Spokane, near the Idaho border, is the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest. Look for I-90 to start your drive east over Snoqualmie Pass and down the east slope of the Cascades and through the agricultural heart of Washington State. I’m always ready to stop for a bit to eat along the way in Roslyn, Cle Elum or Ellensburg.
At Vantage, I-90 crosses the Columbia River. Look for the ‘Wild Horses Monument’ of 15 life-size charging horses turned loose at the top of the ridge. Stop for a view of the magnificent Columbia.
Moses Lake is the next town as you drive through miles of crops being irrigated by water from the Columbia River. Look for signs along the Highway naming the crops in the fields.
The city of Spokane has a river at its heart. Start your city tour with a stop at Spokane Falls in Riverfront Park. I love walking the Centennial Trail through this scenic area, the site of Expo ’74. Look for the Great Northern Clock Tower and public art, feed the ducks and ride the historic Looff Carrousel. For the best view of the falls take the SkyRide Gondola.
Be sure you see the sculpture ‘Joy of Running’ honoring the city’s annual Bloomsday Race.
Downtown shoppers can explore River Park Square Mall, The Steam Plant, and unique retail shops inside renovated historic buildings, many connected by overhead walkways. Popular restaurants, wineries and cafes dot the area.
The Northwest Museum of Art and Culture or MAC as the locals call it has an outstanding exhibit of northern plateau Indian history and culture. The ‘people of the river’ gallery features voices, photographs and example of Spokane and Colville tribal beadwork, basketry and clothing.
Manito Park on South Hill is one of my favorite city locations. The classic formal botanical gardens, the Gaiser Conservatory, Lilac Garden, Rose Hill and the Japanese Garden are all lovely in season.
As you leave Manito Park, stop at the South Hill Overlook for a panoramic view of Spokane.