Spokane, Washington, is the heart of Eastern Washington and is steeped in a rich history dating back hundreds of years. The city is named after the local Native American tribe and pulls much of its heritage from its first people and the traders who followed as early as 1810. Now, more than 200 years later, it’s a thriving city, and you’re lucky enough to explore it! Here are four places you don’t want to miss when you visit.
Even before it was known as Riverfront Park, the 100 acres of land in downtown Spokane have been home to people for centuries. What used to be a gathering place and fishing grounds for the Spokane Tribe is now the heart of this clean, fun, family-focused, trendy, foodie town. There is a little something for everyone here.
In present day, the park is a great place for a day (or afternoon) trip. No visit is complete without a spin on the historic Looff Carrousel, a cruise on the gondola, a concert at the pavilion, and lunch at the Childhood Express (or as locals call it, “the big red wagon”). Read more about what to find at Riverfront Park here!
Looking for a little culture in your visit? The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (also called the MAC) is a community staple in Spokane. Built in 1916, it’s an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and serves over 100,000 people every year. It specializes in stories, histories, and artists native to the Inland Northwest.
Most people don’t know that the famous Bing Crosby called Spokane home. Born in Tacoma in 1903 as Harry Lillis Crosby Jr., his family moved to Spokane 3 years later where he went on to graduate from Gonzaga High School (now Gonzaga Preparatory School) and Gonzaga University.
The house his family built in 1911 still stands on Sharpe Street and is part of Gonzaga University’s official campus. It’s now a free museum dedicated to the life and works of Bing Crosby, including original manuscripts, photographs, and other memorabilia.
If you like to eat, there’s no question you have to visit Frank’s Diner. Just like everything else on this list, Frank’s has a historic backstory to its unique exterior. It’s hard to miss, as it’s built inside an actual railway dining car. In fact, the dining car was originally built in 1906 and served as the private car for the President of the Northern Pacific Railroad until 1931 when Frank Knight purchased it.
In 1992 Frank’s was moved to its current location and has been functioning as a diner ever since. It has won many local food awards and accolades and is worth a visit, even if just to eat in a 100-year-old train car. Make sure you sample their award-winning breakfast!
In short, the Lilac City is full of history, culture, and so many places to visit. It doesn’t matter if you’ll be here for a week, or just a few hours, there will always be something to do and see that will leave you feeling inspired.
Ready to get more involved in your own community? Read here on ways to help your local library.