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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

‘Big-Little’ Spokane

Known to locals as a “big-little city,” Spokane is a pleasant surprise near Washington’s eastern edge.

“Spokane is one of those communities that works well together, and that’s what makes us so competitive,” said Cheryl Kilday, president and CEO of Visit Spokane. “Our citizens value tourism and help us put our best foot forward.”

That group effort has helped Spokane foster a multi-tiered approach to the meeting market that visitors appreciate, especially a convention center area that is compact and easy to get around.

The Spokane Convention Center is a LEED-certified building on the banks of the Spokane River. The community has stewardship of the site, and citizens help maintain the natural environment around the building. As part of a recent project that extended the convention hall and added meeting rooms, the community redid the nearby River Centennial Trail. The many waterfalls on the river near the convention center draw sightseers as well as meeting goers.

“Our community has built [the convention center] in such a way that it becomes a living room, a gathering place for our community, and it’s one of our most visited attractions,” Kilday said.

It’s no surprise, then, that Spokane’s tagline is “Near Nature, Near Perfect.” Kilday said that Spokane knows how to enjoy all four seasons and has abundant outdoor recreation, including rafting, hiking, biking and skiing. Riverfront Park is an excellent place to enjoy the outdoors, as well as host meetings and conventions.

Spokane also has  an urban element. Its airport serves 1.4 million people annually; there is lots of shopping; and 80 restaurants are within a few blocks of the convention center. The modern meeting space is offset by historic and architecturally significant structures. Convention hotels are within walking distance of the convention center.

“When people come, they always say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know it was such a big-little city!’” Kilday said. “They’re surprised by how much vitality we have.”


Spotlight on Spokane

Primary meeting facilities: Spokane Convention Center

Other meeting properties: Schweitzer Mountain Resort; Northern Quest Resort and Casino; Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center

Largest meeting space: Spokane Convention Center at164,000 square feet

Total hotel rooms: 8,000 rooms

CVB website: