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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Ellensburg, Washington

A college town, home to the 7,000 students of Central Washington State, Ellensburg is a located in central Washington State with a population of about 17,000. Ellensburg is just a short drive to Seattle, the Tri-Cities and Spokane. Ellensburg is rich with history (see photo of Davidson Building above, courtesy of Wikipedia and Bobak), and and is home to a wide selection of unique, locally owned shops, galleries, pubs and restaurants.

Where to Retire in Ellensburg and Home Prices

You can live in town, or in a development out of town. There is at least one active adult community in Ellensburg (see link at top left).
The median sale price of a home in Ellensburg was $414,776 in late 2021, according to Zillow.

What Is Special about Ellensburg

Ellensburg is special because it is a college town (Central Washington University), its famous timothy hay, and because of its rich heritage of buildings going back to the early 1900's.  The Ellensburg Rodeo is a big event on the professional rodeo circuit.

What Is Not Special about Ellensburg

Real estate values are  above average. The drive to Seattle is long. There are concerns about the state of the historic downtown district.

Climate and Physical Environment

Ellensburg is located in the center of the state, close to Yakima. It is in the Kittitas Valley, which is much drier than the rest of the state. Winter temperatures tend to be in the 20-40 range.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Ellensburg hosts the annual Jazz in the Valley music festival on the last weekend in July.  The University has many cultural events as well as its Brooks Library.


The crime rate in Ellensburg is below the national average, as it has steadily declined in the past few years .

Medical Facilities

The Kittitas Valley Community Hospital serves the region.


Bowers Field has air taxi operations.

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