Take anything you usually would when it comes to bags. In the winter: warm clothing....it snows here and can get as cold as -30 (C).
In the spring and fall: it rains a lot and can be chilly. Bring a warm jacket with you.
In summer: it can be very hot (40 C) so bring clothes for warm climates...but bring some clothing for cooler days because it tends to rain a lot and also can get very cold very suddenly. sunblock is a must in summer and if sking. Bring your usual photo equipment. There are many national forests in the surrounding area and it is 30 minutes from Idaho and it's wilds from Spokane. So there are a lot of great places to go and take photos. Usual camping gear...according to the time of year.
Spokane's Best Coffee
The Shop at 9th and Perry. But it's more than Just a Another Coffee House. On Saturdays, during the summer, there's the free movie in the parking lot (bring your own chair). Every month features works by a different artist. The staff is super friendly and efficient. UPDATE: Now Serving Lunch, as well as the yummy bagels for breakfast.
The Spokane River runs through the center of the city, creating some beautiful nature areas such as Riverfront Park, the recreation paths, and River Side Parks. Just after passing Riverfront Park, the river cascades down a series of falls, creating a very unique feature that is not found in other American cities.
Trips up Mt. Spokane are always beautiful. Just remember that in winter, the top of the mountain is closed off. If you want to reach the top, you need to take the trip up during warm months after the snow has melted.
There is skiing at the resort here in winter, if they have gotten enough snow.
My adopted hometown
People often ask me why I chose to move from Seattle to Spokane. I have several reasons. First, having grown up in lazy Eastern Washington, I found the urban atmosphere of Seattle to be a bit stressful to live in. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it better if I lived in a quiet neighborhood other than the U-District. That brings me to my second point, which is that Spokane is a much more affordable place to live than Seattle. Rent is lower, entertainment is cheaper, parking does not cost an arm and a leg, etc. I am not the only one who has discovered this, since I have met many Californian transplants who have stated the same thing. And because so many of us have moved here from metropolitan areas, the city is actually starting to accommodate some of our more cosmopolitan tastes such as fine dining, arts and music, etc. It's not perfect. Sometimes the simplistic values of the Old West clash with the new urban trends. But the price is right, and it doesn't rain 80% of the year, you know?
"More Cosmopolitan Than You Might Think..."
I'm very annoyed that people have been listing Applebees and other chain establishments under tips for Spokane, because there are some really unique restaurants and things to do here if you know where to look! One thing that surprises all of my big city friends who come to visit is the availability of cultural activities and trendy, urban establishments that you would not expect to find in the boonies of the Pacific Northwest. You have to keep in mind that Spokane is actually a college town (Gonzaga, Whitworth, EWU, WSU, numerous community colleges), plus many Californians have moved here from metropolitan areas. It's only natural that we have things like the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, a beautiful Japanese Garden at Manito Park, classical music and ballet performances at the Spokane Opera House, live jazz music at Ella's Supper Club, well-known rock bands on tour at The Big Easy, and numerous festivals throughout the year including "First Night" on New Year's Eve. The fireworks display on 4th of July at Riverfront Park is incredible. And you cannot leave Spokane without riding the antique carousel, one of only two left of it's kind in the entire world. As for shopping, Riverpark Square is by far the classiest looking mall I have ever seen anywhere. It doesn't have as much selection as bigger malls like Northtown, but it's worth a visit just because the foyer is impressive. Spokane also is not immune to the coffee craze attributed to Seattle, so you can find plenty of great coffee shops and espresso stands. Just check out my tips for more information.