The Beautiful Differences We Love the Most About Each Tri-Cities Town
The Tri-Cities is a melting pot - the sum of all of its parts.
I've had the fortune of living in all three of the main Tri-Cities (which I believe is in my author bio), and I've found that while it all can feel like one big city, each town is so unique from the others that it's hard to just move from one to the next. My life and routine changed noticeably each time I moved.
When we moved to Tri-Cities from Iowa, we actually stayed a bit with my uncle in College Place. Every day my dad and I would commute with my uncle to Pasco. I went to a private school while my dad worked for an engineering firm. My uncle has made the commute for several years from College Place to Douglas Fruit just outside Pasco, but boy was it nice when my family finally moved to Tri-Cities. When we settled into Tri-Cities for the first time, we rented a house right behind Yoke's Fresh Market in Kennewick.
Here's the best thing about Kennewick.
The thing about Kennewick is, it's the most "big city-like" of the titular Tri-Cities. At nearly 82,000 people, it's certainly the biggest. Maybe it's because it's always been the biggest that Kennewick gets the city commodities like the Toyota Center, where all the action happens. Kennewick has seen its fair share of big-time entertainment come through like KISS, Avenged Sevenfold, Lil Wayne, and Martina McBride. My wife and I went out for the first time in nearly two years to see Trevor Noah at the Toyota Center this winter. On most nights, the Tri-City Americans are entertaining Tri-Cities sports fans on the ice. Over the years, many NHL superstars have played on the Toyota Center's ice, both as members of the home team and visitors. Kennewick also has Columbia Center Mall, great local restaurants, and nearly as many antique stores as Richland. Kennewick was good enough for me to move back twice in my adulthood.
When I was about 12, my family moved just a block away from the Columbia River in Pasco.
This is what I love about Pasco.
Pasco is one of those towns that if you didn't grow up there, you don't understand what really makes it special. Personally, I think the food is the best in Pasco. You have a plethora of taco joints to stop by, plus traditional Mexican bakeries and restaurants. You haven't lived until you've had a Cuban at Vinny's Bakery off Lewis St.
The other thing I love most about Pasco is its parks. Pasco has an unobscured view of the Columbia River, letting you walk right up to it and get your feet wet. Sure, you could do this at Columbia Park in Kennewick and Howard Amon Park in Richland, but it's much more peaceful in Pasco. Both of those parks are hectic even when you visit outside of the common hours. Even at its busiest, Sacajawea Trail in Pasco offers comfort and solitude to those who require it. I used to longboard every day on that trail, passing under the Blue Bridge as the river breeze filled my hair.
I was living in Pasco in an unassuming modified garage when I met my wife. It wasn't long after that when we moved in together in a Richland apartment.
Here's what makes Richland a unique and fun town.
Richland very much bears the reminders of its history. The Richland High School mascot is the Bombers, most people in Tri-Cities work at Hanford, and numerous businesses have "Atomic" in their name. What I loved about Richland was how different it was from the other two main Tri-Cities towns. People joke that if you live in Richland, you never go to the other towns; and if you don't live in Richland, you don't go to Richland. Richland was always a mystery to me growing up. I had a lot of friends who lived in Richland, but my family never went to Richland outside of their church. When I moved to Richland with my wife, I immediately immersed myself in the culture, trying to make up for lost time. I think I went to the Uptown every weekend I lived in Richland, primarily visiting Adventures Underground. I was really into vinyl at that time (still play a record every day), but I also reinvigorated my childhood love for reading comics. I still take my daughter to "the comic book store" every so often and she loves it. You should see her collection. She's probably most proud of her Ghostbusters and Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers books. Richland also has great food, namely Tumbleweeds and Frost Me Sweet. Who can forget the original Porters BBQ in the Parkway?
As a young adult, Richland was the most fun town. I visited all the classic bars in the Uptown, including the Towne Crier and Lee's Tahitian. I remember most nights we were out there that food trucks would pull up and sell food to drunk people; it was a blast.
What's your favorite part of the Tri-Cities?