Posts Tagged ‘Freebies’


Bird's Eye View of Pasco

Central Washington is labeled by some as “middle of nowhere” status. But the Tri-Cities – which consist of Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland – have plenty to offer. In fact, the cities have received a number of accolades in the last few years. Last year Kennewick was named one of the top 10 American cities to raise a family in by Yahoo! Richland is home to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford Reservation. And Pasco is the hometown of novelist Chuck Palahniuk, poet Ron Silliman, and Detriot Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman.

For this post, I’ve solicited the help of my wonderful friend Chris, who has spent most of his life in Kennewick.

Chris’s Favorite …

Brick House Pizza in West Richland

Restaurant: In Kennewick, Chris recommends The King & I, a Thai restaurant. But beware, this extremely spicy food is not for the faint of heart. If you’d rather opt for non-spicy food, try Brick House Pizza in Richland. Chris says their pickle and pepperoni pizza is one of the best pizzas he’s ever had.

Columbia Point Marina





Outdoor (and Free) Activities:

In the summer:

  • Try boating in the Columbia River or Snake River
  • If you’d rather fish, head over to the Ice Harbor Lock and Dam area on the Snake River, McNary Lock and Dam area on Lake Wallula, or Two Rivers Park. At Columbia Park, the family fishing pond is stocked with fish for kids.

For most of the year:

  • For bikers and joggers, Chris recommends a 14-mile trail in Kennewick that starts at Columbia Point Marina, goes through Howard Amon Park, and ends just past WSU Tri-Cities.
  • You can also try the trail between the Blue Bridge (in central Kennewick) and the Cable Bridge (in downtown Kennewick). The path stretches along the Columbia River and is about six miles round trip. If you start at the Cable Bridge and take the trail west, you can cross over the Blue Bridge and end in Pasco.
  • If you’re up for a serious jog or bike ride, try the Sacagawea Heritage Trail Loop (19-24 miles) or the Yakima River Loop (45 miles).

The Cable Bridge Run

Annual Events: Check out the Cable Bridge Run the Saturday before Christmas. Or if you’re there in the summer, go to the Columbia Cup Tri-City Water Follies hydroplane races. These races take place on the Columbia River during the last weekend of July.




Quick Facts about the Tri-Cities:


  • Kennewick: 1904
  • Pasco: 1891
  • Richland: 1905

Populations (2009 U.S. Census estimates):

  • Kennewick: 67,814
  • Pasco: 58,647
  • Richland: 47,527

Name Origins:

  • Kennewick is believed to be a Native American name for “grassy place.”
  • Pasco was named by Virgil Bogue after the Peruvian city Cerro de Pasco.
  • Richland is named after Nelson Rich, who in 1892 co-founded Benton Land and Water Company.


Driving distance from:

Yakima: 1 hour, 18 minutes

Ellensburg: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Spokane: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Seattle: 3 hours, 36 minutes


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Driving distance from:

Olympia: 1 hour, 7 minutes

Vancouver, B.C.:  2 hours, 33 minutes

Portland: 2 hours, 55 minutes

Spokane: 4 hours, 39 minutes 

Seattle skyline






Founded: 1851 (according to the City of Seattle web site)

 Population: 616,627 (2009 U.S. Census estimate)

Name Meaning: Derivative of Sealth, a Duwamish Indian leader who helped early settlers.

Did You Know … Seattle is the hometown of musician Jimi Hendrix, billionaire Bill Gates , and comedian Ryan Stiles.

Ah, Seattle. The Seahawks. The rain. The geoducks (Really now, where else can you get all three?). Seattle is the twenty-third largest city in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census. You probably already have an idea of what you can expect from a city of that size: dense traffic, no parking, and overpriced everything. To a degree, you’d be right, but I’m going introduce you to some fun, cheap ideas to do there that will hopefully change that perspective of the emerald city.

Andrea’s Favorite:

Just a sample of the abundant produce you'll find at Pike Place


Freebie: Pike Place Market. Yes, I realize a market isn’t usually considered a “freebie,” but this truly is a place where you can spend no money and still have fun, I promise. I once spent an afternoon here with a group of friends on a scavenger hunt. We scoured different booths and stores for what we were looking for, took a picture, and moved on to the next item on our list. It was a great way to orient myself with the market and have fun with friends, and it didn’t cost a dime.

One of Pike Place's famous fish thowers

If you do decide break out your wallet, however, you are sure to find whatever you need at Pike Place. Nicknamed the “Soul of Seattle,” this diverse market has over 400 merchants, selling art, clothing, jewelry, flowers, farm produce, groceries, wine, homemade crafts, kitchen supplies, and so on and so forth. If you’re famished from shopping, eat at one of the market’s 66 restaurants. You also might want to check out the world’s first Starbucks, in front of which you will occasionally hear an amazing a cappella group in the winter. Also, don’t miss the famous fish throwers at Pike Place Fish Co.

Restaurant: Ivar’s. If you’re on a budget, make sure you go to Ivar’s Pier 54 Fish Bar, not the adjacent Ivar’s Acres of Clams. Both serve delicious food and are located on the beautiful Seattle waterfront, but Pier 54 is about half the price. It is also outdoors but offers a covered dining area. Pier 54 has a fast food atmosphere to it, and its menu is a bit smaller, but the food is just as good as Acres of Clams.

Safeco field, home field of the Mariners

Discount: Go to a Mariners game. Seats start at just $7. I’ve sat in the cheapest seats and didn’t feel like the experience was worse than any other seat I’ve had. Occasionally, packaged group ticket deals are offered on the Mariners’ web site, such as four tickets, four hot dogs, and four drinks for $90. And while you’re getting food, have some garlic fries for me (cue watering mouth). Also, you can park for free by Sears, less than one mile from the stadium.



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Photo from
Driving distance from …
Tacoma: 43 minutes
Seattle: 54 minutes
Yakima: 2 hours, 35 minutes
Spokane:  4 hours, 49 minutes
Enumclaw is my hometown and will forever have a special place in my heart. Corny? Yes. But it’s also the truth. Enumclaw might not have as much to offer as a big city, but it’s a great escape from the city, especially for outdoorsy people. Mt. Rainier, Crystal Mountain, and ample camping opportunities can be found within a couple hours’ drive. It has small-town charm without being in the middle of nowhere.

Bird's Eye View of Enumclaw, Mt. Peak, and Mt. Rainier

Founded: 1879 (According to the City of Enumclaw web site)
Population: 10, 845 ( 2009 U.S. Census  estimate)
Name Meaning: “Place of Evil Spirits” (so-named for the high winds it receives; last month it got up to 73MPH)
Did you know … Enumclaw is home to NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne, Farman’s Pickles, and many, many cows. 







 Andrea’s Favorite …

Cafe Panini

Restaurant: Café Panini. This charming Italian restaurant was virtually unknown until it moved to a more prominent location at the corner of Griffin and Cole about five years ago. Since then, it’s become a popular eatery among Enumclawites. I’d recommend the French onion soup and any of the paninis. And for dessert? The restaurant sells pies from the adjacent Pie Goddess. The pies are a bit pricey, but this can easily be solved by splitting a slice with a friend. 

View from Mt. Peak

Freebie: Mt. Peak. This redundantly-named mountain (AKA Pinnacle Peak, AKA Mt. Baldy) is an effective addition to anyone’s workout. Mt. Peak is just over one mile of a very steep trail. Several locals hike it daily. The hike may be rigorous, but the final summit is worth it, with a view like this.

Summer Activity: The King County Fair. The oldest fair west of the Mississippi River, this fair will celebrate its 148th successive year this summer. For free parking and only $5 admission for adults ($1 for kids 15 or under), the fair offers a full day of rides, carnival games, FFA exhibits, dog shows, logging competitions, hypnotist shows, and more. Occasionally the fair attracts big-name performers, like Martina McBride and Jo Dee Messina. And of course, there are always elephant ears to be eaten.

For more picturesque photos of Enumclaw, check out this video. Warning: there will be country music.

For more info, visit The City of Enumclaw web site or Experience Washington’s Enumclaw page .


Driving distance from …

Coeur d’Alene: 39 minutes

Pullman:  1 hour, 28 minutes

Ellensburg: 2 hours, 55 minutes

Seattle: 4 hours, 53 minutes

I wasn’t very well-acquainted with Spokane until I moved here a few years ago, but I have quickly learned to love it. Spokane offers all the benefits you’d expect from the second-largest city in the state, yet it isn’t a giant urban sprawl like the Seattle area (no offense to West-siders; I’m one of you). Even the busiest Spokane streets are easy to navigate. On Spokane driving, my motto is, “All roads lead to Division.”

Quick Facts:

Andrea’s Favorite …

Student deal: The Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. Symphonies, orchestras, Grammy-award winning singers, the Fox has it all. My fellow poor college students can’t miss out on student rush tickets. Typically, you can buy them two hours before the show, sometimes for only $7. And if you’re interested in forties’ music in the slightest, you cannot miss one of their big band tributes.

Coffee shop: The Service Station. In addition to its delicious coffee and food, this non-profit holds concerts and sells goods for humanitarian organizations like Krochet Kids. If you’re a Whitworth student, you will run into a friend here. Try their chicken chipotle panini if you’re into spicy food. Personal favorite drink: white chocolate Americano for under $3.





Freebie: Riverfront Park is a fun and free place to hang out, and it’s within walking distance of downtown. Slide down the giant radio flyer, stroll down Centennial Trail, run through the fountain on a hot afternoon, feed the ducks by the carrousel, or better yet, feed the garbage goat.




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