The holiday season is upon us, and there are plenty of fun things to do around Spokane with the kids that will create great memories, help keep everyone from succumbing to cabin fever, and maybe even start new holiday traditions in your family. Here are just a few great family outings that will entertain everyone without blowing your budget.
The MAC Museum of Art and Culture is putting on living history performances in its largest exhibit, the Campbell House, during the two weeks around Christmas when most kids are out of school. The Campbell House is a turn-of-the-20th-century English Tudor Revival mansion designed by renowned Spokane architect Kirtland Cutter. You can see the house decorated for the holidays and learn about the times in which it was built and the daily life of the Campbell family from December 21 through January 1 on the days the MAC is open (the MAC is right next door to the Campbell House) from 12–4 p.m.
New for this year: Check out the just-opened Interpretive Center to create your own Campbell House experience and connect the past and present with interactive computers and hands-on exploration, and you can also take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Admission is free for MAC members or $7 adults/$5 students and seniors, which includes both museum entry and a tour of the Campbell House. For more information, call the admissions desk at 509-363-5355. The MAC is located in Spokane’s gorgeous historic Browne’s Addition neighborhood at 2316 W. First Ave.
A friend with three children in elementary school shared this story:
My kids had been out of school on break for three days and they were driving me crazy—fighting, not listening, whining, throwing tantrums. Suddenly I realized that for the past two months it had been go-go-go, with football practice, dance lessons, after-school activities, and homework every day, and now they suddenly had nothing to use up their energy. So I loaded them into the Suburban and took them to Mt. Spokane to go tubing. Those kids played HARD and wore themselves out and had a great time. They couldn’t stay awake on the ride home, and after that, I recognized my children again and things were back to normal.
Enough said? The hill has been moved and newly constructed this year at Lodge 2, just north and downhill of the parking lot and Ski Patrol building. With several lanes, a new tow-rope to haul tubers back up the mountain, a limit of 50 participants per session, and plenty of snow, the Children’s Choice Tubing Hill is great for families and safer than uncontrolled sledding in parks. The hill is open weekends and holidays (except Christmas and Christmas Eve), for the remainder of the season, with sessions beginning at 10 a.m. and the last session starting at 2:30 p.m. One-and-a-half hour sessions are $10 for everyone 42” and over. Kids under 42” are free but must ride with a paid adult. Check conditions before you come up. Mt. Spokane is 28 miles from downtown Spokane; click here for directions.
Through Christmas Eve, the Downtown Spokane Business Improvement District and Spokane Teachers Credit Union presents free old-fashioned horse and carriage rides through the streets of downtown. Just show up on Wall Street at Main Avenue on Fridays 3–8 p.m., weekends 12–5 p.m., or Christmas Eve 12–3 p.m. This is a great outing for family from out of town! Rides are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. After your ride, you will receive free candy canes and coupons for hot chocolate and coffee at participating downtown businesses. Click here to see a video preview of the ride.
The Ice Palace, one of the nation’s best outdoor ice skating rinks, is open all winter long under the Pavilion in the heart of Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane. Lessons and drop-in hockey are available. Click here for hours. Admission is $4.50 for adults and $3.50 for youth/seniors/military, and skate rental is $3.50. Thursday nights are Inlander appreciation nights—get your ticket from the Inlander, a free weekly publication, to skate for $1. The Spokane Falls SkyRide, IMAX Theatre, and Looff Carousel are also open all winter if you want to spend more fun family time in the park.
By far the biggest New Year’s Eve party around, First Night Spokane is a huge, alcohol-free festival of the arts in downtown Spokane for the entire family. This year’s theme is “Dawn of Time” Year of the Dinosaur. At venues within a walkable area of downtown, you can enjoy live music, theatre, dance performances, film, dance parties, art, comedy, and a fireworks show. There are plenty of activities for kids, including face painting, bookmark making, magic shows, free ice skating and carousel rides, and rolling video games. Click here for the schedule of the night’s event’s, which get started at 7 p.m.
If your family is making a resolution to exercise more, start early with the 5k Resolution Run! Runners line up at 6:30 p.m., and the run begins at 6:45 p.m. An optional bag drop makes it easy to get your coat and purse afterward. Fill out and bring the waiver form before you go. Click here for a map of the course. Admission buttons are just $12 in advance or $15 on New Year’s Eve. Kids 10 and under are free with a paid adult. Purchase tickets here or at various participating Spokane businesses.
On New Year’s Day, celebrate First Day Spokane and get free admission to the MAC Museum of Art and Culture with your First Night button plus discounted passes to play in Riverfront Park.