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—  City  —
City of Yakima
Yakima viewed from Lookout Point
Yakima viewed from Lookout Point
Official seal of Yakima
Nickname(s): The Palm Springs of Washington, The Heart of Central Washington
Yakima County Washington Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Yakima Highlighted.svg
Location of Yakima in Washington
Coordinates: 46°36′7″N 120°30′28″W / 46.60194, -120.50778
Country United States
State Washington
County Yakima
Incorporated December 10, 1883
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Manager Maria Sanchez
 • Mayor Alexa Flores (2013)
 • Asst Mayor Maureen Adkinson (2015)
 • City 27.69 sq mi (71.72 km2)
 • Land 27.18 sq mi (70.40 km2)
 • Water 0.51 sq mi (1.32 km2)  1.84%
Elevation 1,066 ft (325 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • City 91,067
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 93,101
 • Density 3,350.5/sq mi (1,293.6/km2)
 • Urban 129,534
 • Metro 261,102
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
Zip Code 98901, 98902, 98903, 98904, 98907, 98908, 98909
Area code(s) 509
FIPS code 53-80010[4]
GNIS feature ID 1509643[5]

Yakima ( /ˈjækɪmɔː/ or /ˈjækɪmə/) is a US city located about 60 miles southeast of Mount Rainier in Washington state. Yakima is the county seat of Yakima County, Washington, and the state's eighth largest city by population. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 91,067 and a metropolitan population of 243,231.[6] The unincorporated suburban areas of West Valley and Terrace Heights are considered a part of greater Yakima.[7]

Yakima is situated in the Yakima Valley, an area noted for apple, wine and hop production. The Yakima Valley produces 75% of all hops grown in the US.[8] The name Yakima originates from the Yakama Nation, located south of the city.



The Yakama people were the first known inhabitants of the Yakima Valley. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition came to the area and discovered abundant wildlife and rich soil, prompting the settlement of homesteaders.[9] A Catholic Mission was established in Ahtanum, southwest of present-day Yakima, in 1847.[10] The arrival of settlers and their conflicts with the natives resulted in the Yakima War. The U.S. Army established Fort Simcoe in 1856 near present-day White Swan as a response to the uprising. The Yakamas were defeated and forced to relocate to the Yakama Indian Reservation. Yakima County was created in 1865. When bypassed by the Northern Pacific Railroad in December 1884, over 100 buildings were moved with rollers and horse teams to the nearby site of the depot. The new city was dubbed North Yakima and was officially incorporated and named the county seat on January 27, 1886. The name was changed to Yakima in 1918. Union Gap was the new name given to the original site of Yakima.

On October 2, 2006 a large fire in a warehouse operated by S.S. Steiner Inc, destroyed most of the building and about 10,000 bales of hops, which represented about 4% of the total US production.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.69 square miles (71.72 km2), of which, 27.18 square miles (70.40 km2) is land and 0.51 square miles (1.32 km2) is water.[1] Yakima is 344.392 meters above mean sea level.

Yakima regionEdit


Yakima, Washington as seen from the west.

The city of Yakima is located in the Upper Valley of Yakima County. The county is geographically divided by Ahtanum Ridge and Rattlesnake Ridge into two regions: the Upper (northern) and Lower (southern) valleys. Yakima is located in the more urbanized Upper Valley, and is the central city of the Yakima Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The cities of Selah and Union Gap lie immediately to the north and south of Yakima. In addition, the unincorporated suburban areas of West Valley and Terrace Heights are considered a part of greater Yakima. With these cities included in the immediate area, population within 20 miles of the city is over 123,000. Other nearby cities include Moxee, Tieton, Cowiche, Wiley City, Tampico, Gleed, and Naches in the Upper Valley, as well as Wapato, Toppenish, Zillah, Harrah, White Swan, Parker, Buena, Outlook, Granger, Mabton, Sunnyside, and Grandview in the Lower Valley. As of 2006, the estimated population of the metropolitan area is 233,105.

Bodies of waterEdit

The primary irrigation source for the Yakima Valley, the Yakima River, runs through Yakima from its source at Lake Keechelus in the Cascade Range to the Columbia River at Richland. In Yakima, the river is used for both fishing and recreation. A 10-mile (16 km) walking and cycling trail, a park, and a wildlife sanctuary are located at the river's edge.

The Naches River forms the northern border of the city. Several small lakes flank the northern edge of the city, including Myron Lake, Lake Aspen, Bergland Lake (private) and Rotary Lake (also known as Freeway Lake). These lakes are popular with fishermen and swimmers during the summer.


Yakima has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with a Mediterranean precipitation pattern. Winters are cold, with December the coolest month, with a mean temperature of 28.5 °F (−1.9 °C).[11] Annual average snowfall is 21.7 inches (55.1 cm).,[11] with most occurring in December and January, when the snow depth averages 2–3 inches. There are 22 days per year in which the high does not surpass freezing, and 2.3 nights where the low is 0 °F (−18 °C) or lower.[11] Springtime warming is very gradual, with the average last freeze of the season May 13. Summer days are hot, but the diurnal temperature variation is large, exceeding 35 °F (19 °C) during that season; there are 34 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs annually and 3.2 days of 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs. Autumn cooling is very rapid, with the average first freeze of the season occurring on September 30. Due to the city's location in a rain shadow, precipitation, at an average of 8.22 inches (209 mm) annually, is low year-round,[11] but especially during summer. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −25 °F (−32 °C) in February 1950, to 110 °F (43 °C) in August 1971.[12]

Climate data for Yakima, Washington (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 68
Average high °F (°C) 38.6
Average low °F (°C) 23.3
Record low °F (°C) −21
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.13
Snowfall inches (cm) 5.5
Avg. precipitation days 9.5 7.5 6.4 5.8 6.2 5.2 2.4 2.3 3.2 4.7 8.6 10.1 71.9
Avg. snowy days 4.3 2.2 .7 .1 0 0 0 0 0 .1 1.7 6.2 15.3
Source: NOAA (extremes 1946–present)[11]

Demographics Edit

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1890 1,535
1900 3,154 105.5%
1910 14,082 346.5%
1920 18,539 31.7%
1930 22,101 19.2%
1940 27,221 23.2%
1950 38,486 41.4%
1960 42,284 9.9%
1970 45,588 7.8%
1980 49,826 9.3%
1990 54,843 10.1%
2000 71,845 31.0%
2010 91,067 26.8%
Est. 2011 92,512 28.8%
Source:[13]U.S. Decennial Census

The median household income was $39,706. The per capita income was $20,771. 21.3% of the population were below the poverty line.

2010 censusEdit

As of the census[14] of 2010, there were 91,067 people with 33,074 households, and 21,411 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,350.5 people per square mile. There were 34,829 housing units at an average density of 1,281.4 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 67.1% White, 1.7% African American, 2.0% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 23.3% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. 41.3% were Hispanic or Latino, of any race.[15] 19.1% of the population had a Bachelor's degree or higher.[16]

There were 33,074 households of which 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.3% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.3.

28.3% of the population was under the age of 18 and 13.1% were 65 years or older. The median age was 33.9 years. 50.7% of the population was female.


Cultural activities and events take place throughout the year. The Yakima Valley Museum houses exhibits related to the region’s natural and cultural history, a restored soda fountain, and periodic special exhibitions. Downtown Yakima’s historic Capitol Theatre and Seasons Performance Hall, as well as the West-side’s Allied Arts Center, present numerous musical and stage productions. Larson Gallery housed at Yakima Valley Community College present six diverse art exhibitions each year. The city is home to the Yakima Symphony Orchestra. The Yakima Area Arboretum is a botanical garden featuring species of both native and adapted non-native plants. Popular music tours, trade shows, and other large events are hosted at the Yakima SunDome in State Fair Park.

All America City AwardEdit

In 1994, the City of Yakima received the All-America City Award, given by the National Civic League. Ten U.S. cities receive this award per year.

Festivals and FairsEdit

  • Central Washington State Fair, held each year in late September at State Fair Park.
  • Yakima Folklife Festival,[17] held the second week of July at Franklin Park.
  • Fresh Hop Ale Festival,[18] held each October in Downtown Yakima.
  • Annual Rockin' New Year's Eve, held at the Millennium Plaza in front of the Capitol Theatre.



The Sun Dome was home to the Warriors and Sun Kings.


Roads and highwaysEdit

U.S. Route 12 crosses through the city from White Pass. U.S. Route 97 joins I-82 from Yakima for approximately 40 miles (64 km) north to Ellensburg. State Route 24 terminates at Yakima and is the primary means of reaching Moxee City and many of the area's agricultural areas to the east. State Route 821 terminates near Yakima and is also called Canyon Road because it passes through the Yakima River canyon. It is an alternate route to Ellensburg which bypasses the I-82 summit at Manastash Ridge.

Public transportEdit

Yakima Transit services Yakima, Selah, Union Gap, west Valley and Terrace Heights. There are also free intercity bus systems between adjacent Union Gap and nearby Toppenish, Wapato, White Swan, and Ellensburg.[19]


Yakima's airport, McAllister Field, operates commercial flights by Alaska Airlines to Seattle.

The airport is home to numerous private aircraft, and is a popular test site for military jets and Boeing test flights. Several businesses are located at the airport including Hertz Car Rental, Budget Rent a Car, Airporter Shuttle, Cub Crafters and several freight companies.


Yakima's growth in the 20th century was fueled primarily by agriculture. The Yakima Valley produces many fruit crops, including apples, peaches, pears, cherries, and melons. Many vegetables are also produced, including peppers, corn and beans. Most of the nation's hops, a key ingredient in the production of beer, are also grown in the Yakima Valley. Many of the city's residents have come to the Valley out of economic necessity and to participate in the picking, processing, marketing and support services for the agricultural economy.

Largest employers in the Yakima area[20]
EmployerTypePersons employed
1. Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital Hospital2,200
2. Yakima School District School district
3. Walmart Department store 1,587
4. Washington State Department of Social and Health Services State government
(Social services)
5. Yakima County County government 1,213
6. Del Monte FoodsFruit processing1,200
7. Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic Hospital 1,181
8. Yakima Regional Medical & Cardiac Center Hospital 942
9. Yakima Training Center United States Army
10. AB FoodsBeef processing850
11. Yakima Valley Community CollegeEducation761
12. City of YakimaCity government711
13. Yakama Legends Casino Casino 634
14. Washington State Department of Transportation State government 555
15. Tree Top, Inc.Fruit processing540

Downtown Yakima, along the retail hub of the region, has undergone many changes since the late 1990s. Three major department stores and an entire shopping mall that is now closed for business, have been replaced with Whirlpool Corporation and Adaptis call-centers and several hotels.

The retail core of the region has since shifted to the city of Union Gap, where a renovated shopping mall and other new retail businesses are flourishing. While some see big-box retail leaving the downtown area as a loss, others see it as an opportunity to recast the downtown area as a center for events, services, entertainment, and smaller, more personal shopping experiences. One part of this effort has been the Downtown Futures Initiative.[21] The DFI has provided for a street to storefront remodel along Yakima Avenue throughout the entire downtown core, and includes new pedestrian-friendly lighting, water fountains, planters, banner poles, new trees and hanging baskets, all of which complement the new paver-inlaid sidewalks.

The early 2000s have seen the return of the Sports Center Tavern, a local landmark, to Downtown Yakima, as well as the opening of The Hilton Garden Inn (built in the same location as one of the former anchor stores of the closed Yakima Mall), The Speakeasy Bar, Grill & Nightclub, Kana Winery, Donitelia Winery, Second Street Grill, Seasons Performance Hall, Essencia Bakery, and The Barrel House. Developers have completed the Lofts condominiums in the former Bon Marche building, also once an anchor of the Yakima Mall.[22]

Events held downtown include Yakima Downtown New Year's Eve, a Cinco de Mayo celebration, Yakima Live music festival, Yakima Summer Kickoff Party, Fresh Hop Ale Fest,[18] a weekly Farmers' Market,[23] and the Hot Shots 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.[24]

A bright spot in the economy of the Yakima Valley is the burgeoning wine industry, due in part to the Yakima Valley soil, which is very similar to the soil conditions of France. Over fifty wineries dot the Yakima Valley, covering more than 11,000 acres (45 km2).

The Yakima Training Center between Yakima and Ellensburg, is a United States Army training center, used for maneuver training, land warrior system testing and live fire area

The Japan Ground Self Defense Force conducts training annually in Yakima. Japanese soldiers train in Yakima because it allows for large-scale live fire maneuvers not available in Japan.


In the early 2000s, the city of Yakima, in conjunction with multiple city organizations, began revitalization and preservation efforts in downtown Yakima. The Downtown Yakima Futures Initiative tasked themselves with making strategic public investments in sidewalks, lighting and landscaping to serve as economic development catalysts. As a result, local businesses featuring regional produce, wines, and beers among other products have returned to the downtown area. Many of these business are located on Front Street, Yakima Avenue and 1st Street.

A pair of historic trolleys operate during summers along five miles (8 km) of tracks of the former Yakima Valley Transportation Company through the Yakima Gap connecting Yakima and Selah. The Yakima Valley Trolleys organization, incorporated in 2001, operates the trolleys and a museum for the City of Yakima.


The city of Yakima is served in the field of education by three K-12 public school districts, several private schools, and three post-secondary schools.

High schoolsEdit

Public schoolsEdit

There are five high schools in the Yakima School District.

  • Davis High School, a 4A high school with about 2,100 students
  • Eisenhower High School, a 4A high school with about 1,900 students
  • Stanton Academy
  • Yakima Online High School
  • Yakima has a branch of the Christa McAuliffe Academy, which is a Washington ALE Public School ACHIEVE Online. It offers World-Wide K-12 on-line education from their offices in Yakima. Christa McAuliffe Academy was founded to honor the "first teacher in space", and the tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. Students and staff at Christa McAuliffe Academy are actively engaged in carrying on what Christa started: education that ventures beyond the normal boundaries and empowers the drive for discovery of things unknown. They salute Christa McAuliffe and Barbara Morgan, the teacher-turned-astronaut on the August 8, 2007, flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, as great role models.

Outside the city:

  • West Valley High School, which is in the West Valley School District. It is a division 2A school with a total student population of just over 1,500.
  • On the eastern side of the city, just east of Terrace Heights, is East Valley High School, which is in the East Valley School District. It is a 2A school with about 1,000 students in the student body.


Yakima is home to over 250 homeschooling families, and the Christian Association of Parent Educators (CAPE), established in 1981, is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization and the central resource group for several co-operative learning groups, as well as hosting an annual Family Learning Conference and field trips.

Yakima Organized Unschoolers, The Yakima chapter of Unschooling United is a support group for Unschooling families and welcomes unschoolers regardless of their religious affiliation.

Private schoolsEdit

Post-secondary schoolsEdit

Yakima Valley Community College (YVCC) is one of the oldest community colleges in the state of Washington. Founded in 1928, YVCC is a public, two-year institution of higher education which is a part of one of the comprehensive community college systems in the nation. The college offers programs in adult basic education, English-as-a-second-language, lower division arts and sciences, professional and technical education, transfer degrees to in-state universities, and community services.

Perry Technical Institute is a private, non-profit school of higher learning located in the city since 1939. Perry students learn trades such as automotive technology, instrumentation, information technology, HVAC, electrical, machining, office administration, medical coding, and legal assistant/paralegal.

Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences opened in the fall of 2008,[25] and will graduate its first class of osteopathic physicians (D.O.) in 2012. The university has plans to open a PsyD program (clinical psychology) and a masters program in physician assistant studies.[26] The first college on the 42.5-acre (172,000 m2) campus is home to the first medical school approved in the Pacific Northwest in over sixty years and trains physicians with an osteopathic emphasis. The mission of the medical school is to train primary care physicians who are committed to serving the rural and underserved communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. The college is housed in a state-of-the-art 45,000-square-foot (4,200 m2) facility.[27]


Yakima is served by a diverse variety of print and broadcast media. The Yakima Herald-Republic is the primary daily newspaper in the area.

According to Arbitron, the Yakima metropolitan area is the 197th largest radio market in the US, serving a metropolitan population of 196,500.[28]

Yakima is part of the 123rd largest television viewing market area which includes viewers in Pasco, Richland and Kennewick.[29]

Notable current and former residentsEdit

In popular cultureEdit

  • In an episode of Cheers, Eddie LeBec phones Carla Tortelli from the bus station in Yakima while touring with his ice show.
  • In an episode of Seinfeld, Jerry, George, and Elaine are all at the diner, and Jerry mentions sarcastically that Elaine is dating a man from Yakima. The man was actually from Seattle.
  • In the movie Extreme Days, the guys go to Yakima to visit Corey Ng's grandparents.
  • In the movie Ray, one of Ray Charles' concerts takes place in Yakima.
  • In the Kenan & Kel episode "Housesitter", Chris mentions going to (a fictional) "Yakima Springs" with his mother.
  • In an episode of iCarly, Carly's grandfather comes to take her to his home in Yakima because he thinks that Carly's brother Spencer has not been responsible enough with her.
  • In the 2006 movie Outsourced the lead character Todd Anderson says his parents live in Yakima.
  • In the documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage they mention going through Yakima while touring.
  • In True Blood Steve Newlin mentions that Elvis was spotted in a 7-11 in Yakima.

Sister citiesEdit


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  16. ^ "State & County QuickFacts - Yakima (city), WA". US Census Bureau State & County QuickFacts. US Census Bureau. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "Yakima Folklife Festival". Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  18. ^ a b "Fresh Hop Ale Festival". Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  19. ^ "Pahto Public Passage". Yakama Nation Tribal Transit. Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  20. ^ "Yakima Valley Major Employers". Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  21. ^ "Downtown Futures Initiative". Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  22. ^ Kellogg, Aaron (November 16, 2006). "Unused Mall To Become Upscale Apartments". KIMA news. Retrieved 2007-02-03. 
  23. ^ "Farmers' Market". Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  24. ^ "Hot Shots 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament". Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  25. ^ "Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences". Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  26. ^ Ward, Leah Beth. "Pacific NW University Will Add Two Colleges." Yakima Herald-Republic. Yakima Herald-Republic, 8 Aug. 2008. Web. 27 Dec. 2011. <>.
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  31. ^ "Jamie Allen Stats". Baseball Almanac. Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  32. ^ a b Jenkins, Sarah (2 April 2006). "Their claim is fame - and a link to the Valley". Yakima Herald-Republic. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  33. ^ a b c d e f g "Most Popular People Born In Yakima, Washington, USA". Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb).,%20Washington,%20USA&sort=starmeter. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
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Coordinates: 46°36′7″N 120°30′28″W / 46.60194, -120.50778

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