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Fill up on fun without emptying your wallet


Rachael Nicholls of Selah walks Atticus, a mixed breed dog available for adoption, at the Yakima Area Arboretum during a volunteer shift at the Yakima Humane Society. If you're 18 or older and have a valid driver's license, you can have some free fun walking dogs who are waiting for adoption at the shelter.  (SHAWN GUST/Yakima Herald-Republic)

So you’re on day three of a three-day weekend in the Yakima Valley, and you overspent on days one and two.

Maybe you couldn’t resist the case deals at local wineries or you lost the deposit after your kid accidentally popped your Yakima River raft. Could happen to anyone; no judgment here. Trouble is, now you’re a little light in the wallet. And you’ve still got a day left to go exploring. What to do?

There are plenty of things, actually.

Walk a dog

Maybe you’ve always wanted a dog but can’t have one where you live. Maybe you had to kennel yours while you visited the Yakima Valley. Maybe you just like doing good deeds. Whatever your reason, you can swing by the Yakima Humane Society at 2405 W. Birchfield Road right next to the Yakima Greenway and pick up a dog for the afternoon.

If you’re 18 or older with a valid driver’s license, you can walk one of the adoptable dogs on the Greenway path. Dog walking hours are from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Be careful, though, you may want to take your new furry friend home with you. (That’s OK; they can make that happen for you at the Humane Society.)

For information visit or call 509-457-6854.

Explore the arboretum

The Yakima Area Arboretum, in addition to its scheduled events and classes, is just a cool place to hang out for the afternoon. There’s a huge variety of plantlife, a Japanese garden, a wetland trail, a rose garden, an herbarium, an educational interpretive center and a whole host of other attractions.

It’s great for bird-watching, exploring the collection of local flora or just walking around in a beautiful setting. And it’s free. You can pick up a map for a self-guided tour once you get there or download one in advance from the arboretum website. Hours are from dawn to dusk seven days a week. The arboretum is at 1401 Arboretum Drive. For information, call 509-248-7337.

Do a little yoga

I know what you’re going to say: “But yoga’s expensive, man.” And you’re right. Usually it is. But here in Yakima it doesn’t have to be. The Yoga Collective of Yakima offers it for free (though donations are welcomed).

That’s right. You can do free yoga just about any day of the week. Just check the schedule on the collective’s website and pick a class. There’s gentle yoga, bilingual yoga, yoga philosophy and just plain yoga. Most of them are taught at the beginner level, so don’t be intimidated; just show up.

The Yoga Collective of Yakima is at 2614 W. Nob Hill Blvd. For information visit their website or call 865-235-8278.

Enrich your life with art

If you’re lucky, you’re in town on the day of an opening reception for a new art show. Those are great, even aside from the fact they frequently have free food, beer and wine. You get to meet artists and hobnob with Northwest creative types all while checking out the latest the Yakima Valley’s underrated art scene has to offer. (Also: Did I mention there’s frequently free food, beer and wine?)

But even if your visit doesn’t coincide with an opening, you can still check out art exhibits at several local venues. There’s the Larson Gallery on the campus of Yakima Valley College,, 1015 S. 16th Ave., 509-574-4875, open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-5 p.m. Saturday; the Yakima Maker Space Gallery,, 16 S. First St., 206-353-4971, open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday; Ellensburg’s Gallery One,, 408 N. Pearl St. in Ellensburg, open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, and Noon-4 p.m. Sunday; the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery on the campus of Central Washington University in Ellensburg,, open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Check out some live music

This one may take a little bit of research, because most venues hadn’t set their lineups for the whole summer by the time this publication went to press. But there’s free live music at local bars, restaurants and wineries every single weekend in the Yakima Valley, and frequently on weeknights too.

There’s also the city of Yakima’s summer concert series, Downtown Summer Nights, which takes place every Thursday evening. And the Friday night concert series at Franklin Park, 2105 Tieton Drive. Those series annually feature established local artists and up-and-coming regional favorites from throughout the Northwest. Check the Yakima Herald-Republic's website for event listings.