I packed up my Tennessee bags in the U-Haul and hopped the freeway to Yakima back in 2002 to get my "big" start in on-air radio broadcasting. I had no idea what I was about to get myself into.

I pictured a desert land that looked exactly like Indio, California because that's what I envisioned it was going to look like: a flat town surrounded by desert hills. He wasn't lying. I was temporarily fooled by the "Palm Springs of Washington" sign at the entryway into town. That made me think I was about to see some palm trees (my favorite) and maybe a pretty lake or two.

Boy, was I in for a shock. Besides experiencing the culture shock of a town with little to no Black and Asian people, I also missed huge shopping malls, a large dating scene, a bulging downtown music alley, and a vast nightlife.

I bumped into only a couple of places to dance the night away (remember the "Pimps & Ho's Night at Grant's Brewpub and Ladies Night at Pete's Nightclub, anyone?) and Sports Center. I also quickly learned that the places to be were posted up at one of the Yakima Valley's treasured wineries, tasting rooms, and breweries. Those were the olden days.

Fast forward about ten years into my journey into Yakima, I was a fixture at Jackson's Sports Bar and Clubhouse Lounge, where we had 25 cent beer nights (Rainier Bible School is what we called it), and the best St. Patrick's Day time you're ever going to have right smack dab in the middle of McGuire's Irish Pub. Those were the days!

Now that we are living in the time of COVID-19, there IS no nightlife and no bulging music scene in Downtown Yakima. We didn't even get to experience the Yakima Folklife Festival this year. Our hearts have collectively been broken.

What CAN you expect to enjoy if you just moved to Yakima this year in 2020?

We are officially in Phase 1.75 (that's what I am calling this new modified version of Phase 1.5 modified version of safe openings), so here are a few things you can now enjoy:

  • Franklin Park's Pickleball Court
  • Limited Outside Dining at several restaurants
  • Zoom Meet Up Nights with your friends (hey, you can eat, drink, and not have to worry about how you are going to get home--because you are ALREADY at home)
  • Road Trips (My family ended up on a road trip to Mt. Saint Helens last weekend and in a couple of weeks, we are headed to see Mt. Rainier close up) Make sure you get  a day pass (or an annual one if you're feeling lucky!)