The site of Expo ’74 has been preserved as the striking Riverfront Park (509/456-4386 or 800/336-7275, www.spokaneriverfrontpark.com) covering over 100 acres in downtown Spokane. Outdoors, stroll around the flower-bedecked paths, play on the rides, walk the suspension bridge over the upper falls to Canada Island, or take the gondola over dramatic Spokane Falls, illuminated at night.
The most-photographed landmark is a tall riverside clock tower that was a part of the Great Northern Railroad depot for many years. Indoors, the five-story-high IMAX Theater (509/625-6686, $8.25) features dazzling, sharp images and stereo sound.
Riverfront Park boasts the Spokane Opera House, home to the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. The Pavilion amusement park features rides for the daring and tamer attractions for young kids. Be sure to take a spin on the hand-carved 1909 Looff Carousel ($2)—a National Historical Landmark—on the park’s south side. Nearby is an amusing trash-eating mechanical goat. Kids of all ages enjoy the enormous red Radio Flyer wagon that doubles as a slide. Also check out the The Joy of Running Together steel sculptures by David Govedare that race around the park borders.
Take a gondola ride ($7) over the Spokane River, park, and falls from the west side of the park, play miniature golf, pet the animals at the petting zoo, ride the park tour train, or try your maneuvers at the ice-skating rink. The park also includes a restaurant, picnic areas, and more.
It’s possible to buy individual tickets to the various rides and attractions, but your best bet is an all-inclusive park day pass ($13). Every weekend (10 a.m.–6 p.m. May–Sept.), Riverfront Park hosts arts and crafts booths.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition