Centralia is located midway between Portland and Seattle on the I-5 portion of the interstate highway. Several historical buildings have been preserved and remain in use. The city boasts wide open spaces, art galleries, specialized restaurants and good home-brewed beverages.
Borst Park is centrally situated within the city limits. Historical attractions include the old homestead and schoolhouse, and the Fort Borst Blockhouse. Of botanical interest are the arboretum and rhododendron gardens. Sports facilities abound, with a volleyball court, three softball, four baseball and seven soccer fields. An athletic field, indoor swimming pool and outdoor tennis courts are close by. Trails criss-cross the park and picnic spots offer an opportunity to rest and replenish energy. The 121 acre park is at the confluence of the Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers. Visitors can enjoy walks along the riverfront or lakeside. For canine customers, there is a one acre area at the south end where they can run free.
Location: West of I-5, Off Exit 82
2.Rectangle Gallery and Creative Space
© Rectangle Gallery and Creative Space
Rectangle Gallery and Creative Space is a cooperative venture, featuring artists from Southwest Washington. There is an ongoing recruitment drive to attract new artists to add to the rich variety of talent on display. Original artwork of all styles, mediums and prices are on sale. Classrooms, studio space and a collaborative design area are rented out. Resident artists offer art classes and multi-day workshops in their chosen medium. Arts and craft classes for 'parties' of beginners are offered on demand. Every Third Thursday there is an evening event of live music, fine dining and shopping. Private functions are accommodated at the gallery which is housed in the former Lander's Hotel building, built in 1912.
3.The Fox Theater
© The Fox Theater
The Fox Theater in downtown Centralia, originally the smallest in the Fox chain, was built in 1930. It ran Fox Movietone News films and hosted vaudeville acts. In 1982, it was revamped into three movie theaters which operated until 1998. The motto, “The Last Word in Talking Picture Entertainment” is still emblazoned on the wall. The City authorities, recognizing its historic value, acquired the building in 2000. Of special interest are the brick design on the exterior walls and the three large murals. Inside the original carving, gold overlays and leather seats are intact. The starburst chandeliers and orchestra pit are still there but the pipe organ has been carefully stored away.
118 West Maple Street, Centralia, WA 98531-0609, Phone: 360-330-766
4.The Historic Borst Home Museum
© The Historic Borst Home Museum
The Historic Borst Home Museum lies within the Borst Park. It was built in 1880, by Joseph Borst, for his wife Mary, to compensate for the 26 years she had spent living rough in the fort and the blockhouse. It was designed to last 80 years and to be the finest house from Fort Steilacoom to Vancouver. The city acquired the property from a Borst descendant. For decades it served as home for a succession of park officials, until it was restored in1984. Many original pieces of furniture and several family photographs are still in the house. The museum is on view to the public on scheduled Saturdays and by appointment for groups.
Pioneer Road, 98531 Centralia, Washington
© The Hubbub
The Hubbub art center was established in 2005 by Rebecca Staebler, in a renovated brown brick building that was built in 1910. The building houses a contemporary craft gallery and a gift boutique. The stock is sourced in the northwest and nationally. On sale are clothes, home décor items and toys. In 2008, Rebecca acquired the vacant car park next door and turned it into a sculpture garden. Visitors can linger and even try their hand at chalk drawing on the asphalt walkways.
328 North Tower Avenue, Centralia, WA 98531, Phone: 360-736-1517
Heyman Whinery – the 'h' is deliberate. Bob and Flossie Heyman began making wine as a hobby and found that many of their friends did too. So, on retirement, they opened a home wine making supply store. The venture grew organically to include the sale of wine accessories and wine related gift items. Beer making supplies and an on-line shop followed. Their own home-made wine proved to be popular so they started selling that, too. They make grape wines and fruit wines, from cranberries, raspberries, blackberries and apricots.
212 N Tower Ave, Centralia, WA 98531, Phone: 360-623-1106
7.McMenamins Olympic Club
© McMenamins Olympic Club
McMenamins Olympic Club hotel was opened in 1908 and remodeled in 1913. It has remained unchanged since then, conjuring up images of the Wild West in its vintage décor and photos of the era. It has 27 rooms, all named after famous and infamous local characters of the area. The salon ladies are long gone but the bar remains and there is a restaurant and movie theater, offering patrons more family-oriented entertainment these days.
430 N. Killingsworth St., Portland, OR 97217, Phone: 503-223-0109
8.Country Cousin Restaurant
© Country Cousin Restaurant
Country Cousin Restaurant was established in 1973 and is still well known for its 'countri-fried' fare. It regularly attracts second generation customers who speak of when they visited as children with their parents. The restaurant is situated just off exit #82 on the I-5 corridor between Portland and Seattle and proves to be convenient for travelers. Special functions are catered for, either in the banquet room or at your home. A country store sells preserves, candy and toys, on the premises and online.
1054 Harrison Ave, Centralia, WA 98531, Phone: 360-736-2200
© Boccata Restaurant
Boccata Restaurant, in downtown Centralia, specializes in Mediterranean food and wine from countries such as Italy, Greece, Spain, France and Morocco. Organic food, cooked slowly, is the order of the day. Ingredients are sourced locally when possible but imported when necessary. In the daytime, the menu is market-style. In the evening, a full service is offered. In summer, diners can opt to dine al fresco or to enjoy a sidewalk cafe experience. Catering for any sized party, for all occasions, is offered on and off the premises.
405 N. Tower Avenue, Centralia, WA 98531, Phone: 360 736-2404
10.Dick's Brewing Company
© Dick's Brewing Company
Dick's Brewing Company was established in October, 1983 by the energetic and innovative founder, Dick Young. The initial vision was to offer superb, old-style smoked sausage but the business grew to include a deli and a sit-down sandwich bar. Dick then started brewing his own beers. Today the company boasts 20 varieties of home-brewed beers, including year-round, seasonal and limited production beers. Tastings are held on Fridays and Saturdays, and food pairing and trivia evenings, each month. Besides the beer, visitors can purchase t-shirts, hats, mugs and gift boxes at the shop.
3516 Galvin Road, Centralia, WA 98531, Phone: 360-736-1603
10 Best Things to Do in Centralia, WA
- Borst Park, Photo: kavzov/stock.adobe.com
- Rectangle Gallery and Creative Space, Photo: Rectangle Gallery and Creative Space
- The Fox Theater, Photo: The Fox Theater
- The Historic Borst Home Museum, Photo: The Historic Borst Home Museum
- The Hubbub, Photo: The Hubbub
- Heyman Whinery, Photo: Rebekah/stock.adobe.com
- McMenamins Olympic Club, Photo: McMenamins Olympic Club
- Country Cousin Restaurant, Photo: Country Cousin Restaurant
- Boccata Restaurant, Photo: Boccata Restaurant
- Dick's Brewing Company, Photo: Dick's Brewing Company
- Cover Photo: City of Centralia, WA