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Spokane Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in SpokaneWhere to Stay
Whether you're in town for business or pleasure, downtown Spokane is where you'll find the vast majority of convenient accommodations. From many of downtown's luxury, mid-range or budget hotels, you'll be within a couple of blocks of Spokane's nightlife, dining and shopping options. Outside of downtown, take your pick of a handful of bed and breakfasts housed in early 20th-century homes.
Caution: Coming to Spokane to enjoy national parks and outdoor activities? Book early, because rooms sell out quickly during peak season.
Hot Tips: If you stay downtown, pack walking shoes and hang up the car keys - most everything is within walking distance.
What to Eat
Downtown Spokane offers something for everyone's taste buds, boasting an eclectic variety of casual dining, chain restaurants and one-of-a-kind eateries. One shining example? Steam Plant Grill, where you'll dine on classic American fare and drink regional and house brews while surrounded by the boilers and pipes of this former steam plant. After dinner or between meals, be sure to try some of Spokane's top dessert and coffee shops, including thick milkshakes at Mary Lou's Milk Bottle.
Be Sure to Sample: High tea at the E.J. Roberts' Mansion, where servers stay true to character in 19th-century garb.
Things to See
It seems everywhere you turn in Spokane, there's a bit of history to enjoy. Riverfront Park, an easy spot to spend an afternoon, played host to the 1974 World's Fair. A little to the west, you can take a leisurely stroll across the Spokane River on the reconstructed Monroe Street Bridge, a 1911 structure that remains the largest arch bridge in the country. A number of museums and wineries, as well as a zoo and arboretum, round out Spokane's best attractions.
Avoid: Public transportation - rent a car instead if your destination isn't within walking distance.
Hot Tips: Try a whitewater raft excursion down the Spokane River for an unbeatable taste of the city's natural wonders.
Places to Party
Night owls in Spokane flock to the downtown district for Spokane's best nightlife offerings. Plenty of downtown bars and lounges make it easy to sip dignified martinis or let loose as you dance the night away. You can also enjoy live performances at venues like The Knitting Factory, which draws acts like Reverend Horton Heat, and the neighboring Bing Crosby Theater, a former silent movie house that now presents plays, movies and concerts.
Take It or Leave It: Under state law, bars can serve a full offering of beer, wine and liquor while taverns are limited to beer and wine.
Hot Tips: Check the Visit Spokane events calendar for concerts and live entertainment listings.
Where to Shop
River Park Square, an upscale shopping mall in the heart of downtown Spokane, is your best bet for shopping sprees. The mall is home to department stores like Nordstrom and Macy's. More eclectic finds await at the Flour Mill, a former mill that was transformed into a shopping and dining destination in preparation for the 1974 World's Fair. Some of the city's best shopping is tucked away in downtown, where you'll find quaint shops - including the beloved Auntie's Bookstore - with the perfect souvenirs.
Best Local Souvenir: A bottle of your favorite red (or white) from a local winery, or Bruttles' soft peanut brittle.
Ready for Your Dream Vacation?
Spokane's name comes from the Native Americans who settled the area hundreds of years ago. The word Spokane translates to "Children of the Sun," and those original settlers were attracted to the majestic natural beauty of the area just as are the outdoor enthusiasts who live there today. In this friendly setting, you'll find mountains ideal for skiing or snowshoeing; miles of trails perfect for hiking, running, or biking; one of the largest urban waterfalls in the country, best viewed from a kayak or gondola; four golf courses within five minutes of downtown, and forty more just a short drive away. And then there are the lakes — 76 of them within 50 miles of the city! When it comes to enjoying the great outdoors, Spokane has it all. Historic architecture, fascinating museums, excellent dining and cosmopolitan nightlife are also plentiful in Spokane, the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis. But after taking in the indoor attractions, you'll be beckoned back out to enjoy the treasures that make this city a year-round playground.