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The Essential Summer Date Guide

Posted on June 3, 2015 at 6:00 am

By Clarissa Fidler

The Essential Summer Date Guide by Clarissa Fidler | Spokane County Library District

With temperatures rising and the promise of more sunny days ahead of us, my boyfriend and I have found ourselves musing about all the fun dates we’re going to go on this summer. I even created a shared Pinterest board for us to keep track of our date ideas (and yes, my boyfriend actually enjoys contributing to it as well). We just got back from our first road trip and are looking forward to many more adventures together.

Whether you’re dating casually or have been with your partner for some time, it never hurts to have some fresh, new date ideas to try out and keep things interesting. So with that in mind, here’s my essential summer date guide packed with great activities you and your date can do right here in Spokane County.

Go to a Park

My boyfriend and I love going to a park for date night. We always keep a picnic blanket in the car so we’re prepared whenever the mood strikes. Usually we pack our own picnic or get takeout if we need a night off from cooking. Taking a stroll through the park offers the opportunity for good conversation and some hand-holding while also enjoying the outdoors and getting a little bit of exercise. Many parks also have playgrounds, which can be fun even for adults like us. We’ve been known to revert back to our childhood playground days and swing on the swings or slide down the slide.

There are so many lovely parks within Spokane County to visit. Manito Park with its lush gardens is one of our favorites. This summer we’re looking forward to exploring more parks, including Mirabeau Point Park and Pine River Community Park.

To help you plan your next date night, peruse Visit Spokane’s list of Spokane County parks.

Visit the Library

Browsing the bookshelves at the library is a surprisingly fun date, especially when you’re just starting out and getting to know each other. I recommend heading to the Children’s section first and then working your way through the other genres. Sharing memories about books from your childhood is a great way to get to know more about your date’s interests and background. End the evening by going out for ice cream or Fro-Yo.

For more established couples, why not check out a cookbook from the library and try your hand at making a new recipe? Cooking meals together is something my boyfriend and I do a lot. Not only is it less expensive than eating out, but it can also be quite romantic. On days or nights you don’t feel like going out, our Digital Library makes it easy for the library to come to you. Stay in and use Hoopla to checkout a movie or listen to an album together.

And while this isn’t necessarily a date idea, I would also recommend choosing a book from the library to read together. Right now, my boyfriend and I are reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. He’s a faster reader than me so I’m playing a little bit of catch-up, but it’s been fun to be able to discuss the book together. Station Eleven was recently announced as the book selection for this year’s Spokane Is Reading community event happening in October.

Explore the Spokane River Water Trail

The Spokane River Water Trail is 111 miles long and offers something for everyone from novice swimmers to seasoned kayakers. Wherever you and your date fall in that spectrum—my boyfriend and I are somewhere in the middle—there are a variety of activities to choose from. Visit to view an interactive map that lets you find locations based on your selected activity. Beat the summer heat by tubing along the stretch of water between Harvard Road and Mirabeau in Spokane Valley. Have you always wanted to learn how to fly fish? You’ll find redband trout in both the upper and lower portions of the river. If rafting or paddle boarding are more your style, there are plenty of places to go along the river.

OutThere Monthly is a great resource for local outdoor date ideas. For more water trail fun, check out one of their more recent articles: 9 Ways to Explore the Spokane River Water Trail.

Walk, Bike, or Run the Centennial Trail

At 37.5 miles long, you can access the Spokane River portion of the Centennial Trail from a variety of locations. The trail begins at the Washington/Idaho state line and ends at Nine Mile Falls, WA. At the moment, neither of my boyfriend nor I own bikes, so we’re more apt to be part of the walking crowd. Along the trail you’ll find beautiful views of the river and wildlife, as well as conveniently located benches to watch the sunrise or sunset. If either you or your date has a dog, the trail is also a fantastic place to take them for a walk together. Any date that’s both free and involves exercise is a win-win in my book.

Shop at the Farmers’ Market

I love to eat, and lucky for me so does my boyfriend. It’s rare that our dates don’t involve some type of food, whether we’re cooking together or trying a new restaurant. Shopping at the farmers’ market affords us the opportunity to get fresh, local produce that we can then use to make delicious seasonal dishes and desserts. It’s definitely a step-up from the traditional trip to the grocery store. For some reason, we’re much more apt to eat our vegetables or fix a salad for dinner if we’ve gotten the ingredients at the farmers’ market. You’ll also find an amazing fruit selection. I foresee many berry pies in our future this summer. Aside from the food, most markets also have beautiful flower bouquets for purchase at a fraction of the cost you’d pay at the florist or even the grocery store. Bring some home to decorate your dinner table for date night.

Click here for a complete list of regional farmers’ markets.

Visit Green Bluff

Green Bluff is one of my favorite places in the Inland Northwest. It’s an easy drive from anywhere in Spokane County and has a variety of farms to explore. With peak summer harvest season just around the corner, there are several celebrations and festivals coming up that would make for a perfect weekend date. I promised my boyfriend I’d make him a strawberry rhubarb pie this summer so we’ll definitely be attending the Strawberry Celebration.

Here are some of the summer events happening on the Bluff:

  • Strawberry Celebration: Jun 27–28, Jul 4–5
  • Cherry Festival: Jul 11–12, Jul 18–19, Jul 26–27
  • Peach Festival: Aug 15–Sep 6
  • Cherry Pickers Trot & Pit Spit: July 16
    • The Cherry Pickers Trot is a four mile run through Green Bluff’s orchard country (walkers are also welcome). It costs $9.00 to sign-up and registration closes on July 12.

If you or your date has little ones, Green Bluff also offers a great assortment of kid-friendly activities to choose from.

For more information about Green Bluff, visit 

See an Outdoor Movie

Next week, two drive-in movie locations will open in Spokane County—one at 4307 E. Spokane Park Drive in Mead and the other at Spokane County Raceway in Airway Heights. From June 9–August 20, movies will be shown on Tuesdays in Mead and Wednesdays in Airway Heights. We’re particularly excited to go see the iconic summer classic, The Sandlot. The only thing that could make that date better would be if we were allowed to have a campfire and roast ‘mallows for s’mores.

Click here to view the complete list of showings and buy tickets.

If you’re looking for free outdoor movies, there are a number of movies being shown across the county at places like Riverfront Park, Mirabeau Point Park, and Pavillion Park. Bring a blanket, pack your own treats, and enjoy an evening under the stars with your sweetheart–all for free! If you ask me, date night doesn’t get much better than that.

Click here for Visit Spokane’s list of outdoor summer movies.

Attend an Outdoor Concert

Concert season is in full swing at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars in Spokane Valley! Every Sunday until September 27, Concerts on the Cliff are held from 5:30pm to sunset. There’s an $8 cover charge and you’re encouraged to bring your own lawn chairs or blankets. Season passes are available at 25% off. On Thursdays until September 24, you and your date can enjoy free concerts on the patio with the “Performers on the Patio” series from 5:30-7:30pm. For both concert series, there’s something to fit everyone’s taste with musical genres ranging from folk and blues to R&B and jazz.

Visit for the full concert list.

Arbor Crest also has several other events happening this summer—most of which are free—that are perfect for a weekend date:

  • 3rd Annual “Stage2Stage” Arbor Crest Music Fest: June 13, Noon–8pm (FREE)
    • 8 hours of non-stop music, plus great food and wine!
  • Annual Art & Glass Fest: August 22–23, 11am–6pm (FREE)
    • Nearly 50 vendors display handcrafted art throughout the grounds.
  • Invitational Classic Car Show Sunday: 13, 11am–2pm (FREE)
    • Come see the inspiration behind Arbor Crest’s “Cadillac Red” at this amazing display of shiny automotive beauty! Fabulous food and wine available all day—then Atomic Jive plays from 4:30 to sunset ($8).

Another place to enjoy outdoor summer concerts is at Northern Quest Resort & Casino. Their lineup ranges from country favorite Rascal Flatts to rock legend Huey Lewis and the News. Click here to view the concert schedule and buy tickets.

More Date Ideas

Here are a few more date ideas both within and outside Spokane County:

For even more summer dates, keep an eye out for The Inlander Summer Guides coming out this month!


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