Free time? Bored? Look no Further!

Ellensburg, WA and the general Central WA area might not look much at first, but the town and region have much to offer. Whether you're vacationing, a CWU college student looking for indoor or outdoor activities, or a resident wanting to better understand what Ellensburg has to offer, you've come to the right place. While Ellensburg has plenty of cozy coffee shops offering free wi-fi, nice parks for a picnic or other outside activity, and wonderful restaurants, its surounding area has a few hidden gems off the beaten path that make for the perfect outing.

In this part one article, the focus is coffee shops. Seeing as many begin their days with coffee, it seemed a good place to begin the series.

Coffee Shops

Although there are a few Starbucks in town, consider one of the many local coffee shops:

  • D&M Coffee: As the only local coffee-roaster with numerous locations around town, D&M coffee has the monopoly here in Ellensburg. For the to-go crowd they offer an impressive variety of single origin roasts along with blended roasts. While not all of their coffee is organic or fair/direct trade, they thankfully offer some options for the conscious consumers. For the coffee-shop junkies, two specific locations are particularly appealing: downtown across from the library and on Water St. across from Fred Myers. The first has more seating and louder music. The second a fair amount of drive through traffic. Regardless of the location, D&M makes for a nice local coffee experience. Head office/shop location: 215 West 3rd Avenue, Ellensburg, WA 98926
  • Raw Space Cafe: Offering a full menu, Raw Space Cafe is much more than a coffee shop. But don't worry, they have wonderful coffee (personally speaking, best in town). Their menu boasts creative dishes made with an impressive amount of local and organic ingredients. And best of all, the atmosphere is great. Their wi-fi signal is strong, music selection usually good, and refills are on the house. Location: 119 E 4th Ave., Ellenburg, WA 98926
  • Jennika's Coffee House: Hungry? Great! These folks also offer a full menue with an impressive pastry selection. And although they have fewer local and organic offerings, they do provide a wonderful atmosphere which includes a nice outdoor patio for seating. They're also a bit more off the beaten path, which might be desirable for non-college students during the school year at CWU.  Location: 1300 N Dolarway Rd Ellensburg, WA 98926
  • Espresso Barn: The Pacific NW is known for its small coffee kiosks scattered in the most and least expected of locations. While the above mentioned D&M has one or two, a personal favorite is the Espresso Barn. Off I-90's exit 106 you'll find this small, quaint, conveniently located for travellers coffee kiosk. The service is personal, product tasty, and prices very reasonable. Location: 1503 Hwy 97 Ellensburg, WA 98926
  • Dakota Cafe: Last but certainly not least, this cafe wins for its incredibly big, delicious, and affordable baked-goods. As a bonus, they sell "day-olds" for half price. With these the early bird gets the worm, so make haste! Two minor improvements would really transform the place: better coffee (it's not bad, just average) and more electrical outlets for laptop plugin. They do have wi-fi, making the absence of all but a few outlets a bit odd. But the foods great (wonderful lunch and dinner menu) and atmosphere refreshing in an old-fashioned way. Location: 417 North Pearl Street, Ellensburg WA, 98926

Espresso Barn excluded, all of the above coffee spots have fast and reliable wi-fi. Also, a good rule of thumb (applicable to most all coffee spots) is to bring your own mug for a discount - and one less cup in the landfill! If you're not into having your own mug and plan on drinking your joe in-house, make sure to ask for a mug. Too often they had out paper cups without first asking!

Stay tuned for part 2!