Looking to explore Spokane, Washington? In this guide we’re sharing 13+ fun things to do in Spokane, Washington, plus tips for your visit and an itinerary!
Western Washington tends to get a lot of the love by both locals and visitors to Washington and we’ll admit it, when we lived in Seattle we often stuck to exploring the western side of the state. But we had been missing out on Eastern Washington, specifically Spokane!
While we had driven through Spokane a couple times, our visits were mostly just for a quick coffee stop, to see some friends, or stretch our legs. But in September 2022, we were invited by Visit Spokane to explore the city and surrounding area properly and we had a BLAST hiking the trails, eating delicious food, checking out cool neighborhoods, drinking amazing coffee, visiting parks, and going rafting!
Watch our jam packed adventure in Spokane to see how we spent 3 super fun days in and around the city!
And even though Spokane may be the second largest city in the state, it still feels very undiscovered by many outdoor enthusiasts and tourists and in our opinion, is one of the biggest hidden gems in Washington.
In this guide we’re sharing everything you need to know about visiting Spokane, Washington, including when to visit, where to stay, all of the incredible things to do in Spokane, plus a three day itinerary to make planning your own Spokane adventure a little easier!
A huge thank you to Visit Spokane for sponsoring our visit to Spokane! As always, both our video and this blog post reflect our honest opinions based on our personal experiences.
Looking for more things to do in Washington? Check out these guides & videos:
- Our favorite hikes in Washington (38 of the best trails!)
- The best things to do at Mt. Rainier National Park
- 30 free and cheap things to do in Seattle
- 3 Days in Seattle Itinerary
- Olympic Peninsula Road Trip Itinerary
- A Weekend in the North Cascades Itinerary
- Read all of our Washington guides
- Check out all of our Washington vlogs
Note: this guide contains affiliate links, which means that if you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. We will only ever recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!
About Spokane, Washington
The history of Spokane, Washington dates back thousands of years with its first residents, the Spokane Tribe of Native Americans, who thrived in the area due to its abundant natural resources, like the Spokane River for salmon, plus many forests.
In the mid 1800s, white settlers began entering the area and similar to the Native Americans, were attracted to the area’s natural resources. Their arrival was not without conflict and resulted in a loss of land by Native Americans, but by 1873, Spokane was incorporated as a city.
Over the years Spokane has experienced growth and decline with the coming and going of different industries such as the railroad, timber, and mining industries. It even hosted Expo 74 in 1974, a world’s fair also known as the International Exposition on the Environment, which played a big role in revitalizing the city into what it is today.
The city is now the second largest in the state of Washington, after Seattle, but has a much different vibe than our former home city. It has a small city vibe, which we love, plus a stronger sense of community. But similar to Seattle, it is loaded with adventurous opportunities right at the city’s doorstep, including the beautiful Spokane River rushing through downtown, the Centennial Trail that runs all the way to Idaho, Mount Spokane only 45 minutes away, 76 area lakes to enjoy, 5 ski resorts, and so much more!
However, Spokane isn’t only about nature. The city also boasts several walkable neighborhoods with tons of shopping, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, plus multiple universities, and fun annual events.
Before embarking on your adventure, please review the Leave No Trace principles to ensure you leave every place better than you found it, so that others can enjoy these beautiful places for many years to come!
These seven principles include planning ahead and preparing, hiking and camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly (pack out what you pack in!), understanding campfire rules and always fully extinguishing your fires, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors.
Getting to + around Spokane, Washington
Spokane is located in eastern Washington, about 3 hours 45 minutes east of Seattle, but just miles from northern Idaho. While the eastern side of Washington is less populated than the western part of Washington, Spokane is still easy to get to, with a major highway through town, plus an international airport!
Flying to Spokane
The Spokane International Airport (GEG) is served by 8 passenger airlines including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, and United, with nonstop flights from 20 destinations in the US like Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, LA, San Francisco, and more.
If you cannot find a flight to GEG that works well for you, we suggest flying into the Seatac (SEA), which is the largest airport in the state, and road tripping to Spokane.
Driving to Spokane
Driving to Spokane instead? Spokane is located right on I-90, making it convenient to get to from the east and west! Here is how long you can expect to drive from nearby popular areas:
- Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: 40 minutes (33 miles)
- Seattle, Washington: 3.75 hours (279 miles)
- Glacier National Park: 4.75 hours (272 miles)
- Portland, Oregon: 5.5 hours (351 miles)
- Boise, Idaho: 6.5 hours (421 miles)
How to get around Spokane
Once in Spokane, you have some options of how to get around. If you plan to just explore in town, you could get away with Uber or Lyft. But if you want to explore outside of town (which we highly recommend!), you will want to either have your own car or rent a car.
If visiting in the spring through fall, any type of vehicle will work just fine, but if visiting in the winter, it may be a good idea to have an AWD or 4×4 vehicle. For winter visits, make sure to have chains on you, as some mountain passes may require them. We have these chains for our van (make sure to double check which kind your vehicle will need!), but have never had to use them.
As for parking, we had no issues parking our longer Sprinter van downtown! There are many parallel spots on the city streets and there is a spacious parking lot by Riverfront Park that is very affordable too!
When to visit Spokane, Washington
Spokane is a true four season city and no matter when you visit, you will have a wide variety of things to do. Here’s what you can expect during the different seasons!
Visit in the winter for: tons of snow activities!
During the winter you’ll experience highs in the 30s and a good amount of snow. The area gets an average of 44 inches of snow per year, which is much more than we thought it did! But the good news is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy winter in Spokane, with 5 ski resorts nearby, plus plenty of snowshoeing and cross country ski routes if you want something a bit less exhilarating.
Visit in the spring for: wildflowers, raging waterfalls, whitewater rafting, & one of the world’s largest timed road races.
Spring in Spokane means that the sun is making more and more appearances, wildflowers are starting to emerge, and the ice and snow begin to melt away. If waterfalls and whitewater rafting are your jam, this is the beginning of the best time of year for both, as both Spokane Falls and the Spokane River are raging from snowmelt. You can expect daytime temperatures to be in the 50s or 60s in the spring, with the evenings still being pretty chilly.
Visit in the summer for: snow-free hiking trails, whitewater rafting, and Hoopfest!
Summers in Spokane are warm and dry, with lots of sunshine! If you love being outdoors and basking in the sun, this is a wonderful time of year to visit. Early in the summer is still a great time to whitewater raft and admire waterfalls, as water levels are still high, and if you love to hike, you can guarantee snow free trails this time of year.
And for the basketball lovers, you’ll for sure want to visit Spokane at the end of June. This is when Hoopfest, a 3-on-3 outdoor basketball tournament (the largest on earth!) occurs.
Just a warning though, it can get HOT in Spokane. We drove through a couple summers ago and it was over 100 degrees, which is not ideal van life weather. For some this may be no big deal (and there is plenty of water to cool off in!), but for others, this may be a bit too warm.
Visit in the fall for: fruit picking, fall foliage and festivities, cooler weather, and perfect hiking weather.
Fall is our favorite season anywhere we visit and Spokane is no exception. You’ll be treated to highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s and the fall foliage will be a real highlight of your visit!
We have visited Spokane twice now in September, with the most recent being this past trip, and while we have been a bit too early for fall foliage, we got to enjoy the other amazing things fall in Spokane has to offer, like fall festivities at Green Bluff, cooler daytime temperatures, and snow-free trails.
Where to stay in Spokane, Washington
Spokane offers a wide range of lodging options, from hotels right in town, to unique Airbnbs in charming neighborhoods, and a variety of camping options. Below are just a handful of suggestions of amazing places to stay while in Spokane!
BlockhouseLife (1 bedroom, 1 bath): This unique unit is located in the South Perry District, which has recently gone through a lot of revitalization and is now a thriving area with tons of fun shops and restaurants. This Airbnb is part of a larger Airbnb complex that is pretty unique from your standard Airbnb. Check out their website to learn more about it and see some of their other options as well!
Cheerful 1-Bedroom South Hill Home with King Bed (1 bedroom, 1 bath): This super cute small home comes with all the amenities needed for a comfortable stay including free on site parking, washer and dryer, AC (which is not always a thing in Spokane), and is located in a quiet residential neighborhood close to lots of shops and restaurants.
Cute&Cozy Alpaca&Goat Farm near the city (1 bedroom, 1 bath): Like the title says…it doesn’t get any cuter or cozier than this! This stay includes a full kitchen, bathroom, and an outdoor eating area right next to your new alpaca and goat friends!
Spokane has all of your usual mainstay hotels as well as some boutique hotels in old, historic buildings. Here is a range of hotels to choose from, all located downtown, which is a great central place to stay.
- Montvale Hotel
- Hotel Indigo
- Spokane Club
- Holiday Inn Express – Downtown
- Hampton Inn & Suites – Downtown
Liberty Lake Regional Park
During our most recent visit to Spokane we used Liberty Lake Regional Park as our base camp and it was the perfect spot! We stayed 3 nights in the campground, which is open May-September, and it was a peaceful setting in mid September. There were maybe 6 or 7 other campers when we stayed and we were all outnumbered by deer that wandered through the campground every evening!
There are 17 standard RV sites (water + electric), 3 premium RV sites (full hookups), and 14 tents sites, plus showers and restrooms. You’re also walking distance to Liberty Lake!
Riverside State Park
With over 55 miles of hike and bike trails, plus water and winter activities, you might not even want to leave the park! The Bowl and Pitcher Campground has 16 standard campsites and 16 partial hookup sites, with some open in the winter. The Nine Mile Recreation Area has 3 tent sites, 2 partial-hookup sites, plus 4 full-hookup sites, while the Lake Spokane Campground has 11 primitive sites.
If you’re a Harvest Host member, you’ve got lots of opportunities for some fun stays in and near Spokane! Not sure what Harvest Hosts is? It is a paid membership for self contained RVers that lets you stay at farms, breweries, wineries, golf courses, and other spots for FREE, with the expectation that you will support the business. While this means you do need to spend some money and it’s not totally free, it’s usually a unique experience and you get to support a local business.
The Spokane area offers multiple farms to camp at, plus a golf course. During our time in Spokane we stayed at two farms, which was a peaceful experience and we were able to pick up some tasty goodies too!
Want to join Harvest Hosts? Use our link to get 15% off on your membership (make sure to add the code HHFRIENDS15 too)!
13+ FUN things to do in Spokane, Washington
Now that you know a little bit more about Spokane, how to get there, and have figured out when you’d like to visit, it’s time to figure out what you’d like to do while in Spokane! Below are over 13 fun things to do in Spokane, Washington, which range from year-round activities, to a few seasonal ones as well!
Check out a local coffee shop
Visiting local coffee shops is one of our favorite things to do when we travel and Spokane is loaded with delicious coffee shops sprinkled all around town, including some that roast their own coffee. Some of our favorite coffee shops in Spokane are:
This is a must-visit coffee shop in Spokane! They have several locations, but we love the one downtown, with exposed brick and a nice open interior.
If there is only one drink you try at Indaba make it the lemon vanilla latte. The mix of sweet vanilla with the slight tinge of citrus makes for a delicious, refreshing latte combo! Their butterscotch latte is also heavenly!
Ladder Coffee is another local roaster in Spokane, with a few locations in the area. We visited their Brownes Addition location and it is a beautiful spot! The interior is bright, airy, and filled with tons of plants. Their lattes are delicious and so are their breakfast items. We tried their breakfast sandwich and avocado toast and both were phenomenal!
Evans Brothers Coffee
Evans Brothers Coffee is a coffee roaster from Northern Idaho, but they now have a location in Spokane as well, inside of The Wonder Building, a historic brick building transformed into an artisan food hall. We tried an americano, a caramel latte, plus a seasonal drink and all were top notch!
Other coffee shops
Visit Spokane Falls
If you only do one thing in Spokane, it MUST be Spokane Falls! Luckily, this waterfall couldn’t be any easier to visit as it sits right in the middle of downtown! We are huge waterfall lovers and it always amazes us when there are waterfalls in an urban area. And Spokane Falls happens to be the largest urban waterfall in the United States!
But the falls are more than just beautiful to look at, they also hold quite a bit of significance! These falls were a sacred place for Native Americans, who would come to the falls to fish for salmon and have celebrations. And in more recent years, the power of the falls has been used to provide electricity via hydroelectric dams.
Even though the falls are flowing year round, depending on the time of year you visit they will be flowing at different rates. March through June will provide peak roaring falls from snow melt, while the other months will have less water, but will expose the basalt rock formations that create the falls.
There are a handful of places to view the falls and we suggest checking out all viewpoints to see the falls from different perspectives!
Explore Riverfront Park
What was once an old rail yard, was then cleaned up to be the site of Expo ‘74, and is now the jewel of downtown Spokane. Riverfront Park not only boasts rich history, but it’s also a beautiful setting, with the Spokane River running right through it, plus the famous Spokane Falls.
Those of all ages will find tons to do here in the park! Here are some of our favorite spots:
The Childhood Express Red Wagon
A giant 12 foot high, 12 foot wide, and 27 foot long red Radio Flyer wagon…what more could you ask for?! Not only is this red wagon super cool to just admire, but you can also climb up into the wagon and slide down the slide! It may be used mostly by kids, but don’t tell us that! We slid down the slide probably 20 times when we visited…and we giggled like little kids every single time!
One thing we missed during our visit is that underneath the wagon are monkey bars! So if you want to swing around as well, give ‘em a try!
Nestled in a little nook of Riverfront Park is a goat sculpture. But it isn’t just any goat sculpture, it has magical powers…it can eat trash! Built for the 74 World’s Fair Expo, with the push of a button this goat vacuums small pieces of trash right out of your hand in an instant.
Throwing away trash has never been so much fun! We were scrounging through our backpack looking for more trash to feed it!
You can’t miss seeing The Clocktower while in Riverfront Park. This tower is an iconic feature of not only the park, but also the city of Spokane. Like many cities, railroads played a big role in growing Spokane into what it is today. And right where The Clocktower stands is where the Great Northern Railroad station used to be. While the station was torn down in the 1970s for Expo ’74, the tower still stands tall and is a good reminder of Spokane’s history.
Not only can you walk around to different viewpoints to admire Spokane Falls, the Spokane River, and Riverfront Park, but you can also see it all from above by riding the SkyRide!
The SkyRide originally was created for Expo ‘74 and has been updated since, but still provides a fun way to see the area. Starting from Riverfront Park, the 15 minute ride in the enclosed cabin floats down 200 feet across the Spokane River in front of Spokane Falls, then under the Monroe Street Bridge before retracing its cable back to where you started.
It costs $10.95 per adult, but cheaper for kids, and tickets can be purchased online or at the SkyRide.
The Looff Carousel in Riverfront Park was built in 1909 and is one of America’s most well preserved hand-carved wooden carousels. It has been in Spokane for its entire existence and all of the original figures, including 54 horses, 1 giraffe, 1 tiger, and 2 chariot benches are still in operation!
It costs $3 for a single ride or $7 for an all day pass and is great for both kids and the kids at heart!
Eat at a local restaurant
Spokane is home to tons of great local restaurants, with any kind of cuisine imaginable! During our time in Spokane we tried out quite a few spots and loved them all! Here is a quick rundown of each spot:
Tacos are hands down our favorite food and Cochinito Taqueria is one of the best taco shops we have been to! First off, the space itself is beautiful, with a gorgeous mural and tons of color. But then you have the food. We started with delicious aguas frescas and their queso fundido, which we expected to be like a traditional queso fundido, but it was more like Tex-Mex queso (our FAVORITE)! We have had a LOT of queso in our lives and have very high queso standards and this is in the top 3 we have EVER had!
These are chef crafted tacos, so they have some unique ingredients and flavors, beautiful presentation, and are very high quality. We tried the pork belly, 20 hour carne asada, pescado, and carnitas and all were AMAZING! The pork belly may have been one of my top 3 tacos of all time.
Their tacos do change often, so check their current menu here! The manager we chatted with also said she loves the lamb one!
The Flying Goat
We tried two spots with pizza during our time in Spokane, including The Flying Goat! This spot is close to Riverside State Park (more on there soon!) and has a great outdoor patio, plus unique pizza choices. We got the South Hill, which was like an elevated cheese pizza with prosciutto and truffle oil arugula, as well as the Fairview, which had gorgonzola, back bacon, and pears.
We also tried their Devils Toenail Wings and Roskelley Dumplings, which are fried dough with sausage, roasted jalapeno, and goat cheese inside. It was served with pesto and was SO good!
We also had pizza from Versalia and it was SOLID! It is wood-fired and has that fluffy, but slightly chewy crust, and delicious sauce and topping choices. We loved the Pepe Sal!
Versalia is also located in Kendall Yards, a super nice, walkable area right by downtown, the river, and a walking path and if you choose to eat in, you can sit on their outdoor patio with amazing views of the city!
The Wonder Building is the former Wonder Bread building, which has since been transformed into an artisan food hall. The market highlights a mix of delicious foods, like Uno Más Tacos, Victory Burger, and a coffee bar by Evans Brothers Coffee. If you’re with a group and are unsure where to eat, this is a good spot!
Y’all know we love us some ice cream, so we had to check out a local ice cream shop while in Spokane! The Scoop is tucked into a gorgeous neighborhood, with beautiful homes and an overlook down the road, and has delicious homemade ice cream. Their flavors seem to change often, but we loved the pumpkin, salted caramel, and banana pudding!
They also have a location in Kendall Yards, but it was closed during our visit!
Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle
Quite possibly the most unique place to eat in Spokane is Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle. This restaurant is in a giant milk bottle, which used to be the old Benewah Creamery store in 1935! The inside has a fun retro vibe and we loved their burgers, fries, and huckleberry milkshake (a MUST in the Pacific Northwest)!
Rockwood Bakery is tucked into a residential area, with charming homes and tons of trees, and feels like a hidden local gem. And it has ridiculously good pastries! We tried a ham and cheese croissant (make sure to get it warmed up) and a lemon white chocolate scone and both were delicious.
But what makes Rockwood Bakery even better is how close they are located to Manito Park. Grabbing coffee and some breakfast, then walking to the park, makes for a perfect morning!
There are tons of other restaurants we didn’t have time for and some suggestions we got from locals are: The Yards Bruncheon, Zona Blanca, Italia Trattoria, Baba, Frank’s Diner (in a train car!), Sushi.com, and Taco Vado.
Visit Manito Park
Just south of downtown Spokane is Manito Park, which is considered the Crown Jewel of Spokane City Parks. Here you’ll find 78 acres that include five major garden areas, including a perennial garden, rose garden, lilac garden, Japanese garden, and a classic European Renaissance style garden. Plus a pond, conservatory, playground, and cafe!
Manito Park is free to visit and you could easily spend a half a day or full day just wandering around its gardens. Our favorite was the Duncan Garden, which is the European Renaissance style garden, and has tons of color and symmetry.
Hike at Riverside State Park
Riverside State Park is another MUST do when in Spokane! This is the largest state park in Washington and is only 6.5 miles from downtown Spokane, but feels like a world away! Here you can find relaxing forests, beautiful trails and recreation options, and the gorgeous Spokane River. Below are some suggestions of things to do in the park!
Bowl and Pitcher Area
While there are multiple areas of the park to visit, the most popular is Bowl and Pitcher, which is where we went! This area is known for its rock formations that jut out of the river, with rapids rushing around them.
You can view the Bowl and Pitcher from an overlook right by the parking area, but if you want to get a little bit of exercise, you can also hike the Bowl and Pitcher Loop Trail, which is a short 2.1 miles with very little elevation gain. The trail starts by crossing the iconic swinging bridge, before providing views of the namesake Bowl and Pitcher rock formations, following along the Spokane River, and then looping back through the beautiful forest.
Trail 25 and the Centennial Trail
If you want even more miles, hike Trail 25 and the Centennial Trail! This trail takes you across the suspension bridge and along the river, before connecting with the Centennial Trail, which is a 40 mile trail that will take you from Spokane all the way to Idaho!
Part of this hike is paved, but don’t think that means it has zero views! On the paved portion we had a great view of downtown, plus views looking down on the river.
Nine Mile Recreation Area
Other popular areas of the park include the Nine Mile Recreation Area, where you’ll find tons of climbing and hiking opportunities. The Knothead Valley Loop and Painted Rock Loop is a popular hiking choice in this part of the park!
Explore Mount Spokane State Park
Another top thing to do in Spokane is visit Mount Spokane State Park! This is the second largest state park in Washington and is located 45 minutes northeast of Spokane in the Selkirk Mountains.
With over 100 miles of trails, many of which can be used year round, there is no shortage of things to do at Mount Spokane! The winter brings 300 inches of snow, which turns the park into a winter wonderland, with activities for skiers, snowshoers, cross country skiers, and snowmobiles, and huts to help warm you up.
In the spring, summer, and fall, these trails are perfect for hiking, leading you to spots with amazing views of the surrounding area! And if mountain biking or horse riding is your thing, there are up to 100 miles open for those activities as well.
Here’s a more in depth rundown of what all you can experience at Mount Spokane!
Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park
For some of the best skiing and snowboarding terrain in the area, you won’t have to look further than Mount Spokane State Park. Spokanites have been skiing here since the 1930s and now with 52 runs, 6 chairlifts, and a ski school for both kids and adults, Mount Spokane has your winter activities covered.
Winter gear including cross country skis and snowshoes, can be rented or purchased at Fit Fanatics in the parking lot of the Selkirk Lodge from December 1 to March 31.
See the sunrise or sunset at the Vista House
The Vista House is a stone building built in the 1930s using granite from the nearby hills so that hikers could admire the amazing views from the top and also to be used as a fire lookout. While the fire lookout is no longer in operation, the house still stands to provide a shelter for explorers (checkout the fireplace inside!) and show off some of the best views in the area.
From the top you have almost 360 degree views of the entire area, including many mountains and some lakes. It is a stunning view regardless of the time of day, but it was extremely magical at sunset, when the sky and mountains turned shades of purple, pink, and orange. We hear that it is incredible at sunrise too!
Pro tip: We took a charcuterie board from Wanderlust Delicato up to the Vista House for sunset and it made for the perfect snack!
Hike to amazing views!
There are 100 miles of hiking trails in Mount Spokane, many of which connect with each other, and you could spend months trying new hike variations! But if you’re looking for a cool endpoint to hike to, look no further than the Quartz Mountain Fire Lookout.
This fire lookout is located in the middle of a Nordic Ski trail system at Mount Spokane State Park and is the third highest summit in the park at 5,129 feet. You can take a forest road both ways, which is about a 4.5 mile hike (with 685 feet of elevation gain) or you can mix and match nordic trails to create your own adventure, which is what we did! We took a handful of nordic trails to the top (while well marked, we recommend having AllTrails offline maps downloaded to ensure you don’t get turned around) and then the forest road down.
Along the way you can pick huckleberries (we didn’t see any in September :() and you’ll be able to swing by the Nova Hut, which is a hut that can be used all year long for a nice lunch break, but it would maybe be the most fun during the winter time when you can use the wood burning stove!
When you get to the summit you’ll get to see a cool fire lookout (which you can stay in…more on that below!) and have about 270 degree views of the Spokane Valley, Idaho, and even Canada!
Another popular hike to check out is the Mount Kit Carson Trail, which is 5.4 miles and 1,384 feet of elevation gain. We hope to do this one next time!
Stay in a fire lookout!
Want to stay the night at Mount Spokane State Park? It doesn’t get any cooler than staying in the Quartz Mountain Fire Lookout! This fire lookout can be rented for a two night minimum, which ranges from $79-$99 per night and has a propane stove, counter space, washing tubs, two beds, a restroom below, sweeping views, and more!
Make sure to plan in advance if you’d like to stay here, it books up quickly!
Explore more of the area’s trails
Beyond Mount Spokane State Park and Riverside State Park, there are so many other hiking areas in and near Spokane! A few more that we enjoyed during our visit were:
Dishman Hills Natural Area
This 3,200 acres of protected land is just east of downtown and has some great trails, with really nice views of the area! We hiked part of the Nimbus Knob, Goldback, and Pond Loop (3.9 miles, 534 feet of elevation gain) and LOVED the views from the Nimbus Knob area!
Another hike that looks awesome in the area is the Rocks of Sharon Trail, which is 7.3 miles and 1,781 feet of elevation gain and has some really neat rocks!
Hike or bike the Centennial Trail
The Centennial Trail is an over 60 mile trail that runs from just west of Spokane, along the river, through downtown, and across the Idaho border, continuing to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. About 40 miles of the trail is in Washington and is such a fun way to experience Spokane by foot or bike!
There are various trailheads to get on the trail, but if you only have time for a little bit, we highly suggest the portion near downtown and the Kendall Yards (miles 20-23). This stretch gives you great views of downtown, plus has lots of dining options you can bike or walk to (like Versalia Pizza that we mentioned earlier)!
Note: Some trailheads for the Centennial Trail are in Riverside State Park and will require a Discover Pass to park.
Liberty Lake Regional Park
While camping at Liberty Lake Regional Park, we made sure to explore the park by foot too! We hiked the 8.5 mile Liberty Lake Loop Trail, which gains almost 1,400 feet of elevation and we sure felt it at times! We did the hike clockwise and started in a forest, which goes along a creek, before entering a beautiful cedar grove, getting a view of the lake below and mountains in the distance, gaining some good elevation, and reaching some small waterfalls.
Note: This park has a $2 per person entry fee and does NOT accept the Discover Pass.
Get out on the Spokane River
One of our favorite things we did in Spokane was rafting on the Spokane River! We went on a 2 hour scenic float with Wiley E. Waters and it was an absolute blast. Although we went later in the season, when the water was calmer, there were still some small rapids (appropriately named “splash and giggle”) that made for the perfect amount of thrill. We even got to “ride the bull,” where we sat on the front of the raft as we went over some rapids and Adam also went for a little swim!
If you want an exhilarating ride, make sure to visit between April and early July. But even if you visit when we did, you’re guaranteed to have a great time!
Enjoy the snow!
As we mentioned earlier, Spokane is close to FIVE different ski areas, including Mount Spokane, which we shared about a little bit ago, 49 Degrees North, Silver Mountain Resort (Northern Idaho), Schweitzer Mountain (Northern Idaho), and Lookout Pass (Idaho and Montana). Each one offers a variety of snow activities, all with epic views of the mountains!
We definitely want to return to Spokane in the winter to take advantage of all of the winter recreation!
Visit the Green Bluff Farms
About 30 minutes north of Spokane is an area known as Green Bluff, which is home to more than 30 different farms all packed into 12 square miles, making it the largest concentration of farms in a relatively small area in the United States.
There are two loops, the West and East, that are filled with farms that offer you-pick orchards, pre-picked fruits and vegetables, fresh baked goods, savory goodies, farm activities, beers and other boozy drinks, and tons of fun for the whole family. Some of these farms have been here for over 100 years and have been enjoyed by families for generations.
Each farm offers different products and experiences and while some are open to visit year round, May-December will offer the most amount of products and activities. We especially recommend going in the fall, when many farms host fun fall festivities. You can check the Green Bluff Growers Association website to learn about each farm, what will be in season when you visit, and see hours and activities!
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the choices, we have really enjoyed Walters Fruit Ranch and Hidden Acres Orchards while visiting Spokane.
Living in a van means that we often don’t shop, since we can’t own many things, but if there was a city that tempted us, it was Spokane! Spokane has all of the major retailers you can think of, but what makes the Spokane shopping scene extra special is all of the local, thrift, and vintage shops.
If you are big into vintage design, you must check out Vintage Print & Neon! We stumbled upon this place and it is the COOLEST store ever! The owner designs these amazing vintage designs, ranging from local Spokane icons to national parks, and then puts them on shirts and posters. You can even come in and print your shirt on their shirt printing machines!
If you like to go antique shopping, our friends The Mandagies who live in Spokane highly recommended Teleport Vintage and Boulevard Mercantile for vintage finds.
A few other stores that were recommended to us and look really fun and neat to visit are Boo Radley’s, Auntie’s Bookstore, Uncle’s Games, and Atticus Coffee & Gifts.
Go to a festival
Spokane has some pretty rad annual events that if you happen to be in town for (or want to make a special trip for), you’re in for a treat! To see all events in Spokane, check out Visit Spokane’s events page, but here are a few that we hear are especially fun!
Spokane is nicknamed Hooptown USA and every year in June they host the annual Hoopfest, which is the largest 3 on 3 basketball tournament in the world! During this event, there are over 6,000 teams and over 225,000 fans on 425 courts fanned out across 45 city blocks. Even if you aren’t a huge basketball fan, the energy of this event will be a blast and there is also shopping, food, and entertainment to keep you busy!
During your visit you’ll likely notice many of the basketball courts sprinkled around town. Some have been painted and decorated with some really neat designs, so even if you don’t visit for the event, you’ll still be able to see evidence of it!
Pig Out in the Park (around Labor Day)
For the food lovers out there, Pig Out in the Park is a must! Every year around Labor Day, Spokane puts on a 6 day food + music festival, with over 50 food booths, adult beverage gardens, and 112 free concerts, plus tons of other market booths…all in Riverfront Park! This event has been happening for 4 decades now, with different names throughout the years, but is a go-to event for locals to celebrate the end of summer!
Every year on the first Sunday of May, Spokane puts on the Lilac Bloomsday Run (fun fact: Spokane is nicknamed the Lilac City!), which is a 12K, with shorter options as well. This race gets 50,000 participants, making it one of the world’s largest timed road races.
Take a daytrip to Idaho
Another huge perk of Spokane is how close it is to so many other amazing places! Within minutes you can be in Northern Idaho and one of our favorite things we’ve done in Idaho is ride a bike on the Route of the Hiawatha, which is around a 1.5 hour drive (one way) from Spokane.
This bike trail starts Montana and crosses into Idaho on an old rail bed converted to a bike path. You’ll glide down the trail through the Bitterroot Mountains on old trestles and through tunnels. It is a BLAST!
Want to learn more about this rail trail? Check out our full guide about the Route of the Hiawatha!
On your way to the Route of the Hiawatha, make sure to swing by the charming small town of Wallace, which is a historic mining town. We also suggest visiting Coeur d’Alene, right on Lake Coeur d’Alene! This is a beautiful area and while we haven’t spent much time there, we have always wanted to hike the Mineral Ridge Trail.
3 Day Spokane Itinerary
Now that you know of many things to do in Spokane, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with how to choose what to and organize it into an itinerary. But we’re here to help! Below is a three day Spokane itinerary that includes all of our favorite spots from our trip that we consider a can’t miss, especially if it’s your first time visiting Spokane!
Note: this itinerary is focused more on spring-fall visits. For winter visits, swap out any hikes with snow activities!
- Start the day with coffee at Indaba Coffee downtown.
- Spend a couple hours exploring Riverfront Park, including Spokane Falls!
- Enjoy a delicious taco lunch at Cochinto Taqueria.
- Head to Manito Park and explore its different gardens.
- Wander around the Centennial Trail downtown and grab dinner at Versalia Pizza in Kendall Yards.
- Finish the day with ice cream at The Scoop (their Kendall Yards location).
- Grab breakfast at Frank’s Diner or The Yards Bruncheon. Or for something easy, get breakfast burritos and coffee at Taco Vado.
- Head out to Green Bluff and enjoy a morning visiting different farms and picking fruit.
- Spend the rest of the day hiking and exploring Mount Spokane! If you’re up for it, stay for sunset as well!
- Drive back into Spokane and have dinner at one of the spots you have yet to check out that we listed!
- Enjoy coffee and breakfast at Ladder Coffee Roasters.
- Go rafting with Wiley E. Waters!
- Have lunch at either Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle or The Flying Goat.
- Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around Riverside State Park’s Bowl and Pitcher area.
- End the day with dinner at one of the spots we mentioned that you have yet to check out!
Ready to experience Spokane?
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