Back to School

Back to School

With more than a dozen colleges and universities in the region, Spokane is quite the hub for higher education. End of the summer means back-to-school time, bringing visiting parents and new students to town looking for places to see, stay and eat. Here are some useful tips to get you started!

Boo RadleyDorm Room Checklist:

Need to furnish your dorm room with a mini-fridge, posters and a futon? Spokane has many options for back-to-school shopping--from big box stores to unique and local shops.

  • Atticus Coffee & Gifts
    Atticus offers an array of unique Pacific Northwest gifts, coffee from all over the world and a super charming café. It’s a local favorite and visitors love it. Also, it’s a great place to find unique posters and decorations!
  • Boo Radley’s
    This shop is keeping ahead of popular trends with its funky gifts that you cannot find anywhere else. It’s easy to spend a lot of time in Boo Radley’s, meandering through the hundreds of wacky things for sale. Find a hipster mug, a hilarious calendar or vintage records to take home with you.
  • Roost
    Roost sells repurposed, shabby-chic and hard to find antiques. It’s a great place to discover unique furniture and décor for whatever decorating needs you have! Roost always has new things and fun finds.
  • River Park Square
    Downtown Spokane’s central shopping mall. River Park Square has designer stores, local shops, restaurants and an AMC movie theatre.
  • NorthTown Mall
    Find all your name brand back-to-school needs here. Free parking!
  • Spokane Valley Mall
    The region’s largest shopping center offers restaurants, a cinema and more than 120 specialty stores such as H&M, Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy and Forever 21.
  • Walmart Super Center
  • Walmart 
    Two Locations: North Spokane and Spokane Valley
  • Target
    Three Locations: North SpokaneSouth Hill and Spokane Valley
  • Costco 
    Two Locations: North Spokane and Spokane Valley


Spokane FallsUniquely Spokane:

Are you new to Spokane and looking for some fun things to do? Or are you a parent trying to kill some time during orientation? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these unique activities that are worth your while!

  • Riverfront Park 
    In the heart of downtown Spokane, Riverfront Park has wonderful scenic views of the Spokane River falls, perhaps best viewed by gondola in the Spokane Falls SkyRide. The park, site of the World’s Fair in 1974, features amusement rides, an IMAX theater , a seasonal outdoor ice skating rink, arcade games, concessions and the historic 1909 Looff  Carrousel. It is a must-see!
  • Manito Park
    Located in the historic South Hill neighborhood, Manito Park features five themed gardens, botanical gardens and duck ponds. This park is roughly 90 acres and is a must see attraction in Spokane.
  • Riverside State Park 
    With 14,000 acres of land to discover, the opportunities to experience this part of our great outdoors is only a quick 20 minute drive from downtown. Hiking, biking, fishing, camping and other outdoor adventures are waiting!
  • Cork District
    The Cork District is where you experience Spokane’s award-winning wines! You can stroll from tasting room to tasting room--find the list of participating “clusters” and download the app!
  • Inland Northwest Ale Trail
    There is a huge--and growing!--selection of local craft breweries to choose from in the Spokane region.  Grab a map because the trail is made up of 27 participating breweries. Collect 12 stamps and cash in for a mini-growler!


Stacks at SteamplantPlaces to Eat:

The Wall Street Journal says Spokane is one of “6 Great Small Cities for Food Lovers.” We agree Spokane is a foodie destination! This is a short list of some of the amazing restaurants you can find around the region. For more places to visit, go to our Food & Drinks page.

Northern Quest Resort & CasinoWhere to Sleep:

There are great lodging options wherever you plan on staying in the region. If you’re looking for a conveniently located hotel within walking distance from school, or a historic experience filled with award-winning amenities, there are many options.

Near Eastern Washington University and the airport:

  • Northern Quest Resort and Casino
    Northern Quest is a AAA Four-Diamond hotel that offers 250 rooms and suites. It has some of the best cuisine in the region at Masselow’s Steak House, a 55,000-square-foot casino floor and a relaxing full service spa. This resort and casino offers just about everything you need.
  • Hilton Garden Inn Spokane Airport
    The Hilton Garden Inn is conveniently located just 1.5 miles from the airport and is a quick drive to EWU. With affordable rates, great service and complimentary parking, this hotel is an easy choice.
  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Cheney
    This hotel is as close to EWU as you can get! That makes it perfect for dropping off the student and getting the folks comfortable. This Holiday Inn offers complimentary amenities, a 24-hour fitness center and an indoor pool -- a great place to stay when you’re here.

Near the U-District (Gonzaga, WSU Spokane, EWU Spokane, UW):

  • Red Lion River Inn
    Only a five minute walk to Gonzaga along the Centennial Trail, this hotel offers complimentary parking, airport shuttle service and a full breakfast. Gonzaga families and students get a special rate when scheduling online. The discount code can be found here.
  • Historic Davenport Hotel
    This historic landmark is one of Spokane’s most beautiful pieces of architecture. The Davenport is more than a hundred years old and its elegant ballrooms, guest rooms and amenities are sure to impress. Right in the heart of downtown, the Davenport is a perfect location to find shopping, dining and entertainment.
  • Double Tree by Hilton Spokane City Center
    Double Tree by Hilton is premium real-estate for riverfront views. It features Spencer’s Steak House, one of the best restaurants for steaks and chops. With premium accommodations, proximity to the Spokane River and being conveniently located right in between downtown and Gonzaga… it’s a good choice.

Near Whitworth and north Spokane:

  • La Quinta Inn & Suites Spokane North 
    Located close to Whitworth University and north Spokane, the La Quinta has free parking, new pillow-top beds and free breakfast. Whitworth students and families get a 20% discount with promo code that can be found here.
  • Quality Inn Oakwood
    Less than two miles from Whitworth, this affordable hotel is pet friendly and offers many amenities. With easy access to north Spokane and only a 15 minute drive from downtown, this is an ideal location to see a different part of the region. 

Looking for more? Check out the Visit Spokane Events Calendar and Special Offers Page for hotel and attraction packages.