Inexpensive Things to do in the Tri-Cities, Washington
Bored, are we?
It's okay, I spent the first 18 years of my life and then some in the Tri-Cities. I am all to familiar with the phrase, "there's nothing to do here!" Though the Tri-Cities may look like the wasteland to some, there are actually quite a few fun and unique things to do in the area.
It is funny how you don't realize how much there is to do and how much you love your hometown until you leave. So to drive the point "home", here is a list things you simply must do while living or visiting the Tri-Cities, and best of all, they require relatively little or no money.
Where is the Tri-Cities, Washington?
For those of you unfamiliar with the location or what the Tri-Cities are, they are located in the more south eastern part of Washington state, bordering Oregon. The Tri-Cities is in a pocket of desert, unlike the western side of the state where Washington gets its stereotype of pine trees and rain. One of the defining characteristics of the Tri-Cities is that it is where three major rivers converge: The Columbia, Snake, and Yakima.
The Tri-Cities is comprised of Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland. Locals also incorporate small outlying towns into the mix with places like Finley, Benton City, Burbank, and West Richland, (which is actually its own entity separate of Richland). The population from the 2010 census puts the Tri-Cities at a little over 250,000 residents. This only includes the three major cities.
Did I mention that the Tri-Cities have also garnered the attention of the nation as being voted by MSN and Forbes as one of the best places to live? Well, it has! It is also a place rich with national history within its Hanford project (part of the Manhattan Project). Because of this, the Tri-Cities is also bustling with engineers and scientists, and ranks as the 11th Geekiest by Forbes. I am proud of that. Check out more accolades and boasting of my hometown here: Tri-City Accolades.
Things to do in West Kennewick
The Playground of Dreams offers an immense play structure, including a small water play area!
With a focus on family activities, the fishing pond stocks bluegill, walleye, large mouth bass, and catfish. Located next to the Playground of Dreams.
A skate and bike park with a few halfpipes and some street transitions. Basketball courts are located nearby as well.
Though signs tell you not to, this place is notorious for people feeding the waterfowl. Watch out, they can get aggressive. These ducks are not shy!
Arena football at its finest, the Tri-Cities Fever gives you a chance to watch some hard hits and big wins.
That's right, the Tri-Cities has a roller girl team. This non-profit organization is definitely a must see.
When I was a lad I was able to watch Oly the Goalie play here as a Tri-City American. Check out the team the produces some tough NHL brutes.
A building to the side of the Toyota Center, here you can participate in hockey or a family ice skating night.
Also known as disc golf, the Columbia Park offers a nice course with a few holes embedded in difficult terrain.
Come get your mini golf game on! Oh, and they also have an interesting variation with basketballs and different shaped backboards. Very cool!
Things to do in East Kennewick
Whether walking or biking, the Zintel Canyon trail gives you a chance to feel farther from civilization than you are.
Great food and great company. This gem also offers a beautiful selection of art and music as well!
Nestled between a community pool and the police station, this park is a fun place to surf some concrete.
Learn about what makes your city great, including exhibits of Kennewick Man, petrified wood, Native American artifacts, and much more.
A fun spot for locals to pull a paranormal prank by telling a ghost story and then watching a portion of the Columbia River bubble up (a pump station)
Usually held at the end of August, the county fair is an awesome place to catch live entertainment, check out local talents, and throw up on the rides
Things to do in Richland
A large park with bowls, stairs, rails, and much more! Bathrooms are nearby and vending machines. Definitely the best skate park in the Tri-Cities.
Located in the historic Uptown Center, the Spudnut is a variation of doughnuts made out of potato flour. Come early for the best pickings.
Get all your board or card games, anime, books, vinyls, toys here! A huge store with an awesome variety, as well as a back room for D&D and MTG.
Relax at this small sandy beach, float the river on a tube down to Howard Amon, or swim out to the small island, or even play beach volleyball!
A great workout, awesome trails, and an amazing view. A local favorite!
Come here for some cool little nature trails around the island, or to fish!
Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science, & Technology. An awesome museum based around the history and science of Hanford.
The B-reactor was the world's first production scaled reactor. The plutonium for the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan was developed here.
Ye Merry Greenwood Renaissance fair in June/July, and the Tumbleweed Music Festival in September!
A non-profit art gallery with a focus on educating and encouraging all to find the beauty in viewing and creating art.
Things to do in Pasco, WA
Gourmet chocolates, jams, produce, events and rides! You can even do a chocolate factory tour. You have to check this out!
The only remnants of this late 1800's town are foundations, many of which are found buried in the Snake River. This was the town that started it all.
Take a tour of one of the many dams in Washington state. See the fish ladder in action, and watch hydro power in action.
Enjoy the wildlife found in the Columbia basin here.
It is here where the Snake and Columbia rivers collide! Historical in regards to Lewis and Clark's expedition passed through this area.
There is a bike path that runs along the Columbia river in each city. Pasco has a large bike path that runs you past the "Cable" Bridge.
The railroad is what allowed the Tri-Cities to become what it has become. Learn more about the history involved in creating the Tri-Cities using rail.
The farm team for the Colorado Rockies, the Dust Devils dazzle crowds at GESA Stadium. Take me out to the ballgame!
This huge complex houses many events ranging from home shows, concerts, and rodeos. You can also get some ice skating in during open hours!
Though north of Pasco, and seasonal, the Mesa haunted house is worth mentioning as it is the spookiest Halloween spectacle you will ever encounter!
What inexpensive things have you done in the Tri-Cities?
The list goes on and on for cool and inexpensive things to do in the Tri-Cities. If you have experienced something fun and relatively inexpensive in the Tri-Cities, shout it out in the comments below and we can amend this list, giving visitors and locals a chance to experience Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland to its fullest!