Lewis County residents are lucky. They get to experience what many Americans have forgotten, how to enjoy your local community with neighbors and friends. From summer in Lewis County when families gather at local festivals and parades to enjoy sunshine and good times, to winter when many head out to the slopes, there’s lots to do here—something for everyone.
1. Go to a Festival
Lewis County has more than a dozen well-established festivals. The Southwest Washington Fair, Mossyrock Blueberry Festival, Chehalis Garlic Fest, Fairyblossom Festival, and Toledo Cheese Days are just a few.
2. Shop at a Farmers Market
There’s something both tasty and virtuous about farmer’s markets, you get to support the community, meet great folks, and buy locally grown and crafted goods. Popular Summer markets are held weekly in Chehalis, Centralia, Pe Ell and Mossyrock.
3. See a Parade
Vintage cars, bright, beautiful floats, and lots of candy for the crowd…what could be better? Lewis County has many parades throughout the year. Despite the threat of bad weather, Chehalis’ Santa Parade and Centralia’s Lighted Tractor Parade at Christmastime are not to be missed.
4. Take a Steam Train Ride
The Chehalis-Centralia Railroad is one of the few remaining steam-powered passenger trains in Washington state. Hop aboard the 1916 vintage train and take a trip through the scenic, upper Chehalis River Valley while eating a leisurely dinner in the dining car. The company also offers special train events like The Murder Mystery Dinner Train, Polar Express and Santa Steam trains.
5. Experience Art
Art classes are available at Book N’ Brush, Rectangle Gallery, and at Centralia Community College. Central GlassWorks offers glass blowing classes for all ages and skill levels. Not artistically inclined but love art anyway? Take the ARTrails Studio tour. You can talk to local artists right in their own studios.
6. Borrow a Green Thumb
Get free plant advice from the WSU Lewis County Master Gardeners. This years’ lecture topics include: rose care and pruning, growing blueberries, and spring grape care. Or stop by their weekly Plant & Insect Clinic to get answers to your specific gardening questions.
7. Stroll through a Museum
The Lewis County Historical Museum and The Veterans Museum in Chehalis are must-sees. The Vintage Motorcycle Museum, King Agriculture Museum, and Centralia’s Shady Lady Bordello Museum offer unique exhibits.
8. Take in a Show
Centralia’s Evergreen Playhouse, Centralia College’s Corbet Theater, and The Roxy Theater in Morton all offer live performances. If historic movie houses are more to your liking, try Centralia’s Fox Theater or the Olympic Club’s cozy Movie Theater.
9. Explore Natural Beauty
Lewis County offers stunning spots for hiking, biking, and backwoods horseback riding. The Tahoma Creek Trail & Suspension Bridge, Willapa Hills State Park Trail, Green River Horse Camp, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and Lewis and Clark State Park are a few of the far-ranging options. If river activities are more your thing, try fishing at Carlisle Lake, or on the Skookumchuck and Cowliz Rivers.
10. Learn about Local History
Lewis County’s got you covered. Centralia, Chehalis, and Morton have historic train depots. The St. Francis Xavier Mission is oldest in the Pacific Northwest. The Joseph Borst Home is open to visitors on the second Saturday of the month from April to October. The Washington Civil War Association (WCWA) reenacts the Battle of the Chehalis River in July.
11. Look at Some Murals
12. Take a Home Tour
Lewis County is full of beautiful old buildings. There are 141 late 19th and early 20th century homes and properties in Chehalis’ Hillside Historic District. Centralia’s Edison District is full of robust Craftsmans and gingerbreaded Victorian beauties. The Olympic Club in downtown Centralia has authentic Art Nouveau decorations and non-politically correct original signage.
13. Play Golf
The Riverside, Newaukum Valley, and Centralia Public are all public golf courses in the Twin Cities area. If you’re looking for something less formal, grab your 3D glasses and head over to Shankz Black Light Miniature Golf in Chehalis.
14. Play in the Snow
15. Go to a Car Show
Car buffs will already know about Billetproof, The World’s Least Important Car Show in June. There’s also Centralia’s Lewis County Quarter Milers Hub City Car Show and the Summer Rod Run in Packwood. Many local festivals and events have car shows associated with them. Check your local newspaper for details.
16. Row Your Boat
Canoeing and kayaking are popular pastimes on the waterways of Lewis County. The Skookumchuck, Tilton, Chehalis Rivers, and calm stretches of the Cowlitz are perfect for paddling. Lakes Mayfield and Riffe offer other boating options.
17. And finally…
Take in a few favorite roadside attractions. Centralia’s giant pencil advertises a tutoring business, a big-eared autoparts man is made from spare parts, and two huge, cartoony, black birds greet visitors at Yard Birds in Chehalis.