Guest Post by Eryn Whalen.
“For the longest time it felt hard to find things to do with the family in Spokane. We don’t have large zoos like Oregon or Seattle, and it seemed like there wasn’t much available for families to experience in the city besides strolling Riverfront park and feeding the ducks.
But, so much has changed in the past few years! We have the park revitalization going on, a whole new area with Kendall Yards to explore, and much more. Now if we could just get that zoo…
If you’re feeling like we used to and seem to run out of ideas of ways to enjoy Spokane with the kids, then you’re in luck! Below are 10 of our favorite things to do in Spokane with the whole family.”
1. Explore the new and improved Riverfront Park
I remember last spring attending the open house in Riverfront Park, with all the plans and dreams for the park up on boards for everyone to view. It was so exciting! And even more exciting, seeing it come to life over the past year. We head down every few weeks to explore and find out which projects are finished and what they’re working on next. It’s always fun to take a stroll through the center of our city and enjoy our very own version of New York’s Central Park. Except NY Fall has nothing on a PNW Fall.
- Ride the historic Looff Carrousel.
- Check out the new South Howard St. Bridge and seating area.
- Take a trip over the falls on the SkyRide.
- Rollerblade around the Skate Ribbon, open through October 13th. Ice skating starts in November.
- Try the brand new Spider Jump if you’re feeling adventurous.
- Take a stroll over to the Tribal Gathering Place and enjoy the waterfalls and views.
- From the Tribal Gathering Place head down the hill to Huntington Park and take the staircase down to get a great picture of the falls.
Stay tuned for more improvements happening throughout the park into 2019!
2. Take a walk or family bike ride along the Centennial Trail
Most locals have their special “piece” of the Centennial Trail they frequent over and over. I encourage you to explore the trail beyond your usual spots. After all, there are 37 miles of it! The trail starts out at Sontag Park in Nine Mile Fall and continues all the way to the Idaho border. Grab your bikes and head off on an adventure with the family exploring this amazing treasure.
3. Visit Mobius Children’s museum and the Mobius Science Center
What started as the Mobius Children’s museum has now morphed into two special spots. The treasured Children’s museum, still located on the lower level of River Park Square, and the newest addition, the Mobius Science Center right next to the Spokane Tribal Gathering Place. Both have hours of entertainment for the whole family and are a great way to spend time learning and expending tons of energy. The Children’s Museum is great for kids ages seven and under, and the Science Center is perfect for kids ages eight into their late teens! Exhibits in both locations change twice a year.
4. Run with the family
Okay, maybe this one isn’t for everyone but I had to include it because of my love for running. There are a few running groups in Spokane that do weekly meet-ups and are free to participate. Bonus, they take all levels of runners! Not only are these great for fitness but it’s also an awesome way to meet new friends in our community.
Meetups are every Thursday at the 6pm at the Chateau Rive at The Flour Mill.
Bring the whole family! Most runs are stroller friendly but check in with the club the evening before to be sure.
This is not only a run that happens each Friday morning but it’s a Facebook group for local mother runners to connect and cheer each other on! This run is all about strollers and you’ll find these ladies with their babies running all over Spokane! Noelle is the mom in charge and she loves setting up run meetups that often end in a park so the kids can stretch their legs a bit!
5. Green Bluff
Green Bluff is one of Spokane’s great treasures and a favorite of my family. While there are many things to do throughout the bluff all year long, fall is Green Bluffs true season to shine. Until you’ve visited one of the farms, grabbed some donuts and ran through a corn maze, can you even say it’s fall? Two of my favorite farms to visit are Hansen’s and Beck’s Harvest House.
Hansen’s is a treasure we’ve been going to for years. They specialize in cherries, berries, plums, peaches and of course, apples! You can usually find fresh apple and cherry cider in their cooler, with so many varieties of apples to choose from. Their staff is extremely knowledge and they will help you pick out the best apples for whatever your making, in my case apple sauce and pie. They also have the a perfect spot for a great family photo, right in front of their beautiful green truck that’s always decorating for the current season.
An added bonus? Hansen’s also has a you-pick flower field. What a neat idea right? You can pick your own bouquet and get a vase from their store all for $5!
Photo Credit: Jaime Denise Photography
Becks is one of the most frequented farms on the bluff. In fall it’s a must during their Fall Harvest Festival. They have a 5 acre corn maze, famous (or infamous) pumpkin donuts, pumpkin land with every kind of gourd you could imagine, as well as food trucks, face painting, and the list goes on. Visit their country kitchen for your culinary delights, and make sure to peruse their country store for locally made treasures.
Fall Festival info:
The Fall Festival is every weekend starting September 22nd – October 28th, from 10 – 5 each day.
Tickets to the corn maze and nine other kid friendly attractions are $10 a person, kids two and under are free.
Photo Credit: Jaime Denise Photography
Other honorable mentions:
Siemers Farm They have a four-story castle!
High Country Orchard One of the best espresso bar and gift shops on the bluff.
6. Kid friendly hikes
Hikes are a blast with family, but only if they aren’t too long. A quick in and out with lots to look at is usually the best bet for an adventure that doesn’t include too much whining, from your children or spouse.
Tip: Make sure you have your Discovery Pass, which gets you into all the Washington State parks otherwise you pay per visit.
This is a fun one on the very north end of Spokane in the Mead area. You can do any of the multiple loops they have, but I encourage the one that hits the little Spokane River. It provides a scenic view overlooking the river. There’s even a bench to sit and relax on. Last time we visited we witnessed a huge buck heading down for a drink. This is great for a hike that you only want to last around 45 minutes to an hour, though it could last longer if you wanted. There are also lots of rocks to play on and fun paths to explore for the kids.
A Spokane classic, this one never disappoints. The swinging bridge is great for photo ops, and also a hit with the kids. There are plenty of spots to fish, bird watch, or simply have a picnic. The trails are easy to navigate and wide, with lots of wild animals to spot depending on the time of day and season you visit.
Another easy kid hike, this one has views for days. Spring is a favorite here with lots of wildlife spotting. Fall is also spectacular with all the changing colors scattered across the land.
If your family wants a hike with even more stellar views, this one is it. Looking out from the South Hill, The Bluff is sure to please with easy walking trails.
I mean, can you really live here or visit and not take in the mountain named for our city? Or is it the city named for the mountain? Either way, there’s so much to do on the mountain regardless of the time of year. Late summer through early fall is great for huckleberry picking. Everyone seems to have their special secret spot on the mountain they return to each year. It’s also another spectacular place to hike with over 100 miles of trails. You can even spot Canada and North Idaho from the top on a clear day. Wintertime is a favorite as the mountain turns into ski and snowboard headquarters. One of the biggest parks in Washington state, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to conquer a new trail each visit.
8. Grab mini donuts at Hello Sugar
I’ve done this with my kids so many times already, and they’ve only been open since June! Hello Sugar is the perfect place to go with the family. Why? Well, 1.) They are mini donuts and your kids can eat two, feel extra special, and it’s still less sugar than a regular sized one. 2.) Since they are mini you can try several different flavors and feel no guilt. Go on, have just one more. 3.) Bonus for parents, they serve Indaba coffee and it’s amazing. 4.) They have gluten free options. And last but not least, 5.) It’s right on the centennial trail and also across the road from Olmsted park. Let your kids run off all the sugar before piling back in the car. You’re welcome parents.
Pro tip: Bring wet wipes because the donuts are fresh and the glaze is gooey delicious, but also a bit messy.
Insider info: Hello Sugar is opening a second location in the Valley off Dishman Mica!
9. The South Hill
South Hill is breathtakingly gorgeous. The tree lined streets and spectacular early 1990’s homes line the slowly ascending hill. The South Hill is steeped in mystery and folklore. More than one murder mystery and haunting tail can be told about long departed residence of the hill. Simply driving the streets and admiring the beautiful mansions is a fun family adventure, but the parks that are scattered about this part of town, now those are some treasures beckoning to be explored.
Parks to visit:
Cannon Hill Park
Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens
10. Laser Quest
This place has been around so long sometimes I think we forget it’s even here and still going strong. This is a great family weekend activity and a perfect way to expend energy before heading home to bed or out to dinner. Children of all ages can play, as long as they can hold the pack that accompanies the laser gun. Pack to heavy for your little one? If you’re an adult wiling to be in the line of fire all night, they allow you to carry the pack for the child so they can play to their hearts content. You’ll basically be a walking target, but your child will be on cloud nine!
And that’s it! My list of the 10 best things to do throughout the Spokane area. Have something you think I missed worth mentioning? Drop it in the comments and share so the rest of us can check it out!
Eryn Whalen is a 33 year old wife & mother who calls Spokane Washington home. She loves running, exploring the Pacific Northwest with her family, and finding all the best coffee shops wherever she goes. Eryn uses her love of writing over at her blog Eryn Whalen Online, where she posts weekly about a variety of topics from health and fitness, home decor, to adventures in Spokane.
Make sure to follow her over on Instagram (@eryn_whalen_online) to stay up to date on all the latest happenings!
Photo Credit: Jaime Denise Photography