Parks and Recreation: Spokane, Washington

Sometime in May, David and I went to see a Spoon concert in Spokane. Having both never gone there before, we decided to spend a day exploring the city and what we found is that Spokane has some lovely parks and gardens. Warning: lots of flower pictures!

Manito Park

Manito Park is Spokane’s gem of a public park. With 78 acres of landscape, it can easily take up your whole day. Plus, there’s no entrance fees, so this is a good way to spend a nice day in the city. There’s a small cafe inside so you can enjoy a light meal as you explore. The Mirror Pond is also a lovely attraction and you can rent canoes there if you like. It was a bit too cold for canoeing during our visit, though.

The park also features five distinct gardens and a conservatory. Here’s a map of the grounds.

Lilac Garden

Following the road into the park, we passed Mirror Pond and then headed to the Lilac Garden. It’s small, but there’s a good variety of lilacs, and when they’re blooming, they can make everything smell quite heady.

Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden

This Japanese garden is also small, but just large enough to get some tranquility. The pond at the center (featuring some carp, of course) is the main draw of the garden. We enjoyed watching a family of ducks swimming and exploring their home. There are some benches and a little gazebo if you wish to stay longer and listen to the small waterfall at the far end.

Joel E. Ferris Perennial Garden

This was a very interesting garden — it featured flowers, but also herbs and other interesting plants. During our visit in late spring, this garden had the most plants in bloom.

Rose Hill

During our visit, not many rose plants were blooming, but I can imagine how lovely this garden would be if you come at the right time. David’s new favorite way to relax: pick up a fallen rose petal and rub its silky smoothness between your fingers. Plus your hand will smell delightful afterward!

Duncan Garden

Not-quite-bloomed Duncan Garden inside Manito Park in Spokane.

Not-quite-bloomed Duncan Garden inside Manito Park in Spokane.

Sadly, we did not get to see Duncan Garden at its full glory. This is an area landscaped in a very European way, with paths to walk in between the plants and low hedges. I can see it being popular for strolling along and enjoying a warm day.

Gaiser Conservatory

An orchid, only one of many plants inside the Gaiser Conservatory in Spokane.

An orchid, only one of many plants inside the Gaiser Conservatory in Spokane.

The conservatory is completely free and has displays that change with the seasons. We enjoyed its warmth after the cool temperatures outside, and of course you can still visit after spring and summer, which is nice.

Riverfront Park

There’s a lot to see and do at Riverfront Park, but at its center: the Spokane Falls and River. I had heard of the falls, but was still astonished to see a rather large and powerful waterfall flowing right through the middle of the city. We walked the paths around it to see it from various angles, and crossed both the bridges that span the river closest to the falls. It’s definitely quite a sight.

You can also take note of the sculptures around the park thanks to a Sculpture Walk provided by the Spokane Parks and Recreation department.


We had a lovely day in Spokane and it’s definitely a great city for a weekend trip from Seattle. I was pleasantly surprised by how well their parks are maintained and how much outdoor activities the city has to offer.

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5 thoughts on “Parks and Recreation: Spokane, Washington

  1. Pingback: One Year, One Hundred Posts! | World and Time Enough

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