The original 160 acre of land that James Glover bought back in 1873 was shaped like a “T” with the majority of the land being on the south side of the river and a smaller piece extending across the river where Riverfront Park is today including a small area of land on the north side. That original land purchase made back in 1873 is roughly the footprint of Downtown Spokane today.
Today more than ever, the downtown area of Spokane is full of life and energy. With its arts music and dining, Downtown Spokane offers a cultural experience that rivals cities five times its size.
The Crown Jewel of Downtown Spokane is Riverfront Park. Riverfront Park is a hundred acre park spanning the Spokane River including the Upper Spokane Falls, two islands and eight foot bridges. The park is a resulted after the city cleaned up an industrial area of downtown for a location to host the 1974 World’s Fair. The theme of the World’s Fair was “A fresh new environment”, and that is exactly what it left the city of Spokane.
That was 43 years ago and now the park is going through some renovation. This summer, our prized Riverfront Park with all its construction surrounded by chain-link fences, is not looking its best. Hopefully next spring it will reemerge even more glorious than it was before. In addition to the badly needed reconstruction of the Howard Street Bridge, there will be a meandering ice ribbon and a new home for the carrousel.
Huntington Park is the new kid of the downtown park scene. It is on the south bank of the Spokane River between the Post Street Bridge and the Monroe Street Bridge. You enter the park between the red brick Washington Water Power building and City Hall. With a spectacular view of the Lower Spokane Falls and some very cool art work, Huntington Park is a must do.
One of the best times to really experience the downtown art scene is on First Friday. On the first Friday of each month many downtown businesses host art exhibits from one or more artists. As with any other Friday evening in Spokane there is a huge variety of food and drink to choose from but on First Friday the cultural experience is kicked up a notch.
With so many annual events hosted in Downtown Spokane, it seems like there is always something going on. Things like the Lilac Parade, Blooms Day, Hoopfest, St Patrick’s Day Parade, Spokefest, Pig Out in the Park and the list goes on.
This year, the weekend fallowing Pig Out in the Park will be the first annual three day Tinnabulation Music Festival. This one will cost you an entrance fee though. One day wristbands will cost $43.50. There will be more than 50 bands on four stages over the three day weekend. If you listen to an indie rock station, you will likely recognize several of the bands. Spokane is already an event rich town, but we can always make room for one more cool annual event.
There are 13 different wine tasting rooms in the downtown area that refer to themselves as the Cork District. Washington State is the second largest wine producing state in the country and Downtown Spokane is a great place to taste some Washington wines. The Cork District sponsors a handful of special wine events throughout the year.
If you have something a little more hoppy in mind, there are six breweries in Downtown Spokane. If you think visiting six breweries is a reason not to drive, you can walk less than a mile and hit them all. You will also find many of the beers brewed at these breweries as well as other local breweries served on tap at numerous pubs and restaurants in Downtown Spokane.
If you just take a Friday evening or a Saturday afternoon to come explore your downtown, I can promise that you will find something new.
Written by:Todd Hays