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When we first began thinking about moving to Spokane, one of the biggest selling points of the area was the scenery. The changing leaves in fall, the gorgeous places to hike, and the abundance of flowers, trees, and healthy grass (hey, we are from Phoenix – healthy grass is rare there!)
One of the places we loved to visit the most? Manito Park in Spokane, Washington. Once we moved here, we realized Manito Park is also the perfect gateway park to get other people to love Spokane as much we do, too.
If you’re looking for a peaceful way to spend a morning or afternoon, or you want to bring out-of-town guests to a beautiful park in Spokane, look no further than Manito. Manito Park in the South Hill Spokane neighborhood is the perfect place to bring the family, or to find a relaxing, peaceful area for yourself.
Manito Park is located at 1702 S. Grand Blvd, Spokane, WA.
Manito Park was established in April 1904 and has evolved from an undeveloped recreational area with a few flower beds and picnic spots to one of Spokane’s gems. Manito has five major garden areas, including:
- The Japanese Garden
- Duncan Garden
- Rose Hill
- Lilac Garden
- Ferris Perennial Garden
Manito also has Gaiser Conservatory and a duck pond (Mirror Pond).
Manito Park was actually a zoo from 1905 to 1932, but its upkeep proved challenging. In 1907, the city hired the famous landscape architects the Olmsted Brothers, to help the park board plan a system of city parks. From there, the park continued to grow and added the current five major garden areas you can see today.
One of the most defining characteristics of Manito Park, in addition to its verdant gardens, is that it’s free and open to the public every day of the year! The Spokane Parks Department maintains this public park’s 78 acres of landscape and 20 acres of botanical gardens. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for things to do in Spokane!
In addition to the gardens and the conservatory, Manito Park offers playgrounds, walking and biking paths, and of course, tons of flowers.
There’s a lot to cover in Manito, and it’s tough to see it all in one day. However, if you’re ready to put on your walking shoes and make the most out of Manito in an afternoon, you can! The Friends of Manito have put together an amazing walking tour of Manito, covering the entire park. Check it out for yourself below and get access to the map here. You can also download this walking map PDF from the City of Spokane here.
Manito Park’s Botanical Gardens
One of the main attractions within Manito Park is its collection of botanical gardens. Each garden offers a unique experience, showcasing diverse plant species and distinct design elements. From the vibrant colors of the Rose Hill and Lilac Garden to the Zen-like tranquility of the Japanese Garden, visitors are treated to a kaleidoscope of natural beauty.
The Duncan Garden, a centerpiece of the park, boasts meticulously manicured flower beds, elegant fountains, and breathtaking views. Its meticulously crafted horticultural displays change with the seasons, captivating visitors with an ever-changing tapestry of colors and scents. In the past, The Friends of Manito have hosted Art in the Park events there, and it’s not a surprise to see families there on the weekends enjoying picnics. It’s a must stop on your Spokane list!
Duncan Garden is a true highlight of the park – in fact, the City of Spokane even calls it “the most dramatics of the gardens in Manito Park.” Situated at the park’s center, it mesmerizes visitors with its symmetrical design and meticulously maintained flower beds. This formal European-style garden features a wide variety of ornamental plants, including roses, dahlias, and vibrant annuals.
Throughout the seasons, the Duncan Garden undergoes stunning transformations, captivating visitors with the vibrant blooms of spring, the lush greenery of summer, the fiery hues of fall, and the serene beauty of winter. It’s no surprise Duncan Garden is a popular place to get married, but weddings and wedding photography are by reservation only. Learn more here.
Manito Park’s Japanese Garden: Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden
As visitors stroll through Manito Park, they will discover the enchanting Japanese Garden – one of our favorite places in Spokane. Inspired by traditional Japanese design principles, this garden is a serene retreat that invites contemplation and tranquility. Delicate cherry blossom trees, tranquil koi ponds, and meticulously raked gravel create a harmonious environment that transports visitors to a different world.
The idea for a Japanese Garden was originally proposed in 1965, but did not open until May 1974 (just in time for Expo ’74). The Japanese Garden was designed by Nagao Sakurai, who designed 166 gardens all over the world.
The Japanese Garden provides a space for reflection and appreciation of nature’s beauty. It is an oasis of calm within the park, offering a respite from the demands of everyday life and providing visitors with a sense of inner peace. The Japanese Garden is only open April through October from 10 am to 6 pm.
Rose Hill and Lilac Gardens
The Rose Hill and Lilac Gardens are a testament to the park’s dedication to floral displays. Bursting with colors and fragrances, this garden showcases a diverse collection of roses and lilacs, delighting visitors with their stunning beauty and captivating scents. From classic hybrid tea roses to rare and exotic varieties, Rose Hill offers a visual and olfactory feast for flower enthusiasts. In fact, according to the City of Spokane, this rose garden is home to over 150 varieties of roses!
This popular attraction is particularly busy during the summer months, but there’s typically enough space for everyone to walk throughout the flowers and enjoy nature. Rose Hill is located just west of the Joel E. Ferris Perennial Garden and is a favorite destination for weddings and wedding photography.
During the peak blooming seasons, the garden becomes a kaleidoscope of hues, attracting not only avid gardeners but also those seeking a serene and romantic setting. Visitors can wander through rows of vibrant roses or simply find a quiet spot to revel in the tranquility of this idyllic garden.
The Lilac Garden really helps Spokane live up to its name as the Lilac City, with over 100 named cultivars from 23 distinct species. The first recorded lilac bush in Spokane was in 1906, with two planted by J.J. Browne (of Browne’s Addition).
Where Should We Eat at Manito Park?
If you’re looking for places to eat, don’t worry – you can eat right within Manito Park at the Park Bench Cafe. The Park Bench Cafe is open seasonally, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. May through Labor Day weekend. From Labor Day weekend on, the Park Bench Cafe is only open on the weekends from 9 am to 6 pm, through the end of September.
Manito Park Bench Cafe is located between Mirror Pond and the Ferris Perennial Garden and serves Alpine Bakery pastries, fresh made sandwiches, wraps, salad, espresso drinks and more.
If the Park Bench Cafe is closed, you can never go wrong with the Rockwood Bakery, which is a 3 minute walk from the park at the 17th Ave. and Grand entrance (near the Lower Manito Playground).
At Rockwood Bakery (open year round), you can get delicious pastries, coffee, tea, sandwiches and more. In fact, Rockwood Bakery is one of our favorite and the best coffee shops in Spokane!
Events in Manito Park
Manito Park is busy year round – yes, even in the winter! The Friends of Manito put on a variety of classes (and plant sales!) year round for children and adults. You can find all their latest events here.
The City also hosts Manito Holiday Lights in December, where you can either view the lights via drive thru or walk thru (or both!). Learn more about Manito Holiday Lights, including dates and times, here.
The Friends of Manito also puts on many fun events throughout the year in Manito Park, including the Park Art Festival (held on a Saturday in June), annual plant sales held in late spring and early fall, plus education programs. Learn more about these events here.
Looking for a reliable handyman or contractor?
BB Home Maintenance and Remodeling, LLC is a licensed and bonded general contractor located in Spokane, WA. Have some projects on your list you just don’t have time to tackle? Contact BB Home Maintenance and Remodeling today for a quote!
visit bb home maintenance & remodeling, lcc or call 509-761-9846
Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Everyday Spokane’s newsletter! We’ll send out the latest when the City of Spokane announces the holiday lights, plus upcoming events from the Friends of Manito. Subscribe today!
Time for a Visit to Manito Park in Spokane, WA
Manito Park in Spokane, Washington, offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, horticultural wonders, and recreational opportunities. Its carefully designed gardens, tranquil pathways, and charming amenities make it a beloved destination for locals and a must-visit for travelers.
Whether it’s exploring the stunning Duncan Garden, immersing oneself in the serenity of the Japanese Garden, or simply enjoying a picnic on the park’s open lawns, Manito Park provides a rejuvenating experience for all who visit. With a vibrant calendar of events and dedication to improvement on behalf of the city and residents, the park continues to evolve and enchant visitors year after year.
Plan your visit to Manito Park and immerse yourself in its natural splendor. I promise you won’t regret a trip to the park – and you may even convince family and friends to move here, too!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Can I bring my pet to Manito Park?
- Yes, pets are welcome in Manito Park. However, they must be kept on a leash at all times and owners are responsible for cleaning up after them. Dogs are not allowed in the Japanese Gardens.
- Are there any admission fees for Manito Park?
- No, admission to Manito Park is free for all visitors.
- When is the best time to visit Manito Park?
- Manito Park offers a unique experience in every season. Spring and summer are particularly vibrant with blooming flowers, while fall showcases stunning foliage. Winter offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere, although be aware that there won’t really be any blooming flowers. Also, the Japanese Gardens are closed from late October – early April.
- Are there any guided tours available in the park?
- Manito Park does not offer guided tours. However, there are informative signs and plaques throughout the park that provide details about the various gardens and points of interest. You can also use the City of Spokane’s Walking Tour of Manito Park to take yourself around.
- Can I have a wedding or event at Manito Park?
- Yes, Manito Park’s pavilion can be rented for weddings and events. You’ll want to reach out to the City of Spokane if you’re planning a wedding or other event at the park.