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10.24.2006 - 30 comments 

I took this shot while leaving the city limits of Spokane, but the hardest part about planning a visit to the Spokane Region is deciding what to see and do first. With all the shopping, dining, arts, indoor and outdoor recreation you could wish for, Spokane is a Northwest wonderland complete with natural beauty and fantastic weather.

As you can see from this shot I took, Spokane is up in the mountains. If you continued on this highway (as we did) you will go all the way across the state and end up in Seattle, WA (another post someday I'm sure)! The town site was originally platted, about 1880, surrounding the falls of the Spokane River, where the river descends from the Selkirk Mountain range into the Columbia Plateau.

Spokane is 280 miles east of Seattle and 375 miles northeast of Portland. The 2000 U.S. census showed that the city population was 197,400, and the county had a population of 417,939. The most recent state figures, released in April of 2006, show that the city population has since increased to 201,600, while metropolitan estimates show the area has more than half a million people, and may be approaching 600,000.

Spokane is the second largest city in Washington state and the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest. It is the county seat of Spokane County in the State of Washington, USA. It was originally incorporated as "Spokan Falls" (without an 'e' at the end), drawing on the Native American tribe known as the Spokane, which means "Children of the Sun.” It is often misprounounced as "Spo cane", when it's actually prounounced like "spo can".

This coming January, the eyes of the world will be on Spokane for the 2007 State Farm US Figure Skating Championships! World Champion Kimmie Meissner, and all the American favorites will compete for the title of America's best! Then, March Madness takes over as the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena opens its doors for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men's Tournament! And I am sure that many of you College Basketball fans, may also recognize Spokane as the home of the Gonzaga University Bulldogs?

Spokane is home to a number of annual events and attractions that draw people from a large surrounding area:The Lilac Bloomsday Run, a 7.46 mile race for walkers and competitive runners, is the largest timed road race in the world, typically drawing about 45,000 participants. It is held on the first Sunday of each May.

Hoopfest is the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world. It is held the last weekend in June, and has a variety of participants, from kids, teens, and adults to former college and NBA players, in their respective brackets. Started in 1989 with just 300+ teams, the event now annually averages more than 25,000 participants or around 6,000 3-man teams.

Each April, Japan Week celebrates the sister-city relationship with Nishinomiya, Japan, demonstrating the many commonalities shared between the two cities. Students from the Spokane campus of Mukogawa Institute, Whitworth College, Gonzaga University, Spokane Falls and Spokane Community College organize an array of Japanese cultural events, in addition to a number of others that take place around the city.

The Garland Village Arts & Music Festival takes place the second Saturday each August. 2006 will mark the 4th annual street fair. More information can be found at The Garland Village.
You can "Pig-Out In The Park" as there is an annual summer festival celebrating the joy of food. Local restaurants set up booths all around Riverfront Park. Visitors can browse for food and listen to local bands perform. It is traditionally held over Labor Day weekend in early September.

Tour Des Lacs is a two-day benefit bike ride that takes place in September. The route takes riders from Spokane to Coeur d'Alene,Idaho and back, and includes short route options along the Centennial Trail. Routes vary in length from 80 to almost 200 miles and include breakfast, dinner, and food stops.

If you think this road up ahead looks like a pretty drive, you would certainly be RIGHT!

"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints." -Robert Louis Stevenson Posted by Picasa