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Spokane, Washington is an under the radar tourist destination. To be honest, we didn’t have high expectations for things to do in Spokane before arriving. However, after spending just one weekend in Spokane, we were blown away. It’s a gem of a city that appeals to a range of visitors – and we are highlighting the best things to do in Spokane, Washington so that fellow travelers can easily plan their trip!
Spend A Weekend In Spokane, Washington
When we made plans to travel to Spokane, we decided to stay an entire month. Our decision wasn’t based on the incredible number of things to do in Spokane, WA – in fact, it was quite the opposite. After Visiting Montana and Glacier National Park, we needed a little down time to focus on work.
What we discovered, however, is that there are many fun things to do in Spokane that could easily fill a weekend trip! Gorgeous nature, a vibrant downtown, incredible food and local brewpubs make Spokane a fabulous destination. We carved out plenty of time on our Spokane trip to experience the absolute best of the city sights.
Now, to help other travelers plan their Spokane Weekend Itinerary, we are sharing our list of the Best Spokane, Washington Things To Do.
Best Things To Do In Spokane, WA
Based on our personal experiences, we have rounded up a list of the best activities in Spokane. In addition to our list of Things To Do Spokane, WA, we also provide tips about how to get there, where to stay and what to pack.
Save, Pin or Bookmark this Things To Do Spokane, Washington blog post so that you can use it as you plan (and during!) your trip to Spokane!
#1 Enjoy The Outdoors At Riverfront Park, Spokane
Topping our list of the top things to do in Spokane, Washington is spending time in Riverfront Park. Located smack in the middle of the city, Riverfront Park was built to host the Expo ’74 World Fair – and it still attracts millions of visitors every year.
The 100-acre park sits on an island in the middle of the Spokane River and is one of the best places to visit in Spokane. Top features at the park include spacious lawns, the US Pavilion, the Great Northern Clocktower, the Looff Carrousel, fountains, sculptures, and walking trails.
#2 Get The Best View Of Spokane Falls
The Upper and Lower Spokane Falls that tumble downstream beside Riverfront Park collectively hold the rank as the largest urban waterfall in the United States – and the waterfalls are one of the best attractions in Spokane, WA.
Visitors can get an excellent view of the falls from Huntington Park or by walking halfway across the Monroe Street Bridge (be sure to check out the bridge design details – like the bison skulls – during your trek). However, a unique vantage point of the Spokane Falls is via the Spokane Skyride. The 15-minute cable car ride – which is one of the top Spokane things to do with kids – gives visitors an aerial view of the falls.
#3 Walk The Centennial Trail, Spokane
The Spokane River Centennial Trail is a 37-mile paved path designated for pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorized forms of transport. Stretching east from Nine Mile Falls to the Idaho border (and actually continuing another 25 miles from there to Coeur d’Alene), the path cuts right through the city center. Lacing up your walking shoes and taking on a section of the trail is one of the fun things to do in Spokane, WA.
#4 Stroll The Sculpture Walk Spokane
Artwork abounds throughout Riverfront Park and along the Centennial Trail in the form of sculptures – and they are top Spokane, Washington attractions. The works of art span numerous styles from realistic renditions to abstract works to whimsical musings.
Trying to find the more than 30 sculptures is one of the entertaining and free things to do Downtown Spokane. Among our favorites are The Childhood Express (Radio Flyer Slide), the Garbage Eating Goat and the Dance of the Redband Trout. You can wander on your own to see what you can find – or use this handy walking tour.
#5 Eat The Best Burgers In Spokane
You don’t have to go far to find a good burger in Spokane – the city boasts an excess of establishments cranking out everything from gourmet burger feasts to on-the-go fare. Our trip was not focused on finding the best places to eat in Spokane, but we think we successfully stumbled on the best burger in Spokane at D. Lish’s.
Locally owned D. lish’s Burgers – a “half fast food” restaurant – has a motto of Always Fresh, Never Frozen. Their juicy burgers are topped with secret spices and daily-made sauces – and the fries are hand-cut. Go with the classic D. Lish’s Double – you won’t be disappointed!
Pro Tip: Other fast food burger establishments that also earn rave reviews for serving the Best Food in Spokane are Wolffy’s and Seattle-based (and Sir Mix-A-Lot made-famous) Dicks Hamburgers.
#6 Satisfy That Sweet Tooth At Donut Parade
When we got an insider tip from a Spokane local that Donut Parade makes the best donuts in Spokane, we couldn’t resist getting a taste to see if it was true. The shop was first opened in 1968 – when they became well-known for their homemade maple bars. Although the shop closed for a short time and reopened under new ownership, the classic donut shop retains an old school vibe. Oh – and just so you know – the donuts are delicious!
#7 Visit Gonzaga University Campus (and cheer on the Zags!)
Situated just steps from Downtown Spokane, the Gonzaga University campus is a must-see when visiting the city. Actually, one of the really fun things to do in Spokane, Washington is to cheer on the basketball team. The university has a renowned men’s basketball program that has earned their team a spot in the NCAA tournament every year for the last 20 years. Unfortunately, we couldn’t attend one of these epic sporting events in Spokane as there were no games during our visit.
Either way be sure to make time to walk through the gorgeous Gonzaga campus to admire the impressive St. Aloysius Church and pay a visit to the beautiful Jundt Art Museum.
#8 Immerse Yourself In Nature At Manito Park Spokane
Manito Park lies just south of the city – and it is one of the best Spokane attractions! Established in 1904, the park is comprised of several gardens. The most impressive are Duncan Gardens, Rose Hill and the Japanese Garden. Within the park there are picnic areas and even a pond.
As a bonus, visiting Manito Park is completely free! A trip to the park is a fun activity for couples and friends – and it is one of the top things to do in Spokane with kids, too.
#9 See The Amazing Spokane Cathedrals
Visiting the gorgeous cathedrals – The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes and The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist – is another one of the fun and free things to do in Spokane.
Our Lady of Lourdes, which is located in the heart of the city, dates to the year 1903. The double-spired, brick Catholic church features beautiful stained-glass windows and a recently renovated interior.
The Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist is designed in the Gothic style. The church is absolutely stunning inside and out with exquisite detailing and colorful stained-glass windows. Tours are also available!
#10 Visit The Bing Crosby Spokane House Museum
Did you know that Bing Crosby grew up in Spokane? We didn’t until we stumbled onto his childhood home on Sharp Avenue, now a small museum. The house – which was built in 1913 – might not be much to look at from the outside, but inside it tells the fascinating story of Spokane’s most famous resident. The museum is free to visit – and the docents provide excellent information, too.
If you want to continue celebrating one of America’s most popular entertainers of all time, then make a stop at the Bing Crosby Theater Spokane (which we talk a bit more about in a minute!).
#11 Step Back In Time At The Campbell House
Part of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, The Campbell House is an exceptional part of Spokane history. The home was built for the wealthy Campbell family in the early 1900s – and today it remains as one of the top Spokane tourist attractions.
Visitors can tour the house to get a glimpse of what life was like in 1910 – including how the family lived, the life of the servants and community events that took place in and around the house.
#12 Watch A Spokane Theater Performance
The city of Spokane boasts a full line up of entertainment – from Broadway plays to rock bands to well-known comedians and the Spokane Symphony.
The top places to go in Spokane for a dose of the arts are the Spokane Arena, Fox Theater, Spokane Civic Theatre and the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane, WA. Find details on upcoming events here.
#13 Have A Cocktail At The Historic Davenport Hotel
Whether you are into interesting history, elegant places or craft cocktails, the Davenport Hotel needs to be on your Spokane To-Do List. The 100-plus-year-old iconic hotel retains the grandeur of days gone by with an exquisite lobby and glamourous ballrooms.
The hotel welcomes visitors (not only hotel guests!) to tour the property – just ask for the informational pamphlet at the front desk. You can also get a luxury spa treatment, drink a fancy cocktail in the Peacock Room Lounge or indulge in the best breakfast in Spokane at the hotel’s legendary Sunday brunch.
#14 Drink Craft Beer At Breweries In Spokane, WA
With more than 20 local breweries, getting a taste of local craft beer is one of the top things to do in Spokane. Several brewery taprooms are located within walking distance in Downtown – making it easy to devise your own Spokane Brewery Tour. Beer aficionados can also take part in the Inland Northwest Ale Trail for a taste of the best of the region.
Our personal favorite Spokane craft beer watering holes are No-Li (one of the first and best craft breweries in Spokane!) and Iron Goat (a hip joint just west of downtown). Some of the other breweries that were recommended to us as the best bars in Spokane for craft beer (but ones we never got a chance to try) are Whistle Punk Brewing, River City Brewing and Perry Street Brewing.
#15 Taste Local Washington Wines In The Cork District
Eastern Washington is a well-established wine region – and the Cork District in the Spokane urban core is the perfect place to get a taste! In a partnership of more than 20 regional wineries, visitors can swirl and sip their way through downtown.
In fact, creating your own wine tasting tour is one of the best things to do in Spokane! We recommend starting at Barrister Winery, where they excel at full bodied reds, and then wine hop your way around town!
#16 Go Shopping In Spokane At River Park Square
Shopping is one of the top things to do in Downtown Spokane – and River Park Square is the place to do it! The modern retail hub is bang in the middle of the city, just steps from Riverfront Park. In addition to local shops, boutique stores and national brands, the complex also features recognizable restaurants and an IMAX movie theater.
#17 Stroll Through Browne’s Addition Historic Neighborhood
Steeped in history, Browne’s Addition neighborhood is one of the top things to see in Spokane. Located west of the city center, Browne’s Addition is easy to reach on foot – and is best explored the same way. Wander on your own or use this helpful self-guided walking tour.
The quaint streets are lined with historic mansions – many of which date to the late 1800s (and some of which feature informational plaques). Highlights of the neighborhood include the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (and the Campbell House, which we discussed earlier), the John A Finch Mansion, Coeur d’Alene Park and The Elk Pub (formerly a pharmacy).
More Things To Do Spokane, WA
We have highlighted our favorite things to do in Spokane, Washington – but there is a lot more to see and do in the city! While we did not get to partake in the Spokane activities, they came highly recommended from locals!
Antiques and Thrifting in Spokane
Shopping in Spokane is not limited to the sleek River Park Square. As a matter of fact, one of the fun things to do in Spokane is to scavenge for vintage goods at thrift shops and antique stores. We were told that one of the best places for thrifting is at Boulevard Mercantile – where they sell everything from mid-century home furnishings to repurposed products made by locals.
Perry District, Spokane
Another historic neighborhood in Spokane (that originated under the name Grant Park Addition), Perry District is a small community that has gained favor as a foodie district. Rather than mansions, the charming streets in Perry District are lined with Craftsman-style bungalows and the main thoroughfare is lined with fantastic places to eat and drink. Perry Street Brewing and The Lantern Tap House both get rave reviews!
Spokane Coffee Culture
In Spokane, the coffee culture is as strong as the coffee itself. Throughout the city, there are numerous coffee shops that brew locally roasted coffee and craft exceptional caffeinated beverages. In addition to the many drive-thru coffee stands (a unique PNW experience), there are several chic coffee shops – like 1st Avenue Coffee.
We mentioned a few of our favorite places to eat in Spokane – but there are many excellent eating establishments in the city. For the best restaurants in Spokane, we recommend using this list.
Things To Do Near Spokane, WA
Above, we detailed what to do in Spokane – but there are many things to do around Spokane, too! We were slightly limited in our exploration beyond the Spokane city center, as we did not have a car during our stay. However, fellow travelers might want to rent a car – even just for the day – to see more of the eastern Washington region.
Arbor Crest Wine Cellars at Riblet Mansion
One of the best things to do in Spokane Valley – just east of Spokane – is to spend an afternoon at the Arbor Crest Estate. Tastings, tours and dining are all on offer in an extraordinary setting.
Green Bluff Growers
Green Bluff Growers is a conglomeration of independent local farms dedicated to providing a true country experience to visitors. Guests are invited to pick-your-own in-season produce, feast on homemade pies and sample local wine. Situated just 15 minutes north of Spokane in the foothills of Mount Spokane, Green Bluff Growers celebrates events throughout the year (like May Blooms, July Cherry Pickers and October Apple Harvest), so be sure to check out their calendar!
Spokane Indians Minor League Baseball
Baseball fans can cheer on the local team at Avista Stadium. A minor league affiliate of the Texas Rangers, the Spokane Indians play games during the summer months – and the schedule features fun family promotions, too.
Hiking Near Spokane, WA
The nature surrounding Spokane is absolutely gorgeous – and there are ample opportunities for hiking and biking in the many regional parks. Some of the best hikes are at Riverside State Park (and Nine Mile Recreation Area) and Little Spokane River Natural Area (and Indian Painted Rocks). Hiking in those parks, however, requires a Discovery Pass. Closer to the city – and free – is Palisades Parks (where the Rimrock Drive Trail offers fantastic views!).
How To Get To Spokane, Washington
Flights To Spokane
The Spokane International Airport (GEG) is serviced by all major US airlines and is well connected with flights to most airline hubs around the United States. The Spokane Airport is located west of the city; the best way to get into the city is via rental car, Uber or city bus.
Amtrak To Spokane
The Amtrak Empire Builder Line makes a stop in Spokane. Although the train schedule is limited, it can be a useful (and fun) way to get from Spokane to Seattle, Vancouver WA, and Portland OR. If traveling east, the line makes stops in Whitefish Montana, Glacier National Park, Fargo, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago.
Where To Stay In Spokane, WA
On our trip to Spokane, we stayed in a small cottage that we found listed on Airbnb. What we love about staying in Airbnb accommodations is that they are usually less expensive and offer more space than typical hotel rooms. We also love having a kitchen where we can prepare simple meals – especially breakfast.
If you are new to Airbnb, use this link to create your account and you will save money on your first stay!
Travelers who would rather stay in a hotel room have many choices in a range of prices. We think the best place to stay in Spokane is in the heart of the city. Although we did not stay there, our local friends highly recommend staying at the Historic Davenport Hotel (or one of their other luxury properties). The Montvale Hotel and The Best Western Plus also get rave reviews.
Start your search for the best places to stay in Spokane at the best rates on Booking.com!
What You Will Need For Spokane Sightseeing
Now that you know what to see in Spokane, Washington, we have a few packing hacks and travel tips you will need for your Spokane sightseeing adventures!
Comfortable Walking Shoes
For your trip to Spokane, make sure to pack a good pair of city walking shoes. Generally speaking, Spokane is a very walkable city with an easy-to-understand city layout and flat, wide sidewalks – but you still need a good pair of travel shoes to best enjoy trekking through the city. I like to wear lightweight shoes, like these by Columbia – and Kris wears his Merrell Trail Shoes for city exploration.
Spokane is incredibly photogenic! To capture the best photos, you will want to use a quality camera. We travel with a DSLR Canon Rebel and use an everyday 18-135mm lens (so that we only have to carry one lens with us!). The camera is incredibly easy to use and is perfect for beginner photographers because it comes with heaps of accessories.
With long days of sightseeing in Spokane, you will want to carry a bag that can fit everything you need! A few of the things we carry in our day packs are a travel umbrella, a wide-brimmed hat and a collapsible, refillable water bottle. We also tuck a few of the everyday items for travel – like tissues – in our travel bag, too. Find out more about the different styles of bags – and which ones we recommend – in our blog post, The Best Day Packs for Traveling.
We Want To Know: What are your favorite things to do in Spokane, Washington? Is there anything you would add to our list of what to do in Spokane? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments below!
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