If you’re anything like me, Memorial Day weekend has a tendency to take you by surprise. There are no gifts to remember to purchase, no holiday tunes to remind you the reason for the season—just an awkward conversation between coworkers at lunch who ask you if you have any plans for Memorial Day Weekend, to which you respond, “isn’t that in September,” and then quietly realize that you’ll be spending yet another three-day weekend doing laundry and babysitting your parents’ dogs.
But not this year.
This year, you enter the holiday weekend armed, armed with a list of alternative Memorial Day weekend activities that require virtually no planning or forethought. There are no flights to book, no festival tickets to purchase, no pet-sitting arrangements to be made. Get in your car, get on your bike, or lace up your walking shoes. Thought you didn’t have plans for Memorial Day weekend?
Think again, dude. You’ve got things to do.
Sasquatchin'The Gorge Amphitheatre has hosted the Sasquatch music festival every Memorial Day weekend since 2002. That fact isn’t particularly helpful for you, though, because like me, you didn’t realize that it was Memorial Day weekend until about five minutes ago. If you still feel like you need a Memorial Day dose of Sasquatch, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.
First, you’ll want to buy a Discover Pass from http://discoverpass.wa.gov/ or from one of many participating retail locations throughout the state. Make your way to one of the many beautiful state parks or recreation areas like Riverside State Park, and from there, all you need to bring is a pair of hiking shoes and your imagination. You are now hiking in the state with the highest concentration of Sasquatch sightings in America. While I can’t guarantee you’ll see the mythical ‘Squatch, I can guarantee that you will appreciate the scenic beauty of Spokane while you’re out looking.
Get in the GardenFor many, this holiday weekend marks the beginning of yardwork season. The sounds of clattering rakes and shovels can be drowned out only by the din of lawn mowers mowing and weed wackers sputtering to life as countless hard-working folks take advantage of the warm spring weather to preen and manicure their lawns.
Frankly, that all sounds like a terribly large amount of effort. Rather than toil endlessly in your own yard, consider enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labor in one of Spokane’s botanical gardens. Head to the South Hill neighborhood to take a walk in Manito Park, a 90-acre collection of flowerbeds, topiary shrubs and manicured lawns. Meander your way through winding, paved paths, or have a seat on a park bench or under a gazebo and bask in the sweet comfort that it’s somebody else’s job to mow this lawn. Once you’re ready for a change of scenery, head west toward Finch Arboretum where you will find 65 acres of over 600 species of trees, shrubs and flowers, all labeled for your convenience. And the best part? Admission to these parks is free, making this form of vicarious gardening as easy on your back as it is on your wallet.
Hit the TrailMemorial Day weekend is usually accompanied by warm weather and sunny skies, coaxing young and old from their climate-controlled living quarters in search of exercise and sun tans. This weather is perfect for getting out and exploring the trails of the Inland Northwest, and you could join the legions of hikers and bikers that will spend their weekend doing just that.
Or you could explore a different kind of trail. The best kind of trail. A beer trail. More precisely, the Inland Northwest Ale Trail, a tour of the region’s finest breweries. To get started, all you need to do is find an Inland NW Ale Trail map at a local hotel or at any of the participating breweries. From there, you will embark on a Lord-of-the-Rings-style quest to collect stamps from 12 of the 27 breweries listed on the map. Fear not, brave traveler—there is no fiery volcano at the end of this quest—your stalwart determination will instead be rewarded with an exclusive 32 oz. growler as a token of your completion of the journey. Get that bad boy filled with your favorite beer. You deserve it.
Play in the WaterWith good weather comes boating season, and Memorial Day weekend is often the first occasion that boat owners have to put their toys in the water. If you’re part of this crowd, I encourage you to enjoy a weekend of basking in the sunshine. If you’re not, I encourage you to memorize this maxim: not every man must have a boat; every man must have a friend with a boat. If you don’t have time between now and May 23 to make a boat-friend, don’t worry; there’s still plenty of opportunity to get your feet wet.
Pile the family into the car and take a drive on Highway 95 to visit Silverwood Theme Park! It’s the Northwest’s largest theme park, and features rides and attractions suitable for all ages. If you feel like cooling down, Silverwood features several attractions that will make a splash—take a whitewater raft trip in Thunder Canyon, or satisfy your boating needs with the ever-popular Bumper Boats. As an added bonus, all military personnel, veterans, police officers and firefighters receive free admission to the park on May 28, 29 and 30. If you plan to make a full weekend out of your theme park adventure, there are many hotels and camping options available. My personal recommendation is Farragut State Park, which features a great lake for swimming and a fantastic museum that documents the park’s history as a naval facility during WWII.
For more ideas about what to do during Memorial Day weekend, check out our website!