Start your visit to Yakima at the large Yakima Valley Museum (2105 Tieton Dr., 509/248-0747, www.yakimavalleymuseum.org , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun., $5 adults, $3 students and seniors, $12 families, free for under age 5). Easily one of the best large museums in Washington, it boasts an extraordinary collection of Yakama Native American artifacts and one of the finest collections of horse-drawn vehicles west of the Mississippi. The Oregon Trail and local fruit tree industry exhibits are absolutely stellar.
If rusty old things are “your thing,” drop by the Central Washington Agricultural Museum (4508 Main St., 509/457-8735, www.centralwaagmuseum.org ), displaying early Yakima Valley  farm equipment on 15 acres in Fulbright Park. The collection is spread throughout more than a dozen buildings, all arranged around a working windmill. A Burlington-Northern boxcar houses railroad memorabilia, and the Magness Room is a special treat, packed with more than 3,000 antique hand tools. Feel free to drive across the grounds and stop at the buildings that pique your interest. The main collection and Magness Room are open 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesday–Saturday, 1–4 p.m. Sunday April–October, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Thursday–Sunday November–March. A popular Threshing Bee is held here each August.
The impressive Yakama Cultural Heritage Center (100 Spiel-yi Loop, 509/865-2800, www.yakamamuseum.com , 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, $5 adults, $3 seniors and children 11–18, $1 children under 10, $12 family of four, free for enrolled Yakama members) on the Yakama Reservation features a museum that tells the story of the Yakama Nation from its beginnings to the present, a library specializing in Native American books, a theater that presents first-run movies and stage productions, a restaurant, and an RV park.
The museum’s library contains the collection of 10,000 books from Nipo Stongheart, an honorary Yakama tribesman, who began his show-business career with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at the age of 11 and went on to star in many Hollywood Westerns.