19 Free Things to Do in Spokane Washington

There are so many free things to do in Spokane Washington; part of the reason we love this city.

We’ve lived here for the past year and a half and are still constantly discovering incredible free and cheap places to explore.

In this guide, we’ll cover over 19 fun and wallet-friendly activities. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences and museums, get ready to experience Spokane on a tight budget.

Outdoor Free Things to Do in Spokane

Spokane is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with its stunning parks, scenic trails, and majestic mountains. Here are some must-visit outdoor destinations that won’t break the bank.

First Things First: Don’t Forget Your Discover Pass

The Discover Pass is a must-have for parking at the trailheads in Washington State.  Not all the trails require it, but many of them do (especially in Riverside State Park), so it really is worth the investment.  

Read more about Discover pass pricing and how to purchase

1. Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park, located in downtown Spokane, is a gorgeous park that has a whole range of free and cheap activities. Take a walk along the river, have a picnic on the green grass, or rent a bike and explore the park on wheels. 

Don’t forget to check out the iconic Spokane Falls via cable car or self-guided walking tour. 

Top Free Things to Do at Riverfront Park

  • Gaze at the magnificent Monroe Bridge: you’ll find easy access to a walkway near the Numerica SkyRide building.  While the Skyride is an amazing way to see the bridge (we highly recommend it), it does cost a little money.  Walking the path is a great alternative with incredible views.  If you follow the pathway far enough, you’ll also get spectacular views of Lower Spokane Falls. 
  • Check out the giant red wagon: An enormous wagon-shaped slide for kids.  This wagon was built in 1989 as part of the Centennial Celebration of Children and is a marvel to look at. 
  • Walk along the Centennial Trail: The entire Centennial Trail is 40 miles and stretches from Nine Mile Falls, Washington, to the Washington/Idaho state line.  Riverfront Park is a great place to access this paved trail. 
  • Listen to live music at the central plaza
tourist standing in front of The Giant Red Wagon at Riverfront Park, one of the best free things to do in Spokane
The Giant Red Wagon at Riverfront Park

Cheap Things to Do at Riverfront Park 

If you’re okay with spending a little money, Riverfront has some unique activities that you won’t find anywhere else. 

  • Go Ice Skating on the Numerica Skate Ribbon, one of the most unique things to do in Spokane in the winterTickets are inexpensive, and they offer skate rentals.
  • Ride the Numerica SkyRide cable cars over Spokane Falls. 
overhead view of Numerica Cable car ride with fantastic views of the Monroe Bridge and Lower Spokane Falls
Our cable car ride: We got fantastic views of the Monroe Bridge and Lower Spokane Falls

2. Spokane Farmers Market

The Spokane Farmers Market is a great way to shop for local produce, as well as other goods such as plants, eggs, meat, honey, and crafts.  This is such a fun way to interact with local vendors; we always find something new when we go. 

The market runs from May-October on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 am-1 pm.  The market is located on 5th Avenue between Division Street and Browne Street.

tourist in front of outdoor market booths

3. Beacon Hill Bike Park

I’m a big mountain biker (Kendall is not), and Beacon Hill was one of the first incredible places I discovered after moving here. 

Beacon Hill is located to the north of Downtown Spokane and has over 40 miles of mountain biking trails of all skill levels (ranging from green/easy to extreme).  Many of the trails are multi-use, so keep your eyes out for hikers.

The two best places to access the park are the following:

  • Esmeralda Golf Course: I usually park in the somewhat separated parking lot off to the side next to the trailheads, but I’ve never heard of issues with parking in the golf course lot.  The Esmeralda Trail is a great gentle climb up to the magnificent view at the top of Beacon Hill, and then you can cruise down the berms of Master Blaster or hit the jumps on Yard Sale. 
  • Camp Sekani:  The Camp Sekani gravel lot also has access to bathrooms, and is the starting point for The Carousel, a switchback-filled green route to ascend up the mountain.  My favorite downhill route from this side of the park is Rabid Rabbit, a medium/blue track full of jumps and fun curves. 

4. Riverside State Park

This state park is an area of over 9,000 acres located to the west of downtown and has some of the best hiking near Spokane. 

snow covered ground and pine trees in Riverside State Park
This park is also gorgeous in the winter; I went on an overcast day and the fog was beautiful

Remember: This is one area where you’ll need to have a Discover Pass to park at most of the trailhead parking lots. 

The trails here are fairly mild, and many of them are suitable for both hiking and mountain biking.  My favorite trails are the following:

  • For views of the Spokane River: Bowl and Pitcher Loop Trail (4.8 miles)
  • For mountain biking: Trail 211 to Centennial Trail (4.6 miles)
  • For hiking: Trail 25 and 410 Loop (4.5 miles) 

5. Greenwood Cemetery Memorial Terrace

Greenwood Cemetery, located just to the north of Indian Canyon Gold Course, has some of the most incredible overhead views that we’ve found in Spokane.

This historic cemetery has three levels of gravesites, each surrounded by beautiful pine trees.  Up top on the third level is where you’ll find our favorite overlook spot (next to the large cross). 

snow-covered pine trees, an overhead view from Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane

The Cemetery is open daily from dawn until dusk, with an office that is open from 9 am to 5 pm.  

6. Manito Park

Nature lovers shouldn’t miss Manito Park, a 90-acre botanical wonderland. This park has beautiful gardens, walking trails, and a conservatory. Take a look at the Japanese Garden, take pictures in the Rose Garden, or check out the indoor conservatory. Best of all, admission to the park is free.

The Gardens of Manito Park

  • Duncan Gardens: A beautiful European-style garden.  We loved the symmetrical rows of multi-colored flowers. 
  • Ferris Garden: Perennial Garden
  • Rose Hill: An incredible rose garden with over 150 varieties.  This is a great spot for pictures. 
  • Lilac Garden
  • Nishinomiya Tsutakawa (The Japanese Garden): This garden is so peaceful.  It’s got a river with koi and various benches to relax and just enjoy the surroundings. 
two tourists on a bridge in the Japanese Gardens at Manito Park
Kendall and I on the bridge in the Japanese garden at Manito Park

7. Spokane Centennial Trail

For outdoor enthusiasts like us who love hiking, biking, and running, the Spokane River Centennial Trail is a must-visit.

The full trail is 40 miles long, much of it winding along the Spokane River. Pack a lunch and stop at one of the many picnic areas along the route, or simply enjoy the scenery.

Best sections of the Centennial Trail

  1. From Wilber Trailhead to Morin Trailhead: This is our favorite section of the Centennial Trail as it winds you through the beautiful evergreens of Riverside State Park and puts you up at the Bowl and Pitcher Overlook. 
  2. The Downtown Trailhead to the Mission Park Trailhead: This portion runs through the beautiful Riverfront Park and then continues along the Spokane River through parts of the Gonzaga University campus.  We biked this portion of the trail in the fall, and the changing colors were beautiful. 
 downtown portion of the Centennial Trail
Kendall and I biking through the downtown portion of the Centennial Trail

8. Green Bluff Farms

Nature enthusiasts should head to Green Bluff, an agricultural area known for its beautiful orchards and farms. During the harvest season, you can pick your own fruits and vegetables.

Take a scenic drive through the countryside, breathe in the fresh air, and indulge in some delicious locally-grown produce. Whether you’re looking for apples, berries, or pumpkins, Green Bluff has something for everyone. 

My family and I visited in August and had just missed the berry-picking season.  However, we had a fantastic time cutting our own flowers (very reasonably priced at $1 a stem).

tourist holding a giant sunflower at Knapp farms

Check out this map of the farms from the Knapp Farms website

9. Drive Along the Spokane River up to Nine Mile Falls

Nine Mile Falls is one of my favorite places to drive.  I see patients up in Nine Mile quite frequently, and I love the opportunity to drive the winding, evergreen-surrounded roads.

My favorite drives near Nine Mile are the following. 

  • Along the Spokane River: Get on Aubrey L While Parkway and follow the Spokane River up to where N Aubrey L White Pkwy intersects with W 7 Mile Rd.  Turn left on W 7 Mile Rd, cross the Spokane River, and continue as far as you’d like. 
  • North along W Pine Bluff Road: Drive west along W 7 Mile Rd until you hit W Pine Bluff Rd, then turn north.  This area is less trafficked and absolutely gorgeous. 

10. Kayak or Take a Swim in Medical Lake

Medical Lake is a short drive from Spokane (less than 30 minutes).  This quiet town is a great place to relax, and the lake itself is a fantastic place to kayak during the summer months. 

The park is located on the south end of Medical Lake.  It’s got a small sand beach area where kids can wade and a park with picnic tables and a playground.  

Kendall and I brought our inflatable kayaks over the summer and we had the lake to ourselves. 

11. Mount Spokane State Park

If you’re up for a short drive outside of Spokane, Mount Spokane State Park is worth the trip. This mountain has a range of activities throughout the year, from hiking and mountain biking in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the winter. 

If you like a longer hike, the views from the summit are awesome.  Or hit the ski slopes during the winter months. 

Top Activities at Mount Spokane State Park

  1. Mount Kit Carson Trail (hiking, 7.5 miles)
  2. Mount Spokane Trail (hiking, 5.4 miles)
  3. Mountain Bike the network of trails
  4. Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park
  5. Snowshoe or cross-country ski at the Nordic ski area

Art, Culture, and Events

Spokane not only has a ton of natural beauty but also a thriving arts and culture scene. Here are some budget-friendly options to explore.

12. Explore the shops of Downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane is a hub of activity.  Besides Riverfront Park (you could spend a full day here), Spokane has a plethora of other fun shops to explore.  Also, be sure to stop by the AMC Riverfront Park Mall for a movie or to grab a bite to eat. 

Our favorite shops near downtown Spokane:

  • Auntie’s Bookstore: a large bookstore with everything book-related for both children and adults.  They’ve also got a great selection of games, cards, and other gift items. 
  • Boo Radely’s: a fun, slightly odd gift shop
  • Roses & Thread Boutique:  boutique women’s clothing store
t-shirts, post cards, mugs, and other gifts can be seen inside Boo Radley's gift shop
Boo Radley’s is a fun, eclectic gift shop that we love to browse

13. The Four Mill Mall

This mall was built in 1895 and still has the classic mill architecture.  Our favorite restaurant in Spokane, Queen of Sheba (awesome Ethiopian food), is located in this mall. 

The mall also has fun shopping options (we generally just browse), such as Wonders of the World and The Kitchen Engine. 

The Flour Mill is open daily from 8 am to 9 pm and is located at 621 W Mallon Ave in Spokane. 

14. Open Mic Nights at the Spokane Comedy Club

We LOVE the Spokane Comedy Club.  They’ve got incredible performers year-round, and while many of their shows can be quite pricy, they’ve got weekly ‘open mic’ nights and occasional ‘audition nights’ that are either free or very discounted.

Kendall and I went to an audition night with up-and-coming comedians (we paid less than $10 per ticket) and had an absolute blast. 

The Spokane Comedy Club is open Tuesday-Saturday, from 7 am to 10 pm (or 12 am, depending on performances).  They’ve also got a fairly extensive menu with appetizers and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).   Check out their calendar for the upcoming shows.

15. Jundt Art Museum 

This museum, located on the Gonzaga University campus, is completely free to both students and non-students.  This museum has a large range of works from artists such as Rembrandt and Goya, as well as more modern pieces.

The most iconic (and my favorite) piece is the huge red chandelier that hangs in the main gallery.  The chandelier weighs over 1500 pounds and is made up of over 800 pieces of twisting glass.  The light reflecting off the glass is stunning.

the twisting red glass of the Jundt Museum chendelier

16. Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Check out some awesome local art at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture. This one isn’t free, but it’s so inexpensive and offers so much. 

They’ve got exhibits featuring Native American artifacts, contemporary art installations, and more.  Also, the museum has a fun kids’ creative area with magnetic building toys and other projects. 

Museum Hours: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm.  On the third Thursday of the month, from 10 am-8 pm (9 pm in summer).

The museum offers free admission to active military from Armed Forces Day through Labor Day, and groups of 10 or more also receive a discount.  Check out their official website for updated ticket prices. 

17. Spokane Public Library

If you’re looking for a quiet and budget-friendly place to relax and explore literature, the Spokane Public Library is the perfect spot. With multiple branches located throughout the city, you can easily find a library near you.

Library cards are free to all those who live or own property in the Spokane District Area.  However, if you are visiting, you can still get a library card for $3.50 per month.

The library has events year-round for all age groups, such as storytime for toddlers, dungeons and Dragons tournaments for high-schoolers, and art events. 

children's books on a table at the Spokane Public Library

18. First Friday Art Walk

Get involved in Spokane’s arts scene by participating in the First Friday Art Walk. On the first Friday of each month, local art galleries and studios open their doors to the public, offering a chance to explore and appreciate the works of local artists.  This event is completely free.  See a map of current locations here. 

19. Browne’s Addition

For a bit of history and local charm, head over to Browne’s Addition. This old neighborhood is known for its beautifully preserved Victorian-era homes as well as its dining scene. 

Explore the streets lined with colorful houses, then grab a bit to eat at one of the many restaurants. Whether you’re craving international cuisine or classic American comfort food, Browne’s Addition has a restaurant for every taste.

Tips for Saving Money on Transportation in Spokane

Getting around Spokane doesn’t have to be expensive. If you don’t have a car, one of the most convenient and affordable ways to get around is by using the Spokane Transit Authority (STA) buses. These buses are comfortable and it’s fairly easy to plan your route using their website.

If you prefer a more active option, we really enjoy renting bikes from one of the many bike-share programs. They offer hourly or daily rates.

This is a great way to explore places like Riverfront Park or the Centennial Trail.

And finally, we highly recommend walking! Especially in downtown Spokane, parking along the street can be cumbersome and does cost a few dollars. We prefer to park in a central location and simply walk to all the nearby downtown locations.

Map of Free Things to Do in Spokane Washington

Best Free Things to Do in Spokane: Key Takeaways 

Best Free Outdoor Activities: Explore the Manito Park Gardens, hike the trails in Riverside State Park, or check out the Monroe Street Bridge at Riverfront Park. 

Best Free Indoor Activities: First Friday Art Walk, Jundt Art Museum, Spokane Public Library

Our Favorite Malls and Shops: The Flour Mill Mall, Auntie’s Bookstore, Boo Radley’s giftshop

Best Inexpensive Activities: Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, take the Numerica Skyride tram over Spokane Falls, or skate the ice ribbon during the winter

Spokane, Washington, has so many options for budget-conscious travelers. We’ve loved our time living here and are always excited to keep exploring.

FAQs About Spokane

Why is Spokane famous?

Spokane is known for being the birthplace of Father’s Day. It’s also well-known for its art scene, hiking trails, and unique historical buildings.

What is the Best Thing About Spokane Washington?

Locals and visitors have argued that some of the best things in Spokane are: The beautiful Riverfront Park, the hiking and biking trails of Riverside State Park, and the arts and cultural scene.

Is Spokane WA worth visiting?

Absolutely! The city is full of museums, beautiful parks, inexpensive art galleries, and great food options.

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