The smallest city to host a World Fair, Spokane is a gateway to the northwest Rockies, the Colombia Valley Wine Region and the Glacier National Park. Nicknamed the "Lilac City", it is a city in Washington State. It was home to Bing Crosby and is where you will find the 2nd largest urban waterfall in the United States. With more than half of the downtown's buildings being on the Historic Register, it has a wealth of things to do to keep you occupied. Sitting on the Spokane River within a 1-hour drive to 76 lakes plus dozens of rivers, it is a magnet for the outdoor enthusiast.
Initially home to the Spokane people (aka children of the sun) between 13,000 and 8,000 years ago, it was first settled in 1810 with the establishment of the North West Company's Spokane House, a trading post. In 1881 with the completion of the Northern Pacific Railway, settlers arrived and the town's economy was based on mining, timber and agriculture.
Apart from exploring the wild outdoors on your doorstep, make sure you take a look around the old Romanesque Revival style buildings downtown that were built after the Great Fire in 1889. For the museum wanderers there is the Smithsonian-affiliated Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and for those in need of some salvation there is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Take a break from being the out-of-towner and rub shoulders with some locals at the Manito Park having a picnic or visit the Japanese and the dahlia gardens, sit on a bench and just smell the roses. During the winter months, grab a sled and slide down the hills. There is direct access to the Centennial Trail, a 37-mile path going from Idaho state line to Nine Mile Falls perfect for skating, biking or a thumping run. The Spokane Falls and the nearby river gorge are stunning to meander around. Found within the Riverfront Park, it is one of the most spectacular urban parks in America.
When a bit of indulgence is on the agenda, head to 1 of 20 wineries in the region such as Barrister Winery or Townshend Cellar for a bit of sampling of the local variety.
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