From art festivals to roller coasters, the Northwest offers adventure seekers many entertainment options
By Mandy Braviroff
As the warmer weather has settled in after a long spring of being stuck inside, now is the time to stretch our legs and get out and enjoy these nicer days and gorgeous Northwest sunsets. Even though life was temporarily canceled for us earlier this year, life has resumed, and there are plenty of enjoyable things to get out and do. Lucky for us in the Northwest, our region offers a multitude of activities for everyone to enjoy, whether it's indoors or out. Now more than ever, the busy bodies of the Inland Northwest are looking outside seeking fun, adventure and social life that brings us back to life. Whether it's hiking the trails, boating on one of the many numerous lakes or attending a local event, you will be sure to find something fun and entertaining to do right here in the Northwest.
Warmer weather means local farmers markets begin to line the streets and parking lots around the Inland Northwest. The markets are filled with folks seeking to sell and buy fresh farmed goods, delicious homemade foods and local handmade wares. No need to worry about scheduling days to get to one as there are several markets to choose from nearly any day of the week.
The Kendall Yards Night Market is held every Wednesday in the summer through September in Spokane and has quickly become one of the biggest farmers’ markets around. They close down the entire street in Kendall Yards and fill it with vendors, food trucks and live musicians. Hillyard has a wonderful Farmers’ Market that is held every Monday evening and is focused around community, local businesses and farmers. The Fairwood Farmers’ Market in North Spokane is held every Tuesday through October and also offers a diverse array of goods and merchandise to its patrons. Millwood Farmers’ Market is held in the historic Millwood District and operates every Wednesday through September and provides the neighborhood with educational interactions with the farmers. South Perry District offers a Farmers’ Market every Thursday through October and takes pride in offering affordable and high-quality food to its visitors. The Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market is held every Friday through September and features several children's activities, cooking demos and even book readings. The Spokane Farmers’ Market is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays through October downtown and provides local growers a venue to sell directly to the public.
North Idaho offers its share of family friendly markets as well. The Kootenai County Farmers’ Market runs every Wednesday in Downtown Coeur d’Alene and every Saturday in Hayden, offering folks in the area a few options to visit. Sandpoint offers its farmers' market twice a week at Farmin Park; Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. In addition to the market, you'll enjoy a variety of live musical performances throughout the season. As of press time, the Wednesday market had been postponed.
These summer markets are filled with a diverse amount of goods and are a great place to support our local farmers, businesses and community members. Please check websites for all market events where you can find info on more locations and hours of operations.
If you're one that prefers live entertainment, there are plenty of live shows of all kinds all around the area. If you enjoy live comedy shows, the Spokane Comedy Club hosts many shows with big named guests and headliners such as Sean Wayans, Sarah Colona and Pauly Shore. They also host weekly local shows, open mic nights, or you can register for one of their classes and learn the ins-and-outs of live comedy. You can also find live music shows under the newly remodeled Pavilion in Riverfront Park, which offers a whole new nighttime outdoor experience for visitors. For a smaller vibe, but equally as entertaining, check out the Lucky You Lounge for some great local and regional musicians. The Spokane Arena hosts a large variety of live shows with big named stars such as Cher, Def Leppard & ZZ Top and The Backstreet Boys. Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights offers a Summer Concert Series as well with several big-name lineups throughout the season including Ice Cube and Weezer.
North Idaho is known for its many outdoor concerts during the summer months. From Coeur d'Alene's Live After 5 at McEuen Park and Summer Concerts at Riverstone to Handshake Productions' 2020 North Idaho Concert Series at Coeur d'Alene City Park, Sherman Park Square, and McIntire Family Park in Hayden, music fills the air all summer long!
Be sure to check websites for updates on each event, as some scheduled acts and show dates may change.
Throughout the year, from Spokane to Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding area, there are an array of local, regional and national theatre productions. First Interstate Center for the Arts in Downtown Spokane is known for bringing in big name productions from The Best of Broadway, though, unfortunately, many of this season’s productions have been postponed until later in the year or canceled. For a local vibe with a smaller venue, there are several shows at the Spokane Civic Theatre, where locals are encouraged to get involved volunteering in a production. The Spokane Children's Theatre, which is the oldest nonprofit theatre in Spokane, offers six shows throughout the year, plus they offer summer camps and classes for kids ages 5 to 18. The Christian Youth Theatre in Coeur d’Alene offers classes as well and holds auditions for their live performances three times a year. They also offer many different workshops such as makeup, improv and song writing, just to name a few. Founded in 2011 and with a completely renovated theatre, Stage Left Theatre brings the big theatre vibe into an intimate and inviting setting. The Blue Door Theatre in the historic Garland District has been bringing hilarious Improv comedy shows to Spokane since 1996. They offer several shows throughout the week as well as an eight-week-long course on how to master live improv. The Lake City Playhouse is a nonprofit community theatre located in Coeur d’Alene and features timeless classics year-round. The Lake City Playhouse also has a community outreach program where they give back locally by offering scholarships and giving back to programs like The Wishing Star Foundation. Ignite! Community Theatre “is a diverse group of volunteers passionate about bringing full staged shows, readers theatre and improv to Spokane Valley,” says Ignite! historian LuRicka Kougl. Ignite! takes pride in serving the community by providing an affordable theatre experience and by also offering affordable advertising for local businesses. And one of the most unique and inspiring theatre organizations you can find in North Idaho is Out of the Shadows. The only theater of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, Out of the Shadows is live theater unlike any other, as the unique nonprofit community theater company brings actors with special needs to the stage.
As you can see, live theatre is alive and well in the Inland Northwest, and there are a plethora of options to choose from.
Between galleries, art walks and art festivals, the art happenings of the Northwest are more lively now than ever. First Friday is held the first Friday of each month in Spokane and offers patrons a chance to view many local artists and talents, with some locations adding live music, wine and food to the mix. Throughout the city, different artists line the walls of galleries, wineries and restaurants with their unique pieces and creations.
Many of the art styles range in a variety from traditional to abstract to even the most eclectic masterpieces that are forged together with paint, glue, glass and sweat.
Originally opened in 2012 and now located in the revitalized Sprague District is New Moon Art Gallery. They showcase the talents of the Northwest and host art parties, art classes and shows throughout each month. They also host monthly artists receptions and workshops that you can attend. The Avenue West Gallery in Spokane, which was established in 2003, is a cooperative and 100 percent owned by its members. It features many artists from around the region and boasts a wide array of art from paintings, to photography. One of the main goals of the gallery is to allow guests to walk around at their own pace, leisurely enjoying each individual piece of art. It is one of the most unique and oldest galleries in the city as well.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of Art Fest, which is hosted and sponsored by the Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane from May 29 through 31. This festival is best for being noted as the official beginning of summer and is held every year in historic Browne's Addition. With over 150 vendors showcasing their creations from art to handmade books, this family themed event is a great way to bring everyone out for a day of fun. For the first time ever, for the health and safety of the community, this year's festival of art and fine craft will be digital. Held the last weekend in May, be sure to save the date for the 2021 event, May 28 through 30.
Coeur d’Alene also hosts a plethora of art galleries and events filled with local, regional and national artists. The Coeur d'Alene Arts and Culture Alliance brings the belief that combining food and art equals life. They take pride in showcasing local art and food events such as the Art Walk, which is held every second Friday of the month from April to December in beautiful Downtown Coeur d’Alene. There are several businesses, galleries and restaurants that participate in this family friendly event displaying the works of local and acclaimed artists of all kinds.
The Art on the Green in Coeur d’Alene is an annual visual and performing arts festival held on the beautiful North Idaho College campus, with this year’s event scheduled for July 31 through August 2. This family friendly event is a gathering place for those who enjoy art and handcrafted wares and is North Idaho's highlight event of the summer. As a precaution this year, the event will go virtual.
The Northwest is home to over 1,000 wineries, which opens up several options for those seeking some of the world’s best wines. It's been said the diversity of Washington and Idaho wines come from a mix of the nutrient-rich soils, the terrain and the weather. A mixture of this climate offers wine growers some of the best conditions in growing fruity and complex wines.
The Northwest offers many events throughout the year that are specifically catered around our local award-winning wines. Arbor Crest Winery in Spokane Valley not only offers weekly summer concerts with a gorgeous view of the bluff but offer their visitors the option of bringing in a picnic to enjoy while attending one of their shows. The Cork District in Spokane focuses on the urban core of downtown by offering a map of 15 wineries, all within walking distance of each other. Latah Creek Winery in the Spokane Valley is open daily and offers wine tastings, delicious bites for pairing and a gift shop. Liberty Lake Wine Cellars is a boutique winery that hosts wine tastings, a book club, painting classes and several other events throughout the summer. Barrister Winery in Downtown Spokane offers delicious wines as well as a gorgeous urban courtyard and an intimate gathering space for weddings and events. Maryhill Winery in Kendall Yards offers wine tastings and bites with an incredible view of Downtown Spokane and the Spokane River. Coeur d’Alene Cellars in North Idaho offers its visitors a gorgeous outdoor landscape where weddings can be held, a beautifully laid-out tasting room, and also offers guests painting classes, club events and winemaking classes.
With more than 150 wineries and tasting rooms to choose from locally, you will be charmed by the uniqueness of each one you visit. Be sure to check out each winery website for hours, events and location.
Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights offers visitors that Vegas gaming-like experience but with less chaos. In addition to the Summer Concert Series they also have a world-class luxury day spa with features like a his and hers lounge, whirlpool spas, massages and skin care. They also offer over a dozen restaurants to choose from, from a fancy steak dinner to a burger to go, there are plenty of family friendly options to choose from. They also now feature M&D, a dinner and a movie restaurant with lounge seating and a menu you can access during the show.
If you find yourself in North Idaho, The Coeur d’Alene Casino in Worley not only has several gambling options they host also privately catered events, weddings, banquets and fine dining for their guests. They also offer a spa which features massages, facials and more.
Family Focused Entertainment
Family focused entertainment is a plenty in the Northwest. Whether your kids want to be indoors or out, you will be sure to find many entertaining options that both parents and kids will collectively enjoy.
Serving over 100,000 visitors a year, the Museum of Art and Culture (MAC) helps preserve history by bringing in large national exhibits. They also offer smaller, more local and regional exhibits that teach of our area's history and even offer tours of the Campbell House, which is rich in history for both Spokane and North Idaho. The Mobius Science Center in Downtown Spokane is focused around creating innovative experiences for mind thinkers alike. With many hands-on exhibits this cultural educational science center stimulates the minds and entertains through experimental exhibits.
In Hayden, Idaho, the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center is the perfect stop for imaginations to take flight. The museum strives to educate its visitors about the historic contributions of "aviators and innovators who have helped create modern technology, and celebrate these individuals who have forever changed the way we live." And ... admission is free.
Silverwood in Athol, Idaho, has been creating memories for families since 1988. With roller-coaster rides, water slides, a train, and loads of good food and entertainment, Silverwood is known as the family event of the summer. They also have an RV park where you can come and camp and extend your fun experience over a few days. They also host “Scarywood” in October, turning the park and rides into a spooky Halloween experience. Be sure to check online for ticket specials and discounts throughout the summer and dates of operations.
As you can see, the Inland Northwest is filled with many fun and entertaining things to do no matter who you are. Whether you’re living here or visiting, the Inland Northwest is a wonderful place to explore all the offerings. Get out and stretch those legs, and go explore all of the entertainment in the Northwest!