Spokane is widely known for its quirk and charm, the four seasons and many hidden coffee shops, but one of the best draws are the city’s parks. On the top of this list are Riverfront Park and Manito Park.
Riverfront Park plays a major role in Spokane’s largest tourist attraction events. One of the annual events that Spokane residents and visitors alike look forward to is Hoopfest. According to its website, Hoopfest, exceeds 25,000 participants and brings $39 million to the Spokane economy.
When it comes to what attracts many to Riverfront Park, there is no shortage of things to do. Spokane spent about $10 million on building the new skate ribbon at Riverfront Park which opened for its second season in 2018.
In 2014, 69 percent of voters approved a $64.3 million project that outlined the plan to renovate Riverfront Park. In addition to building the skate ribbon, the Looff Carrousel was revamped last year and relocated into a new building, among other renovations to the park.
Sophomore Madeline Williamson even bought a season pass to the skate ribbon.
“It’s really fun and convenient, and I knew I would want to be going a lot,” Williamson said. “I like the ice ribbon because it’s really cool and unique—it’s a big track rather than an oval [like traditional ice rinks].”
The Spokane River that runs directly through Riverfront Park, along with the waterfalls, is a favorite spot to go on adventure walks.
“[Riverfront Park is] super close and there are nice walking trails,” Junior Kahiwahiwa Davis said.
With all the focus put into Riverfront Park, and its centralized location, attention is taken away from Spokane’s other famous park — Manito Park located on the South Hill. Manito Park and Botanical Gardens, constructed in 1907, is known for it’s 3-acre Duncan Garden and it’s 1,500 rose bushes in the Rose Hill among other portions of the 90-acre public park.
Manito is famous for its photo opportunities and plant varieties. Besides its plants, Manito also features a duck pond surrounded by willow trees, where you can find turtles popping their heads up during spring and summer. During the winter, families and members of the Spokane community go to Manito to sled and build snowmen and during the spring people flock to watch the flowers bloom on walks through the park.
Manito also features The Park Bench Café that serves drinks and delicious food during the warmer seasons of the year. On the northeast end of Manito there is a natural conservatory of plants where you can find succulents as well as tropical plants.
Sophomore and Spokane native Alexis Desautel said she enjoys the park because of its beauty and photo opportunities.
“I went to Manito park for prom pictures and picnics,” said Desautel, whose favorite part of Manito is the flowers.
Spokane parks provide “an opportunity for you to go outside the ‘Gonzaga Bubble’ and to see other people from the community and spend time in nature,” said sophomore Grace Redpath.
Spokane surprises many with its unique attractions — Riverfront Park and Manito are just a few examples of its beauty.
If you’re looking to beat the cabin fever feeling winter holds over us, get outside and enjoy the fresh air offered within Spokane’s city limits.
Karlie Murphy is a staff writer.