Top Attractions of each Central Washington City

January 10, 2024

entral Washington has a little of something of everyone, so why not take a road trip across Kittitas County to experience it all? Each city offers unique adventures, restaurants, and more that cannot be missed. Plan a road trip tour through Central Washington today to experience the best of what the region has to offer.


Roslyn may be small, but it’s certainly not limited on things to do, see, eat and drink. Visit Roslyn Cafe, famous for the Northern Exposure camel mural, to find a menu with some unique surprises, including Buffalo Chicken Spring Rolls, a Banh Mi Burger, and the “Tot of the Month,” a rotating tater tot creation. Kick back for a brew at the Brick Saloon, a popular destination and the oldest continuously operated bar in the state, established in 1889. Other favorites include Red Bird Cafe, Roots BBQ, Roslyn Mexican Grill, and the Roslyn Brewing Company, but be sure to check out the full list of Roslyn’s outstanding restaurants here.


The 17-acre site of Liberty was once a lively gold mining town. Several hundred people came and went with hopes to strike it rich, although only 200 people were thought to live there permanently at the time. Explore the somewhat deserted town to get a sense of life from the late 1870s when Liberty’s mining camps sprang up. There’s a community information kiosk with old photos of gold strikes, as well as the old fire hall that is always open with an exhibit of historic photos of life in Liberty and information about local hard-rock mining.


Easton, the first town east of Snoqualmie Pass, offers ample recreation opportunities during each season. In the summer, visitors flock to Lake Easton State Park to boat, fish, and swim. The Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail runs along the southern edge of the park and into town, making for a wonderful bike ride with scenic views overlooking the lake. In the winter, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and sledders play in the picturesque forests located throughout the area. Dust off your skis and snowshoes and get ready for an adventure in the winter wonderland that Easton will soon become!


Coffee houses, restaurants, and shops are spread throughout the streets of downtown Cle Elum. Some of the biggest draws are the specialty food stores that have been serving up some tasty snacks to locals and visitors for many years. Glondo’s Sausage Company specializes in specialty Italian meats and other gourmet items. Glondo’s will welcome you with authentic Italian hospitality and offer their advice on their extensive line of quality Italian products. Owens Meats is also a meat market in Cle Elum, offering quality fresh and smoked meats for over 130 years with the 5th generation of Owens’ serving customers. Owens’ is thought to be the oldest continuously operated business in Kittitas County, and perhaps one of the oldest in the state of Washington. Be sure to stop by to taste some of their delicious meats and learn more about their history! Finally, satisfy your sweet tooth at Cle Elum Bakery, a family-owned, traditional bakery that has been in operation since 1906. The bakery is famous for its delectable doughnuts and fresh French bread. Discover more of Cle Elum’s tasty restaurants here.

Photo courtesy of Lia Simcox


A short drive from downtown Kittitas, Olmstead Place Historical State Park is a working pioneer farm and offers a look at one of the first homesteads in the Kittitas Valley. Many of the original buildings still stand including a log cabin built in 1875 by the Olmstead family. In addition, there is a dairy barn, granary, wagon shed, hay barn and the Olmstead family home. The park consists of 217 acres of farmland and encompasses activities such as hiking, fishing, interpretive trails, wildlife viewing, and a living farm museum. During the winter there is also cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the site. Bring the kids and history lovers in your family for a prescheduled tour or just come on your own to explore the 221-acre park!


The historic downtown Ellensburg is very walkable and features wonderful public art on just about every street corner. There are many great murals and sculptures to be found so spend some time hunting them down! The famous Ellensburg Bull by Rich Beyer offers a great photo op, for starters. It is located in Rotary Pavilion and pays homage to the area’s cattle industry. Another town favorite is Dick and Jane’s Spot, a colorful local home and yard decorated with thousands of reflectors and other devices as well as 263 pieces by 65 different artists. Also keep an eye out for sculptures including Washoe the chimpanzee, Petunia the pig, Kitt Coyote, and more! Explore the city to see how many other fantastic works of art you can find!


A short drive from downtown Thorp is well-known among travelers frequently driving through Washington for the Thorp Fruit and Antique Mall, which is visible from I-90. Here you will find fresh produce, specialty foods, wine, antiques and more year-round. Thorp Fruit began as a small stand in 1944 and has transformed into the roadside attraction travelers visit today. Whether you’re visiting the area or just passing through, be sure to stop here along the way to peruse the large collection of quality antiques and grab some tasty snacks for the road.


During your visit to Central Washington, take advantage (sorry, I had to...) of the amazing natural wonders that are available in and around the area of Vantage! Gingko Petrified Forest State Park is a highlight for visitors of all ages, featuring fascinating displays on the geological history of the area as well as information on ancient local Native American culture. The center includes Wanapum tribe petroglyphs, petrified wood, and an up-close look at an ancient fossil bed. Take a walk on the Ginkgo State Park Interpretive Trails during your visit for a look at petrified wood in its natural state. A can’t-miss, this is one of the most unique fossil forests in the world, with artifacts dating back thirteen to seventeen million years!

Now it’s time to hit the road and explore everything that these cities have to offer! Find more information about Central Washington and begin planning your unforgettable getaway here.

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