You know that feeling when you find out about something really cool before anyone else does? How groovy you feel when you’re ahead of the trend? I’ll tell you, I’m feeling like the cat’s pajamas since visiting Spokane, Washington. I feel like I’ve discovered the next big thing. On one hand, I want to tell everyone I know all about Spokane; on the other, I want to keep it all to myself. Like so many others who are the first to know, it’s hard to keep my mouth shut about something so awesome, so I’ll share why I love Spokane so much – and why you will, too.
Spokane is unassuming
Spokane isn’t flashy. It’s not pushing its way to the front of the stage to get noticed. Spokane knows how cool it is and is just kind of hanging out in the background, willing to wait to get its share of the spotlight. Spokane has very good reason to call all kinds of attention to itself, but it doesn’t. It’s just out there, doing its thing. Spokane likes to think of itself as “the hassle-free antidote to the friction in modern living.” I picked up on that during my brief visit and realized I’m a lot like Spokane in that way, which is why I felt like I fit right in.
“Near nature, near perfect”
Outdoor adventure is, like, right there. No need to travel away from the Spokane Region for top-notch outdoor recreation opportunities. Spokane is unique in that it has a roaring river gorge running right through the city. It’s an urban outdoor playground – the best of both worlds, as far as I’m concerned. This is what brings nature-seekers to Spokane and what keeps them there; Spokane’s culture is deeply rooted in the outdoors. Its position in the Intermountain Northwest (situated between the Cascades and the Rockies) provides miles of hiking, biking, and ski trails. The region’s 76 rivers and lakes are a water-sports enthusiast’s dream. All of these natural features also mean one more thing: sensational scenery.
As I was born, raised, and educated in the Midwest, our history lessons didn’t focus a whole lot on the Northwest regions of the country. Sure, we learned about the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis & Clark, and the California Gold Rush, but I’m sure no lessons were dedicated to the history of Spokane, Washington. I had no idea that Spokane was once known as the Imperial City of the Inland Empire. That’s right, Spokane was kind of a big deal back in the 1880s. Gold was discovered in the Cour d’Alene mining district in 1883 and Spokane became the service center for the North Idaho mines. In that same year, Spokane was linked transcontinentally with the Pacific Northern Railroad and soon became the center of regional commerce. Such prosperity and population growth led to majestic homes and buildings being constructed, many of which are still standing today. In fact, 50% of Spokane’s downtown is designated as historic and makes up three separate National Register Historic Districts.
All kinds of family fun
Above, I mentioned the outdoor recreation possibilities in the Spokane Region, many of which are suitable for all members of the family. But that’s not all there is for families to do.
- Mobius Children’s Museum, designed for children ages 8 and under.
- Mobius Science Center, for “people ages 8 to 108”; features inquiry-based exhibits and skill-building activities.
- Riverfront Park, 100-acre area on the Spokane River with outstanding views of thunderous Spokane Falls; a 100-year-old carousel; a skating ribbon; and cable-car rides over the waterfall.
- Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, appealing more to older kids/teens and adults.
- Big Red Wagon, a larger-than-life Radio Flyer wagon with a giant slide for kids to play and use their imagination.
Close (enough) to Yellowstone National Park
The only thing better than another visit to Spokane, Washington, would be to combine it with a future trip to my beloved Yellowstone. It is approximately 500 miles from the western portion of Yellowstone, a straight shot on I-90 through some of the most beautiful parts of the U.S. Spokane also offers the added convenience of an extremely efficient international airport, to and from which you can fly for your Yellowstone adventure. Spokane International Airport services 17 different U.S. cities via non-stop flights, including Chicago (O’Hare AND Midway), Minneapolis, and Denver. Of course, I think you should plan a visit to Spokane, Washington, no matter what. Being so close to Yellowstone is just an added bonus.
I could go on and on about what makes Spokane such a fantastic city. I didn’t even touch on the food and drink! But I will – in future articles. For now, just know that even though my time in Spokane was brief, it was long enough to realize that I absolutely #LoveSpokane, and would love even more to return.
Visit Spokane hosted me but this fact has no bearing on how positively I speak about the city. I’d gush about it no matter what. Needless to say, all thoughts and opinions are, as always, 100% my own.