Best Of

Best of Recreation

click to enlarge JON MERRELL ILLUSTRATION
Jon Merrell illustration

Best Golf Course
DOWNRIVER
Originally built in 1916, Downriver Golf Course hits that sweet spot where duffers of a wide range of expertise can feel at home on its 18 holes abutting the Spokane River and adjacent to Riverside State Park. A round at Downriver offers some great views of tree-lined fairways, almost guaranteed encounters with curious wildlife, and typically great conditions all the way through. As a city course, it's also a pretty screaming deal. (DN)
2nd PLACE: Indian Canyon; 3rd PLACE: (tie) The Creek at Qualchan, Hangman Valley; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Circling Raven, Worley


Best Bike Shop
THE BIKE HUB
If you're into peddling, the Bike Hub is hard to miss. With three locations throughout the city (downtown, Spokane Valley and Perry District), it's a great place to pick out a new ride with experienced and friendly sales staff, but also a solid choice for learning more about local rides and events. Even newbies can get involved, with plenty of rentals available and staff who are always willing to send you in the right direction. (CG)
2nd PLACE: Wheel Sport; 3rd PLACE: North Division Bicycle; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Vertical Earth, Coeur d'Alene


click to enlarge Swinging into action at Camp Reed.
Swinging into action at Camp Reed.

Best Summer Camp
CAMP REED
The Inland Northwest YMCA prides itself on the transformative experiences of its youth camp on Fan Lake. Just ask camp counselor Crissy "Puzzle" Lubke, who's going on her fourth summer working there. "Growing up going to Camp Reed, and now getting to work there, I have been able to have the firsthand experience of just how special it is to so many people," she says. "It really is the best." Clearly, the readers agree. (CG)
2nd PLACE: Camp Spalding; 3rd PLACE: Lutherhaven


Best Mountain Bike Trails
TRAIL OF THE COEUR D'ALENES
A 72-mile paved flat route alongside plenty of lakes and wildlife, the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a versatile path that works well for both taking it easy and for spandex-clad speedsters. Nearby Harrison and Cataldo Mission are also solid spots to stop and catch your breath, but the beauty of this route is that you call the shots. (CG)
2nd PLACE: Camp Sekani/Beacon Hill; 3rd PLACE: Mt. Spokane


Best Outdoor Rec Supplies
REI
Gear up for your next outdoor adventure at our local REI. Whether it's snowshoeing, backpacking, cycling, skiing, jumping in lakes or rivers or simply trying to bundle up for the winter, they can get you ready for it with physical equipment or staff expertise. Be sure to check out their sale racks for any discounted — yet high quality — goods. (JK)
2nd PLACE: North 40 Outfitters; 3rd PLACE: The General Store; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Black Sheep Sporting Goods, Coeur d'Alene


click to enlarge Riding scooters in Riverfront Park. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
Young Kwak photo
Riding scooters in Riverfront Park.

Best Place to Ride Your Lime Scooter
RIVERFRONT PARK
Zip along the maze of paved paths and bridges that make up inviting and gorgeous Riverfront Park for a stellar scooting experience. Nighttime riding is also an option, given that most of the park's pathways are well illuminated. Imagine scooting through the pavilion during one of their eye-popping light shows. Just remember to keep your eyes on the road and avoid colliding with pedestrians. (JK)
2nd PLACE: The Centennial Trail; 3rd PLACE: Kendall Yards


Best Place to Walk Your Dog
CENTENNIAL TRAIL
With nearly 40 miles of paved pathway, it's no wonder the Centennial Trail is readers' favorite spot to take the pooch for a stroll. Views of the Spokane River, historic downtown, and Ponderosa pine forests make it easy to wander along the Centennial Trail all the way to Idaho. (MW)
2nd PLACE: Manito Park; 3rd PLACE: Kendall Yards; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Tubbs Hill, Coeur d'Alene


click to enlarge Bloomsday: 44 and still running. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
Young Kwak photo
Bloomsday: 44 and still running.

Best Running Event
BLOOMSDAY
Open to runners, joggers, wheelchair racers, walkers and more, Bloomsday has been a Spokane institution for 44 years. Support a local charity and sweat with friends while running the 12-kilometer course through town for the 2020 run. (MW)
2nd PLACE: Windermere Marathon and Half-Marathon; 3rd PLACE: Ironman 70.3, Coeur d'Alene


Best Ski/Snowboard Shop
SPORTS CREEL
Besides the mountain, there's no better place for an avid powder hound than the local ski shop. Sports Creel is Spokane's ski bum haven, providing all the services a skier/snowboarder could need and then some. Open since 1954, this local business has been supporting outdoor gearheads for three generations. (MW)
2nd PLACE: Shred Sports Outlet; 3rd PLACE: Spokane Alpine Haus; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: The Ski Shack, Hayden


Best Place to Ski
Best Place to Snowboard
MOUNT SPOKANE
Just one of the many things that makes the Inland Northwest so special is the proximity to outdoor recreation. Throw your skis in the back of the car and an hour later you'll find yourself at the top of Mount Spokane. In operation since 1933, and the first ski resort in the world to run a double chairlift, this local ski area is a favorite for night skiing, weekend adventures and "sick days" off work. (MW)
BEST PLACE TO SKI
2nd PLACE: Schweitzer Mountain Resort; 3rd PLACE: 49 Degrees North
BEST PLACE TO SNOWBOARD
2nd PLACE: Schweitzer Mountain Resort; 3rd PLACE: 49 Degrees North


Best Contrived Spokane Brand
HOOPTOWN USA

If Spokane were to have a brand, there are a lot of options to choose from: Marmot Town, USA; Craig T. Nelson Town, USA; Guys Going Shirtless When it's 60 Degrees Out Town, USA. But what about Hooptown, USA? That's the brand for Spokane that Hoopfest has come up with. And it makes sense — we do have the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world. And with new basketball leagues and other events centered around hoops, Hooptown, USA hopes to use that collective identity to enhance the community. (WILSON CRISCIONE)


Best Way to Get a 26.2-mile Tour of Spokane on Foot
THE SPOKANE MARATHON

You've crushed your 5Ks, dominated your 10Ks and rocked your half-marathons. The only logical next step forward is the Spokane Marathon. (Well, maybe "logical" is the wrong word.) It's a beautiful route that covers the city's urban core, as well as the surrounding forest and riverbanks. Expect some brutal slogs uphill, including Bloomsday favorite Doomsday Hill. There's nothing casual about running 26 miles, but participation last year was modest for those of you trying to avoid the crowds. (QW)

Previous Winners

Americans and the Holocaust @ Gonzaga University

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