The oldest community in the Yakima Valley ( est 1883 ), Union Gap is now thriving with events, business and shopping.
About the Community
Union Gap is still known to many locals as Old Town, but over the past two decades, the city of about 6,500 residents has evolved into the Valley’s largest retail center, bringing in national and regional brands that attract thousands of people a day from Ellensburg to Sunnyside.
The massive Valley Mall and its surrounding mini malls continually bring in big-name national retail stores and restaurants, and the city has become a vital part of the region’s economy, employing hundreds of local residents.
More and more businesses have been relocating there, due to friendly development regulations and the relatively affordable cost of land.
In the past year, a new WinCo Foods and Holiday Inn Express have opened, along with a number of new retail stores, restaurants and coffee shops. The city also has enhanced its image by building a new civic center on Ahtanum Road in 2018.
Union Gap is also home to a fast-growing manufacturing base, with many national and international businesses choosing to build their headquarters here. To keep up with all of the commercial growth, the city will be installing a new byway over the next year to ease traffic around the Valley Mall.
Aside from its economic impact, Union Gap also offers tourists ample opportunities to learn about the Valley’s history.
The Central Washington Agricultural Museum, located in Fullbright Park, preserves the agricultural heritage of the area with its large collection of antique farm machines and tools. A series of interactive exhibits highlight this 19-acre, open-air museum, while a new Horse & Buggy Museum was introduced in 2017.
Every August, tourists and locals mark their calendars for the Central Washington Antique Farm Expo, the largest annual special event at the museum featuring vintage farm equipment, steam engines, demonstrations and more.
In early May, the Old Steel Car Club Car Show shows its metal at the museum. Other May events include the FFA Lawn Tractor Pull Competition at the museum and the American Historical Truck Society Show at Fullbright Park.
The park also plays host to the annual Old Town Days celebration in June — complete with a Civil War reenactment — as well as regular gatherings of the Central Washington Anachronistic Society. Dozens of people of all ages dress up in old-world garb and engage in activities like archery, sword fighting and more.
Union Gap has nearly 150 years of history to share, but with all of the retail and commercial development, the town has become a worthy complement to the much-larger Yakima, about four miles north.