Things To Do In Summer

Summertime in Spokane presents seemingly endless possibilities for making the most of the natural wonderland that is the city. Some of the biggest annual festivals and fairs take place and everywhere you look there’s another way to take advantage of the sun shining down on Spokane.

Water Play

If you’re visiting Spokane in the summer, one of the first things you must do is get in the water. 

The area has many public pools and splash pads, all of which are free to enjoy during the warmer months. 

With the Spokane River running through downtown and along the western edge of town, plus the Little Spokane River in the north, the temptation to experience the natural waterways for yourself is one which can and should be immediately satisfied.The waterways include rivers, lakes, and, if you venture out for a day trip, hot springs where you can spend just a few hours or several days engaging in water activities. Plus, there’s always Riverfront Park in the middle of town where you can take in panoramic views of the water, and Huntington Park where you can experience the lower Spokane Falls and feel the river’s mist.

Show Your Pride

Since 1992, the second Saturday in June has been reserved for Spokane’s Pride Parade and Rainbow Festival. The annual celebration of the city’s LGBTQA community is an all-inclusive, family-friendly event drawing over 10,000 people.
 
The festivities begin with the Pride Parade taking off at noon through downtown and ending up in Riverfront Park at the Lilac Meadows where the Rainbow Festival continues the party. The outdoor area hosts live entertainment, a resource and business fair, family area, teen zone, nYne Pride Bar, all-ages dance party beginning at 6 p.m., and a fireworks finale at 10 p.m. An art show also takes place with many artists featuring pride-related artwork.

Cheers to Dad

Celebrate Father’s Day in the city where it all began. Spokane quite literally invented the holiday, or local resident Sonora Smart Dodd did at least, making our town an extra special setting for commemorating the father figure in your life.
 
For the beer-loving dad, there’s the Inland Northwest Ale Trail along which you can cheers to years of fatherhood over a pint of local beer. If your dad is more of a wine fan, the Cork District has winery after winery for toasting the good times. And, Spokane’s many golf courses can’t be beat for bonding time with a touch of friendly competition.

Hoopfest

Every summer during the last weekend of June, Hoopfest descends on Spokane. The largest three-on-three basketball tournament in the world, this yearly athletic event has had a presence in the city since 1990. The massive basketball showdown takes places across 422 courts in downtown with 14,000 games played by nearly 6,000 teams.
 
Everyone from schoolchildren to college athletes play for the bragging rights of division champ. Combined with a street festival where entertainment, food, and shopping are at every turn, the sight of streets cordoned off and spectators crowding the curbs is one not to be missed.

4th of July

The launching of hundreds of fireworks for the Fourth of July is standard practice for any American town. However, in Spokane you get double the display because the show in the sky takes place over the Spokane River gorge at Riverfront Park where the water reflects the lights to spectacular results. There’s live music and performances going all day, and of course, food vendors. Independence Day celebrations also take place at Kendall Yards, in Liberty Lake at Pavilion Park, and at the Avista Stadium during a Spokane Indians baseball game for the ultimate all-American tradition.

Experience the Bounty

For your summer trip to Spokane, you’ll also want to be sure to visit Green Bluff Growers. The collection of over 35 farms, orchards, wineries, and breweries is in peak form for summer with the plants they’ve been working on all year finally ripening for your enjoyment.
 
Just 15-20 minutes away from Spokane, the many farms offer the opportunity for you to pick your own produce and there’s plenty for the pickin’. Stop by in June for strawberry season, visit in July for cherries, and make a trip in August for the plentiful peach season. Beyond these popular fruits, there are a ton of other produce items you can pick or purchase already picked, in addition to baked goods from country kitchens prepared with the freshest, just-picked fruits. There’s always something going on during the weekends, from petting zoos and live music to craft fairs and special dining events, just be sure to check their event calendar before you head up.

Gathering at the Falls Powwow

Every August the weekend before Labor Day, dancers and singers from native and first nations communities across the country gather together in Riverfront Park. For generations, the Falls were a traditional meeting place for large salmon (chinook) fishing and cultural exchange. While the chinook no longer travel to the falls due to waterway changes and commercial fishing, the Gathering at the Falls Powwow continues this legacy of cultural celebration by welcoming dancers and singers from more than 200 tribes and hundreds of diverse spectators every year.  

The schedule includes many family events including Grand Entries, traditional dance exhibitions and competitions, Powwow Royalty Pageant, plus the Family Fun and Youth Powwow day closing things out on Sunday. Don’t forget to shop the Native American Art Market for awesome gifts and mementos. Entrance to the powwow is free with food, including Indian tacos, for sale.

Foodie Heaven

One of the best things about Spokane is the diverse food scene, but there are only so many restaurants you can visit during your limited time in the city. Pig Out in the Park is a six-day food and music festival where you can taste the best food Spokane has to offer in one location. The much-anticipated event has been a summer staple since 1979.
 
With 47 food booths, you can try everything from Middle Eastern kebabs and gourmet grilled cheese to Caribbean cuisine and outrageous desserts like grilled pound cake topped with berries and whipped cream and crusted in brown sugar. It all takes place Labor Day weekend at Riverfront Park with three stages featuring performances from national, regional, and local acts.

Summer Symphony

Another Labor Day weekend event you’ll want to experience is the Spokane Symphony’s free outdoor performances. Taking place at Pavilion Park and Comstock Park on separate days, the concerts take occur around sunset so you can take in the sounds of string and wind instruments as the sky changes from blue to soft pink and orange hues. Bring a blanket or folding chairs, perhaps a dinner picnic, and you’ve got the perfect way to bid farewell to summer.
 
The Spokane Symphony also puts on their Soirée on the Edge series at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars in August. The two-concert series coincides with the winery’s annual Summer Concerts Series which begins in May and goes through September. The idyllic cliff-top location has panoramic views and park-like grounds which set the stage for a magical evening of music and wine.

County Fair

Signaling the end of summer is upon us is the Spokane County Interstate Fair beginning the Friday after Labor Day. For over 66 years now, the 10-day event has been a flurry of agricultural appreciation, performances, food on a stick, and thrill rides. Bring the whole family to cruise the midway games and wide variety of demonstrations and exhibits.
 
Citizens of the region are invited to participate by entering their arts and crafts, livestock, photography, and horticulture achievements, plus a whole lot more, into the running for awards and you can peruse all the handiwork of Spokane’s very own. There’s the 4H Barn where you might learn something about the animals that help make our modern life possible, pig races with adorable piglets full of sprightly energy, lively rodeos with bucking broncos, and music at the grandstands where national acts perform.

Spokane summers are a special time where the community comes together for beloved events and the city is transformed into a playground of adventures. Plan you summer trip to Spokane and prepare to experience some of the best the city has to offer.

Spokane Spotlights