7.4 out of 10

Spokane

Ranked 4th best city in Washington
47.6713550651601 -117.405701080641
Great for
  • Pest Free
  • Cost of Living
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Medical Facilities
  • Parking
Not great for
  • No ratings yet
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  •  
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Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
Feb 16, 2016

"4 Seasons and Great 4 Families"

I went to college in Spokane, got my first real job in the area and lived here for 6 years. Many of friends still live in Spokane, and if it wasn’t for a job opportunity near Seattle, I think I would still be living here.


About the city: Spokane get all 4 seasons, it gets hotter than Seattle in the summer, and most housing will have air conditioning, unlike most houses in Western Washington. Spokane also gets a fair amount of snow, but it can be hit or miss. The city will usually have 1-2 big snow storms per winter, with snow staying on the ground for some time. My first winter in Spokane was a record breaker, and we had snow on the ground for 6 months!

Interstate 90 cuts through the city east to west and Highway 395 heads north/south. The state/city is in the process of actually making Highway 395 a true divided highway, right now most of it is actually busy multilane city streets. This makes navigating north/south a stop-and-go grind, especially during rush-hour.

Spokane is mostly spread out north/south with new areas being on the extreme north end, and older historic neighborhoods the south end, closer to I-90. The air force base, hospital, colleges (Gonzaga, Eastern, Whitman), and Indian casino are the main drivers of business.


Living in Spokane: Housing in Spokane is very affordable. Especially if you compare it Western Washington and even the Tri-Cities. Rent is much lower and real estate prices are very reasonable, making buying a house a reality even for nonprofessionals.

One of my favorite things about Spokane is the geographical area. There are rivers, parks, and mountains all very close. My family is very active, we ski, hike, and ride bikes and Spokane is a very active community. There are 5 ski areas within a 2 hour drive, and Mt. Spokane is actually only 45 minutes from downtown.


Downsides to living in Spokane: Personally the biggest downside to Spokane was the lack of career opportunities, which ultimately lead to my family relocating to the Seattle area. Another downside is traffic, without divided highways everyone has to commute through major arterial streets in slow stop-and-go traffic.
Pros
  • Affordable cost of living
  • Close to nature
Cons
  • Limited job market
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Feb 02, 2016

"Diamond in the rough"

Spokane is a city that is still developing, but has so much potential. To be cliché, it’s a diamond in the rough.

HISTORY
Let’s start with a little history to help understand where Spokane’s at.

The land was always home to the Spokane Native American people, from whom it gets its name. And when white settlers began setting up shop in the mid 19th century, there were conflicts. Like in most of Washington, they didn't treat the original inhabitants well. However, the city continued to grow, due to its location on the Spokane River as a trading post. The city boomed by the end of the century when the railroad reached Spokane. Then, it firmly grew into an industrial city, with stakes in mining, logging, forestry, and the railroad, as well as agriculture. But several decades later, the city began to decline as industry stagnated. Warehouses emptied, the population stopped increasing. After a brief boom in the 60s and 70s, it declined again in the 80s and 90s.

The reason I say all this is because this history is very evident when you get to know Spokane. For example, the downtown area holds empty warehouses that were once part of the industrial boom. There is definitely a lot of room for renovation. However, beginning in the early 21st century, downtown has been undergoing a recovery, albeit very slow. I lived in Spokane from 2006-2010 and viewed first-hand some of that revitalization.

DOWNTOWN
Downtown Spokane is centered around a shopping mall, the river (and riverfront park), and the convention center. There are also several dozen other shops and restaurants that have slowly but surely been opening in formerly empty buildings, which gives the city more life.

NATURE
One big draw to the city is Spokane’s proximity to nature. At 30 minutes from the northern Idaho border, it is very close to the Northern Rockies. This means lots of hiking, biking, camping, and skiing. I frequented Schweitzer Mountain resort, about a 2 hour drive away, which was a fantastic place to snowboard, with dry fluffy powder and a huge amount of terrain.

LIVING HERE
So why doesn’t everyone move to Spokane?

A few reasons. One, there is a good amount of poverty here. Like with any city trying to get back on its feet, you’ll find neighborhood pockets of different income levels. If you’re moving here, I’d suggest spending a lot of time in the neighborhood you’re considering and asking around about what it’s like living there. On the flip side, living costs overall are great. You can find a lovely home in a nice neighborhood for a fraction of the cost of Seattle.

JOBS
Another sticking point is the job market. Though there are certainly jobs here, even though Spokane is the second largest city in the state, it can still relatively limited when it comes to certain fields. Yet because of that, some of the jobs will pay well because the employers also find it hard to attract people to the city.

I worked in the nonprofit industry, and was really inspired by what I saw. There is an amazing community of movers and shakers who are making a huge difference and pushing to improve the community and city.

TOURISM
One way in which Spokane is developing is its growth into a tourist destination. It has a few big events each year that draw in thousands of people. The Bloomsday Run brings in over 50,000 runners, and Hoopfest (basketball) brings in nearly half that. Other biggies are Musicfest, Volume, and Octoberfest. Then there’s of course the Universities, Gonzaga and Whitworth, which attract students and sports fans.

CONCERTS
One thing I loved about living in Spokane was the concert scene. Being the midway point when driving between Montana and Seattle, it draws in a lot of great bands, and tickets are affordable. Most good shows were at the Knitting Factory, though there are a few good smaller venues too.

CONCLUSION
Overall, there is a sense in Spokane that there is a lot of potential for growth and creation. I would love to live there again one day and be a part of that. I’m excited to see how Spokane develops in the next few decades, because I have a feeling it is going to be great.
Pros
  • Close to nature
  • Affordable cost of living
  • Lots of potential
Cons
  • Limited job market
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Country Lovers

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