Best Outdoor Adventure Supplies - REI
REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated) is synonymous with the Pacific Northwest -- and it's the first place many professional as well as weekend hikers head for boots, gear and clothing. REI's drive to be the best outfitter there is spills over into the company's many other activities. REI supports the Idaho Conservation League's work to preserve the Boulder and White Cloud Mountains, not far from Sun Valley, and every year a percentage of its operating budget goes toward scholarships to help protect and restore the natural environment. That being said, the store is simply cool -- here's everything any outdoor enthusiast could ever want. The fee to become a member of this progressive coop is $15 -- once and for all. Once a member, you get access to special sales and discounts on equipment repairs. And to all of those non-members, remember the REI store in Spokane is one of the only ones with a special clearance area called the attic -- there anyone can find a good deal!
Second place: Mountain Gear
Third place: White Elephant
Best Health Club - 24-Hour Fitness
With four locations in Spokane, one in Liberty Lake, one in Coeur d'Alene and one in Lewiston, Idaho, it's hard to beat out this around-the-clock fitness machine. The 24-Hour Fitness centers offer weight rooms, Nautilus machines and special classes in spinning, aerobics, yoga and any other fitness trend you can think of. We like the personal trainers, and the clean and well-maintained facilities. Even if it's been awhile since you last hit the treadmill, there's nothing intimidating going on here -- you'll feel right at home.
Second place: The Spokane Club
Third place: Gold's Gym
Best Golf Course - Indian Canyon
Not only do our readers like this local gem of a golf course, but Golf Digest has chosen it several times as one of the top 25 public golf courses in the nation. Designed and built in 1930 by H. Chandler Egan, the course is located to the west of Spokane and as you play your rounds you get to enjoy many stunning views of the city below. Classes for golfers of all levels are available at Indian Canyon -- choose between private instruction, group lessons, whole or half-day sessions and group sessions for your company are available, too.
Second place: Downriver Golf Course
Third place: The Creek at Qualchan
Best Ice Skating - Riverfront Park
There's something about ice skating that makes you feel better, at least if you are skating for the fun of it. And the great thing about Riverfront Park's ice rink is that skaters of all abilities are on the ice at the same time. In other words, if you don't skate like Tara Lipinski, there's nothing to fear. We especially like the family nights, where everyone from grandma to junior can take a swirl around the rink and get a break on the price of rentals and tickets. Last time we went, we got a lot of help keeping our balance from some friendly hockey players -- it was great fun. We hope the Parks and Recreation Department goes through with its exciting plans for a science center, which probably would also include some new ice rinks as well.
Second place: Eagles Ice Arena
Third place: Planet Ice
Best place to get away from it all during your lunch break - Riverfront Park
Judging from the answers we got, a lot of people like to hang out in their cars or sneak home for -- dare we say it -- a midday nap. But in the end, when the ballots were all counted, the parks were the big winners. The thing is, if you want to be left undisturbed on your lunch time escape, you need to find a park of a certain size so you don't run into your boss -- since she may have gotten the same idea. And Riverfront Park has plenty of nooks and crannies to let all the employees from several corporate headquarters hide out in their own little space. Plus, if you have five more minutes left, you can get in a quick ride on the carrousel as well. Nothing like a trip on a wooden horse to make your desk chair feel all soft and comfy again!
Second place: Manito Park
Third place: Centennial Trail/Bowl and Pitcher (tie)