Spokane Rising

Spokane, the second-largest city in the state, thrives as the unofficial capital of the Inland Northwest with a booming riverfront, world-class dining, a growing cork district and brewery scene, and epic annual festivals.

Downtown’s 100-acre Riverfront Park is undergoing a complete renovation, transforming the park’s pavilion into a flexible-use event space to host an array of events, from a summer concert series to an outdoor film festival. Meanwhile, new access points have opened along the Spokane River, giving recreationists more opportunities to enjoy the waterway. Another major attraction here is Spokane Falls, a roaring waterfall that cuts through downtown at a rate of 31,000 cubic feet per second. Feel the mist from up close on a footbridge or soak in the sight on the SkyRide gondola.   

The dining scene is heating up, too. In fact, the Wall Street Journal recognized Spokane as one of “6 Great Small Cities for Food Lovers,” shining a national spotlight on the town and its growing number of James Beard–recognized chefs. Chad White, chef at game-centric eatery Native Post & Provisions and a recent Top Chef contestant, is leading the charge to put Spokane on the map as a foodie destination, opening ceviche bar Zona Blanca inside downtown’s new beer hot spot, the Steel Barrel Taproom.

On the beer front, the self-guided Inland Northwest Ale Trail is booming, expanding to include 41 breweries from its original 27. Standouts include No-Li Brewhouse and River City Brewing. And downtown’s Cork District stars 18 award-winning wineries, all located within walking distance. Head 30 minutes outside of town to reach Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, one of the oldest wineries in the region with a glorious vineyard view.

Burn off all those calories during some of Spokane’s epic annual fests. The city is home to Bloomsday, one of the world’s largest timed footraces held the first Sunday in May—the 12k attracts some 50,000 participants each year. Then there’s Hoopfest, the world’s largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament, attracting 7,000 teams to 450 courts spread across 42 city blocks. 

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