Things To Do in Spring
As the city begins to defrost and transform from a snow-covered wonderland into a flourishing landscape teaming with new life, Spokane blooms with things to do. Springtime in the Lilac City is the best time to discover how apt the town’s official nickname really is.
Ease into spring with a performance capturing the spirit of the season. March is the ideal time to catch a show; while the weather begins to climb into friendlier temperatures you can stay cozy under the house lights of Spokane’s theaters showcasing cultural delights brought to life in large scale.
The Spokane Symphony is a perennial must-do for any list of trip ideas, but this enriching experience can be especially inspiring in the spring. Imagine taking in a stirring performance of 70 musicians working in unison to revive centuries-old masterpieces right before your eyes. Taking place in the historic Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, an art deco gem from 1931, you then walk outside to see sprouts of green peeking out from the snow, stretching towards the sun and towards a new chapter. The combination of talent, history, and revival is one you can’t help but feel moved by and perfectly sums up the spring sentiment.
WestCoast Entertainment’s Best of Broadway series at the INB Performing Arts Center also offers an opportunity for cultural enrichment through the performing arts. Their spring performances always bring some of the biggest musicals in history to Spokane and have included everything from “West Side Story” and “Mamma Mia” to “The Sound of Music” and “Flashdance.”
Both the Spokane Symphony and Best of Broadway have a full list of performances throughout the spring season.
As it begins to warm up towards the end of April and into May, spring fun runs and walks flourish in the gradually temperate weather. Two of April’s biggest events include the three-mile Spokane Walk to Defeat ALS and five-mile Spring Dash run in Coeur d'Alene benefitting the United Way of North Idaho. Participating in either of these fundraisers will get your blood pumping and prepare you for a summer of activity.
Since 1977, the annual Bloomsday race has been held on the first Sunday in May. Drawing thousands of runners from all over the country, Bloomsday is the world’s largest timed road race. The 12K run is open to runners, walkers, wheelchairs, assisted wheelchairs, and strollers, making it an inclusive event for all. Participants can choose to keep it casual and run or walk for the fun of it, or get competitive for a chance at the prize money and first place title.
As the unofficial start of spring for Spokane, runners and walkers toss off their sweaters as they run. More than a symbolic act, the clothing is actually donated to charity. The event goes beyond running and walking in other ways too. A two-day trade show precedes Bloomsday with fitness products, activities, and events at the Spokane Convention Center; and race proceeds benefit a designated charity every year.
As spring progresses with nature providing a show that’s on display everywhere you look in Spokane, the local wine community has something new to share as well. The Cork District’s Spring Release Wine Weekend occurs over Mother’s Day weekend and debuts over 20 new wines from Spokane’s very own collection of wineries. With all of the more than 15 wine producers in the Cork District opening their doors for tastings, tours, entertainment, and activities, there’s no better time to get to know this side of the city and celebrate the mother figure in your life.
Lilac Festival, the Spokane event to top all Spokane events, makes its much anticipated yearly appearance in May. Celebrating the area’s beautiful spring lilacs, the culmination comes in the form of the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade featuring floats, marching bands, dancers, and military units from the Intermountain Northwest; however, there are plenty of events leading up to the parade as well.
Since part of the event’s mission is to empower youth, a royal court of princesses is assembled from high school seniors with one crowned the festival queen to preside over the parade. Tea parties, a gala, and car show are among the other festivities. The event also honors the military by including active members and veterans from all over the region with a military hero selected to act as the Parade Grand Marshall every year.
With the spring lilacs firmly in bloom, June brings the opportunity to peruse local gardens during the Spokane in Bloom Garden Tour. The self-guided event showcases exceptional private gardens in a select area of the city. The gardens can be large or small, professionally designed or DIY fabulous, and all are sure to be spectacularly unique. While you’re out touring gardens, be sure to visit the Lilac Garden at Manito Park where Spokane’s very own lilac, the Syringa Spokane, can be viewed. Along with the double pink hybrid lilac, visitors can view 23 distinct species of lilacs in all their springtime grandeur.
Wrap up spring by dancing your way into summer during any of the multiple music festivals taking place in June. ElkFest is a free, three-day event in the historic Browne’s Addition neighborhood. This weekend full of live music and food has the feel of a large neighborhood block party with the stage brought outdoors to the street.
ArtFest combines music, art, and food the weekend after Memorial Day and is sponsored by the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. Taking place over the course of three days, the free outdoor event brings art to the masses through artist demonstrations, art vendors, and live music. Shop artistic creations like paintings and crafts, try out the food trucks and booths, and relax in the beer garden for a day well spent appreciating the arts.
Volume Inlander Music Festival runs two days and packs in one hundred local and national acts from all over the Northwest. If you’ve never experienced Downtown Spokane, it’s a great way to explore this part of the city since performances pop up across nine venues downtown. There’s even a party bus to transport wristband holders from venue to venue.
Visit Spokane in the springtime to experience the city’s finest cultural events, run or walk with thousands of friendly residents and visitors, take in the city blossoms, and dance your heart out. Choose to do it all or dive deep into any one of the treasured events and you’ll soon discover what makes a Spokane spring season so special.