It’s a low rumble. Maybe a roar. If we all listen, we’ll hear it. It’s the sound of progress, construction and change in downtown Spokane. It’s a revolution and a renovation so vast it feels historic and we’re all watching it happen. The investment in downtown Spokane is hard to ignore, it’s the community that gets to enjoy the dividends. You can see the physical change in downtown’s landscape, but there’s also a feeling. It’s a shift in the collective thinking by the people who live here.
At its core, Spokane bursts with promise and life. Just walk any street and you’ll feel the vibe. You’ll see projects, new restaurants, shops and public art, but mostly, it’s the people you’ll see. People out walking, drinking on outdoor patios, eating at brilliant new restaurants and having fun. Every Friday, food trucks park on Wall Street, in the shadow of the old Macy’s building, while street performers liven the mood with music. As you take it all in, you realize Spokane has got it goin’ on.
Historically, Spokane has always been home to visionaries who have left an indelible mark on the community. The historic brick buildings, repurposed, now mingle with new construction. That glorious beauty, The Historic Davenport Hotel and its new keepers, Walt and Karen Worthy, helped spark the downtown renaissance we see today. Buildings once declared ready for the wrecking ball have been restored. Step inside the once dilapidated Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox and you’re transported to an Art Deco dream filled with the lilting sounds of the Spokane Symphony. The music options are seemingly endless. Oh, yes, there are options! The Knitting Factory, The Bing Crosby Theater, The Bartlett. Don’t ever let anyone tell you, “There’s nothing to do in Spokane.”
The city is a study in reuse. Old warehouses like the Washington Cracker Building house art collectives like Terrain, restaurants and whiskey dens are tucked away in basements. In the eastern corner of downtown, the University District provides an infusion of energy only the young and curious can bring. Like the cataclysmic glacial floods that shaped our geography, these bright minds will continue to shape and mold future Spokane.
The culinary scene is cooking and it’s so good, the rest of the nation can smell it. It’s easy to see why The Wall Street Journal and LA Times praised our gastronomical delights. How many cities the size of Spokane can claim three James Beard nominated chefs? These chefs are artists in their genre and they’ve all taken a gamble on this city. It’s paying off. Jeremy Hansen and his wife, Kate, own four eateries downtown. They’ve just opened their fifth. The list of all-star chefs and their restaurants is impressive. Eating your way through downtown could take months, but it’s do-able because it’s affordable and, most importantly, it’s accessible.
If you take a moment to walk downtown, to really look at it, you’ll notice a thriving and highly visible art scene. It’s everywhere. Spokane Arts is active making sure the community’s mind is enriched with thought provoking beauty. Sculptures, murals, even the electrical boxes scattered on street corners are covered in some artistic representation. Parklets pop up without fail on downtown streets every summer. This community is rich in history, but also looks to the future by fostering creativity and creating a healthy place for people to prosper.
Amid all this charm and bustle you’ll hear it before you see it: the breathtaking Spokane River. Nestled amongst the historic brick buildings and busy sidewalks contrasted by lush greenery, is the jaw-dropping, bold beauty carved into rock in our epic river gorge. Riverfront Park is such a cherished jewel, the community approved a $64 million renovation to ensure its beauty for generations to come. Families can enjoy the new ice ribbon and Looff Carrousel. The new SkyRide will be finished soon and once again people will be able to enjoy the magic of the Spokane Falls from above. Fresh memories will be made. Riverfront Park will be more beautiful than ever when the work is done. It’s all thanks to the people of this city who are willing to see the vision of what Spokane is and what it will be.
All this road construction, the renovations of old buildings, the cacophony, it’s really something. This something is downtown Spokane and it’s ours! It’s ours to live in, to brag about and experience. All this change, this investment, it’s worth it. And it’s worth checking out.