Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Spokane, WA

  • Published 2022/11/27

Spokane is the economic and cultural center of the Spokane metropolitan area, located in Spokane County, Washington.

This vibrant and bustling city offers a great atmosphere to enjoy and relax at the same time.

You’ll see natural sights and thriving entertainment districts you won’t find anywhere else.

If you think you’ll need to shell out cash to enjoy your trip, don’t worry because you won’t have to!

Check out these free things to do in Spokane, Washington.

See the Best Views at Spokane Falls

Aerial view of Spokane Falls

Nick Fox /

There’s nothing more refreshing than catching Mother Nature’s most fantastic views.

Lucky for you, Spokane has one of the best seats in the house.

Situated along Spokane River is the majestic Spokane Falls, which you can view from various spots in the area.

Spokane Falls was a sacred place for Native Americans, and you’ll see why once you get a good look at the roaring whitewater.

Rushing waters of Spokane Falls

Kasey Schmitt /

Spokane Falls is the city’s most fabulous centerpiece, which you can see from pedestrian suspension bridges.

You’ll find it right next to the Washington Water Power Building.

You might feel uneasy crossing the bridge because of all the swaying, but you can rest assured that the cable suspensions will keep you safe throughout your viewing.

Cable car gondola ride over Spokane Falls

Kirk Fisher /

Take a Sculpture Walk around Spokane

Witness the greatness and passion of Spokane for the arts when you embark on a sculpture walk around the city.

Spokane has over 30 sculptures, each with its unique story and significance, and you’ll find them in the downtown area of Washington State University to Monroe Street Bridge.

The sculpture walk might take you a couple of hours or even the entire day to see everything, but their artistry should keep you entertained.

Check out art installations like the Garbage Eating Goat, Australian Sundial, Mountain Sheep, and more.

These sculptures represent varying genres and motifs, covering several time frames, which lets you know the popular primary mediums from each period.

Traverse the Centennial Trail

View of a river along Centennial Trail

Kirk Fisher /

Outdoor enthusiasts will have a blast traversing the scenic Centennial Trail, which begins at Nine Mile Recreation Area and stretches to the Idaho border.

Spokane’s Centennial Trail also runs along the river and covers 40 miles that you can explore by foot or on a non-motorized vehicle.

The trail has a diverse terrain and varying degrees of difficulty across its many trailheads.

People walking along Centennial Trail

Jdubman at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

About two million people traverse this trail annually, which says a lot about how enchanting the sights are in this Spokane attraction.

During your adventure, you can choose which trailhead to go to, whether downtown, from the military cemetery, Wilbur trailhead, or much more.

Drop by the Farmers’ Market

The farmers market isn’t a one-of-a-kind attraction you’ll see when in Spokane, but it does give you a glimpse of city life.

If you want to see what Spokane locals are up to, especially when the sun’s out, head to the farmers market on 5th Ave.

Spokane has a rich history of sourcing farm fresh goods, so you can expect to see many of them for sale when you visit.

All fruits and vegetables from the farmers market are certified organic, so you should get only the best ones there, should you decide to buy some.

If you’re working on a tight budget, you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere with vendors and artists that showcase their crafts in the area.

Swing by the Riverside State Park

Women admiring the views from a bench at Riverside State Park

Simone Hogan /

Hanging out by the parks is a great way to enjoy the area you’re visiting without spending too much.

If you are looking for a great hangout spot in Spokane, swing by Riverside State Park on N Howard St.

Riverside State Park encompasses 9,000 acres, with multiple entry points around the city.

Footbridge at Riverside State Park

Roman Khomlyak /

Feel free to choose the best spot to relax and lay down your picnic blanket before whipping out your favorite book.

If you want to get the most out of your visit, check out the hiking trails, horse trails, and campsites, as well as the astonishing basalt rock formations and riverside views.

Rocky trail at Riverside State Park

Roman Khomlyak /

Join the First Friday Festivities

Spokane residents have always looked forward to the First Fridays of the month.

If you want to see the big deal, swing by N Washington St.

First Friday is a Spokane tradition where residents and tourists can enjoy the vibrant scene in the downtown area.

With Spokane being a bustling arts district, you’re sure to see a lot of intricate works from budding artists.

Enjoy going around the featured galleries and seeing art in all its forms, whether it’s paintings, pottery, jewelry, or more.

At night, prepare to move to the beat of the drums because First Friday wouldn’t be complete without live music and entertainment.

Go on a Heritage Walk in Downtown Spokane

Skyline at Downtown Historic District

RozenskiP /

Immerse yourself in Spokane’s rich culture and heritage when you tour the downtown attractions in the city.

There are over 50 attractions scattered in downtown Spokane, each with its historical significance.

Begin the heritage walk at the East Downtown Historic District, where you’ll see mixed-use and warehouse buildings from the Northern Pacific Railway Depot.

Next, learn more about how Spokane emerged as a regional distribution and supply center for farmers, ranchers, and miners.

Lastly, head over to central downtown, an area of diverse architecture in the form of arts and crafts bungalows, Queen Anne houses, Tudoresque mansions, Gothic buildings, and more.

Visit the Chase Gallery

Exterior of Chase Gallery

Cascade Creatives /

Art lovers will have a great time wandering the Chase Gallery on Spokane Falls Blvd.

You’ll find a great selection of local and regional art from renowned artists, featuring various mediums and covering different topics.

Chase Gallery also features several rotating exhibits, which means you’ll be treated to a different view each time you visit.

Chase Gallery is in Spokane’s City Hall.

There are several other attractions nearby that you can visit once you’re done exploring the gallery.

The gallery is also under the Spokane Arts organization, and while you won’t need to pay anything for admission, the gallery does accept donations.

Beat the Heat at the Friendship Park Splash Pad

The summer heat can be pretty unbearable, but the good thing about Spokane is that it’s riddled with splash pads for everyone to enjoy.

So if you ever need to cool off while vacationing in the beautiful city of Spokane, go to Friendship Park.

There are about 19 splash pads all over the city, but the Friendship park splash pad will give you a vast space to set up picnic blankets.

Hanging out by the splash pads is also a great way to spend a day with your family and closest friends without spending on anything.

The best part is that the splash pads are open from morning to evening, giving you plenty of time to cool off and have fun.

Drive across Monroe Street Bridge

Structure of Monroe Street Bridge

Michael Xiaos /

You don’t need to shell out some bills to experience a memorable tour because when in Spokane, you can do that from the comfort of your car.

All you need is a map, and you’re all set to witness the best attractions the city of Spokane offers.

The city has approximately 19 must-see tourist attractions, but if there’s one you should check out, it’s the Monroe Street Bridge.

Daytime view of Monroe Street Bridge

Mark Wagner, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

This deck arch bridge is stunning from afar thanks to its architecture and makes for an excellent background for your photos.

The reinforced concrete Monroe Street Bridge was built in 1911.

It has become one of the best sights in Spokane because of its intriguing history and storyline.

Listen to the Spokane Symphony

The Spokane Symphony is a 70-piece professional orchestra that could hold a concert in one of the venues for free.

If you’re planning to visit the city sometime around summer, you’re in for a real treat because you will catch great music.

Riverfront Park, Pavilion Park, and Mirabeau Point Park are popular destinations hosting free concerts.

Catch the critically-acclaimed Spokane Symphony, gracing you with their music at these outdoor venues.

Spend a Day at Manito Park

Beautiful landscape of Manito Park

JWCohen /

Rediscover nature’s greatest wonders by visiting one of the best tourist attractions in Spokane.

Manito Park on S Grand Blvd takes visitors on an enchanting journey filled with manicured gardens that will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale.

Spanning 90 acres, this public park is home to thousands of blossoming flowers arranged so intricately to the point that they look too perfect to be authentic.

Vibrant flowers at Manito Park

curtis wibe /

Five gardens feature unique designs and formations accompanied by well-kept lawns, topiary shrubs, cafes, and more.

Manito Park also makes an excellent space for taking Instagram-worthy photos, so load up to battery power when you visit.

Japanese garden at Manito Park

digidreamgrafix /

Take a Photo of the Flour Mill

You’ll find a lot of Instagram-worthy spots around Spokane, and most of these places are centered on natural sights.

If you want a historical visit, you can swing by Mallon Ave and take a photo by the Flour Mill.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Flour Mill is more than your average hangout spot.

This Spokane attraction harnessed energy from the Spokane River to grind wheat and turn it into flour.

Today, Flour Mill is a home for restaurants like Wonders of the World, Clinkerdaggers Steak House, and Queen of Sheba, among others.

Check Out the Historic Steam Plant

Exterior of the Historic Steam Plant

Will Maupin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spokane is decorated with dozens of historical sites.

The historic Steam Plant is arguably one of the best attractions you can check out.

The Steam Plant’s origin story will only make you want to see the attraction up close, built with hand-formed smokestacks using 333,340 bricks.

Interior of the Historic Steam Plant

Robert Ashworth from Bellingham, WA., USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This brick building in Spokane’s Lincoln St is sitting at 225 feet.

The Steam Plant was built in 1916 and was designed to produce steam heat and enough electrical power to supply the downtown area.

After a while, the Steam Plant was abandoned for nearly a decade before it was transformed into a restaurant, brewing company, and shopping center in one space.

Drop by the Spokane County Courthouse

Exterior of the Spokane County Courthouse

Shachima /

Sitting along W Mallon Ave is the Spokane County Courthouse, a must-see tourist destination for its impressive architecture.

From a distance, you’ll see that the Spokane County Courthouse sports a French Renaissance style, making it stand out from the other buildings in the area.

Facade of the Spokane County Courthouse

Shachima /

It has stood in Spokane since the 19th century, serving the citizens since 1895.

You’ll never see anything like the courthouse, which resembles 16th-century structures like the Château de Chambord and Château d’Azay Le Rideau.

At night, you’ll get an impressive insight into the lighted center tower accompanied by shell patterns and decorative arches.

Front view of Spokane County Courthouse's exterior

Antony-22, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

Enjoying the city can be done without spending much, mainly when you stick to this list of free things to do in Spokane, Washington.

What are you waiting for?

Book your trip today, and let the adventure begin!

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