The Pacific Northwest of the United States is a vast and diverse territory. Known for breathtaking coastlines and lush landscapes, it's also home to prairies, croplands and developing urban cities like Spokane. Located near the Idaho Border, Spokane is one of the largest cities in the state with a charming and historic vibe. From Japanese Gardens to stunning 19th-century architecture, this city is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for your tastebuds. A thriving culinary scene features traditional and new flavors made with local ingredients, while a winery and craft brewery scene contributes to the vibrant nightlife. When planning your next trip to the Pacific Northwest, cut inland and see for yourself what fascinating things there are to do in Spokane, Washington.
The Historic Davenport Hotel in Downtown Spokane is more than just a luxury inn. It's also an icon of the city and at the heart of the neighborhood's revitalization efforts. The Davenport was the most elegant establishment in Spokane when it opened in 1914. Famous for an opulent design and upscale furnishings, the resort frequently played host to celebrities like Amelia Earhart, John F. Kennedy, and Spokane native Bing Crosby. The iconic building continues to draw visitors with its stunning architecture and interior design. The Hall of Doges is its masterpiece—the lavish ballroom's hand-painted frescoes, ornate woodwork, and marble accents are as beautiful as they were over 100 years ago.
Spokane boasts several blocks of elegantly designed, historic homes. Perhaps the most impressive of these communities is the city's first neighborhood, Browne's Addition. This suburb was a charming enclave for the elite, who built their impressive estates in a variety of architectural styles. The Patsy Clark Mansion is the jewel of Spokane's historic district. Designed to be the most luxurious mansion ever, this 12,000 square foot home is beautifully preserved to reflect the suburb's rich past. Across the street is the Coeur d'Alene Park, a great place to settle down for a picnic lunch and enjoy the surrounding architecture.
The Spokane River flows through the heart of the city, and the best place to enjoy the view is at Riverfront Park. Located in Downtown, this 100-acre green space was the site for the 1974 World's Fair. The pavilion remains an impressive silhouette on the park's tree-lined horizon and, along with the Great Northern Clocktower, is one of Spokane's most iconic structures. For nature enthusiasts, Riverfront Park's scenic trails are a treat. You'll pass historical landmarks and attractions as you navigate the landscape, and even find a few perfect picnic spots. Prime views of Spokane Falls are possible from the adjacent Huntington Park and the Monroe and Post Street Bridges.
A fire destroyed Spokane's Downtown commercial district in 1889, fueling the city's desire to rebuild bigger and better than ever. It quickly developed into an urban metropolis, and some of Spokane's most beautifully designed buildings from that era are still standing. The Fox Theater is an Art Deco classic where you can catch the symphony, and the elegant Bing Crosby Theater, just a few steps away, is where the Hollywood legend performed for years. Grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant to fuel up for hours of shopping, and don't forget to stop at a brewery or bar for happy hour.
One of Spokane's quirkiest traits is its refusal to conform to one design aesthetic. After the Great Fire in 1889, the city rebuilt itself according to the stylish whims of its architects. The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist has a Neo-Gothic Revival-style architecture that is stunning at a distance; up close, the intricately carved facade and menacing gargoyles beckon eager visitors inside. The cathedral's vaulted ceilings and gorgeous stained-glass windows are typical of Gothic architecture and rare in the U.S. Tours of this incredible structure are free and open to visitors of all faiths. Check the website for visiting hours and information on carillon and organ concerts.
The craft beverage scene in Spokane is well established, serving some of the most unique and tasty brews in the region. The Inland Northwest Ale Trail spans dozens of craft breweries in Washington and Idaho, with a few stops in the Spokane area. Try a regional brew and pair it with something savory from the menu. If you prefer something sweeter, Downtown is also home to cideries that use fruit from local farmers. Spokane's urban core is home to a collection of wineries that form the epicenter of the Cork District. This group of more than a dozen winemakers is conveniently located within walking distance of each other, making an afternoon of tasting safe and worry-free.
Spanning almost 40 miles, the Spokane River Centennial Trail closely follows the Spokane River. The path is paved the entire way for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, making the route family-friendly and easily navigable. If you're only out for a casual stroll, take the path from Kendall Flats to Riverfront Park. There are plenty of shops and eateries to stop in, with dramatic views of Spokane Falls and the river along the way. If you prefer more adventure, start the Centennial Trail at Riverside State Park. This section of the trail is the most challenging, but rewards hikers with breathtaking views and quietude. The final segment of the trail runs through the Spokane Valley into Idaho.
Located minutes from Downtown, Manito Park is a 90-acre green space open to the public free of charge year-round. Boasting playgrounds, walking paths, a greenhouse conservatory and café, the park is one of Spokane's most remarkable gems. Visitors will delight in Manito's five spectacular gardens, including the renowned Duncan Garden, a European renaissance-style space with colorful flowerbeds and a granite fountain. The Lilac Garden highlights the rare, double pink variety of this delicate flower, which lends Spokane its nickname, Lilac City. The Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Garden is a masterpiece of Japanese landscape architecture. This tranquil space is a zen retreat unlike the other parks in town, so make sure to check online for seasonal closures.
As one of the largest public recreation areas in Washington, Mount Spokane State Park is a prime destination for nature lovers, camping families or day-trippers hoping to escape the city for a change. Panoramic views and lush woodland await travelers on over 100 miles of trails through the forest of the Selkirk Mountains. Short, all-season trails are easily accessible for hiking and snowshoeing, while there are longer trails for horseback riding and mountain biking. Snow is abundant in the wintertime, so bring your skis or snowboards to take advantage of the fresh powder day or night.
In addition to diverse cuisines, beautiful natural surroundings, and storied past, Spokane also boasts year-round festivals and artistic events to engage the citizenry. The Lilac Festival honors local military service members and veterans, as well as rising youngsters within the community. Valleyfest is for the whole family. The festival begins with a parade, and the celebrations continue with musical performances, family-centric competitions and even a dog race for competitive canines. Pig Out in the Park is Spokane's end of the summer bash, and one of the city's most popular events. This free event brings Spokanites and visitors together at Riverfront park for a six-day celebration complete with free concerts. Enjoy locally-sourced cuisine and spirits, and connect with the community as you take in the sights and sounds of Lilac City.