Outdoor Recreation, Activities, and Attractions in Spokane, Washington
Spokane is blessed with many days of warm, dry, sunny weather throughout each year. Combine the lovely climate with the region's spectacular scenery and you have the setting for lots of outdoor fun. The Spokane River - sometimes wild, sometimes serene - winds through the city, offering abundant opportunity for a day's enjoyment. Spokane is home to parks large and small, each with its own unique attractions.
Riverfront Park and Spokane Falls
Riverfront Park lies at the heart of the "Lilac City". A legacy of the 1974 World's Fair, this 100-acre park spans the river in downtown Spokane. At its center is the Great Northern Clocktower and the steel-cable structure of what was once the World's Fair's United States pavilion. The pavilion is now the home of an amusement park and seasonal ice skating rink. Wandering among the park's paths, visitors will find an amphitheater, fountains, a carousel, a gondola ride, a floating stage, Spokane's INB Performing Arts Center and Convention Center, public art, and charming river views.
Major Attractions at Riverfront Park
There are a number of major attractions inside of Riverfront Park. An admission fee is required for each of these attractions; a variety of ticket and pass options are available.
- IMAX Theatre
- Spokane Falls SkyRide - a gondola ride over the falls
- Looff Carrousel - historic 1909 ride where you can grab for a ring
- Pavilion Amusement Rides and Enchanted Forest Mini Golf
- Ice Palace - open October through March
- Tour Train - take a 40-minute loop through the park
Annual Events at Riverfront Park
As a hub of the Spokane community, Riverfront Park is the site of several special events throughout the year, including:
- Junior Lilac Parade (May)
- GLBTQA Pride Parade & Rainbow Festival (June)
- Hoopfest (June)
- Independence Day (July)
- Pig Out in the Park (August)
Riverfront Park provides many great vantage points for viewing the magnificent Spokane Falls, which are actually a series of falls. The Spokane Falls SkyRide offers fun fall viewing as it takes you across the Lower Spokane Falls, which are located below the Monroe Street Dam spillway. The bridges to Canada Island are great spots to take in the river during any season. Clinkerdagger and Anthony's restaurants, located on the north side of the river, both overlook the falls. You can also walk along the Lower Spokane Falls by accessing Huntington Park Natural Area, located behind the Avista Utilities building.
Spokane's Manito Park
A visit to the spectacular and varied gardens of Manito Park should be at the top of any Spokane visitor's list. Located on Spokane's South Hill, this 90-acre park is surrounded by well-preserved historic homes. In addition to the trails, playgrounds, recreation facilities, and other typical city park amenities, Manito Park is home to several formal gardens. The Spokane Rose Society works with the Parks department to present both formal and informal rose gardens, as well as a rose test garden. Duncan Garden is a formal European-style garden, complete with a fountain, and well-manicured flowerbeds. Visitors can enjoy the serene beauty of the Nishinomiya Japanese Garden. The Joel E. Ferris Perennial Garden offers seasonal blooms and green-thumb inspiration. The Gaiser Conservatory is flush with colorful flowers and tropical plants all year round. Finally, no Spokane garden would be complete without lilacs, which can be savored at Manito Park in the late spring.
Golfing and Golf Courses in Spokane
The Spokane area is one of the Northwest's top destinations for golfers. There are number of fantastic golf courses both in the city and within a short driving distance.
Golf in Spokane County:
Golf Near Spokane:
Spokane River Centennial Trail
Miles and miles of paved pathways make the Spokane River Centennial Trail a popular attraction. The 37-mile trail runs roughly along the Spokane River from the Idaho State line, through downtown Spokane, then through Riverside State Park to Nine Mile Falls. Much of the trail is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. Walking, jogging, biking, and in-line skating are favorite activities along this riverside trail.
Wine & Wineries in Spokane
Visitors will enjoy the fruits of Eastern Washington at one of Spokane's winery tasting rooms. The landscaped grounds and facilities for outdoor entertaining, along with award-winning wines, make Arbor Crest well worth a visit. Latah Creek winery and shop offer acclaimed merlots.
Other wineries in the Spokane area include:
Riverside State Park in Spokane Washington
Riverside State Park is a 10,000-acre camping park sprawled along the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers. The park is located just north of the city of Spokane and has miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horse riding. Riverside State Park, which includes the Nine Mile Recreation Area, offers spaces for camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, boating, snowmobiling, and off-road vehicles. The Spokane River Centennial Trail, popular for biking and hiking, passes through Riverside State Park. One park highlight is the Bowl and Pitcher, an interesting rock formation located at a scenic bend in the river.
Spokane House Interpretive Center
Established as a fur-trading post by explorer David Thompson, Spokane House became one of the earliest white settlements in the inland Northwest. The Spokane House Interpretive Center is located in the north section of Riverside State Park, near the site where the Little Spokane flows into the Spokane River. Visitors to the interpretive center can learn more about early fur trade in the region and its impact on regional exploration, settlement, and the Native American peoples. The Spokane House Interpretive Center is open on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Spokane House is a must-see for Northwest history enthusiasts.
Riverside State Park
9711 W. Charles Road
Nine Mile Falls, WA 99026
John A. Finch Arboretum
East of downtown, Spokane visitors will find the John A. Finch Arboretum. Home to over 2,000 native trees and shrubs, this arboretum stands as a tribute to one of Spokane's great philanthropists. Featured landscapes include a rhododendron glen and pine forest.
River Rafting in Spokane
As it winds from the Idaho border into NE Washington, the Spokane River is sometimes wide and slow, and other times, fast and wild. Whether you're looking for an easy scenic float or a little whitewater adventure, you'll find it in Spokane. Here are some guides and outfitters that offer raft trips, as well as other outdoor recreation excursions, in and around Spokane.
- ROW Adventure Center - in addition to raft trips on the Spokane River, this acclaimed guide company can set you up for a variety of outdoor adventures in the region (800-451-6034)
- Pangaea River Rafting - choose from float or whitewater raft trips on the Spokane River (877-239-2392)
- River City River Runners - group float trips on the Lower Spokane (509-844-5934)
- FLOW Adventures - options include float and kayak trips (866-808-4940)
- Wiley E. Waters River Rafting - half-day raft trips on the Spokane River (888-502-1900)
Outdoor Recreation Near Spokane
The natural wonders within the city of Spokane present visitors with a choice of recreation. Beyond the city, Northeastern Washington and the Panhandle region of Idaho offer limitless year-round outdoor adventure.
Other places to enjoy outdoor recreation near Spokane: