On October 16, 2012Pam Scott answered the question:Spokane hosts the world’s largest three-on-three basketball tournament in the streets of downtown. For 21 years, during the last weekend in June, Spokane’s Hoopfest takes over the streets of downtown Spokane with roughly 7,000 teams, 3,000 volunteers, 250,000 players and fans on 458 courts covering 42 city blocks. Ballers from third grade to 93-years-old take to the courts over two days until the best teams in each bracket are named. The event holds a Guinness World Record for the largest streetball tournament from back in 2009, and even a few NBA players have been known to join the crowd.
On October 16, 2012Pam Scott answered the question:The best thing to bring home from Spokane is easily wine or whiskey. Washington is the second-largest wine producing state following California. The wines crafted by the 20-plus wine brands in Spokane include cabernet sauvignon and merlot. While the region is best known for its red wines, the local whites produced in Spokane are now gaining ground. The local distillery in Spokane is also famous it its own right. The international award-winning Dry Fly Distillery hand crafts vodka, gin and whiskey so fine from local ingredients that it can be sipped straight.
On October 16, 2012Pam Scott answered the question:Before you leave Spokane, make sure you cross off at least one of these five best food experiences on our list:
1. Frank’s Diner. Voted “Spokane’s Best Breakfast” by numerous local magazines for more years than anyone can count, this former rail car turned diner offers white gravy and fried onions on top of hash browns.
2. The Onion. The popular spot has been around since 1978 and is the place to go to be deliciously bad: burgers of every kind, fish and chips, onion rings, even fried Oreo cookies (by request) make up the large menu.
3. Bruttles. Bruttles is the creation of Sophia Gerkensmeyer who came up with the idea to make soft peanut brittle. She developed the recipe on a large slab of marble she purchased from The Davenport Hotel back in 1951 for $20. Today, Gerkensmeyer’s great niece has mastered the secret recipe and turned it into a successful candy business, still using the original piece of marble.
4. Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle. Located in a building shaped like a giant milk bottle, Mary Lou’s offers heavenly homemade ice cream and makes for a great stop while strolling through Spokane’s Garland District. The neat neighborhood has a local bakery, guitar shop and historic theater with one-dollar movies.
5. Beck’s Harvest House. Situated on top of Green Bluff, Beck’s Harvest House makes pumpkin donuts from fresh pumpkins picked in their field. The donuts are served fresh and hot off the fryer, and aren’t to be missed.
On October 16, 2012Pam Scott answered the question:Downtown Spokane has an impressive nightlife scene for a city of its size. On the first Friday of every month, several dozen bars, restaurants, wineries, galleries and coffee shops stay open late and offer live bands, local artwork and food and drink specials. Spokane is known for its local live theater, lineup of Broadway shows and symphony and rock concerts. The Spokane Arena, Knitting Factory, Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox and INB Performing Arts Center offer everything from the Nutcracker ballet to Cirque du Soleil and George Lopez to the Broadway production of Jersey Boys. If playing the slots is more your thing, head west outside of downtown Spokane to Northern Quest Resort & Casino — the 45,000-square-foot casino is open 24 hours a day, so there’s plenty of time to get lucky.
On October 16, 2012Pam Scott answered the question:For visitors with limited time in Spokane, the city is very walkable and easy to navigate. First things first, coffee! Washingtonians obviously take coffee seriously with local java joints on nearly every corner. To start off your day, head to Atticus Coffee & Gifts for a caffeine fix and shopping hit. Across the street, discover Riverfront Park with a self-guided sculpture tour through the 100-acre park. Jump on the Spokane Falls SkyRide gondola for a leisurely 15-minute journey across the Spokane River and back. Then, walk the three-mile loop on the Centennial Trail to Gonzaga University, singer Bing Crosby’s alma mater and home to the largest collection of his memorabilia. Meander the trail back downtown and grab a real pastrami sandwich at O’Doherty’s Irish Grille, where visitors are encouraged to staple a dollar bill to the ceiling. Head one block to River Park Square and sample one of 28 martinis at Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar, or end the evening tasting wines at Arbor Crest Wine Cellar’s tasting room. The tasting room in River Park Square stays open until 10 p.m. on weekends.
On October 16, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:The dining scene in Spokane is evolving, with new farm-to-table restaurants opening up alongside longtime favorites. Check out our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ list of the best places to eat in Spokane:
1. Santé. Using only the freshest ingredients from farmers and ranchers throughout the region, Santé — French for “health” — is easily one of the most talked-about restaurants in Spokane. The seasonal menus may change weekly, serving up tasty dishes like Muscovy duck confit with grilled white polenta, fennel, shallot, pea, black cherry glacé and gaufrette. The restaurant’s charcuterie selection is impressive, with fresh sausage, aged salami, pâté and more.
2. Luna. Located on Spokane’s South Hill and a 10-minute drive from downtown, this Mediterranean restaurant is worth the drive. Locals come for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch, served in a warm and eclectic interior. The open kitchen provides views of entrées such as garden pea risotto with shredded carrot and fresh radishes being made from scratch — everything here is, from the breads to desserts.
3. Palm Court Grill. This upscale restaurant located in the lobby inside the historic Davenport Hotel and Tower serves steaks and seafood in a historic setting. Entrées include everything from cedar plank salmon to beef tenderloin with béarnaise sauce. And fun fact: the hotel claims to be the creator of the Crab Louis, a signature salad made with butter lettuce, fresh crab, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes and Louis dressing.
On October 16, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:Whether you’re looking for a cozy B&B or larger resort, Spokane has you covered. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the best places to stay in Spokane:
1. The Davenport Hotel and Tower. This grand downtown hotel opened in 1914 and has been restored to its original grandeur. Guest rooms feature hand-carved mahogany furniture, imported Irish linens (made by the same company that supplied the hotel when it first opened) and travertine marble bathrooms. The Palm Court Grill serves European cuisine with some Asian touches, and the hotel also boasts an onsite candy store, flower shop, art gallery and spa.
2. Hotel Lusso. Lusso means “luxury” in Italian and that’s what you see when you stay at the boutique hotel. This Italian Renaissance building is in downtown Spokane, close to shops, restaurants and entertainment. The interior is decorated with marble, hardwood and warm Mediterranean colors, and guest rooms are comfortably appointed. The Cavallino Lounge is a good spot for an after-dinner drink.
3. Roberts Mansion. Just a few blocks west of downtown, this charming B&B has earned national attention having been featured in HGTV’s If Walls Could Talk and on the cover of Victorian Homes magazine. The restored Victorian mansion is no stranger to hosting weddings, and its outdoor gazebo is a popular spot. Plus, there’s a secret garden in the back.
On October 16, 2012Pam Scott answered the question:Head to downtown Spokane for the best shopping in the area, where you’ll find everything from Nordstrom and Macy’s department stores in River Park Square to dozens of locally owned shops. Try Boo Radley’s for the best and most unique gag gift ideas and t-shirts with a local twist (or twistedly-local). Revival Lighting offers an incredible display of refurbished turn-of-the-century light fixtures. Finders Keepers II is a charming vintage boutique that has the best selection of costume jewelry around, and you’ll have fun exploring the glass cases full of potential treasures. For the literary set, head to Auntie’s Bookstore — a local favorite — which hosts regular author lectures and highlights regional authors.
On October 16, 2012Pam Scott answered the question:Spokane offers a bunch of great things for kids, so feel free to bring them along for a family trip. Check out our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ list of the five best things to do with kids in Spokane:
1. Explore Riverfront Park. This 100-acre park in downtown Spokane offers non-stop fun, including the Childhood Express, a gigantic interactive Radio Flyer wagon with a 26-foot-long bed, six-foot-tall wheels and a slide for a handle. From there, head to the wacky garbage-eating goat, a sculpture designed to eat garbage out of hands. The goat is next to the 100-year-old Looff Carrousel, with its hand-painted horses with real horsehair tails. The park also features an IMAX Theater, the Spokane Falls SkyRide and seasonal carnival rides and ice-skating.
2. Spend the day at Mobius Kids Children’s Museum and Mobius Science Center. Spend a day exploring both the museum and the science center. These sister centers offer hours of entertainment for kids and adults alike with fixed exhibits, ranging in topics from teaching about living in third world countries to how to generate electricity, as well as traveling exhibits and themed classes. When mealtime rolls around, grab a bite to eat at the food court at River Park Square.
3. Head to Green Bluff Growers. Just 20 miles northeast from downtown Spokane, Green Bluff is a loop of nearly 30 U-Pick farms. Located at the base of Mount Spokane, this is an incredible spot for fresh fruits and veggies, hay mazes, pumpkins and Christmas trees, as well as fresh baked goods, antiques and wine tasting for the adults.
4. Visit Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture (MAC). The MAC offers exhibits with a tremendous historical perspective on the entire region. Best of all, the main exhibit always includes a hands-on learning opportunity for the youngest museum-goers.
5. Go skiing and snow tubing. With five ski resorts within a two-hour drive of Spokane, downhill and cross country skiing and snow tubing are popular winter sports. Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park is 28 miles northeast of the city and offers more than 1,425 acres of space to hit the slopes.
On October 16, 2012Pam Scott answered the question:As the second-largest city in Washington, Spokane offers plenty to do during a visit. Here’s what our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend as the five best things to see and do in Spokane:
1. Spokane Falls SkyRide. Set in Riverfront Park in the heart of downtown Spokane, the Spokane Falls SkyRide allows riders the opportunity to dangle in a gondola above the Spokane Falls in a 15-minute excursion across the river and back. The ride is a newer version of an open-air gondola put in place for World’s Fair Expo ‘74. The cars are lilac colored, symbolizing Spokane’s century-old nickname as the Lilac City for the flowers that flourish there.
2. The Davenport Hotel and Tower. Originally opened in 1914, The Davenport Hotel was the most advanced hotel of its time. The property boasts five ballrooms with very distinct personalities. Stop by the front desk for a guide to learn more about the fascinating history of the place. On the mezzanine level you’ll find a mysterious wedding proposal painted into the faux woodwork.
3. Manito Park. Originally a zoo, Manito Park is an award-winning horticultural display with five equally impressive outdoor gardens, including a Japanese garden with beautiful fall colors; a European-Renaissance style garden; a national award-winning rose garden, a lilac garden and a perennial garden. In addition, the park’s Gaiser Conservatory features fabulous displays throughout the year and a special lighted display for the holidays.
4. Raft or kayak. Raft the Spokane River or any number of rivers in nearby Idaho and Montana. Reputable rafting companies are easy to find through the visitors center. Or, kayak the smaller rivers or many of the 76 lakes in the region. Spokane Parks & Recreation offers guided tours, transportation and equipment.
5. The Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. Recently restored to the tune of $31 million, the theater is a great example of art deco with its wall murals. One of the famed theaters west of the Mississippi at the time when it opened in 1931, the auditorium now serves as the home of the Spokane Symphony, in addition to hosting concerts, weddings and gala events.