Spokane (pronounced Spo-Can), means “Children of the Sun” in Salish Native American. It is the birthplace of Father’s Day (USA.) It’s slogan, ‘Keep it Kind of Gross‘ is a way of “hanging on to the things that make us who we are.” It’s about letting the city grow on you, taking everything in before you make a judgement – and that’s exactly what I did.
If you would like to know “How to let Spokane grow on you.” click ‘read more’
In this article, you’ll find: (click to be taken there)
The Basics: How to get there.
My Top Choices: What you should see.
My Recommendations: Where to eat & drink, What to listen to & read.
Where to Stay: Where I stayed or where friends stayed.
What I did: My diary entry.
Other Recommendations: Things I missed.
Key DatesFestivals, Events, Shows etc..
All my posts have a key:
⏰ Opening Hours. 📍Location 🕒Distance
💰Cost 🎫Ticket 📝 To note. 🎒What to bring.
♿ Accessibility 🌱Vegan / Veg Options.
- State Park Free Days check here.
- Use Visit Spokane as a good resource to see what’s on during your stay.
- Bars close at 2:00am.
Getting to Spokane.
Popular airlines are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines & United Airlines.
Try and fly into Seattle / San Francisco, but there are also direct flights from Los Angeles and Chicago.
🚆 Train from Seattle.
💰$85 AUD| $58 USD | £47 | €52
🕒7 hr 40 m
🚌 Bus from Seattle.
💰$64 AUD| $44 USD | £35 | €40
🕒5 hr 25 m
|Rental Companies||Check out Dollar, Thrify and Alamo |
for the cheapest option.
|Remember it’s going to be better if you’re renting & returning from the same place,|
are over 25 and getting a type of pre-paid insurance.
|Turo||Similar to Airbnb, but for Cars.||They verify you (24 hours) and you can filter via type, mileage & delivery. |
You need to be over 21 for USA.
⏰ 05:00 – 24:00
📍507 N. Howard Street)
The riverfront park was primarily created 45 years ago. Before becoming the incredible, 100-acre park, it is today it was a series of railroad yards and warehouses. When the first environmentally themed world’s fair was to be held, Spokane’s Riverfront Park was created. Expo 74′ (the fair) ran for six months and drew 5.2 million visitors.
The only part left of the Great Northern Rail Depot, completed in 1902 is this 155 feet tall, four-sided lock. Once a week, a technician climbs the 5 stories to adjust the time, and wind the crank 99 times to ensure for the next week, it works. Interestingly, the tower has never had bells but relies on a digital speaker system.
The Rotary Fountain:
“This is a gift to the children” it advises. The fountain was placed in the park around 2004, 30 years after being placed on the side bench for the Expo ’74 due to lack of funds. With 40 overhead jets, it’s a great place in summer and with the environmental theme in place it uses filtration and recirculation.
The Childhood Express:
The world’s largest red wagon, 12 feet tall, 27 feet wide and made with over 26 tones of concrete & steel, it’s a memory to childhood. It is to honour the past, present and future of Spokane Children. Created by Ken Spiering, 1990. You can read an article about his reflection of the wagon here. It has become a some-what of a Spokane symbol.
💰$2.50 usd or $5.00 for unlimited pass.
Hand carved in 1909 by Charles Looff as a gift for his daughter, it contains 54 horses, 1 giraffe, 1 tiger and 2 chariot benches. The horses themselves, have two seperate sides; a romance side and a money side (the side you mount the horse.)
Although in storage from 1967 – 1975, it was then rehoused in 2014 to ensure preservation of the wood carvings. It receives around 300,000 visitors yearly. to
For years, the rivers and falls of Spokane were a meeting place for Native American tribes.
Willie Wiley Rock
Willie Wiley was an admired man who only ever wore shorts. Known as Spokane’s Ambassador of Good Will, he connected to the land, the plants and the animals. “Willie was a rock” which is how in 1977 the request to name this rock was received.
Upper Falls Powerhouse.
Finished in 1922, The Upper Falls Powerhouse generated electrical energy from the flowing river to keep up with the industrial and residential developments of Spokane. The facility is still generating clean, renewable hydroelectricity today.
📍10 S Post St, Spokane, WA 99201
The Davenport Hotel opened in 1914 and is crated from a base of Boise Sandstone, almost created in a Florentine Style. It’s a wonderful piece of architecture and although I didn’t go inside, it’s recommended.
📍10 S Post St, Spokane, WA 99201
Bruttles has been creating Spokane’s famous soft peanut butter brittle for over 68 years. Originally what started in the Davenport Hotel, they now have their own store pulling out goods you’ve possibly never tasted (honestly so good.)
⏰ 09:00 – 23:30 – various showtimes.
📍924 West Garland Avenue, Spokane
💰$ 7.50 aud| $5.00 usd | £4.00 | €4.55
The Garland is Spokane’s Longest Running Independent Theatre. Opened in 1945, it’s a pristine example of Art Deco architecture with its straight lines and angles. Attached to the side is the vintage cocktail bar, Bon Bon. It may not show the newest releases, but if you can wait a week or two, it’s a cheap alternative to have a lazy night in but also out.
⏰ Guided tours are every Friday 11am – 2pm.
📍127 E 12th Ave, Spokane,
This is a small example of classical Gothic architecture. Beginning in 1925, it was completed in 1929. The stained glass windows tell different stories, with the inspiration coming from Book of Genesis to Revelations.
⏰ 24 / 7
📍3404 W Woodland Blvd,
📝 Make sure to check the events page here too.
♿There is a Touch & See Trail which has brail and allows you to walk a small loop.
In 1907 a strip of land was purchased and later, in 1912 Finch purchased the surrounding land. There are over 2000 indigenous trees located in this Arboretum, a full place of flora and fauna it allows you to get out of the city for a while. You can do a self walking tour (click here for PDF) and depending on what season you go in, the experience will be different.
⏰ Mon 9:00 – 18:00 | Tues.-Sat 9:00 – 21:00 | Sun 11:00 – 18:00
📍402 W Main Ave, Spokane
📝 Make sure to check the events page here too.
Since 1978, Auntie’s has bee an independent bookstore, it gives the entire community of Spokane benefits. The “store carries both new and used books, cards, tshirts, Spokane specialty items and other gifts”.
⏰ Mon – Sat: 10:00 – 18:00 | Sun: 11:00 – 17:00
📍232 N Howard St
Named after the character in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird” who collects odd things, a symbol of goodness – this store is just that. You’ll find odd postcards, stickers, gifts here.
⏰ 6:00 – 20:00
📍1516 W 2nd Ave, Spokane, WA
🌱Vegetarian Friendly, ability
📝 Although recommended for breakfast, you’ll be waiting for a long time.
Voted best breakfast 19 years running, you’ll be eating within a train carriage. A presidential car from 1909 – 1930, It was stranded in Seattle and converted into a diner 1931. It’s been sitting in Spokane since 1991.
⏰ Sun – Thu 11:00 AM – 20:00 | Fri – Sat 11:00 – 22:00
📍 802 W Garland Ave, Spokane
🌱not vegan friendly
Standing at 38ft high is a Milk Bottle shaped building. Built in 1935 it was designed as a retail outlet for dairy products (makes sense.) Today, it’s a diner that is known for it’s award winning milkshakes.
⏰ Mon – Fri 07:45 – 16:00 | Sat 08:30 – 16:00 |Sun 08:30 – 14:00
📍 415 W Main Ave, Spokane, WA
🌱Almond & Soy Available.
A great little place to grab a coffee while exploring the city.
⏰ Mon -Thu: 11:00 – 21:00 | Fri – Sat: 11:00 – 22:00 | Sun: 15:00 – 21:00
📍 621 W Mallon St, Spokane
Although I didn’t eat here – the view and service really, really was outstanding. We ordered two cocktails, took in the view of the upper falls.
🍷 Baby Bar
⏰ 17:00 – 2:00
📍 827 W 1st Ave, Spokane,
Not suitable for babies. It is however, a great little dive bar for adults.David Lynch (twin peaks) himself drank here, and once you enter, you can see why. Very few seats at a table and the bar. The bartender is great, the people are nice and it’s a great atmosphere.
“We Live in Water is a darkly comic, moving collection of short stories that veer from comic tales of love to social satire to suspenseful crime fiction, from hip Portland to once-hip Seattle to never-hip Spokane, from a condemned casino in Las Vegas to a bottomless lake in the dark woods of Idaho. This is a world of lost fathers and redemptive con men, of meth tweakers on desperate odysseys and men committing suicide by fishing.”
Mozart and the Whale (2005)
“New York taxi driver Donald Morton (Josh Hartnett) has Asperger’s syndrome, a type of autism. Proficient with numbers but shy around people, Donald organizes a support group for others with with his condition. Isabelle Sorenson (Radha Mitchell), who is direct to a fault and practical, but easily upset by any perceived insult, joins the group. The two fall in love, but their mutual difficulty in coping with their condition threatens their fragile relationship.”
WHERE TO STAY
There are no Hostels in Spokane, WA. You can look at Airbnb, Booking.Com and Agoda for places to stay. I stayed at Motel 6 – a little out of the way, but we used Uber for $7-10 USD into the city if we were drinking.
⏰Check Out : 11:00
Check In : 14:00 PM
📍1508 S Rustle Rd, Spokane, WA 99224,
📝 – Additional $2.00 City Tax per night, per room.
If you read the reviews, you may not want to stay but I really had no issues. It had free parking, a place to put my head, a hot shower and it was a private room. The staff are lovely, they’ll recommended some places & let us know that Uber is better than Taxis here.
|🛁Bathrooms||small, well kept,|
|🛏Rooms||very comfortable beds, aircon & heater works,|
|🎲Facilities||has a pool, free wifi which works well enough for basic things.|
WHAT I DID
Figuring out what I wanted to do in Spokane, consisted of mostly Trip Advisor if i’m fair, and a bit of google, reddit (thanks reddit.) Coming into Spokane is such a change from large spread out cities – it’s inviting, it’s maintained, and it feels, well, friendly. The people do not let you down with this feeling. It’s rare to find a town that you gel with so quickly.
After a long drive, my main thoughts are coffee, food, coffee, food. Also, perhaps a nap. Didn’t have the time to nap, so opted to take an Uber to Franks Diner, which didn’t have a line (nice.) Grabbing drinks at Steel Barrel Taproom, played cards (which I probably won based on my general history of being good at cards.) We finished the night at Baby Bar, finding a table, drinking very strong G&Ts and staying until 2am when it closed.
The Steel Barrel Taproom
⏰11:00 – 01:00 | Sun: 11:00 – 24:00 | Mon: 16:00 – 1:00
📍 154 S Madison St #100, Spokane
I don’t know why I thought a milkshake for breakfast was a good idea, but that’s what I got at The Milk Bottle as well as some regular-american-style-diner-food. Driving into downtown, we parked at one of the many lots and being the true traveller I am, didn’t bookmark it – which meant I spent a good 30 minutes looking for said lot again.
I grabbed a coffee at Madeline’s Cafe, purchased a few postcards at Auntie’s Bookstore and went for a walk along the Riverfront Park, getting some strong cocktails at Clinkerdagger. Trying to get back to the other side of the park was another issue, with no signs until we got to the bridge saying it was closed – part of me was ‘let’s risk it‘, and the other part was ‘this is a stupid idea you do not want the newspapers to report your death this way.’ essentially how I mostly travel. After The Falls, we spent a fair bit of time in Boo Radleys before spending 30 minutes searching for the car.
One of the recommended bars is the Post Street Ale House which is located just near the Davonport Hotel and Bruttles. Now it’s incredible how much an accent can do for you in cities that don’t get a lot of tourists. As bars shut at 2am, we wanted to stay out until 3am (who knows why) but somehow, the bartender of [removed name] thought it was fine to give us some beers to go (this is not fine, it is illegal, but I did not complain, because 1) free beers 2) free beers to go.)
Our final day was spent walking at the Arboretum and getting some food at Dolly’s Diner. On the drive home, I started to panic a bit (a lot) that we were going to miss the time it was open. Turns out, this particular border doesn’t close – and, so, I was worried about nothing (go figure.)
- Bing Crosby House :
💰Free ⏰ 12:00 – 16:00 | Sat: 13:00 – 16:00 | Closed Sun.
“Large collection of material relating to 20th Century singer and actor Harry Lillis (Bing) Crosby, a native of Spokane and alumnus of Gonzaga.”
- Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture.
💰$10 usd ⏰ 10:00 – 17:00 | Sat: 10:00 – 14:00 | Closed Mon.
- Silverwood Theme-park
okay, so it’s not even within the same state but it is only 55 min away.
- Spokane International Film Festival | Feb
“Filmmakers and audiences engage the art of cinema.“
- Literary Arts Festival | Apr
- Lilac Festival: | May
“The Spokane Lilac Festival has been a “Lilac City” tradition since 1938. It is now “an annual week-long Lilac Festival of celebrating spring, youth, and community spirit.”
- Spokane Brewers Festival | May
Craft Beer Festival including “souvenir tasting glass and seven 4oz tastes“ with the purchased ticket.
- Lilac Bloomsday Run | May
- Hoopfest | June
“The largest 3on3 outdoor basketball tournament on Earth”
Have you been?
What did you see / eat / do?
Let me know below.
As always, stay cool.
- Keep Spokane Kind of Gross: Develop Spokane without losing its culture, charm
- Garland Milk Bottle
- Clock tower history, photos