Spokane is the ideal setting for genuine connections and fresh ideas. The city has been a western boomtown, a vital railroad hub, the cultural center of a fascinating region, and the smallest city ever to host a world's fair. When you visit Spokane, you'll find yourself at the center of a city that lights up with warmth, ambition, and creativity. All you need is your own two feet to explore an entire 1920s industrial downtown bursting with killer restaurants and venues, a diverse nightlife, and breathtaking nature. With our small-town vibe and big-city amenities, you'll feel like a local in no time. You'll come to Spokane and it will feel familiar, but you'll leave having discovered things you never expected to find because Spokane isn't quite like anywhere else. Here are 10 reasons to visit Spokane.
#1 Natural Beauty
Spokane boasts natural beauty in each distinct area, and it’s also a four-season destination. Spokane is sunny. It’s a common misconception that the entire state of Washington has the same weather as our counterpart, Seattle. Wrong. We get the snow and cold of winter, the sun and heat of summer, and in spring and fall, we get a little rain and a lot of colors.
Natural beauty is best experienced well, outside. During the winter, Spokane is a primary destination for top-notch area ski resorts. In the summer, choose from our region's many lakes to fish, boat, float, paddle, tan, or swim. Spokane is also home to Washington’s two largest state parks, Riverside and Mount Spokane, which are perfect for outdoor recreation all year round. If a nature walk is calling your name, wander to the raging Spokane Falls, Riverfront Park, Manito Park, or Finch Arboretum. Outdoor activities are endless here.
When it comes to accessibility, there are a variety of ways to look at it. In Spokane, accessibility is not hard to come by. As the second-largest city in Washington, you can arrive by train, plane, or car. Are you hoping for a short commute from our airport to the city center? Check. The Spokane International Airport is less than a 15-minute drive from downtown. When you arrive downtown, the main attractions and restaurants are all within short walking distances. Local parks and hiking trails are easy to get to in a short amount of time. Our region is proud to feature many outdoor recreation opportunities that aren’t overwhelmed by overcrowding or confusing directions.
#3 Historic Influence
You won’t be greeted by shiny skyscrapers when you reach downtown Spokane. Instead, you’ll be greeted with charming, brick buildings with plenty of history. The architecture boasts its historic influence on every block. From the mid-century Parkade to the beautifully renovated Historic Davenport Hotel, you’ll be immersed in history at every turn.
It goes without saying that Spokane has kept much of its history through its buildings. Over half of Spokane’s downtown area is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Spokane has the most designated National Register of Historic Districts in the state with 18 total districts.
#4 Undiscovered Food Scene
If we could describe our food scene in one word it would be undiscovered. A few award-winning chefs, like Adam Hegsted and Chef Chad White, have already figured it out. Who would expect fantastic seafood in a land-locked city? It’s unexpected. Spokane’s food scene leans into cultural influences. From exceptional Ethiopian food to authentic Italian gelato, Spokane’s food and drink options are diverse.
#5 Arts Community
What makes a city a community? The arts. The Spokane region is quickly becoming known for its flourishing and welcoming art scene. It’s all thanks to entities like Spokane Arts and Terrain. Our city loves its local artists. Murals, sculptures, and art installations are peppered throughout the city. Wander your way into a local gallery or museum for an immersive experience. The city is a hub for the arts with venues like the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox and Jundt Art Museum and Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, you’ll discover vibrant performances and rotating exhibits.
#6 Live Entertainment
Experience the grandeur of the Spokane Symphony, an acoustic set while sipping wine at Arbor Crest, or major headlining artists at one of our major regional venues. The Spokane Comedy Club is host to major comedians who travel from all over the country to give a good laugh. For broadway, the First Interstate Center for the Arts is known to bring major shows through, including Wicked and Hamilton. For more live entertainment options check out other venues like The Bing Crosby Theater that bring a broad range of entertainers to our city. Dust off those dancing shoes and head to nYne or The Ridler Piano Bar and dance until your heart is content.
Hello, gas, airfare, rent and groceries! Everything is expensive right now, but in the grand scheme of current affairs, Spokane remains an affordable option. Spokane is a place that hasn't fallen into the category of $25 martinis. Tickets to the theater or museums remain in the $30 range, and a foodie-approved meal won’t break your bank. The affordability of Spokane is a large part of its charm.
#8 Room to Explore
Our Convention facilities have plenty of space for large groups while also fully capable of making smaller groups feel more intimate. Outside of the Convention facilities, there’s so much room to explore. Spokane is bigger than you think but, go explore our many districts and outdoor spaces and you’ll realize there’s more here than meets the eyes.
#9 Sustainability Focused
Did you know Spokane is home to a garbage-eating goat? This 70s art installment in Riverfront Park was a statement of sustainability during the 1974 Worlds Fair Expo way ahead of its time and still keeps our park clean today. The Spokane River is another great example of sustainability from the river clean-up initiative to water power. The city as a whole is committed to reducing its impact on the environment.
#10 People Are Talking About Us
Spokane is the second largest city in Washington but, we boast our small town feel. There’s just something about Spokane that feels warm. It’s a city of 230,000 people (525,000 in the county), but it still retains that small-town charm. People are beginning to take notice. The city is filled with myriad things to experience and it continues to grow.