Located in eastern Washington near the border of Idaho, people first started arriving in the area between 8,000 and 13,000 years ago, but weren’t officially founded until 1881, when gold was first discovered in the area. The city quickly grew into a bustling community and became a popular place for visitors after the first environmentally themed World’s Fair was hosted in the city’s Riverfront Park in 1974. Today there are many things to do in Spokane both indoors and outdoors, and it’s easy to admire the unique blend of architectural styles and historic buildings in this city deep in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.
10. Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox
Martin Woldson, a successful businessman and performing arts lover, originally built this 2,300 seats theater in 1931. The theater hosted some of the biggest acts of the time, including Katherine Hepburn, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra. The building was constructed in an Art Deco style of architecture and has a sleek exterior with a breathtaking interior that features mosaics and murals of floral patterns, castles, rivers, and clouds displayed in the lobby and on the mezzanine level. For a romantic night out, go see the Spokane Symphony and step back in time and experience this one of a kind theater in the heart of Spokane.
9. Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture
The Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture was originally started in 1916 under a different name, and since that time they have collected countless cool and interesting historical documents and artifacts. A day spent here will help to inspire and educate on American Indian culture, regional history, and visual art. The museum includes galleries, an education center, gift store, and a café. Be sure to visit the Campbell House, an English Tudor Revival style house that was built by the Campbell family in 1912 who made their fortune operating a gem mine. The house was donated to the Historical Society and is now an exhibit that interprets life in the early 20th century. This is a fun and educational family activity.
8. Barrister Winery
Located in a 100-year-old brick building in the downtown area, stop into the Barrister Winery and try some their wines that now have critics hailing Spokane as a wine destination. Two lawyers vacationing with their families started the winery, when they bought a 5-gallon wine making kit and a business was born. Their passion blossomed and they began producing some of the best wines in the region. Their location offers a rustic and warm and inviting atmosphere for visitors and is a great place to host an event. Come visit their tasting room today, open from noon to 5 pm.
7. Mount Spokane
If you’re looking for a winter ski destination, Mount Spokane is a great option for all skill levels, and is one of the tallest peaks in this mountainous region. The mountain offers a terrain park for skiers and snowboarders, tubing for kids, and night skiing. If you’d rather stay inside, the lodge was recently renovated where you can relax and have a hot drink to warm up. There is also plenty to do here year round with Mount Spokane State Park making up 13,319 acres of land that surrounds the mountain.
6. Riverside State Park
The Riverside State Park is one of the best tourist attractions in Spokane, offering scenic views, 55 miles of walking paths, and outdoor activities that are great for kids of all ages. Spend the day outside rock climbing or visit the Interpretive Center and learn about the early pioneers and the original inhabitants of the area, the Spokane Indians. If you’re hiking around the park, make sure to check out the suspension bridge at the Bowl and Pitcher rock formation. Spend a day here and experience some of the best hiking, glorious views, and fishing and boating Washington has to offer!
5. Green Bluff
Looking for a fun weekend activity? Green Bluff offers a great place to visit and pick your own fruits and vegetables and enjoy the beautiful farm country. Visitors can enjoy monthly festivals ranging from flower and fruit festivals in the spring and summer, to harvest and holiday events in the fall. Go for a quiet walk in the orchards or listen to a live local band as you eat delicious foods prepared on site. This is a great place for leaf peepers in the fall and has terrific autumn fairs and festivals.
4. Riblet Mansion and Arbor Crest Winery
The Royal Riblet Estate, nicknamed the Cliff House, is situated on a cliff above the Spokane River. The mansion was designed and built in 1924 by Royal Riblet Newton, an inventor and designer who was hailed as a mechanical genius of his time. The estate offers an incredible view of downtown Spokane and the river below, as well as views of the rolling hills and winery located on the property. Keep an eye on the events calendar because there are outdoors and events and concerts during the summer and fall months.
3. Steam Plant Square
Steam Plant Square is an amazing example of a reused building that has helped to revitalize the downtown area. The Steam Plant was originally built in the early 1900s and was used as a way to generate steam heat at a low cost. Today the square boasts an award-winning brewery, retail shops and year-round events in a state of the art building filled with history and charm. It’s a great way to spend a night out with friends as you enjoy a Jalapeno or Huckleberry Harvest Ale. Don’t forget to bring a growler of your favorite ale home with you.
2. Spokane Falls
Spokane Falls consists of two falls, the Upper and Lower, where you can find the visually stunning diversion dam that was built in 1920 to generate hydroelectric power. The Upper Falls cascade down along the rocks into pools of water that eventually lead to the Lower Falls. Take the Falls SkyRide and see the river from above as you’re enclosed in a cabin that holds up to 6 people. From here you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the waterfall and downtown area, which is truly an amazing sight.
1. Manito Park
Manito Park is a 90-acre public park that was a zoo all the way up until 1932, but today the park consists of botanical gardens, a conservatory, and an arboretum. The grounds of the park are truly spectacular, and the landscaping creates a majestic atmosphere for visitors. Bring the kids to the playgrounds in the park or to the duck pond for the afternoon. On a walk through the grounds you will come across a picturesque stone bridge, fountains, a Japanese garden, Rose Hill with over 1,500 rose bushes, and the Gaiser Conservatory, a greenhouse with tropical and desert plants. Manito Park is one of the most peaceful places to visit in Spokane.
Spokane is easy to get to by car, plane, bus and train, with tracks arriving from Seattle/Portland and Chicago. The city is very bike friendly and the bike lanes make it easy to explore on two wheels. This is one of the most historic cities on the West Coast and is truly a wonderful place to spend a week or weekend. The region is rich with a vibrant with culture and a fascinating history. The architecture and beautiful landscape of the region make this a gem of the Pacific Northwest.