Oregon’s Willamette Valley stretches from Portland at the north past Eugene to the south. It is bordered on three sides by mountain ranges: the Coast Range on the west, the Cascade Range on the East, and the Calapooya Range on the South. The Willamette River and its tributaries run through the entire valley, which makes it perfect for a thriving agriculture industry. The vast majority of Oregon’s population lives in or near the Willamette Valley. The state’s three largest cities, Portland, the capital of Salem and Eugene are located there. Visitors to McMinnville, Oregon will want to learn to correctly pronounce the name of the region. It’s pronounced “will-AM-mitt.”
McMinnville is about one-third of the way down the Willamette Valley as you move south from the Columbia River, and it’s right near the edge of the Coast Range. It’s southwest of Portland and northwest of Salem in the heart of Oregon Wine Country.
The population of the City of McMinnville is about 33,000 people. It is Oregon’s 16th largest city as of the 2010 Census and is the seat of Yamhill County.
Founder William Newby named the city in 1855 after his hometown of McMinnville, Tenn. McMinnville, Oregon officially became a city in 1882.
The closest airport offering commercial passenger flights is Portland International Airport. McMinnville’s municipal airport is used for personal aircraft, helicopter flights, military usage and small private jets. The trip from the Portland airport to McMinnville is about 1.25 hours by car.
There are dozens of interesting and welcoming wineries and vineyards in McMinnville, Oregon. You can plan your own route or book a guided tour with any number of local companies that offer the service. For more information about the wineries in McMinnville, visit our wineries page and listings. Also, you will need a place to stay during your visit, so be sure to explore the hotel options on our lodging page.
The tasting rooms at most local vineyards and wineries love to pour for guests year-round. However, for visitors who want to try as many vintages as they can, the prime wine-tasting events are Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. For more information about McMinnville, Oregon wine makers, see our wineries page.
Third Street in historical downtown McMinnville, Oregon is touted as “The West’s Best Main Street” from Sunset Magazine thanks to its walkability, quaint shops and top-notch restaurants. You can meander down Third Street at your own pace and explore each business, or you can follow the Stroll Historic McMinnville brochure and hit the highlights.
McMinnville and the Willamette Valley have a temperate climate that’s warm – but not hot – during the summer and cool – but not snowy – during the winter.
There is a world-famous airplane at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum not to mention a full day of learning throughout the rest of the facility. There’s an indoor water park there, too. Fine-dining abounds in McMinnville, from international cuisines to Northwest favorites. Pre-Prohibition-era cocktails and local microbrews? Yes, please!
In McMinnville, you can play on a waterslide, bike to a winery to taste famous Oregon Pinot noir and close out the day with a farm-to-table dining experience. And that’s just Day One.
McMenamins Hotel Oregon in downtown McMinnville hosts the event during a weekend in mid-May each year. The festival is a tongue-in-cheek celebration of the reputation McMinnville earned in 1950 when a photograph of an alleged UFO was taken on a nearby farm. The “Trent Sighting” photos were featured in Life magazine.
We understand wanting to be part of the McMinnville community. You can find out more about how to make the move on our relocation page.
McMinnville is 40 miles from Portland, 30 miles from Salem and 50 miles from the Oregon Coast. Monmouth, Corvallis and Newberg are close by. McMinnville makes an ideal home base for regional travel and exploration.
Most people access McMinnville by traveling through the Willamette Valley on Interstate 5 and then taking Oregon Highway 22W or 99W to the city. For detailed directions from north and south, visit our directions page.