One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is explore the various quaint neighborhoods we have in Spokane. Most recently I stumbled upon the Garland District which is made up of small, locally owned restaurants, coffee shops and a handful of entertainment venues.

For two solid blocks you'll be reminded that businesses can run the old fashioned way. We're talking some serious word-of-mouth marketing here.

I'll go ahead and share my insight, which is nice because I typically like to keep things like this a secret.  I'm going to go the unconventional route and recommend starting with dessert.  Mary Lou's Milk Bottle is a classic soda fountain where you should probably try one of their milk shakes. These babies are made with hand scooped, hard ice cream, not some milky sludge pumped from a machine! I promise you can't miss the place. It's the giant milk bottle...the only one on the street...or really the whole area for that matter.

The quick run-down on things to do in this neighborhood goes like this: The Ruby Slipper has tons of fun shoes, yes, even for men.  A couple doors down is an incredible used bookstore called "Book Trader." I actually spent a couple hours sifting through the walls and piles of books, and you probably will too. Then there is the Blue Door Theatre which puts on improv shows. And my all time favorite is the Garland Theatre. It's a traditional movie theater, except it won't cost you a day's work. Movies are just $3.50 and popcorn has unlimited refills. Isn't that refreshing? Thank you.

I know I keep saying "my favorite," I guess I mean my favorites. The Rocket Bakery is a super cool coffee shop. Their coffee is good, the people are nice and they make really good cookies and cinnamon rolls and scones. But the capper is their famous German chocolate cake, and who doesn't love it when the barista knows your name and drink of choice!

Ok, I think I've saved a really good one for last, Fergusons Café. It's got that classic diner feel with a menu that has everything from burgers to macadamia nut salmon. Being that I love breakfast, I'm a fan of the French toast sandwich.  I'm not kidding when I say this place is always packed. I don't know if it's because of the food, the prices or the fact that it's has been family owned and run for years. I swear you'll leave with at least three new friends.

There are other little stores nestled in-between the places I've mentioned. A local bar, some music stores and an art gallery all of which are worth visiting too. The Garland neighborhood is funky and it's fun. It's authentic and it's definitely Spokane.