If you have a kid attending Whitman College, Walla Walla University, or Walla Walla Community College, there can be many trips to Walla Walla during their studies. So, whether you’re helping them move in on day one, coming to see a special performance or presentation, attending family weekend, or celebrating their graduation, we’ve got a great list of things you can do off-campus.
Use these six categories to mix and match to plan the perfect itinerary. Not only will you impress your undergrad (who will be wowed by how well you know Walla Walla), but you’ll also impress your partner and anyone else coming along for the ride. It’s no fun to be bored (or hungry) in between school events!
Let’s get planning:
Take a Walk
Most of your visit will probably be spent inside auditoriums, university hallways, and a boxy dorm room or apartment. Make sure to plan some time for breathing in our beautiful Walla Walla air and scenery.
Stay close by and walk the loop at Whitman Mission (very close to Walla Walla University), hike around Bennington Lake, or wander through the Whitman Art Sculpture tour on the Whitman Colllege campus.
Take a short drive (35 minutes) to Wallula Gap to appreciate its gorgeous view of the Columbia River. Or if you’re feeling like something a bit more green, check out West Tiger Creek trail (25 min). Last but not least, you have to see the breathtaking Palouse Falls (1 hour & 5 min) while you’re here!
Whether you want to treat your college kid or yourself, or are just looking for a snack between events, Walla Walla’s food and beverage scene has you covered.
If you’re craving something cold and sweet, grab some ice cream downtown at Pine Cone Creamery or Bright’s Candies. Feeling more like frozen yogurt? Head to Blue Palm! Or stop by Pineapple Pete’s for some tasty shaved ice.
Grab a donut (or some “real food”, as parents often say) at Rogers Bakery and Cafe in College Place. Or head to downtown Walla Walla for some decadent French pastries at the Patisserie.
PRO TIP: Make this like a mini vacation and really treat yourself. Go get a massage and a manicure, head to the spa, and do some shopping (and maybe take your young adult with you too!).
Get a Drink
Take your student out for coffee to catch up, or if that milestone birthday has come and gone, take them out for a different kind of libation. Walla Walla has some of the best places to sip in the state!
As we’re a college town, it’s no surprise we’ve got amazing local coffee shops coming out of our ears. Pick one of these to fuel the whole crew before a busy day of events or to hang out at during downtime. Walla Walla University even has their own coffee shop called The Atlas.
If you like wine, well… you sent your kid to the right school. Go wine tasting in America’s Best Wine Region! Explore all our local wineries by wine district here.
Not a wine person? Explore all our fantastic breweries, cideries, and distilleries. And if you enjoy non-alcoholic options, Walla Walla’s craft mocktails can’t be missed.
Looking for something a bit sweeter? Walla Walla has boba tea and milkshakes too.
Head Out to Eat
Taking your child out for a fancy post-graduation lunch, filling up before a big day, or grabbing something to eat after a bunch of events? Yup, Walla Walla’s got you there too.
Head out for a nice sit-down breakfast at Bacon & Eggs, Maple Counter (both downtown), or Clarette’s (right near Whitman College).
If you’re looking for a quick bite for lunch, Happy Wander has authentic tacos just down the road from Walla Walla University. Graze has delicious and healthy sandwiches and salads, or satisfy everyone’s pizza craving by going to Sweet Basil Pizzeria at Walawála Plaza just off Main Street.
Pick the perfect place to treat your kid after a big presentation or graduation with our fantastic fine dining options. We highly recommend TMACs if you’re seeking a gourmet meal. Go for a classic to make everyone in your party happy with the Walla Walla Steak Company or try something with a fresh flavor profile at Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen.
Have Some Fun
There is so much to do in Walla Walla on top of amazing eating, drinking, and walking. It’s time to think creatively about your trip!
First, consider extending your stay past the college’s weekend plans by coming early or staying late. The week before graduation often finds students with lots of free time as most finals are completed by then. So why not come out and spend Wednesday and Thursday with your favorite young adult before they’re too busy with events to even sit with you?
Second, see what local events are happening during your trip to mix things up; or plan an trip to see your college kid during one of our signature events.
You can also take your young adult skiing or snowboarding if you’re visiting during winter. Perhaps take a break and explore arts and entertainment. Take a day to go golfing or immerse yourself in local history! The list of things to do is endless. We can’t wait to see where you end up in Walla Walla!
Book Your Stay
(And we know somewhere nicer than the air mattress in your kid’s apartment…)
Stay close to Whitman College at Walla Walla’s newest– and arguably freshest hotel, The FINCH. This modern and luxurious local will make your stay both relaxing and unique. You can also stay at the Maxwell House Bed & Breakfast to stay as close to your student as possible and enjoy the comforts of our small town hospitality. Land a little further away from campus (but not by much) and enjoy the benefits of a reliable hotel chain at the Best Western Plus or elevate your stay and book at the Marcus Whitman downtown.
Book your stay near Walla Walla Community College at the Inn at Blackberry Creek to enjoy an intimate lodging experience. Or stay at the Super 8 for the familiar amenities you’ve come to know and love. Last but not least, enjoy wine and luxury at a bit outside of town at the Abeja Winery & Inn.
Stay near Walla Walla University by booking at any of the following hotels: Hampton Inn & Suites, La Quinta Inn & Suites, or the Holiday Inn Express.
No matter what time of year it is, it’s always the right time to come see your favorite undergrad in Walla Walla!