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Spokane’s Hidden Gems – A Locals Guide to Offbeat Hangout Spots

Photo by Timothy Eberly

Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Spokane, Washington, is a city filled to the brim with charm, personality, and a myriad of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Beyond the well-trodden paths and popular landmarks, lies a treasure trove of offbeat hangout spots – enchanting parks, secret bars, tucked-away restaurants, and picturesque trails that paint a different picture of the Lilac City.

In this guide, we invite you to step off the beaten track and explore Spokane’s best-kept secrets. Whether you’re a long-time local seeking a new haunt or a temporary visitor eager to experience the city like a true insider, our curated list promises a journey through unique and undiscovered spaces. From eclectic eateries serving up culinary delights, to cozy neighborhood bars where locals gather, and hidden parks and trails that offer a retreat into nature, Spokane has surprises in store for every adventurer.

Join us as we peel back the layers of Spokane’s vibrant tapestry, revealing the lesser-known, yet unforgettable, hangout spots that add an extra dash of magic to this Northwestern gem. It’s time to go beyond the ordinary and uncover the extraordinary in Spokane, where every corner has a story to tell and every hidden gem beckons with its own enticing allure.

Culinary Delights & Liquid Refreshments

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Delectable Restaurants:

  • King of Ramen – Located on Mission just north of the river, this authentic Japanese Ramen Shop is one of the best spots in town for a hearty bowl of delicious noodles with loaded with ample toppings. With massive portions of tasty food for a very fair price, this is one spot that will always be a good bet for a quick lunch or filling dinner!
  • Domini Sandwiches – Sometimes nothing beats simplicity, and Domini Sandwiches has truly perfected this mentality. Slinging deli-style sandwiches for years, this family owned local business requires only 3 choices of you: What meat, what cheese, and what bread? And get ready to stretch your jaw, because they do not skimp on the portions!
  • Chowderhead – A relatively new spot to try (located in the old “Ruins” building for those in the know), Chowderhead has a wide assortment of tasty soups, salads, and sammies that are sure to delight. Be sure to try their weekly rotating chowder to find your new favorite!
  • Chicken N’ More – With the bold “CHKN-N-MO” sign out front, this unassuming storefront hides a cozy restaurant which is a longtime town favorite serving up southern style fried chicken, BBQ, and seafood. The catfish sandwich is a must try!
  • I Love Tofu – Don’t let the name fool you, this Korean eatery has a large variety of tasty dishes, ranging from beef bulgogi and a classic bibimbap, to japchae and stir fries (and yes, the tofu is good too!).
  • Shamus’s Sandwich Shop – Another locally owned and operated sandwich chain, Shamus’s offers a variety of delicious deli-style sammies loaded between fresh bread that’s baked daily. With 3 locations spread throughout Spokane and Spokane Valley, you’ll never be far away from a quick and tasty lunch!
  • India House Authentic Cuisine – Offering tantalizingly tasty authentic Indian cuisine, this south hill curry house has quickly developed a name for itself as a great place to get exotic and luxurious traditional Indian flavors.
  • Tacos El Sol – In Spokane it can sometimes be hard to find truly authentic Mexican food that will hit the spot every time, but Tacos El Sol consistently prevails as a top spot. A family run business, this joint offers tasty, high quality food at a great value that will keep you coming back for more again and again.

Inviting Bars & Pubs:

  • Bijou – With one location in downtown Brown’s Addition and another nestled up on the South Hill, this craft cocktail bar fits it’s name as a true hidden gem with small but elegant lobbies and a welcoming atmosphere. The knowledgeable bartenders can make any cocktail you could dream of, and even some you couldn’t, each one more delicious than the last.
  • Whistle Punk Brewing – Located in the beating heart of downtown Spokane, this craft brewery prides itself on its small-batch ales and lagers. With a constantly rotating tap list, perpetual improvement is the name of these brewers game, though the tried-and-true favorites tend to stick around for obvious reasons. For those of you looking to bring home your favorite ale, they also keep a stocked fridge of beverages canned in-house, and growler fills are available on demand!
  • TT’s Brewery and BBQ – Since opening in 2019, TT’s has won multiple awards for its delicious barbecue and refreshing pints. Created by two Spokane natives, this Valley joint has regular special creations available for a limited time, so keep an eye out and get there before they run out of your new favorite!
  • Neato Burrito & Baby Bar – With burritos up front and drinks in the back, this is one combination platter any aspiring local must try at least once. While two distinct businesses, Neato and Baby bar share a location separated only by a short hallway. Regular events ranging from live music to poetry readings as well as a surprisingly cozy dark and windowless dive bar make this spot a haven for the punks, hipsters, and art-types Spokane loves so much.
  • The Park Inn – A classic American pub through-and-through, the Park Inn is a longtime staple of Spokane. Loaded up with a full bar, a menu stuffed with comfort food classics, and plenty of TV’s tuned to the most important games, the P.I. has stood the test of time, and for good reason. It’s a clean and well put together place to get a filling lunch or an after work pint.
  • Hogwash Whiskey Den – Going all-in on it’s prohibition era feel, Hogwash is located in a stylish cellar and, true to it’s name, is stacked high with fine whiskeys and bartenders who know how to make them shine in an excellent cocktail. What may surprise newcomers though is the absolutely delicious seasonal food menu that can sometimes almost feel out of place due to it’s exceptional high quality in such an underground aesthetic.

Wilderness Tracks & Park Paradises

Photo by Clay Elliot

Picturesque Trails:

  • High Drive Bluff Park – A popular scenic trail offering scenic panoramic views, the trail is often shaded by tall trees and surrounded with lush vegetation, creating a pleasant environment for walkers, joggers, and bikers. Despite being passed by hundreds of cars per day as they commute on High Drive, not many stop to enjoy this track that’s surprisingly isolated from the city bustle despite its proximity.
  • Riverside State Park – A vast and diverse outdoor recreational area that’s known for its stunning natural beauty, the park offers a wide range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts with woodlands, meadows, and riverbanks all ready to explore. Multiple access points and trailheads make this sprawling park easily accessible, and a must see for nature lovers.
  • Dishman Hills Natural Area – A cherished local gem spanning over 530 acres, this area provides a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Boasting an extensive network of well-maintained trails, it’s a popular destination for hiking, trail running, and bird watching. The trails offer varying levels of difficulty, ensuring that visitors of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy the serene beauty of the landscape.
  • Camp Sekani and Beacon Hill Park – A thrilling and popular destination for mountain biking enthusiasts of all skill levels. Camp Sekani Park and the adjacent Beacon Hill area offers over 30 mountain biking trails designed to cater to many different riding abilities, from beginner to advanced. Hikers, trail runners, and disc golfers are also frequent guests to the area, enjoying the stunning views and unique topography of the park only a short distance away from Spokane neighborhoods.
  • Centennial Trail – Beginning at the Washington/Idaho state line, the Centennial Trail winds through picturesque locations, including Riverside State Park, downtown Spokane, and several charming communities along the way. The trail showcases the region’s diverse beauty, featuring riverbanks, meadows, forests, and glimpses of the Spokane Falls. While not necessarily a hidden gem, this trail is too well-known and popular (and for good reason!) that any list of Spokane trails would look bare if we didn’t at least mention it for those who haven’t given it a shot yet!

Leisurely Parks:

  • Cliff Park – A small urban hideaway located just adjacent to downtown Spokane, this park has a large volcanic rock centerpiece original used by the Spokane Indians as a lookout point, and can still be used as such today to get some stunning views despite the growth of the surrounding pines. With lush grassy fields and looping paved paths, this park is a great place to escape the city for a moment with a walk, jog, or midday picnic.
  • Orchard Park – Situated in Liberty Lake, this sprawling park has something to offer for any day out. With a large playground and splash pad for the kids, and basketball, tennis, and pickle ball courts for those looking for a little competition or practice, this park is a true community gathering space. There are also a few covered pavilions located at each end of the park for larger gatherings and picnics. The well-maintained lawns and walking paths are even great for a short walk or bike ride through this beautiful park!
  • Brown’s Park – An absolute hub of recreation, Brown’s Park in the Spokane Valley on the corner of Pines and 32nd has extensive facilities for residents and visitors to enjoy. Known for it’s 16(!) beautiful beach volleyball courts with pro-quality nets, this is a great place to enjoy some friendly summer competition on the sand! There is also a full-sized basketball court for a friendly pick up game, and a skate dot for those looking to have some fun on wheels.
    In the mood for a more relaxed day out? There are also 2 covered picnic pavilions, and many more picnic tables dispersed throughout the park to enjoy as well as a well maintained walking path throughout the grounds. And for those with kiddos, there is a large island-themed playground and splash pad that is all wheelchair accessible so that anyone can have a great day out in the sun. Revitalized in the last few years, this park has seen many improvements so if you haven’t stopped by to check it out for awhile, it may be worth taking a day to see all the new and wonderful facilities this park has to offer!
  • Southside Family Aquatic Facility – A dynamic and inclusive space designed to provide water-based recreation and entertainment for people of all ages in the hot summer months. This facility features a range of amenities catering to family members, ensuring an enjoyable experience for everyone. With a well-maintained heated swimming pool, a branching and looping lazy river, water slides, splash pads with large interactive play structures and tumble buckets for the kids, as well as picnic tables and a large grassy space for laying out or picnicking. With facilities for people of all ages and experience levels, this can be a fun and inexpensive place to go to beat the summer heat!

Did we miss your favorite hangout spot? Let us know down in the comments!

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