Activities for Couples, Romantic Hotels, Places to Get Married in Spokane WA & more
I have to admit my impression of romance in Spokane was a bit out of date, based as it was on the 1985 movie Vision Quest in which Madonna debuted the song Crazy for You. Spokane, like the young man in that coming-of-age film, has grown up a lot. This is one beautiful city, surrounded by the natural beauty of Washington State but preserving a stately downtown area with nary a big-box store in sight.
If you’re on your own vision quest to find the scenes where the movie was shot, however, you won’t be disappointed. Landmarks like the Onion Bar & Grill and the Monroe Street bridge are still in excellent form. The once-grand Ridpath Hotel, however, is boarded up and vacant. In fact on my recent trip the beautifully-ornamented downtown towers were marred only by too many empty spaces and for-lease signs, a scene all too common in many cities across the U.S. these days.
The good news is the streets surrounding the Spokane River and the 100-acre Riverfront Park are vibrant. A high-end mall called River Park Square is surrounded by shops, restaurants, bars and hotels. The downtown is eminently walkable, with enclosed and elevated walkways linking the major buildings and making exploring the city comfortable in all weather.
Ride a 100-year-old Carousel. Back in 1909, a craftsman from Germany created a carousel ride as a wedding gift for his daughter. How romantic is that? Today the carousel is lovingly restored and in operation in Riverfront Park in Spokane. If you don’t know what it means to “grab the brass ring,” you’ll find out when you hop aboard one of the elaborately carved horses on the Looff Carousel.
See Magnificent & Romantic Spokane Falls. Spokane was once a gathering place for native Americans because of the beauty and power of a series of waterfalls on the Spokane River. Now the city offers an exciting way to view the cascade - from a cable car suspended at dizzying heights. If you prefer a more grounded type of sightseeing, a stroll along the trails and footbridges of Riverfront Park will also give you great views of both the upper and lower falls.
Skate at the Ice Palace. Okay, it looks more like a hockey rink than Rockefeller Plaza. But for your romantic Spokane winter getaway, it’s fun to hold hands and skate around on an outdoor ice surface (there's plenty of cozy spots to enjoy a hot chocolate and snack, too). Skate rentals are available, and the rink is tucked under a roof adjacent to the Imax theater in Riverfront Park.
The Historic Davenport Hotel - yes, you’ll find all the major chains offering lodging in downtown Spokane. But there’s really only one place to stay: the Davenport.
Built in 1914 at the height of the resource boom, this grand hotel takes up an entire city block. It was completely refurbished in 2002 and offers prices that are amazingly reasonable for a AAA 4-Diamond hotel. Everyone from the valet parking attendants to the girl in the candy shop have been trained to offer the finest service.
Hampton Inn Spokane - this attractive Hilton-chain Hampton Inn is not far from Riverfront Park and downtown Spokane. Couples who stay here comment very favorably on the Garden Springs Pantry on-site restaurant, and the hotel's romantic Whirlpool suites (as shown above).
Davenport Lusso - meet the Davenport’s boutique cousin, Hotel Lusso. Prices are slightly lower and the atmosphere is cozy yet classy in the way of the best boutique hotels. Guests have access to the luxurious spa at the Davenport.
The Lusso caters to romantic Spokane getaways in a unique way - the online reservation system automatically asks if you’d like a bottle of champagne and some long-stemmed roses to be waiting in your room when you check in!
Twigs - nestled into River Park Square, Twigs bills itself as a bistro and martini bar. The location is Spokane’s answer to a sidewalk cafe, as it overlooks the main entrance to the downtown shopping gallery. Besides somehow coming up with 36 different martinis, Twigs has really good food. We shared an excellent Greek platter and enjoyed the richly dark surroundings, including a bar made of the longest slab of granite I’ve ever seen. (14728 East Indiana Ave, Spokane Valley WA 509-290-5636)
The Onion Bar & Grill - featured in the 1985 movie Vision Quest and located in a lovingly restored 1907 hotel on Main Street. There is also a spin-off location on North Division Street in Spokane. The fare is standard burgers and fries, but the location is excellent, as is the service. Their panko-topped mac and cheese is the creamiest I’ve ever tried. (302 West Riverside, Spokane WA 509-747-3852)
1. Artfest - May 29-31, 2015 Couer d'Alene Park, Spokane WA. Music, food, beer & wine gardens and more.
2. Vintage Spokane - July 19, 2015, 4-8 PM at Spokane Convention Center. Sip wine and sample appetizers from NW wineries. Admission: $40.
For more details on events in Spokane, see visitspokane.com.
1. A weekend in Spokane gets even more heavenly when topped off with a romantic cruise on nearby Lake Coeur d’Alene. Head west to the state line and cross into the Idaho Panhandle. Less than a half hour away from Spokane is the small city of Coeur d’Alene, which sits beside a lovely lake of the same name. Scenic cruises and dinner cruises depart year-round from the docks near the gorgeous Coeur d’Alene Resort.
2. The Spokane Visitors Bureau says there are now 20 wineries in and around the city. One of the longest-established is Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, which was named one of “50 great producers every wine lover should know” by Wine Spectator magazine. Besides operating a downtown tasting room, the winery invites visitors to its headquarters at Cliff House, 4705 North Fruit Hill Road.
3. Northeast of Spokane is a 12-square-mile fertile bluff where dozens of small farms nestle in rolling hills. A group of 30 farmers and other vendors have organized into a marketing group called Green Bluff Growers, aimed at promoting agricultural tourism. They welcome visitors year-round for various events as well as sales of just-picked fruits and vegetables. Turn off Highway 2 at Day Mount Spokane Road.
Some very romantic Spokane weddings have taken place in these historic properties:
1. The Victorian-style Roberts Mansion and the Tudor-influenced Glover Mansion. Both have sweeping staircases for indoor weddings and beautiful gardens for an outdoor affair.
2. Spokane’s parks board allows weddings at several sites, including a floating stage on the Spokane River in Riverfront Park.
3. The Spokane Convention Center has a roof deck patio that also provides for a beautiful riverside ceremony.
*Based on TripAdvisor.com Ratings from Couples as of Jun 2015