Spokane, Washington is a delightful city in eastern Washington with a bit of everything. From historic buildings to an endless amount of outdoor activities there’s a lot of things to do in Spokane, Washington.
I moved to Spokane as a 14-year-old girl in 1987. It took a while for the people and places of the Inland Empire to feel like home but now I have years of wonderful memories. Some things have stayed the same while there has been rebirth, deconstruction and new construction in other parts of the city and there is so much to see, experience, and enjoy. Here’s my list of the top 12 things to do while visiting Spokane.
Historic Davenport Hotel
You don’t have to book a stay at the Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane to immerse yourself in its rich history. From the moment you enter the lobby, stepping foot onto the marble tile, you are instantly transported back in time. The walls are lined with photos telling stories of the past, and display cases on the mezzanine level contain items of interest from guests and events of a bygone era.
Be sure to walk into at least one of these breathtaking ballrooms at the Davenport Hotel:
- Marie Antoinette Ballroom
- Isabella Ballroom
- Grand Pennington Ballroom
Dine at the Palm Court Grill for breakfast, lunch or dinner or have dinner in the upscale Peacock Room Lounge. The Davenport Salon & Spa offers a variety of services, treatments and amenities but you will need to make reservations!
Spokane’s Downtown Skywalks
In February of 1963, Spokane’s first skywalk was built over First Avenue between Howard and Stevens. The rest of the 16-bridge system rapidly developed over the following decades. The idea was that as the downtown began to lose its vitality, an enclosed skywalk system would not only mimic the suburban mall shopping experience, but also separate cars and pedestrians.
They’re not as visionary as they once were and second-story shoppers will find more offices than shopping experiences as they traverse through the skywalk system but they are an important part of the history of the city and will make for fun photos.
Clinkerdagger Restaurant at the Spokane Flour Mill
Reservations are not required but its recommended to make them on weekends or holidays as this is a popular spot. Located in the historic Flour Mill. The Spokane Flour Mill worked regularly until 1972 before it closed its doors but was soon converted into a shopping center in preparation for EXPO ’74.
Clinkerdagger Restaurant has a large portion of its seating on the side of the mill facing the water. If you’re lucky enough to get one of those tables, enjoy the views of the fast-moving Spokane River and Riverfront Park.
Take a walk around the beautiful Riverfront Park. Enjoy playgrounds, paved walkways, bridges that span the Spokane River, the historic clock tower and many revitalized structures from EXPO ’74.
You’ll find plenty to do at Riverfront Park including:
- Visiting the Pavilion
- Skate Ribbon
- Looff Carrousel
- Spider Jump
- Pedal Karts
You’ll definitely want to photograph the clock tower and tickle the ivories on one of the “Play Me” pianos.
Oh and in the winter you can ice skate on the Skate Ribbon. How amazing is that!
John A Finch Arboretum
Located in southwest Spokane on 65 acres of wooded hills, the Arboretum is a botanical collection of trees and woody plants. Enjoy the varied landscapes which range from native pine forest to shady glen filled with rhododendrons. There are seasonal activities planned at the Arboretum year-round and tours are available. You can also download a Walking Guide for a self-guided tour. Visit in the fall if you can, you’ll never forget the beauty and contrast of the changes leaves.
Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden
The Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden was completed in 1974 and symbolizes the friendship of Spokane and its sister city, Nishinomiya, Japan. Entrance into the garden is free. Enjoy the manicured walking paths along with the tranquility of the landscape and pond.
The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
St. John’s Cathedral is one of the few examples in the United States of classic Gothic architecture. The Cathedral, begun in 1925, is the fulfillment of the dream of the Right Reverend Edward Makin Cross, third Bishop of Spokane.
See what makes St. John’s an architectural destination. You can visit St. John’s Cathedral, 9am-4pm, Monday through Saturday or take a guided tour. There’s no charge for small groups. If you can’t make it in person you can experience one of Spokane’s most beautiful and iconic buildings in this video from KSPS Public TV.
Arbor Crest Wine Cellars at The Cliff House Estate
A crown jewel of the Inland Northwest, Arbor Crest Winery is located on a cliff-top setting that will take your breath away. This is truly a unique place to visit.
At Arbor Crest Wine Cellars you can expect to enjoy:
- Wines by the flight, glass or bottle
- Live music two evenings a week
- Legendary concerts in the summer months
- Beer from Square Wheel Brewing Co.
- Tasty food selections from the Wine Bar menu
- Lovely grounds, charming architecture and magical views!
Mt Spokane State Park
You could hike for days and not see the same view twice at Mount Spokane State Park. One of Washington’s largest state parks, Mount Spokane has 100 miles of trails in the Selkirk Mountains.
If you’re not up for a hike but want a stunning view, the charming, historic Vista House atop Mount Spokane offers THE BEST VIEWS. The best part is you can drive to the top, park and enjoy!
Kendall Yards is a modern neighborhood in a former rail yard, with panoramic river views and hip spots for brunch, cocktails, and pizza. An art walk on and around the paved Centennial Trail takes in striking murals and sculptures, while Olmsted Brothers Green has a play area and picnic shelter. In summer, the Kendall Yards Night Market features live music, food trucks, and stalls selling produce and gourmet snacks.
Oh, and if you don’t want to WALK on the paved Centennial Trail, you can rent a LIME scooter and enjoy the ride.
The Bing Crosby House at Gonzaga University
Gonzaga University houses a large collection of material relating to 20th Century singer and actor Harry Lillis (Bing) Crosby, a native of Spokane and alumnus of Gonzaga. Now part of Gonzaga, Crosby’s childhood home was built in 1911 and still stands at its original location. The main floor houses over 200 Crosby items including gold records, trophies, awards, and his Oscar for Going My Way (1944). What is not on display is stored in the University Archives and Special Collections’ vault in the Foley Center Library.
The museum is free to the public and free visitor parking is available behind the Crosby House Museum.
Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox
The Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox in Spokane, Washington was historically a 1931 Art Deco movie theater. It was designed by architect Robert C. Reamer, notable for his design of the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone Park. It was part of the Fox Film Corporation Empire founded by studio mogul William Fox.
The Fox re-opened its doors in 2007 after undergoing restoration. This art deco treasure is owned and operated by the Spokane Symphony and serves as the Symphony’s permanent home and is an incredible venue for all of the performing arts. The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Spokane has many surrounding cities and towns that definitely make it a destination point throughout your travels. Wonderful daytrips include the wonderful cities of Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint, ID. You’ll also find the region’s largest theme park, Silverwood in Bothell, ID. I know you’ll grow to love the charm and distinction of Spokane just as much as I do!