Ellensburg is a city in, and the county seat of, Kittitas County, Washington, United States. The population was 19,786 in a 2016 census estimate. Ellensburg is located just east of the Cascade Range on Interstate 90 and is known as the most centrally located city in the state. Ellensburg is the home of Central Washington University (CWU).
The surrounding Kittitas Valley is internationally known for the timothy hay that it produces. There are several local hay brokering and processing operations that ship to Pacific Rim countries. Downtown Ellensburg has many historic buildings, many of which were constructed in the late 19th century. This is a legacy of its bid to be the state capital, which it lost to Olympia. CWU being placed there is another product of that legacy. The state legislature selected Ellensburg as the location for the then Normal School as a consolation prize. Eastern Washington has a much drier climate than Western Washington, and some Seattle-area residents have moved to the city and commute over Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 to jobs located in the Puget Sound region.