Welcome to Spokane
Washington's second-biggest population center (edging out Tacoma by about 7000 people) is a welcome break after the treeless monotony of the eastern Scablands. Situated at the nexus of the Pacific Northwest's 'Inland Empire,' this understated yet confident city sits clustered on the banks of the Spokane River. Though rarely touted in national tourist blurbs, Spokane hosts the world's largest mass-participation running event (May's annual Bloomsday Run), a stunning gilded-age hotel (the Davenport) and a spectacular waterfall throwing up angry white spray in the middle of its downtown. It was also the childhood home of crooner Bing Crosby, and it remains the smallest city to have ever hosted an Expo (the 1974 World's Fair). Prepare yourself for some interesting revelations: there's more to this modest metropolis than meets the eye.