Known as the city “Where the West Still Lives,” Toppenish has maintained much of its old-century charm while keeping up with the present.
About the Community
The town of about 9,000 people has seen a growing number of new businesses and restaurants arrive over the past few years, and is also home to the Yakama Nation.
The city’s name is derived from the Indian word “Xuupinish,” which means sloping and spreading. Toppenish combines a Wild West theme with Native American and Hispanic cultural influences that led American Cowboy Magazine to name it one of the 20 Best Places to Live in the West.
Whether you’re planning a day trip or a more extended stay, there are plenty of activities around town, whether it’s touring the historic downtown, viewing the more than 80 murals painted around town, visiting the Northern Pacific Railway Museum, American Hops Museum or the Yakama Nation’s Cultural Center Campus off Highway 97.
The center includes the Yakama Nation Museum, Cultural Center Gift Shop, Heritage Inn Restaurant, Heritage Theater, Yakama Nation Library and the iconic Winter Lodge, as well as a consistently great view of Mount Adams.
The museum is one of the oldest Native American museums in the U.S. The 12,000-square-foot exhibition hall includes life-size dwellings of the plateau people, dioramas of the Yakama people, sound effects, narratives and music, a Yakama Nation mannequin exhibit on The Great Native American Leaders, guided and self-guided tours and a veterans exhibit.
The murals are what truly sets the town apart, with nearly 80 of them covering the sides of buildings throughout the city, depicting scenes and people from the Valley’s history. You can get a map at the visitor center and tour the murals at your own leisure.
Check out the American Hops Museum to learn about that agricultural industry, or visit the railroad museum in the city’s historic train depot.
Community celebrations and special events abound year-round, such as the Toppenish Rodeo on Fourth of July weekend, the Haunted Train Depot in October, Lighted Christmas Parade in late November or Toy Train Christmas in December.
Murals Enhance The City’s Wild West Theme
Thanks to its extensive mural collection, Toppenish truly is a place “Where the West Still Lives.”
The Toppenish Mural project began as the Mural-in-a-Day activity in June 1989, when “Clearing the Land” was created. Since that first mural nearly 30 years ago, the local mural society has continued to commission artists each year for the event.
The program has led to approximately 80 murals being featured around the city, illustrating local history on the walls of buildings.
Each mural costs thousands of dollars, and the Mural Society funds the project with donations and money earned from fundraisers.
A map of the city and a key to where the murals are located can be found in this year’s Visitor Guide. The number of each mural coincides with numbers on the locator map.
The Toppenish Visitor Information Center is at 504 E. Elm St. The center also offers mural souvenirs, postcards and full-color books featuring the murals. It’s also adjacent to Washington state’s tallest flag pole.