26 Jun A College Students’ Guide to Spokane
I am very excited that one of our cousins will be attending my alma mater, Gonzaga, in the Fall, and I wanted to share with her some of my favorite spots around town. I thought I’d post it here, just in case it’s useful to any other folks who are new to Spokane.
Spokane Points of Interest Map
1 – Riverfront Park
2- Manito Park
3- Clinkerdagger Restaurant
4- Spencer’s Restaurant
5- The Davenport’s Peacock Lounge
6- Frank’s Diner
7- Dick’s Drive-In
8- Rockwood Bakery
9- Ultimate Bagel
10- The Service Station
It’s always nice to get out of the campus “bubble” from time to time and experience Spokane’s natural beauty. These two well-known parks provided many great memories throughout my college years.
Gonzaga’s campus, being situated next to the Spokane River, provides both convenience and scenic benefits. The Centennial Trail, a paved path along the river that runs all the way to the Washington/Idaho border, allows quick and easy pedestrian access from Gonzaga’s campus to downtown Spokane. It can be a great loop to run. (Just note that you shouldn’t take the trail alone, especially if it’s dark. There is gang activity in Spokane, so it’s just something to be smart and aware about.)
Some fun things to discover within River Front Park are: the giant Radio Flyer wagon slide, the metal goat the can suction up trash, the gushing waterfalls under the bridges (after snow melt, not really during Fall), and an ice skating rink. You can also walk through the park to the movie theater and mall, convention center, and various restaurants downtown.
There are also two secret spots in the park where you can discover “the meaning of life,” or at least one sculpture artist’s version of it anyway. The first is on the foot of a metal sculpture person. The second is on top of a large concrete tower by the convention center – and I’m not going to say how I know that.
If you want to get away from campus for a bit and have access to a car, Manito Park on the South Hill is a favorite. You can sled on its modest hills in the winter, or run the hills when it’s nice out. Be sure to check out the rose garden and the Japanese garden, which is great for photo shoots. While you’re there, be sure to stop by Rockwood Bakery just a couple blocks away.
Whether you have visiting family treating you to a special dinner out, or you’re getting off campus with friends, or you want a cheap place to get some good food and study off campus, Spokane has a little bit of everything.
This a go-to place for special occasions. It’s a semi-formal steak and seafood place, located in the old, brick Flour Mill overlooking the river.
621 W Mallon Ave
This is another special occasion restaurant with a similar approach to Clinkerdagger (steak and seafood). It’s located downtown in the Doubletree Hotel.
322 N Spokane Falls Ct
The Davenport is a high-end, historic hotel in downtown Spokane, which also has a restaurant, lounge, and coffee bar. If you have visitors, it’s a place to just walk around, chat over coffee, or get for fancy desserts in the Peacock Lounge.
10 S Post St
This is a unique dining experience because the restaurant is inside a train car. Best known for brunch, Frank’s Diner (of which there are two locations) does fill up quickly on weekends.
1516 W 2nd Ave http://franksdiners.com/
Dick’s Hamburgers (Drive In)
Not quite in walking distance from campus, but this is sort of a classic Spokane stop that everyone must try at least once. It’s a drive-in/walk-up style fast food place that serves burger, hot dogs, fries, fish and chips, milkshakes, and the like. There’s nothing particularly great about the food, but you go for the experience.
10 E 3rd Ave
Located next to Manito Park on the South Hill, this charming, cozy cafe and bakery apparently used to be a small supermarket. They serve a wide variety of pastries and light lunch options, including chocolate croissants and quiches. It can be a great place to study if you have a car to get there.
315 E 18th Ave
The Ultimate Bagel
This little bagel place is just off the northeast corner of campus. I loved walking there for a fresh bagel toasted with huckleberry or honey almond cream cheese.
1217 N Hamilton St # B
The Service Station
Though not very convenient to campus, this was my favorite place to study because it’s big and open, socially responsible, and I was addicted to their berry smoothies and chicken panini. They also have an event space for concerts, meetings, and Sunday church service. If I ever have my own coffeeshop, it’s going to be modeled after this one!
9315 N Nevada St
The Greenbluff region is just a short drive into the countryside North of Spokane where there are a number of festivals throughout the year. Usually the apple festival is going on during Fall Family Weekend, so it’s a good time to go out and sample their tasty apple treats, enjoy live music, and find your way through a corn maze.
Usually the first weekend in May, which often coincides with Finals week, Spokane hosts a huge 7.5 mile road run. It’s a spirited city tradition that attracts tens of thousands of runners from all over. Just be sure to train for “Doomsday Hill” which can be a killer at mile 5!
What are your favorite spots in Spokane? Please share your recommendations for the college crowd in the comments below.
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