Psst! Down here! Looking for some extra information on Yakima? Well, we’ve got it! First and foremost, let’s have a little lesson on pronunciation, shall we? Yakima: emphasis on the “Yak”, glide right through the “i”, and make sure to top it off with a good hearty “maw”. Definition? The eighth largest city in Washington state. Yakima is located in the Yakima Valley, which is a premiere production area for apples and wine (and, apple wine, we assume), as well as one of the nation’s top producers of hops. Nestled between beautiful, scenic mountains, Yakima is a small-town place with a certain Pacific Northwestern charm.
Even though Yakima may seem small, it has a pretty sizeable population of about 90,000. An even larger “metropolitan” population technically lives outside the city limits or in nearby smaller cities, but heads to Yakima for work and play. Many people choose to live outside the city proper for a multitude of reasons, which might explain why many who live within the city limits typically rent -- 47% to be exact. Some of the best things about renting in Yakima, though, are that prices tend to be slightly lower than average for Washington, and there are plenty of different housing types to choose from.
Yakima in Style: The most plentiful pads are single-family rental homes, which come in all shapes and sizes. These typically have fully-applianced kitchens, a parking space or garage, and almost always have hookups for a washer and dryer, so you may want to plan on bringing your own if having clean laundry is something you dig. The same rules apply to apartments, though it’s more likely they’ll have a coin-op laundry room in the building. As far as apartments go, smaller buildings and low-level complexes are pretty easy to find. The third most common type of housing is the duplex, which operates along the same lines as stand-alone houses, but may be a little less spacious.
Extras and Fees: Most places won’t have many utilities included, especially houses. Some older apartment buildings have steam radiators, in which case gas heat is likely to be included, but always ask! Pet fees are common if the place allows pets, and an application fee of $20 - $30 to cover a background check isn’t unheard of. Unlike the standard in most areas, security deposits in Yakima are typically a little less than the cost of one month’s rent.
Yakima has long been affected by its physical location. It’s not too far from larger cities like Spokane and Seattle, yet is far enough away to be surrounded by the uninterrupted beauty of the outdoors. Mountains, rivers, and lakes dot the land, and natural areas are all over. An arboretum and botanical garden are within city limits, and Mount Rainier National Park is just a quick jaunt to the Northeast.
Agricultural Economy: Settlers began to move into the area in the early 1800s, after the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through and discovered the fertile soils of the Yakima Valley. Not only are the soil conditions very similar to the wine country of France, but due to nearby mountains, Yakima is located in a rain shadow that creates an optimal amount of rainfall. Today, the valley is known for its crops: fruits, vegetables, hops, and wine grapes all grow in abundance here, and the agriculture industry keeps the economy afloat even in hard times. Though it’s the largest city in the area, Yakima isn’t much of a commercial center. Most of the local big-box shopping is located in nearby Union Gap, with Yakima hosting more tourist areas and small shops.
Transportation: The city manages a public transportation service, Yakima Transit, which provides limited-schedule fixed-route buses, and commuter vanpools in Yakima and two nearby cities: Selah and Terrace Heights.
Yakima has some unique qualities and attractions that make it an interesting “getaway” type town in the northern Rockies. Perhaps, for you, it will be less of a getaway and more of a home, but you can never know until you check it out for yourself.