A good number of those who retire in Ellensburg Washington find it a perfect place to live, located along I-90 about half way between Seattle and Spokane. On the sunny side of the mountains, Ellensburg sits right in the middle of the state and enjoys all 4 seasons. Home to Central Washington University, with just over 10,000 students studying 150 majors, the Wildcats are a vital part of little Ellensburg.
Over 18,000 people live here full time and 9% are over the age of 65. Ellensburg has four distinct seasons: the winters get down to 18 degrees and it hovers around 80 degrees for most of the summer.
The median owner-occupied home is $336,000 for 3 bedrooms. Apartments are easy to find but retired folks may want to stay away from the college!
The first log cabin was built at the town site in 1868. The Northern Pacific Railroad reached Ellensburg in 1886. Trains would wait out the weather in the Cascades, and the town grew. Today, the downtown area has dozens of mom and pop shops, great restaurants, and a vibrant festival schedule. Annual events include the Ellensburg Rodeo and Fair, the Winterhop Brewfest, Jazz in the Valley, The Ellensburg Film Festival, Paint Ellensburg, A Cowboy Gathering, and something called the Dachsunds on Parade in June. The Yakima River runs through the canyon and is a summer haven for float trips and fly fishing.
There is a Saturday Farmers market May through October from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm on 4th Avenue in downtown Ellensburg, offering fresh local produce, meats, baked goods, and hand crafted items.
The Ellensburg Frontier Village is a visit to the turn-of-the-century with a replica blacksmith shop, a sarsaparilla saloon, general store, a school house. You can even pan for gold! Costumed volunteers tell the story of the founding of the area. Many of the original buildings are still on site, including “Robbers Roost” the original trading post from 1870.