Arts & Culture
From regal bronze sculptures to the longest running symphony west of the Mississippi to the theaters, museums and displays of art found throughout the region, Walla Walla is as fertile ground for culture as it is for grapes.
Heart of the City
In addition to the numerous awards for its iconic Main Street, Downtown Walla Walla is recognized for its charm, beauty and welcoming atmosphere. From wine tasting to dining, shopping to public art, nightlife to special events, it’s an experience unlike any other. Spend a sunny afternoon shopping the local boutiques like Walla Walla Clothing Company or Studio Opal. Enjoy a casual lunch at Olive or a relaxing dinner at Brasserie Four from their tree shaded patios. Pop into one of the more than 34 wine tasting rooms and visit with the winemaker or owner. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll enjoy the laid-back vibe and friendly folks everywhere you go.
Downtown Walla Walla’s Main Street has numerous pieces of public art, including the very popular “Thoughts Discovered” by Brad Rude. A stroll along historic Main Street will take you past an assortment of thought provoking art installations in the heart of the downtown area, including Squire Broel’s “Lights of the Valley” on the northwest corner of Second and Main. Click here to download the Art Walla Public Art Walking Tour and Coloring Book with information about the sculptures, the artists, a locator map and an outline drawing of each piece for the kids to color. In Heritage Square Park on Main Street you can view “Windows on the Past,” a recent project honoring the many ethnic and cultural groups of the area from 1850-1950. This mural of historic and modern photos on porcelain enamel on steel panels was installed in the 1902 Odd Fellows Temple facade.
Whitman College is home to many dramatic examples of outdoor creations that are hard to miss…and easy to enjoy. Click here to download an Outdoor Sculpture Walk of Whitman College.
For more details on Walla Walla Public Arts, please visit ArtWalla.com or call (509) 301-0185.
Musicals, comedies and drama can be found on stage in several locations in the Valley. The Power House Theatre, the Little Theatre of Walla Walla, Whitman College’s Harper Joy Theatre, Walla Walla University, and Walla Walla Community College all provide top-notch performances throughout the year.
The recent renovation of the former Walla Walla Gas Plant into the 340-seat Power House Theater provides a home for Shakespeare Walla Walla and a venue for other live shows. The design was inspired by William Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre in London.
The Walla Walla Symphony continues its second century of performances with its 2013-2014 season. The community-based orchestra has played each year since it began in 1907, making it the oldest continuous American symphony orchestra west of the Mississippi River.
Every January and June during the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, music fills the streets, coffee shops, tasting rooms, libraries and parks of Walla Walla. A host of acclaimed, award-winning musicians take to the streets and transform two weeks of summer and winter into an ongoing musical experience.
The history of Walla Walla is a combination of geological marvels, ancestral inhabitants, intrepid explorers, early settlers, and agricultural riches. The museums of Walla Walla tell this complex story of days gone by and how they have intertwined to form the Walla Walla of today. Many of the museums host special events, workshops, demonstrations and seasonal activities the whole family can enjoy. Fort Walla Walla Museum, Whitman Mission, and the Kirkman House Museum.
From intriguing antique stores to the collectibles found in our downtown boutiques, Walla Walla offers a shopping adventure for even the most seasoned collectors. Home to almost a dozen antique shopping options, here you will find a huge and ever-changing collection of antique furniture, fine jewelry, American art, musical instruments and much more.
If you prefer to see the city at your own pace, the Downtown Walla Walla Walking Tour Maps are a delightful way to sample the area’s historic architecture and share in our rich history. The tour maps are available at the Walla Walla Visitor Center, located at 26 East Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce, and most lodging establishments or are available to download here.