Home to beautiful bucolic scenery, the majestic Mount Rainer, and the birthplace of Starbucks, Washington State is well worth a visit on your next vacation. Be sure to make a stop in the eastern city of Spokane, the cultural capital of the Inland Pacific. With its rich history, thriving arts & culture, and natural beauty, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Spokane, WA.
The Spokane River winds through the city and is at the heart of many of its top attractions. The crown jewel is Riverfront Park, a stunning urban space with pedestrian trails and pavilions. Spokane Falls cascades down the river in the heart of the city, and a visit to the spectacular display is a must! The scenic waterway also meanders through several top-notch state parks that offer a range of outdoor activities.
Has this Inland Pacific city piqued your interest? From art galleries and museums to historic buildings and state parks, read on to find out more about the best places to visit in Spokane, WA, and what they have to offer!
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Riverfront Park is the beating heart of Spokane and should be your first stop when visiting the city. Built around the Spokane River, the 100-acre park encompasses green spaces, walking paths, and community attractions. Riverfront Park bustles with energy all year round.
There’s a wealth of attractions for the whole family to enjoy at Riverfront Park. Explore the skeleton structure of the U.S. Pavilion that was built for the 1974 World’s Fair and watch a festive light show. Take a ride on the Looff Carousel or go skating at the Numerica Skating Ribbon. Meander down the river on a gondola and marvel at the beauty of Spokane Falls.
You can also get onto the paved Centennial Trail from Riverfront Park if you’re a keen runner or rider. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants in & around the park when you feel the need for some retail therapy or a bite to eat.
Located in the South Hill Neighborhood, Manito Park is nothing less than magical! Escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours and wander around the park’s stunning botanical gardens and parklands. The 90-acre park is home to five major garden areas, including the extraordinary Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden.
Aside from the spectacular Japanese, Rose, and Lilac gardens, Manito Park is packed with other things to see. Wander around the Mirror Pond, where you are bound to see some of the small wildlife that calls the park home. Explore the elegant flower-filled Gaiser Conservatory, featuring well-maintained desert and tropical ecosystems.
Manito Park is a picnic paradise, so be sure to take a basket of goodies and a blanket. There are playgrounds and a baseball field for the kids to enjoy and plenty of birds to spot on the pond and in the trees if you’re a twitcher.
One of the city’s must-see natural attractions is Spokane Falls, a spectacular cascade in the heart of Riverfront Park. The falls are at their most spectacular in the springtime when the snowmelt causes the Spokane River to swell, creating a rushing deluge of water.
A short walk from the Pavilion at Riverfront will get you to the falls. Cross them on a pedestrian bridge for breathtaking views of the rushing water.
To experience the full beauty of the falls, head to Huntington Park and the area below the Washington Waterpower building. Or hop on the Numerica SkyRide in Riverfront Park and enjoy a gondola-style ride on the river.
Spokane Falls is not just awe-inspiring; they also provide the city with electricity. The falls were dammed in 1890. They’ve brought hydroelectric power to the city ever since.
Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture
Learn more about the rich history of arts & culture in Spokane with a visit to the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. The museum is home to an impressive collection of over a million Native American artifacts, countless artworks, and fascinating exhibits.
Based in a striking state-of-the-art building on West First Avenue, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture was founded in 1916 and is an ode to the inland Pacific Northwest.
Peruse the intricate indigenous beadworks and exquisite pioneer quilts. Take a step back to 19th-century Washington on a tour of the historic Campbell House or attend one of the workshops offered throughout the week.
Grab a coffee at the casual Café Mac and browse the art museum’s store, offering excellent books, cards, and gifts for art-loving friends and family.
Mobius Discovery Center
Want to get the kids excited about science? Pack them up for an adventure at the Mobius Discovery Center. Located in River Park Square in Downtown Spokane, the center provides kids with a fun way to spend a few hours learning through play.
There’s a range of fantastic exhibits that focus on sparking curiosity through exploration and encouraging kids to ask questions like ‘why?’ and ‘how?’’ They can discover the science behind flying at Launch It! and practice their excavation skills in a dig pit.
The Bubble Bar is a popular exhibit where blowing bubbles are the name of the game. Little visitors can explore the Enchanted Forest and enjoy sensory play on soft surfaces.
The 37-mile-long Centennial Trail is one of the most beautiful ways to experience the spectacular landscapes in & around Spokane, WA. Extending from the Nine Mile Falls in the north to the border between Washington and Idaho in the south, the trail is perfect for hiking, running, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Following the Spokane River, the Centennial Trail meanders through Downtown Spokane and Riverfront Park and into the rural areas on either side of the city. It’s not only the ideal way to get some exercise but also to explore some of the countryside. You’ll pass historic sites, quaint pastoral villages, and lovely natural scenery as you make your way along the trail.
If running or biking isn’t your thing, hit the water with a canoe or kayak and follow the trail on the Spokane River to the falls.
Latah Creek Winery
This little family-owned and operated winery is well worth a visit if you love a good Merlot. Established in 1982 by the Conway family, Latah Creek Winery prides itself on using traditional old-world winemaking techniques to produce award-winning wines. The result is some of the finest red wines to come out of the Spokane Valley.
Located on Indiana Avenue, the Latah Creek Winery tasting room is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Start with a guided tour of the winery to learn more about the wine-making process. Then head to the lovely courtyard where you can relax while sampling the fine wines.
You can also enjoy a picnic in the courtyard if you want to make a day of it.
On your visit to the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, be sure to explore the beautifully preserved Campbell House to get a feel for life in Spokane in the early 1900s.
Campbell House is famous for being the home of mining venturer Amasa B. Campbell. Designed by renowned Spokane architect Kirtland K. Cutter, the house was built in a picturesque English Tudor Revival style in 1898.
Take a guided tour of the historic house to step into the life of the Campbell family and marvel at the stunning interior décor, such as the famous gold reception room. Wander through the game room and picture the men around the table playing billiards and cards.
Riverside State Park
If you love getting out and about and enjoying nature, then head to Riverside State Park, a vast stretch of protected land just north of the city. One of the largest state parks in Washington, Riverside State Park stretches along the Spokane River and Little Spokane River and offers a wealth of outdoor activities.
Take to the water with a kayak or a canoe for a paddle, or cast a line to try and catch some of the resident fish. Swimming is also popular on the river and a fantastic place to cool down on a hot day.
If hiking is your thing, you can enjoy a short hike from the Suspension Bridge or go wild hiking in the Deep Creek Canyon. If you’re visiting Spokane in the winter, Riverside State Park has some fantastic cross-country and snow-shoeing trails.
Don’t miss seeing the dramatic gorge known as the Bowl and Pitcher; brave the swinging suspension bridge if you dare!
You can learn more about the area with a visit to the Spokane House Interpretive Center. It provides an in-depth insight into the history and culture of the area.
Mount Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park
Based in Mount Spokane State Park, the Mount Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park should be top of your list of places to visit in Spokane, WA, for outdoor fun. It may sound like a winter-only park, but there are plenty of activities to enjoy year-round.
Located an hour’s drive to the northeast of the city, Mount Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park has something for everyone. Spanning over 1,400 acres, the fully automated ski resort has 45 runs of varying difficulty, as well as a fun tubing hall for all-season fun. If you’re visiting in the summer, hit the hiking or mountain biking trails and soak up some spectacular scenery.
Stay for a few nights at one of the three charming overnight lodges and savor all that the park has to offer. One of the highlights is nighttime skiing, which promises to be nothing less than an unforgettable experience!
Mount Spokane State Park
Another fantastic place to revel in the beauty of Spokane’s natural surroundings is Mount Spokane State Park. Located an hour north of the city, the 14,000-acre park boasts over 100 miles of multi-use trails where you can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. In the winter months, you can snowboard and ski on world-class slopes in the Mount Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park.
Forming part of the Selkirk Mountain Range, Mount Spokane is one of three peaks in the park that are popular with hikers. Climb to the top of Day Mountain or Kit Carson for spectacular panoramic views.
You can also camp in the park at one of several campsites. The cream of the crop is the historic Mount Vista, aptly named for its breathtaking views from its east-facing terrace.
ROW Adventure Center
Meander down the Spokane River on a raft or try the rapids with some white-water rafting. ROW Adventure Center offers a variety of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy, including fishing and rafting.
The Spokane River Rafting Tour is a great way to spend a few hours having fun in the sun. Beginning downstream from the city, you’ll float along an eight-mile stretch of the river. Soak up the spectacular scenery of rugged rocky cliffs, dense forests, and amazing birdlife.
The tours at ROW Adventure Center cater to all ages. They’re guided by professional river masters with full safety gear provided, so you’re in good hands!
Cathedral Of Our Lady of Lourdes
Pay a visit to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, a beautiful Catholic church in Downtown Spokane that’s been serving the spiritual needs of the community since 1881. The church runs a fantastic outreach program for the city’s destitute and underprivileged, including feeding, medical, and transportation assistance.
Designed in an Italian Romanesque Revival style, the architecture of the church is nothing short of striking. Inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, you’ll find a marble altar and pews and a beautifully restored pulpit. The stunning stained-glass windows are from Bavaria and catch the sunlight in a breathtaking display of color.
If you’re strolling around the Davenport Arts District in southwest Spokane, pop into the Barrister Winery to sample some fantastic wines. The winery is based in a vast 100-year-old warehouse on Union Pacific Railroad and features a cozy tasting room and an art gallery.
Exposed bricks and beams and soaring ceilings create an atmospheric ambiance in the tasting room, where you can taste award-winning wines from Malbec to Merlot. Stroll around the art gallery and peruse the works on display in revolving exhibits.
During the summer, Barrister Winery hosts evening music series in the outdoor courtyard. It’s a beautiful space in which to taste wine and listen to great music.
You’ve tasted the city’s wine; now it’s time to sample the beer! No-Li Brewhouse is an independent, family-owned brewery producing artisanal craft beer. The oldest active craft brewery in Spokane, No-Li Brewhouse is also home to the largest brewpub in the city, where you will find a menu of unfussy fare.
Located on the banks of the Spokane River, the brewery produces award-winning craft beer. Take an afternoon to relax over a few beers and try their range of ales with quirky names such as Born & Raised IPA, Wrecking Ball, and Porch Glow.
When you start feeling peckish, order something from the gastropub menu. The menu features all the favorites like burgers, tacos, chicken sandwiches, and more.
Jundt Art Center & Museum
Get the creative juices flowing at the Jundt Art Center & Museum on the Gonzaga University campus. The art gallery houses an incredible collection of artworks by both local and international artists, displayed in rotating exhibits throughout the year.
Wander through the exhibition spaces of the Jundt Art Center & Museum, spread over several galleries, from the Arcade Gallery to the Chancellor’s Room. Marvel at the impressive collection of works, including bronze sculptures by Auguste Rodin, glass art by Dale Chihuly, and exquisitely handcrafted tapestries.
When you are done looking at art, take a stroll around the beautiful campus of Gonzaga University. Rolling lawns, huge, leafy trees, and the rippling Spokane River in the background make for a gorgeous setting. Take a picnic and enjoy lunch by the river.
Indian Canyon Park
This beautiful park is one of Spokane’s best-kept secrets. Nestled in the shade of a railroad trestle, just off Riverside Drive, Indian Canyon Park is the perfect place to escape for a few hours. Once home to several Native Americans who called the park home, the park became a living museum in memory of the indigenous people that lived there.
Part of Indian Canyon Park was converted into a golf course in the 1930s, renowned for its incredible views of the city and Mount Spokane. If teeing off in a once sacred place ticks you off, one of the other most popular things to do in Spokane, WA, is to meander along one of the many hiking trails and admire the beautiful scenery and rocky basalt outcrops.
Indian Canyon Park is also home to the Mystic Falls, a well-hidden little two-tiered waterfall with a few caves on either side. It’s worth the scramble to get there as it’s one of the most peaceful spots in the city.