, and her name is spoken with a hard “g” sound. Because the park has been known as Sacajawea for many decades, the “j” spelling is retained. Elsewhere in brochures, exhibits, and programs, the “g” is used, so you’ll see Sacagawea.)
3. Sun Willows Golf Course
With all the sunshine in Pasco, golf is a popular pastime. Book a tee time at Sun Willows Golf Course, which is open to the public. The Robert Muir Graves designed course is a par-72 on 18 holes. The challenging course has 32 bunkers as well as five lakes. The Willows Café is open for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks. Each day they have a daily drink special. The facility also has a pro shop and a driving range.
4. Forged Axe Throwing
Try the latest craze at Axe KPR Hatchet Range. Axe throwing is a blast. Set indoors, it will get you out of the sun as you take turns flinging axes, attempting to stick them onto wood targets. KPR can accommodate groups of up to 70. You are assigned to an Axe Keeper who will show you how to throw. After some practice, try some friendly competition as the Axe Keepers coach you with some fun games. Who knew there are so many ways to play? Make sure to wear closed-toed shoes.
5. Try a Craft Beer
Sage Brewing Company is located near Axe KPR Hatchet Range and is a perfect stop after throwing some axes. The brews on tap are heavy on IPAs and pale ales but they do have a stout. There’s no food for sale but they bring in food trucks. Check their Facebook page for the schedule. Brews Taphouse and Growler Fills’ motto is We’re all about the beer. With more than 40 beers on tap from the best craft breweries in Washington and Oregon, it sure rings true. Try a pint or take home a growler. Good luck trying to choose.
6. Grain Bin Flower Farm
The Grain Bin Flower Farm is located 15 miles north of town on a 100-acre farm. The farmers specialize in organic crops and locals love their asparagus, melons, and tomatoes. Their flowers are available from April to October with different varieties blooming throughout the season. Perennials include lavender, lilies, and irises, and they have annuals such as sunflowers, zinnias, and amaranth. There are even colorful produce options such as purple asparagus, swiss chard, and gourds that can be included in an arrangement. You can take a DIY bouquet class and craft your own creation or use their flower design services. Flowers are available by the bouquet or bucketful. Plan to stay a while and enjoy this scenic property. Enjoy a beverage at the Grain Bin Bar or spend the night at the Grain Bin Inn, a cute cottage that sleeps four.
7. Tri-Cities Dust Devils
Take in a minor league baseball game and root for the local Tri-Cities Dust Devils. They are a feeder team for the Los Angeles Angels. Baseball is big in the Tri-Cities with many traveling student teams coming to the area for tournaments. There is something about a minor league baseball game that is so nostalgic. For the 2021 season, the Dust Devils will no longer be a short-season team. As a High-A long-season affiliate, they will now play two levels higher than short-season baseball. Games for the 2021 season will go from 76 to between 130 and 140 games, giving fans more opportunities to see a game.
8. Juice Box Karaoke Bar
For a fun experience, rent a private karaoke room at the Juice Box Karaoke Bar. The rooms can accommodate up to 14 and are rented by the hour. The personal karaoke booths have over 1,000 songs. The craft cocktail menu has a variety of mixed drinks all named after famous singers. Food offerings are nachos, wings, burgers, and gourmet fries all stepped up a notch with great seasonings and sauces.
9. Franklin County Museum
This cute little museum is housed in the former Pasco Carnegie Library, which was built in 1911. The stunning architecture of this building is the perfect foil for the collection of artifacts many donated by local families. You can do a self-guided tour or contact the museum in advance to book a guided tour led by one of the hospitable museum staff. The Franklin County Museum interiors’ high ceilings and restored dark wood trim set the mood as you learn the history of the area. Learn how the three rivers that come together affected the local economy. Exhibits trace the role the Northern Pacific Railroad played in the founding of Pasco. Native American artifacts are among the highlights. The gift shop is stocked full of Washington and area souvenirs, and your purchase helps support a nonprofit.
10. Food Truck Friday
The City of Pasco hosts a weekly food truck round-up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays. The trucks are parked at Volunteer Park right in front of the Franklin County Court House. Bring cash and help support these local businesses while enjoying some great food. This is a fun local event and definitely worth a stop.
Pasco is a great place to get away for a weekend. Combine your time in Pasco with a visit to Kennewick and Richland, which make up the Tri-Cities, and you will have more than enough to keep you busy. If time allows venture out of town to explore local farms and wineries. I love learning about where our food comes from. Summer and fall are the best times to visit for farmers markets and the agricultural bounty of the area.
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