COVID-Friendly Winter Activities in Spokane

Sunshine and snow is shown on Gonzaga's campus and near St. Al's church.

January 14, 2021
Madeline Hueske

This winter is a weird one – the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically changing the ways we can socialize and spend time in public, but the cold temperatures and short days make it difficult to do these activities outdoors. However, the Spokane community is creatively coming up with ways to continue to enjoy winter safely. If you are a current student, or perhaps visiting Spokane and/or Gonzaga’s campus, here are some ideas for COVID-friendly activities to help you through the winter blues.

Skiing and Snowboarding 

Many ski areas are still open this winter, though with new restrictions in place. Ticketing is limited, but because Spokane has five ski resorts within 90 miles, you should be able to find a place to go. Just check their websites a few days (or weeks) in advance to purchase a ticket ahead of time. Make sure you pack a lunch and some water, because lodges are not allowing indoor dining. Another key item to bring is a face mask or neck gaiter – ski areas are requiring them while in lift lines, lodges, restrooms, and other areas where physical distancing is not possible. 

Ice Skating at the Ribbon

If you’ve ever walked through Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane, you’ve probably noticed the ice ribbon. Skaters are still welcome this winter, though you must reserve your time slot ahead of time by visiting their website. Your ticket is good for one hour of skating, and masks are required while you are on the rink and in the building. 

Go for a Wintery Walk 

Trails in the mountains are currently snowed in, but you can still enjoy a stroll in some of the lower areas. The Centennial Trail is easy and close if you are short on time, and other good spots include Riverside State Park, the Little Spokane River, Manito Park, and Iller CreekIf you are looking for more of an adventure, snowshoes are available to rent from Gonzaga Outdoors or a local gear shop, and there are dozens of miles to explore around Mt. Spokane State Park. Make sure to bring a mask in case the trails are busy and you cannot maintain six feet of distance. 

Socially Distant Dining

Many restaurants have set up outdoor dining for the winter months, and if you are comfortable doing so, it’s a great way to support local businesses and enjoy a meal you didn’t have to cook. We recommend checking the restaurant’s website before you go to see if a reservation is necessary, as well as any other information that may be new (updated menu or hours, important COVID-19 protocol, etc.). Make sure you bundle up, because outdoor dining is currently the only option allowed in Washington. Takeout is always an option, too, especially if it’s snowing or raining!

Read a New Book or Play a New Game

Auntie’s Bookstore and Uncle’s Games are located next door to each other downtown (402 W. Main Ave) and have a wonderful selection of books and games. With all the time we are currently spending at home, it’s a great idea to try something new. Masks are required in the stores, but if you know what you want, you can order ahead of time and pick it up in-store.