Spokane and the Inland Empire
Unlike other parts of the Evergreen State, Spokane offers year-round outdoor recreation with a lot less rain. Derived from the Salish word meaning “children of the sun,” Spokane will take you by surprise with 170 days of annual sunshine and its stunning gardens and spacious parks. It’s also Washington’s second-largest city, so head downtown after playing outside to explore renowned museums, spectacular monuments from the 1974 World’s Fair and a craft brewery scene.
The Gardens of Manito
Five distinct gardens occupy sprawling Manito Park. Step inside Duncan Garden to admire its European Renaissance style. Visitors say it resembles the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, which was featured in the film, “The Sound of Music.” Next, swing by Lilac Garden to discover 23 lilac species, including a rare pink variety named after the city. You can also view 150 kinds of roses in Rose Hill and take a relaxing stroll in the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden.
The John A. Finch Arboretum is not far and will draw you in with its colorful rhododendrons and impressive collection of conifer and maple trees. Join a walking tour to learn more about this green space filled with more than 2,000 types of trees and shrubs.
Pursue Trout and Bass
Whether you’re set on reeling in the big one or just want to have some family fun, Spokane’s 76 angling lakes will not disappoint with their robust stocks and record-breaking fish. Flick your rod in Loon Lake for a chance to catch monster trout or go to Lake Spokane, known as Long Lake to locals, to snag bass, crappie, perch and catfish. Clear Lake is considered the best family fishing spot, thanks to its lakeside accommodations, boat rentals and abundance of rainbow and brown trout. The lake even hosts a kids’ fishing event every spring for young anglers.
Lace Up Your Hiking Boots
Situated in the downtown core, Riverfront Park puts Mother Nature right at your doorstep. A portion of the 40-mile Spokane River Centennial State Park Trail runs through the park, giving you the opportunity to explore the Spokane Falls and Spokane River for miles. Continue west on the trail long enough and you’ll wind up in Riverside State Park. Riverside is the second-largest state park in Washington with 55 miles of trails, three watercraft launches and a horse-friendly campground. Summer days are best spent paddling on the Little Spokane River while the winter brings excellent conditions for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
A Foodie’s Paradise
Bring your appetite, because Spokane’s culinary scene will satisfy your every craving. Dine on seasonal Northwest fare at Clover, Wild Sage and The Wandering Table. Grab Jamaican jerk chicken from a food truck or fill up on ramen at two Japanese noodle houses. Spokane is also part of the Inland Northwest Ale Trail, a route consisting of at least 46 craft breweries in Washington and Idaho. No-Li Brewhouse, River City Brewing and Iron Goat Brewing are all on the map so stop by for a pint. If you prefer wine, go to Green Bluff’s Townshend Cellar to try exceptional vintages aged in French oak barrels or Spokane Valley’s Latah Creek Wine Cellars to pick up a bottle of its famous Huckleberry d’Latah.
Celebrations Throughout the Year
Spokanites know how to throw a good party in every season. Celebrate blooming lilacs and honor the military with parades and car shows during May’s Lilac Festival. In September, take part in bed races, watch dog shows and ride a hot air balloon at Valleyfest, or stop by the Spokane County Interstate Fair to meet barnyard animals. You can rock out at a ton of music festivals too with Volume Music Festival in April, Unifest in July and FarmJam in September, attracting big crowds and top acts.
Spokane Spotlight: 1974 World’s Fair
Spokane landed in the international spotlight with the 1974 World’s Fair. It was the first city to host a world’s fair with an environmental theme and the smallest town to ever host the event. You can still find attractions from the expo in Riverfront Park. The SkyRide gondola lift was built to give attendees an aerial up view of the Spokane Falls and has been rebuilt to be one of the most popular attractions in town. Expo ’74 also celebrated Native American heritage, which is why you’ll encounter totem poles on Canada Island in the Spokane River.
See the Selkirks
Epic outdoor adventures are just 35 miles northeast from downtown in Mount Spokane State Park. In the winter, the Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park offers 45 runs that take you to over 1,400 acres of fresh powder. After a long day on the hills, head to the historic Vista House at the summit for hot chocolate. When the snow melts, cycle along more than 90 miles of bike paths. Savor views of the Spokane Valley and Selkirk Mountains.
For More Information
Washington Tourism Alliance