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Haters gonna hate, but we have the real scoop on what's cool in our sister city over yonder across the state. (Photo: Chona Kasinger)

In Defense of Spokane: A Local's Guide

Did you catch that Guardian article that basically said Gonzaga's basketball team was the last gasping hope in a struggling city's existence? If not, don't even bother. The writer later issued an apology for his heavy-handed hot take on Spokane and its people.

Haters gonna hate, but we have the real scoop on what's cool in our sister city over yonder across the state.

Karli Ingersoll, resident Bad B and Spokane renaissance woman hooked us up with a guide to doing Spokane the right way. Along with being in way too many bands to keep track of (Windoe and Supersparkle are her mainstays at the moment) and working as a designer at Chapter and Verse in the day time, she also helps husband Caleb Ingersoll run Spokane's coolest music venue, The Bartlett. Read on for her top picks in town, which contrary to what mainstream publications might have you believe, is a cultural melting pot fast on the up and up.

Vessel is our top pick but we also love Spaceman, Atticus and Indaba.

Baby Bar! Hogwash is a really cool new one, Hub Tavern is a classic, and Durkin's has amazing cocktails.

*I can attest, the Thai burrito at Baby Bar's adjoining Neato Burrito is unparalleled. I've searched Washington State high and low and it appears Spokane is the one place to find this delicacy. The only bad thing is that Neato Burrito is closed on Monday, which means you have to put your craving on hold if that's the day your craving decides to strike.

Friends of Mine and Marshall Mclean Band - both have new music videos out this past month.

Spokane in general has incredible parks. Many of them were designed originally by the Olmsted Brothers who also designed Central Park. Manito Park has an amazing rose garden, conservatory, English style annual garden and an unbelievable Dahlia garden in late summer. Plus a Japanese garden. Really, I haven't been to many parks like it. But Riverfront Park and Huntington Park are strong competitors as well. But I'll put those in my view vantage section.

Vintage & Shopping
Tossed and Found and Boulevard Mercantile are both on Monroe which has a huge row of antique and vintage shops. Lots of great furniture and home goods especially. Spokane also has really great thrifting because it's not as hip, so good stuff doesn't get picked over as quickly. We love Global Neighborhood Thrift especially.

Anything on the river is spectacular especially in the spring. Huntington Park is a newer development in in Riverfront Park which is a perfect walk down right to the falls with a view of Monroe Street bridge. It's my personal fav. But walking over any of the bridges right over the river is surreal. Riverfront Park is going through a multi-million dollar rehab right now, so it's a little torn up, but you can still get around to some good views.

Ruins and Zona Blanca are a solid tie for me right now. Ruins is a hole in the wall little place on Monroe and their menu rotates constantly to new cuisines. And on Monday nights they do "McRuins" where they do a "fast-food" style menu but with incredible ingredients. It's also always really affordable and they have great cocktails. Zona Blanca is Chef Chad White's first restaurant back in Spokane and it's ceviche. I'm salivating just thinking about it. It's so good.

Spot To Take Out-of-Towners
I like to take people to any of these already listed spots...and of course The Bartlett!

Favorite Summer Activity
Manito Park or going to any number of lakes in the area. There's over 80 within an hour drive. Or a bike ride along the centennial trail which goes all the way from Spokane to Coeur d'Alene.

Visual Artists
Harold Balazs is an arts icon. His sculptures are all over town and he has inspired so many. Spokane also has a really strong advertising industry so there's a ton of amazing young designers and illustrators in this area. Jon Deviny and Jacob Greif are top of my mind and Tiffany Patterson is an amazing illustrator and painter.