Riverfront Park occupies 100 acres of land and water in the heart of Downtown on the site of Expo '74 (the World's Fair.) The park itself is free, but some of the attractions within it have admission fees. Visitors can walk along the river, look at the falls, feed the ducks, admire sculptures, picnic on the grass, or watch children slide down the giant red wagon.
Many special events are held in the park during the year--Fourth of July celebrations, Pig Out (a restaurant fair), Native American Powwows, Unity in the Community (celebrating diversity), music festivals, health fairs, etc.
Park attractions requiring tickets include: Skyride over the Spokane Falls, Looff Carrousel, IMAX Theater, miniature golf, amusement rides (Spring/summer), ice skating (winter) You can buy a punch ticket for the rides (purchase from a booth in the pavilion) or get a day pass that includes almost everything. Season passes are also available.
The punch ticket, or token, is available with 1, 3,6,12 and 24 punches, and costs $1.75 to $22.49 (plus tax.) Attractions take 2 - 4 punches per ride and are not good at the IMAX, Mini-golf or Skyride.
Summer Day Pass ('09 rates) – All ages, per day…… $15.49* *plus tax
Includes unlimited rides on the Red Baron, Bumper Cars, SR-2, Choo Choo Train, Bumper Boats, Tilt-a-Whirl, Ferris Wheel, Dragon Coaster, Sizzler, Berry-Go-Round, Tour Train, Carrousel*, Miniature Golf, & IMAX Regular Feature.
The Day Pass does not include the Sky Ride or IMAX Special Engagements
There is a $4.00 upgrade for each of these attractions.
Winter Day Passes: ('09)
All Ages, Per Day ............................$13.99 plus admission tax
Includes: skating admission, skate rental, one IMAX regular feature, two carrousel rides (when open) and mini-golf
No cars in the park. There are 2 pay parking lots on Post St., 3 or 4 more just north of the park, and a parking garage just across Spokane Falls Blvd
You think you know the city, know the food, know the people and culture. Throw it all out of the window because this food tour served us up some humble pie (metaphorically). We went on one of their trial run tours as it's a new concept in Spokane. The guide told us it was adapted after some food tours the owner went on in a few major cities...apparently all of them lacked the intimate detail and "superb guiding" to make the tour special. The first thing agreed upon when developing this tour was, "no big cities." This is an idea we loved because you can often get lost in the megatropolises of our country. We walked about 2.5 miles and the tour takes around three hours. In the end, the food was good the history of downtown Spokane was great and for 39 bucks, there plain and simply is no better tour in all of the region.
No fancy names for this annual event! Pig Out is descriptive—tons of food of every sort, prepared and served in Riverfront Park by local restaurants. There are usually 40-50 food booths, with nothing costing over $9.00 (2011). There are beer gardens for the adults, and live entertainment the whole time—about 50 bands, ranging from rock to country to jazz. Some of the bands are local; others, including a few bigger names, come in for the event. Pig Out in the Park started in 1979, and has grown bigger over the years.
Pig Out starts on the Wednesday or Thursday before Labor Day, and runs through Monday (Labor Day.) Hours: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
I've lived here nearly all my life and couldn't believe the Spokane River could be so much fun. We saw beavers, osprey hunting and even a couple of bald eagles. We didn't think the whitewater would be too challenging...we were right but it was still very exciting. The Bowl and Pitcher and the Devil's Toenail were two Class 3+ rapids that were super fun and just easily enough to give anyone a quick thrill.
We've had some family come into town and we tell them all to go rafting with ROW on the Spokane to experience something new and unique. I'm confident all would say it was the funnest thing they did during their stay. Keep it up ROW...we'll bring people every year!
Riverfront Park's 1909 Looff Carrousel is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of America's most beautiful and well preserved hand-carved wooden carrousels. It features 54 horses, 1 giraffe, 1 tiger, and 2 Chinese dragon chairs. All of the figures are original.
The horses were made from laminated poplar planks, and are hollow inside. The tiger is one of only 3 ever made for a carrousel, and it is the only one still in operation.
The carrousel is open year round except for 6 weeks during Jan-Feb. for annual maintenance.
June 12 to Sept 7, 2009 - Open Daily 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. on Fridays & Saturdays) Winter hours: Closes at 6 p.m. (8 p.m. on Fri. & Sat.)
Tokens: $2 for adults; $1.25 for children
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.
As you wander around downtown Spokane, watch for artwork on underpasses and on the sides of buildings. Most of the walls where the freeway or the train passes overhead are covered in murals. Some are one large painting; others are composed of many individual blocks like a quilt. The small blocks are community projects, painted by people who respond to an announcement, but a few of the large ones are by professionals. I especially like the marmots at Division and Sprague.
There are also 8-10 large paintings of local scenes on the second-story walls of some downtown buildings. An ad agency did them, planning to attract attention and then put ads underneath. The ads never really happened, but the paintings remain.
If you enjoy live theater, Spokane has a variety of options:
Interplayers Professional Theater
174 S. Howard St. (509) 455-7529
Interplayers has been performing for 30 years, and their building is on the National Historic Register. They put on 7-8 plays per year, Sept.-May -- 3 weeks each, Wed-Sat, and some weekend matinees.
Spokane Civic Theater
1020 N. Howard St. (509) 325-2507
www.spokanecivictheatre.com (Note that theatre is spelled "re")
This community theater started in 1947, and is still going strong. There are 6-7 plays (Sept.- June) in the main theater, and another 4 (less mainstream) in the smaller theater
INB Performing Arts Center
334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. (509) 279-7000
This is the place to see touring "Best of Broadway" shows (usually about 6 per year) as well as musical events.
Spokane Children's Theater
315 W. Mission (509) 328-4886
Plays for children (Willy Wonka, Snow White, etc.) - 4 plays this year.
This website is pretty good about upcoming events and not biased about the type of event.
Another must have in Spokane info is a weekly free paper called "The Inlander". Very similar to what is in Chicago,Seattle and Orlando but better(Thank you Orlando, but I can do with out learning what "snowballing" is.) You can find it at various locations starting every Thursday(for the S. hill and downtown cosmopolitan/indie wannabes) and on Friday morning for the rest of the dregs of spokane. They also have a good website.
This 90-acre park, established in 1904, is a great place for visitors who like gardens and flowers. Attractions (all free) include:
Duncan Gardens - Constructed in 1912 on 3 acres - a classical European Renaissance garden with symmetrical beds and central fountain. The adjacent Greenhouse (conservatory) is full of exotic plants, all with labels.
The Rose Garden – developed in the 1940s, and now contains 150 varieties of roses
Perennials Garden – over 300 labeled plant species
The Lilac Garden – constructed in 1912. It contains over 100 lilacs representing 23 species.
The Japanese Garden – Established in 1974, it symbolizes the friendship between Spokane and its sister city, Nishinomiya. It is a tranquil place with beautiful Japanese landscaping, a waterfall, bridges and koi pond.
The Duck Pond – Ducks and geese, shade trees, and benches.
Playground and picnic area – Children’s play equipment, charcoal grills and firepits, picnic tables.
There is a loop road that goes past everything, with parking lots near the main gardens. It also makes a very pleasant 1 ½ -mile walking tour. The “Park Bench” Café (open in the summers only) has sandwiches, cold drinks and snacks available for purchase.
Photo 5 is a map of the park.
Spokane has some really nice sculptures in Riverfront Park and just outside it, and the Visitor's Bureau (201 W. Main St.) has a map with descriptions.
Sculptures include a local astronaut who died in the Columbia Space Shuttle; a giant concrete Japanese lantern; sculptures honoring mining, nursing, and Vietnam Vets; a mountain sheep; the Bloomsday runners; and the Garbage Goat.
One nice piece (at Monroe St. & Spokane Falls Blvd) is a poem engraved in granite formed in a large spiral (Photo 2.) The poem, "The Place Where Ghosts of Salmon Jump," is by Sherman Alexie.
Bloomsday is the largest timed road race in the country, and a huge community event. It has been held annually on the first Sunday in May since 1977. It is a 12k run (about 7.5 mi.) with an advance entry fee of $15.
For the elite athletes, it is a competition with prize money. For the back of the pack, it is more like a giant party. Over 50,000 people of all ages participate, ranging from serious runners to babies in strollers. Everyone gets an official time.
There will be people in gorilla suits, pink tutus, tuxedos, funny t-shirts, and other wacky costumes. The whole course is lined with onlookers, and there is entertainment all along the way—a garage band in one block; a bunch of guys in skeleton masks drumming on buckets a little further on. At the top of a long, grueling hill, there is a guy in a giant vulture suit (Photo 2)
Participants get their race packets at the convention center on Friday or Saturday before before the race. The Bloomsday Trade Show that is going on at the same time is fun, even if you aren't entered in Bloomsday.
The MAC has 6 galleries—Exhibits may be from the Museum’s permanent collection or from temporary exhibits they bring in. They have a very good Native American collection. Recent traveling exhibits have ranged from Sue (the dinosaur) to Star Wars.
One Saturday each month, there are special hands-on activities for kids--usually crafts that fit the theme of one of the current exhibits.
The 1898 Campbell House next door is owned by the MAC, and is included in the admission fee IF the house is open. (Sometimes it’s not.) There is a nice little café in the Museum also.
Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Adults - $7; Students & Seniors (62+) - $5
Visit the "Enchanted Forest" and try your hand at a round of miniature golf.
The indoor mini-golf course is open daily.
Tickets are available at Guest Services and in the Imax Theater.
9 holes: $4.00 - included with season & day passes
18 holes: $6.50 - included with season & day passes
The SkyRide is a 15 minute ride in an enclosed gondola "cabin." Each of the 15 cabins is ADA compliant and can hold 6 passengers. The cabin windows open for clear photos.
The ride travels past the art deco City Hall, then gradually drops down 200 feet over the Huntington Park Natural Area. From there, it goes across the Spokane River, under the historic Monroe Street bridge and then returns to Riverfront Park. The best views are March through June, when the water is high.
The SkyRide is open daily March through October, and weekends and holidays November through February.
Ticket Fees: Adults - $7.25
Teens 13 - 17, Seniors, Military w/ I.D. - $6.25
Children 3 - 12 - $4.00
Children 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.