It’s easy for the hustle and bustle of the city to feel overwhelming — all the noise from traffic, the influx of crowds, and the endlessness of constantly being on the go is enough to drive anyone mad. Thankfully, there are plenty of green spaces to escape the concrete jungle in diverse cities like Spokane. Here, there’s a treasure trove of tranquil gardens and peaceful parks waiting where you can relax and unwind while getting away from the never-ending grind!
High Drive Bluff Park
3418 S Jefferson Drive
Nestled amidst 500 acres of serene hillside landscape, High Drive Bluff Park is a mere ten-minute escape from the chaos of city living. Here, 20 miles of trails wind through native plants and Washington wildlife, creating a picturesque retreat waiting to be your newfound sanctuary. Ponderosa Pine forests and bunchgrass meadows thrive along this steep hillside retreat, creating a blanket of blooms of golden arrow leaf balsamroot, white yarrow, and green meadow grass in the springtime.
Built by volunteers from Friends of the Bluff over the last few decades, this network of trails has become a favorite for biking, hiking, running, and casual strolls that are perfect for enjoying the scenery while you clear your mind.
Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden
2024 S Bernard Street
Nature, tranquility and beauty come together at Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden within Manito Park. This extraordinary garden was completed in 1974 and symbolizes the friendship between Spokane and its sister city, Nishinomiya, Japan. The garden itself was named after Ed Tsutakawa, founder of the Spokane Nishinomiya Sister City relationship and a champion of the Sister City movement. Throughout his 45 years of service, Tsutakawa was instrumental in designing and developing the Japanese Garden, creating an ornate masterpiece that will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to our city sister in Japan.
Complete with a koi pond, waterfall, both exotic and traditional foliage, and authentic Japanese design elements, this intricate garden is open daily from April until October from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., making it the perfect escape for those days you just need to get away and get back to nature.
350 N Post Street
When the city has got you feeling a little too claustrophobic, Huntington Park is the perfect escape to enjoy a leisurely stroll while taking in some fresh air. Tucked away from the tourist trail, this gorgeous retreat is the epitome of peace and quiet, and the scenic views of the Spokane River, Spokane Falls, and the Monroe Street Bridge are a bonus to this hidden gem. The lower section of the park actually brings you right up to the falls.
Dedicated in 2014, the park features cascading viewpoints starting at City Hall Plaza, a 360-degree overlook walking way, dozens of interpretive signs, and many public art installations that reflect Native American culture and hydroelectric history. The park is open all year, with the water flow depending on the changes of the season. Visitors during the spring and summer should be prepared for the heavy mist and lots of water, with March through May being the best time to experience the roaring falls. In the fall, the colors of autumn are an absolutely stunning colorful landscape. In the winter, the river flow drastically lowers to expose the rocks as fantastic ice formations appear. The calmness and serenity of the park is truly sublime.
Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens
507 W 7th Avenue
Celebrated as one of Spokane’s richest legacies, the Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens is honored as the only truly restored heritage garden in the Pacific Northwest. As a heritage garden, this little patch of paradise within Spokane is a historic estate garden previously owned by pioneers who significantly contributed to the development of American towns. In this instance, the terraced landscape that makes up the grounds was initially established and maintained from 1889 to 1930 as private residential grounds for the F. Rockwood Moore and Senator George Turner families. At the time, it was a socialite oasis and the hotspot for many summer parties until the bank acquired the property in the wake of the Great Depression.
The gardens sat in a state of disrepair until it was ravaged by an ice storm in 1996 that hit all of Spokane, freezing everything. Although destructive, the storm exposed the steep hillside, which ultimately led to the rediscovery of the age-old heritage gardens as remnants of rock walls and steps, structures, pools, paths, and plant material could be seen again. Upon such discovery, a restoration plan was put into motion, with the garden restored to the period in which it originally flourished following the 1911 outlines drawn up for a redesign. The result was not only a magnificent garden that has become a peaceful place to enjoy quiet walks but also the preservation of a fantastic historical site that gives a small glimpse of what the life of garden parties was like during the early 1900s.
Just minutes from downtown Spokane is 700 acres of dedicated conservation parkland known as Palisades Park. The park sits high above the city and has some of the quietest trails around, and boasts magnificent views of the city, Mount Spokane, basalt rock outcrops, natural vegetation, and a wildlife area to boot! A natural creek and breathtaking waterfall can also be found within the park, providing a perfect opportunity for leisurely outdoor napping along its babbling brook.
The trail system offers a blend of converted roadbed and single-track paths, meandering through seasonal wetlands and imposing rock outcroppings. Opt for the upper loop trails along Rimrock Drive for a casual hike with minimal elevation changes. However, for those seeking hidden delights, venture through the entire trail system to discover treasures like Indian Canyon Falls, a true marvel during the spring melt-off. Even in winter, this destination is worth a visit when you’re itching to escape the city, as local ice climbers gracefully ascend the frozen falls, creating a captivating spectacle.
So, don’t let the daily grind of urban living get you down. When you need to get away, remember these green spaces in Spokane, along with plenty more peaceful parks and tranquil gardens, can provide excellent private retreats when you need to relax and unwind!