Over the years, Walla Walla has garnered numerous awards for its historic Main Street, trees, art, food and more.

Walla Walla, the world is watching you.

And it’s liking what it sees.

That’s the nub of an updated list of awards, honors and recognition the city has received, recently compiled by Brelynn Hess, a summer intern with David Brauhn, city of Walla Walla communications manager.

The list also serves as a kind of historical tracker of two decades of progress since the first entry in 1996, when the city was recognized as one of the 100 best small art towns in America. The most recent entry so far for 2017 indicates Walla Walla is also a destination to where a lot of people are thinking about relocating.

In between are many other accolades — from magazines, websites, television shows, organizations and government commendations — recognizing the town for its historic preservation, wine industry, food and hospitality, trees and city government functions.

Brauhn said in an email he will continue to update the list in the future, and if there is anything readers see missing he’d like to know. His email address is

Here’s the list of city awards and recognition as of Friday:


Top 50 most searched destinations under 65,000 population —, a relocation assistance service.


Ranked 104th out of 200 for Best Small Places for Business and Careers by Forbes.

Received 23rd Tree City USA Award.

Parks & Recreation Department received the Washington Recreation and Park Association’s Spotlight Program Excellence Award in the category of Arts and Cultural Services for the Gentleman of the Road Stopover.

Finalist for Best Food Town category of the Sunset Travel Awards, along with Portland, Ore.; St. Helena, Calif.; and Santa Fe, N.M.


Lifetime of GMA Achievement Award for excellence in city planning awarded by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Named Breathtaking Wine Country Destination by Fit Travel by Shape.

Named one of the 10 Most Beautiful Towns in Washington by The Culture Trip.

Named one of the 15 Most Underrated Cities in the USA by Global Yodel.

Ranked 33rd out of more than 1,300 places as Best Small City in the US by NerdWallet.

Featured as Wine with a Splash of Sunshine by 425 Magazine.


One of the 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations — Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

One of the 24 Best Places to Live and Work — Sunset Magazine.

Excellence on Main Award from the Washington State Main Street Program.

Washington State Governor’s Smart Communities Award.

Named one of the Top 6 Affordable Wine Regions in the US by


Finalist for America’s Best Small Town for Food in Rand McNally’s Best of the Road competition.

Fodor’s lists Walla Walla in 10 Best Small Towns in America.

Received 19th Tree City USA Award.

Walla Walla Police Department Merit Award for Masonry from the Masonry Industry Promotions Group.

Walla Walla named as semifinalist for Smart 21 Intelligent Communities.


American Planning Association names Walla Walla in Top Ten Greatest Neighborhoods.

Community Facilities Award from the Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council.

The Daily Meal names Walla Walla one of the Country’s eight Best Small Towns for Food.

Finalist for America’s Best Small Town for Food in Rand McNally’s Best of the Road Competition.

Municipal Excellence in Public Works Award for Infrastructure Repair and Replacement Plan from Association of Washington Cities.

One of the five global finalists for Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Region of the Year Award.

Tyler Public Sector Excellence Award from Tyler Technologies.

Tonique Magazine Names Walla Walla as Most Authentic Wine Region in America.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Outstanding Performance from Washington State Department of Ecology.


Friendliest Town in the Country — USA Today.

Friendliest Small Town in America — Rand McNally.

One of the Five Best Small Towns in America — USA Today.

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association.

Going Above & Beyond in Drinking Water Award from the Washington State Department of Health.

State of Washington Governor’s Smart Communities Award for the Washington Park Gathering Place project.


America’s New Wine Capital — The Today Show.

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association.

Government Fleet Magazine awards the Fleet Services Division with the Environmental Leadership Award.


Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association.

Named one of The West’s 20 Best Small Town — Sunset Magazine.


Top 5 Places to Retire —


Downtown nominated for Preserve America Presidential Award.

ESRI Special Achievement in Geographic Information Systems.

Excellence in Downtown Revitalization Award — National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Wine Destination of the Year — Sunset Magazine.


Best Economic Restructuring Story — Department of Community Trade and Economic development.

10th Tree City USA Award and 4th Tree Grow Award.


One of 12 national Distinctive Destinations — National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The West’s Best Place to Live and Best Main Street — Sunset Magazine.


Best Main Street in the West — Sunset magazine.


Arbor Day Award from the Washington Arbor Day Council.


Semi-Finalist for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Great American Main Street Award.


Named One of the 100 Best Small Art Towns in America in a book by John Villani, John Muir Publications.