From river strolls and botanical gardens to fine art displays and live music, the savvy traveler can have a blast in Spokane without spending a dime. Check out our quick list of free things to do in Spokane region.
Spokane’s pride and joy, the Spokane Falls roar right through downtown Spokane and cascade over a series of waterfalls. That makes it our #1 choice if you’re looking for a picturesque walk, unique photo or a great afternoon of classic northwest scenery. Head down into Huntington Park to get right next to the falls and the soak zone. Or drop down to the falls overlook area on the north end of the Monroe Street Bridge for the perfect view of the upper and lower falls, Spokane Falls Skyride and downtown skyline. Then, be sure to walk along the Centennial Trail and discover the dozens of walking bridges that cross between the islands of Riverfront Park and the upper falls.
Walk, jog, bike, and sightsee! Like the river it traces, the 37.5 mile paved Centennial Trail provides something for everyone. Start from downtown Spokane and take the trail west through the Kendall Yards community, along the high bluff above the river and all the way out through the massive Riverside State Park. Or, start by heading east through Riverfront Park, Gonzaga University and all the way out to the Idaho border on your way to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Whether you're lacing up your shoes, renting a bike or bringing your binoculars, there's a pocket of the Centennial Trail waiting just for you.
The spectacular 100 acre park was created for the Expo of ’74, the world’s first environmentally themed World’s Fair. The park features breathtaking views of the roaring Spokane Falls, the historic Great Northern Clocktower and dozens of public art installments including a 26 ton Red Wagon… and a metal goat statue that eats garbage. In the summer, the rotary fountain is the perfect place to let the kids cool off. For a small fee, the kids will love the park’s attractions including the Looff Carrousel, Spokane Falls Skyride, Ice Palace, Imax Theatre and other seasonal rides. From traditional to zany, visitors can spend a day touring the many attractions at Riverfront Park without dipping into their pocket. Check out the Spokane Sculpture Walk, a self-guided walking tour, for a complete guide to the park‘s beautiful art.
Although Spokane’s Red Wagon is part of Riverfront Park, the unique attraction deserves a spot of its own on our list of free things to do. The wagon was created by local artist Ken Spiering in 1990. It is a 26 ton, 12 foot high sculpture made of reinforced concrete and steel. It’s rumored that the wagon can fit up to 300 people on it, but we don’t suggest testing that out. So, don’t miss your chance to climb the stairs and snap a picture as you relive your childhood on the wagon’s slide.
After you visit the famous Red Wagon, you can continue on one of Spokane’s best tours, the Sculpture Walk. The free, self-guided walking tour meanders through Riverfront Park where you can meet Spokane’s Garbage Eating Goat (yes, it really eats your garbage) and the Rotary Fountain. Then walk by the river on the Centennial Trail towards the University District for dozens of other art installations.
With over 50 locations in three distinct districts, this free downtown walking tour is the perfect way to get some exercise and experience the history of the Inland Northwest. Many historic buildings, homes and monuments have been beautifully restored and are available to see in this self-guided tour. To take the tour, visit HistoricSpokane.org/HeritageTours or stop by one of our visitor information centers to pick up a printed brochure.
No Li Brewhouse is one of Spokane’s original and premier brew houses. Head over to No Li Brewhouse on Fridays for a free behind the scenes look at their brewing process. Tours start at 4:30 and take about 25 minutes. Sign up at the bar beforehand. Then take a break on their fantastic riverfront patio as you sample their product and hang out by the fire pit with one of the notable river views in town.
Gonzaga University’s 2,800 square-foot Jundt Art Museum features an eclectic mix of traveling exhibits, as well as a notable collection of glass from Northwest artist Dale Chihuly. Art enthusiasts should also take note of the Chase Art Gallery located in Spokane’s City Hall. The public exhibits there serve up a wide range of contemporary and traditional works. For more information on Art in Spokane take a look at SpokaneArts.org for events, projects and more.
Spokane has 260 annual days of sunshine. That means our local farmers have a fabulous growing season and lots of produce and more to show you. Our farmers markets are more than a place to buy produce, they are the best neighborhood events of the summer. With live music, artisan goods and delicious locally grown food, our markets guarantee good times. Check out our complete guide to Spokane’s Farmers Markets for insider information, dates and locations.
The Spokane City Drive is a self-guided driving tour that showcases many of the city’s most iconic spots. It starts in Riverfront Park and proceeds through the arts district, Browne’s Addition, historic South Hill, Riverside State Park and ends after the University District. The tour is free, but you will need a car, unless you’re a very tenacious cyclists!
You could spend a whole trip touring the region’s beautiful public parks. Manito Park, established in 1904, features 20 acres of world class botanical gardens. The John A. Finch Arboretum provides a walking tour to guide visitors through landscapes such as a native pine forest and a shady glen filled with rhododendrons. And Spokane Valley’s Mirabeau Point Park features a waterfall and pond filled with turtles. Then you can go big by visiting the two largest Washington State Parks, Riverside and Mt Spokane State Parks. Grab a map or just lose yourself in Spokane’s parks. For more information on park activities, visit our parks page.
On the First Friday of each month, venues open up throughout the city for an evening of visual art and live music First Friday is the ideal time to check out our downtown wineries, do some tasting and tune into the arts culture in Spokane. Of course, First Friday events are free, but you know you want to indulge in some of our favorite wines! For more information on First Friday, visit DowntownSpokane.net/First Friday.
When the summer heat hits Spokane, there are an abundance of Splash pads at area parks offering instant summer fun. All your kids need is a swimsuit and wild jets and geysers will take care of the rest. Two popular spots are Upper Manito on the South Hill and Discovery Playground in the Spokane Valley. Click here for a guide to the Spokane region’s splash pads.
Take a ride as the horses guide you on a scenic route right through downtown Spokane. Passengers receive a complimentary flower from Peters and Sons Floral in the summer and free candy canes and coupons to partnering coffee shops for hot cocoa in the winter. To take advantage of the carriage rides, wait for the horses at the corner of Main and Wall on Fridays July – August.
Bing Crosby, the American icon, is best known for his classic songs White Christmas, Swinging on a Star and The Bing Crosby Show. With over a half billion records in circulation, he is one of the most successful recording artists of the 20th century. But it all started right here in Spokane Washington where his father built Crosby's boyhood house in 1913. Bing attended Gonzaga University before leaving for Hollywood in 1924.
Today, the house is part of Gonzaga University and home to the biggest collection of Bing Crosby memorabilia. The collection includes approximately 1400 records and albums, 800 audio cassettes and 2000 discs of radio shows. The house is free to enter and open to the public Monday-Friday from 9am-4:30pm.
Downtown Spokane’s Riverfront Park, Liberty Lake’s Pavilion Park and Spokane Valley’s Mirabeau Point Park all feature free outdoor movies and concerts throughout the summer. Check out our events calendar. You may find a viewing of The Goonies, a performance from the Spokane Symphony or even a parade coming your way.
When the weather gets hot in the Spokane region people head for the water. It’s easy to see why with 76 lakes within 50 miles of Spokane and hundreds of miles of pristine rivers and creeks. So grab your swim suits, a towel and a few cold drinks because we have gathered a list of places to relax with your feet in the water Check out our Swimming Beaches and start planning your adventure now.