Travel Nurse Assignments: Live Like a Local – Spokane, WA!
Welcome to Spokane, WA! Located in eastern Washington near the Idaho border, Spokane is Washington’s second largest city. Often overlooked as a travel destination, Spokane has developed into a cosmopolitan city, and is the cultural hub of eastern Washington. The city has experienced a renaissance in recent years, fueled by their eclectic bar and restaurant scene, and their revitalized downtown area. While western Washington has a Mediterranean climate with superabundant rainfall, Spokane’s climate is continental, meaning hot dry summers, and cold winters with lots of snow. If you want to experience a different side of Washington State, Spokane is the perfect place for you!
One of the main attractions for people in Spokane is their iconic parks. Riverfront Park is situated in downtown along the Spokane River, and is beloved by locals and tourists alike. The park was built for the 1974 World’s Fair, and is 100 acres of walking trails, outdoor amphitheaters, and scenic viewpoints. In addition, the park is home to Spokane Falls, one of the town’s most revered natural features. With suspension bridges over the river scattered throughout the park, there’s plenty of opportunities to snap a great Instagram photo. The Clock Tower on Havermale Island has guarded the park since 1902, and also provides a nice backdrop for photos. The clock is still hand wound every week, and can be heard throughout the park at the top of every hour.
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Other attractions at Riverfront Park include a roller skating rink, a giant red wagon sculpture that doubles as a slide, and a pavilion built for the World’s Fair, where they still host live music and events. One unique attraction is the Numerica SkyRide gondola, which runs above the park and along the Spokane River Gorge. The Gondola offers unparalleled views of the city and Spokane Falls, and is relatively inexpensive. If you get hungry or thirsty, there’s plenty of great watering holes along the riverfront to satisfy your cravings!
Manito Park and Mt. Spokane
Another must-see park is Manito Park, located in Spokane’s South Hill Neighborhood. This 90-acre park was rated the top attraction for Spokane by TripAdvisor, and is visited by over 150,000 people each year. The park has a variety of gardens including formal flower beds, Japanese gardens, and greenhouses with different plant species. It’s the premier place to take a relaxing stroll, and the park is transformed into a winter wonderland when it snows. There’s also playgrounds for the kids, and a duck pond where you can hang out various ducks and geese.
Mt. Spokane is also a haven for outdoor recreation in both summer and winter. Unlike ski areas in western Washington, Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park never has any trouble getting snow. The ski area has four chairlifts and a good variety of terrain, ranging from novice to expert. They also have a terrain park, and a tubing park for non-skiers. Snowmobiling and dogsledding are also popular winter activities outside the ski area. Plus, it’s only an hour away from downtown, so access to the mountain is super convenient.
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In the summer, Mt. Spokane State Park offers plenty of recreation as well. There’s over 100 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, as well as three distinct summits you can easily walk to the top of. The scenery in the park is incredible, and you can get panoramic views of the Spokane Valley and the Idaho panhandle from the top of Mt. Spokane.
Where to Eat and Drink
Spokane has a burgeoning restaurant scene that is sure to please any palate. Mizuna Restaurant and Wine Bar is located across the street from Riverfront Park, and offers an eclectic menu. They have seafood and Asian-inspired dishes, as well as a full vegetarian menu! And of course, a seriously impressive wine collection. Clinkerdagger Restaurant is another Spokane staple. They were voted one of the most scenic restaurants in America by OpenTable in 2016, and their dining room offers prime views of Spokane Falls. Clinkerdagger specializes in seafood and American-style dishes, and also has an array of craft cocktails to choose from.
If you’re looking for just drinks, Spokane has several great wineries and tasing rooms in town. Arbor Crest Winery is the local favorite, and their tasting room is perched on a cliff above the Spokane Valley, treating guests to some spectuacular views. Winescape Winery is another local winery in the South Hill neighborhood. Their wines have received stellar reviews, and they often have live music on fridays! For beer, you have to check out the local brewhouse No-Li. They’ve been a part of Spokane culture since 2012, and have a good selection of hazy IPAs.