There are plenty of summertime events that draw crowds to Coeur d’Alene: the Car d’Lane car show Father’s Day weekend, the July 4 parade, festival and fireworks, Ironman.
There is perhaps no weekend bigger than the one that stretches before us. It ties three big events into one huge weekend: Art on the Green, Taste of Coeur d’Alene and the Downtown Street Fair.
The festivities Friday, Saturday and Sunday stretch from the shady North Idaho College campus, where some of the region’s best-known fine art artisans display and sell their wares, to City Park where more vendor, craft and food booths line the paths under the park’s majestic pines, to Sherman Avenue downtown, where local businesses and other vendors line the street for a weekend long bazaar.
People from all over the region head to the Lake City for a day of shopping, wandering, eating, drinking and playing. If at some point in the day you find yourself needing a break from the heat and the crowds – and given the forecast, that’s a possibility – the city offers plenty of options. Here’s our list of 7 things to do or places to see to recharge. Enjoy!
1. Go to the park. McEuen Park, recently renovated, is bordered by the Coeur d’Alene library, Tubbs Hill, the Coeur d’Alene Resort and downtown, making it a logical location to chill during the day. There’s a great playground where kids can blow off some steam, and a splash pad perfect for cooling off. Near the resort and the entry to Tubbs Hill people will find snacks at the Harbor House concessions stand.
2. Go to another park. Away from the hustle and bustle of the festival sits Riverstone Park. Across the Riverstone Pond from Bardenay, Riverstone Park offers a playground to keep the kids busy and a picnic shelter to provide some shade from the heat. Or, relax pond-side and enjoy watching the ducks and geese do what ducks and geese do. The nearby Riverstone shopping district offers several places to refuel before heading back downtown. Grab an iced coffee at the Italian Bakeshop at Riverstone, or shop for fine deli meats and cheeses next door at the Culinary Stone. Wet your whistle at the Cork and Keg beer and wine shop, or browse for books and grab a snack at the Well-Read Moose bookstore.
3. Go junking in Midtown. There will be plenty of great shopping among the vendor, artisan and craft booths at the three festivals. Still, a stroll up Fourth Street to the Midtown neighborhood can be a lot of fun. There are junk shops, shabby chic boutiques and thrift stores galore, running from about Roosevelt Avenue north nearly all the way to Interstate 90. And if you need a break, grab a frosty beverage at Capone’s, 751 N. Fourth St., find your moment of zen with a cup of tea at Gaiwan Tea House, 901 N. Fourth St., or enjoy some fine dining at Angelo’s Ristorante, 846 N. Fourth St., or Midtown Bluebird, 816 N. Fourth St.
4. Take a walk. The three festivals run alongside the Centennial Trail, which makes it a convenient way to move between them. The trail follows the Spokane River and Lake Coeur d’Alene until it hits the Coeur d’Alene Resort and McEuen Park. From there, it follows Mullan Avenue to East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive, and picks up the lake again just south of the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course. Or follow the Mudgy and Millie trail. Inspired by the children’s book “Mudgy and Millie” by Coeur d’Alene author Susan Nipp, the trail follows Mudgy the moose and Millie the mouse on their epic game of hide and seek. Five life-size statues, created by Terry Lee, dot the trail, which begins at the Tubbs Hill trailhead, heads to the library on the east side of McEuen Park, to downtown, City Park and finally Independence Point.
5. Get some tunes. On your way out of town, head north from downtown to the Long Ear, at 1620 N. Government Way. A North Idaho institution, the Long Ear has served the region’s music lovers since 1985, when owners Deon and Terry Borchard moved their business from California. They moved to a bigger location in 2016, offering even more room devoted to music on vinyl and CD, along with funky fashions. It’s open Friday and Saturday nights until 8, and Sunday until 6.
6. Take a dip. The festival sites are near two of Coeur d’Alene’s best, and best-loved, beaches, City Beach and the NIC Beach. We suspect both will be inviting this weekend with temperatures expected to soar into the high 90s. If you don’t want to deal with sand, or changing into swimwear, head east from City Park and Beach to Independence Point. The concrete steps leading down to the water offer a perfect spot to dip your toes, or shins or knees, in the cool water of Lake Coeur d’Alene.
7. Learn some history. Nestled between Northwest Boulevard and City Park is the Museum of North Idaho, the region’s history museum. Located at 115 Northwest Blvd., the museum offers exhibits on the old Playland Pier, area Indian tribes, saw mills, railroads, Cataldo Mission, steamboats that used to ferry passengers across Lake Coeur d’Alene, among others. The main exhibit this season is called “The Military and the Community,” and looks at the relationship between residents and the soldiers stationed at Fort Sherman. The museum is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and admission is $4 for adults, $1 for children, or $10 for a family.
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