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Distinctly Washington- The City of Spokane
Known as the Lilac City, Spokane is the second largest city in Washington. Set in a vibrant fertile Valley, Spokane embraces the banks of the Spokane River with numerous mountain activities nearby. At the heart of the city lies Riverfront Park, a one hundred-acre park that was created for Expo ’74 of the first environmentally themed world’s fair.
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The prestigious Great Northern Clocktower presides over the park. Riverfront Park is also home to the hand-carved Looff Carousal and other iconic attractions like Spokane Falls Gondola Skyride.
You can see Queen Anne and Victorian-style architecture in many Spokane neighborhoods like Brown’s Addition. For classic Gothic architecture, take a tour of St. John’s Cathedral located in the popular district of South Hill. Historic buildings like Riverside Place and the Spokane Flour Mill are also architecturally noteworthy and helpful in shedding light on Spokane’s storied past.
Although Spokane has spent most of the last century as a mining, farming and manufacturing city, it is making the move into more of a service-oriented economy. Focusing on tourism, arts and sciences new construction like the mid-sized concert hall, The Knitting Factory bring nationally renowned performances to the area.
The Museum of Arts and Culture is the largest cultural organization in the Inland Northwest and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. The museum’s permanent collection of indigenous and pioneer artifacts serves as recollection of the Northeast Washington region. National touring exhibitions are on featured display here throughout the year.
The Martin Woldsom Theater at the Historic Fox Theater is another great place where you can take in live shows. From the Spokane Symphony concert series to productions of the Nutcracker, this restored 1931 theater features Art Deco Murals and boasts of great performances by legends of the past including Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.
There are plenty of events and festivals for you to enjoy in Spokane throughout the year. If you are visiting around the New Year the annual First Night Spokane ushers in the passage of time with firework displays, live music and dancing. Pig Out in The Park takes place Memorial Day weekend and features food from over 40 vendors in Riverfront Park. Three stages offer free concerts and the Public Market fills with vendors offering everything from fine art to tie-dyed accessories.
Spring time brings fragrant hues of purple to Spokane at Lilac Garden at Manito Park. Lilac Festival, held every May, showcases a golf tournament and art show. The kick-off Armed Forces Torchlight Parade is one of the largest parades in the nation of its kind.
There is no shortage of wine tasting rooms and vineyards in the fertile valleys near Spokane. Spokane Valley and Columbia Valley are home to award-winning varietals like a rich fruity Malbec and crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Arbor Crest Wine Cellars is set in the historic Cliff House Estate overlooking the Spokane River Valley. It features a wine bar and Fireside Music Series every Friday and Saturday night.
For snowboarding and skiing in the area, Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park is just 23-miles north of Spokane off State Route 206. The 13,000-acre park is home to a tubing hill, 45 designated runs and a terrain park. 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort is just ten miles further north on the ridges of Chewelah Mountain. The ski resort offers 82 marked trails, a terrain park, and a cross country and snowshoe center.
Although Spokane has been called, ‘the antidote to the friction of modern living’, the city continues to usher in progression and transform the past into a future of distinction and worthy of renown.