Yakima Valley is one of the world’s largest producers of hops. So it makes sense that a small city in the lower Yakima Valley is home to the American Hop Museum. Toppenish sits on the Yakama Nation Reservation and has never had a population above 10,000 people. Yet the city is packed full of history, culture and experience — if you know where to look.
Toppenish is mostly farmland. Tourism isn’t the main source of city income, given the fact that more common destinations like Yakima and Tri-Cities not far away. But if you go to Toppenish as a tourist, you might need more than a day to take it all in.
American Hop Museum
The American Hop Museum is open from May 1 through September 30. Closed Monday and Tuesday, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Stop by the museum to learn about the history of hops production in Yakima Valley, what hops are and why they’re important to the region. According to the museum website, the Yakima Valley accounts for 75% of U.S. hops production at last count.
The region’s soil, mountain water and abundance of sun all contribute to the success of hops growth.
Children five and under can get in for free, ages 6-12 are $3 and adults are $5.
City of Murals
Toppenish calls itself the City of Murals, as there are more than 70 historically-accurate murals painted on buildings across Toppenish. They depict what the region looked like between 1840 and 1940. Take an hour-long walking tour of these murals, or reserve a horse-drawn wagon with a local historian.
The first mural, “Clearing the Land,” was started in 1989. Since then, the first Saturday in June brings the Mural in a Day event, when several local artists come together to add another mural to the city in just a day. Many locals come to literally watch the paint dry.
Northern Pacific Railway Museum
The American Hop Museum isn’t the only museum in Toppenish. It’s also home to the Northern Pacific Railway Museum, offering history of the rail system that used to be integral to the region.
The museum features a remodeled train waiting room, a ticket office with all of its original equipment, uniforms worn by employees and a freight room with authentic tools. Outside, you can find multiple trains and train cars holding the stories of their previous hauls.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Children under 12 can get in for $3, adults for $5.
Learn about the Yakama Nation
While on the reservation, you can stop by the Yakama Nation Cultural Center. The building pays homage to winter lodge teepees and is full of Native American collectibles being preserved and secured. It also tells the history of the Yakama Nation and the reservation.
You can take yourself through the museum or request a guided tour. No photography or recording is allowed.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays in the summer. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Ages 0 through 10 get in for $2, seniors, military and children 11-19 are $4 and all other adults are $6.