Springtime in Spokane

Eastern Washington's river city is blooming once again
Kate Chynoweth

Map and travel info

The intricate gold leaf in the lobby of the 1914 Davenport Hotel isn't the only thing giving Spokane its new glow. Renovated in 2002, the elegant establishment (from $169; 10 S. Post St.; 800/899-1482) is just one of the many projects that added up to a record number of historic renovations that year ― nearly double that of any other city in the state, including Seattle.

Caterina Winery's tasting room (12-5 daily; 905 N. Washington St.; 509/328-5069), housed in a historic 1910 dairy building downtown, recently expanded by adding a wine bar (5-10 Fri-Sat). In May all 10 local wineries offer extended hours as part of the Spokane Winery Association's Spring Barrel Tasting Weekend (11-5 May 7-9; free; 509/926-0164).

On the banks of the Spokane River, you'll find downtown's Riverfront Park, where you can access the Centennial Trail. Given the city's whopping annual average of 260 days of sunshine, visitors will want to seize the opportunity to take a walk or bike ride here. Cyclists can follow the trail east along the river for 38 miles to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, or travel through Riverside State Park (509/465-5064) to the trail's western terminus at Nine Mile Falls, a distance of 14 miles.

There's more to see beyond downtown. South Perry Street is where creative entrepreneurs Mark Camp, Robert Hartwig, and Jason Williams ― who co-own the recording studio where rapper Snoop Dogg recorded an advertisement ― opened the Shop (924 S. Perry St.; 509/534-1647), a coffeehouse serving great espresso inside a former auto garage. In summer, they host a free outdoor movie series with classics such as Singin' in the Rain.

Another effort by the dynamic trio is the Scoop (1002 S. Perry; 509/533-1300), which opened last July and has great ice cream flavors; try Bruttles, made with soft peanut brittle from the Davenport Hotel. It's a reinvented classic ― just like Spokane.