Have you ever visited a city for the first time and instantly fell in love? That’s how I felt when visiting Walla Walla for the first time recently. Walking the streets and visiting the shops, I had completely forgotten that I’ve never been here before, but still felt peaceful and at home.
Walla Walla is a well-known wine destination, located in southern Washington, perfect for families, singles and everyone in between.
Where To Stay
During our stay in town, we booked with The FINCH Hotel. They are a boutique style hotel, with artwork in each room showcasing something special about the area. Our double queen room had a large hot air balloon infographic, but there are rooms featuring local avian populations, wine, as well as local businesses. Each piece of art is special to The Finch and created by local artists.
With an open floor plan, and a local juice bar truck on site, each room has lush MALIN+GOETZ products, bathrobes that feel like butter on your skin, and several other amenities.
During our stay we had the chance to sit down with the property manager and learn more about the changes The FINCH has gone through. Originally a Red Lion hotel way back in the day, the buildings have gone through a variety of changes and renovations. Nowadays you’ll find the hotel is a mixture of modern and retro, with a combination of bright colors and a sleek look.
One of my favorite parts of the stay was the free wine sampling you receive when you check in. Each month they feature a different local winery, and guests receive a 15% off card for the specific winery. But no matter why you’re visiting Walla Walla, make sure to check out their specials and packages. From their “Wine Tasting Getaway” to “Proud to be Blue” for Whitman alumni/ families/ students, and even a special 15% discount for booking 60 days in advance.
When you’re done with touring the town, and ready to enjoy a peaceful glass of wine, head down to their fireplace. Grab a pack of s’mores by the front desk, and enjoy the calmness surrounding you.
Where To Drink
We left The FINCH on foot and arrived at our first destination in less than five minutes: Bledsoe Family Winery. They are a sister project to Doubleback, founded by former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe.
In a space that is upscale, yet cozy, we decided to do a tasting. For $20.00 you’re able to try their: Healy Rose (my favorite), Elizabeth Chardonnay, Family Wine, Bledsoe Family Cabernet and their Stolen Horse Syrah.
During our stop, we also opted to try a glass of their Joi white wine and their Cabernet Sauvignon to get a full idea of what their wines are like. And as someone who is neither a big wine drinker, nor someone who is able to pick up on the very subtle hints of flavors, our server was able to easily talk me through each wine. She provided ample information, answered all of my questions, and told short but sweet backstories to each wine.
I would highly recommend them for anyone visiting Walla Walla, whether you’re an expert or a novice. Their outdoor seating area was also very lush and perfect for a warm evening out!
Next up, we visited Gard Wine just down the street. With a live music band playing, featuring their oldest wine club member (99 years old!) playing the washboard – this was a fun environment.
We sat outside to get a full view of the band, and it was a busy location even on a Wednesday evening. Once again, we opted for their tasting menu.
My favorite from their tasting menu was their 2020 Freyja, which had distinct citrus and white peach flavors. It was sweet but refreshing. A mixture of Viognier and Roussanne.
If you’re brand new to wine or looking for a low-key but enjoyable place to sit and sip wine for awhile, Gard is where you’ll want to be!
Where to Eat
Now here is the part where my mouth starts to drool again. Hattaway’s on Alder, if you know, you know.
Using local ingredients with a southern twist, their food is quite honestly worth driving to Walla Walla no matter where you are from. We ordered their duck pate, pimento cheese, roasted oysters, and alder smoked duck breast and dirty rice.
Before our meal even came out though, our waitress brought by their daily complimentary appetizer: toasted bread with homemade riocotta and spicy honey. I was wow’ed and ready to taste it all.
We paired our meal with my new favorite cocktail: bergamont sour. Earl Grey vodka, triple sec, lemon and egg white, it was light and very well done.
While I probably wouldn’t take my little kids here, this is another comfortable yet slightly up-scale restaurant ideal for friends or couples. Quite honestly, I would have felt completely comfortable eating alone here (and we all know how awkward that can feel!)
My favorite touch was when our bill came. They bring each bill in a vintage book, with the server’s favorite page picked out and ready for you. We got one about how to enjoy wine, which was so fitting. Make sure to leave a note in your book!
By the time morning rolled around, we were ready for more good eats. With my dad having raved about Andrae’s Kitchen for a several months, we headed into his new location: AK’s Mercado on Main Street.
Again, once we walked in, I fell in love. Located in a old, gorgeous building, their team has done a wonderful job renovating the space to make it comfortable for everyone. With a large downstairs seating area, bar, and upstairs an equally large seating section, this is it.
Whether you’re there for breakfast (get their “Morning After”) or after work drinks, this location is incredible versatile. A mixture of old and new, south of the border flavors mixed with New Orleans flair… it’s hard to put a label on Andrae’s, and honestly? I don’t want to. I want you to go and eat, drink a boozy slushie, and take a plant home with you. You won’t regret it!
While this is by no means an extensive guide to Walla Walla, I hope it gives you a jumping off point for what to do and see when you’re in town. We only were there for a single night, but I’m already planning for a longer stay in the summer!