Spokane is the right jumping-off point for outdoor adventure and sophisticated city life
written by Cara Strickland
If you’re looking for an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, you’ll find it in Spokane. Five ski resorts, seventy-six lakes and five national parks are within driving distance, a river runs through the city, and the Centennial Trail offers 37 miles for hiking and biking with a mountain backdrop. If you’re feeling a little less extreme, you can stroll through one of Spokane’s many parks, including the crown jewel, Manito Park, which boasts 90 acres of gardens, a conservatory and a duck pond, plus two playgrounds for your little ones. Bring a picnic and enjoy the rose garden or get some zen in the Japanese garden. Just a couple blocks away, you’ll find Rockwood Bakery, a staple of Spokane’s historic South Hill neighborhood, known for its freshly made, decadent baked goods and quiche.
Just down the hill, you’ll want to check out a newly renovated Riverfront Park. While there are still touches from when Spokane hosted the World’s Fair in 1974 (don’t forget to try out the big red wagon that doubles as a slide, as well as the vintage carousel) you’ll also find the new ice ribbon, the first on the West Coast. Those aren’t the only renovations you’ll encounter in the downtown area. The Historic Davenport Hotel has been restored to the glory days and is a luxurious lodging option, while the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox is back to its Art Deco splendor—it’s now home to the Spokane Symphony. The First Interstate Center for the Arts plays host to a range of traveling Broadway shows. If your kids are along, you’ll want to check out Mobius, a science center and children’s museum which recently moved to a larger home. In the summer, catch a minor league baseball game with the Spokane Indians and in the winter, check out Spokane’s hockey team, the Chiefs.
The food and drink scene has been undergoing changes as well. Hometown boy and Top Chef contestant Chad White has brought Mexican flavors with his ceviche bar Zona Blanca. Just across the river, you’ll find Ruins, known for its ever-switching menu and delicious lunchtime sandwiches. For breakfast, head off the beaten path to Chaps, known for long lines on the weekends and baked blueberry French toast.
You can’t beat The Flying Goat for pizza, plus it’s on the way to Riverside State Park, another of Spokane’s natural gems. If you’re looking for a special occasion meal, try out Clover, near Gonzaga University, Wild Sage (known for its attention to special diets) and Mizuna (which has dedicated menus for vegetarians as well as carnivores). If you’re willing to drive a little farther, slide over the border to Post Falls, Idaho, for a James Beard-nominated taste of France at Fleur De Sel.
There’s no shortage of beer, wine and spirits in the area. For a glass with a view, visit Arbor Crest Wine Cellars in the Spokane Valley. The winery sits on a hill and features a historic estate. Bring your own picnic and spend a day, or swing by one of the summer concerts. Take a tour (and a taste) of Dry Fly Distillery’s new facility, whether you’re into gin, whiskey or vodka. Taste test small batches from local brewers at Steel Barrel Taproom. Whether your idea of a getaway involves adventure, relaxation, or eating and drinking your way through a city, there’s something for you in Spokane. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
EAT STAY PLAY - Spokane
The Flying Goat
Fleur De Sel
The Davenport Hotels
Northern Quest Resort and Casino
The Montvale Hotel
The Centennial Trail
The Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox
The First Interstate Center for the Arts
http://www.thesteelbarrel.comArbor Crest Wine Cellars
Riverside State Park
Dry Fly Distillery
Steel Barrel Taproom