Spokane is situated by the Spokane River in eastern Washington, just west of the Idaho border and 92 miles south of the Canadian border. It is the second largest city in Washington State and the economic hub of the Inland Northwest, serving roughly 1.5 million people. Spokane's immediate metropolitan area is home to 650,000 citizens and the city proper is home to 208,000. Spokane is one of a few cities nationwide that has Wi-Fi access just about everywhere Downtown. Spokane is evolving toward a more service-oriented economy in the face of a less prominent manufacturing sector, with predominant strength in the medical and health sciences fields. With clean air, a low cost of living, high quality of life and easy access to outdoor recreation, it's no wonder that Outside Magazine named Spokane one of the best places to live.
Spokane was originally settled in 1810 as a trading post and became the first long-term European settlement in Washington. In the late 19th century, gold and silver were discovered in the region, leading the city to become a hub for mining activities, and later, timber and agriculture. Spokane was officially incorporated in 1881, coinciding with the completion of the Northern Pacific Railway, subsequently bringing a major settlement of Europeans to the Spokane area. The population grew to 104,000 in 1910, but growth slowed during the 20th century as mining declined, jobs vanished, and the nation’s economy faltered. Spokane became a center of aluminum production during WWII, and then in the 1970’s local businessmen organized a campaign to revitalize downtown, which led to hosting the 1974 World’s Fair. Explore more Spokane history with the following links.
Spokane experiences hot and dry weather during the summer months and cold and snowy weather during the winter. Daytime and nighttime temperatures vary greatly during the summer months when temperatures can drop 30° or more at night. Summer temperatures average 88° F during the day and 55° F at night. Winter temperatures average 34° F during the day and 24° F at night.
The Spokane Transit Authority operates the local bus system and provides an excellent way to get around to the North, South, and West of Spokane as well as to the Valley and Liberty Lake in the east. Two hour and all-day passes are available when you board the bus, but you must ask the driver for a pass before you put your fare in the fare box. Spokane is located on Amtrak’s Empire Builder route, which operates between Seattle/Portland and Chicago. Spokane International Airport is about seven miles to the west of Downtown. It operates flights regularly to Seattle, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Minneapolis, Chicago, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Boise.
Cost of Living in Spokane
The cost of living in Spokane is around 6% lower than the national average. Housing, groceries, and utilities are more affordable than other cities, and healthcare and transportation are a little more expensive than the average city.
Spokane Public Schools is the largest public school system in Spokane and the second largest in the state, serving roughly 30,000 students in five high schools, six middle schools, and 34 elementary schools. Other public school districts include the Mead School District in north Spokane County and a variety of private and parochial elementary and secondary schools.
Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital is part of Providence Health System and is considered Spokane’s best hospital system and the fourth-best hospital system in Washington. PHS contains a regional cancer center, a transplant center, the only Level II Pediatric Trauma Center and Level IV NICU in Eastern Washington, specialty care, and support groups. If you’re planning a move to Spokane, it’s a good idea to know the medical resources available to you.
Spokane Real Estate
Much of Spokane’s history is reflected in its large variety of neighborhoods. Neighborhoods range from the Victorian-era style South Hill and Browne’s Addition, to the Davenport Arts District of Downtown, to the more contemporary neighborhoods of North Spokane.
If you want to splurge on an elegant stay, the Davenport Hotel is Spokane’s only four diamond hotel and is rated among the top ten best hotels in America by Expedia. The Red Lion Hotel at the Park is moderately priced and boasts a scenic location on the Spokane River overlooking Riverfront Park. The Roberts Mansion Bed & Breakfast is a stunning Queen Anne treasure with gardens and antiques galore. Find your perfect place to stay using the following links.
Locals highly recommend the Wild Sage American Bistro because the food is outstanding, service is wonderful, and the atmosphere is great. Everybody enjoys pizza, and Fire Artisan Pizza has all the right ingredients to make delicious pizzas in their wood-fired dome ovens. Dick’s Hamburgers doesn’t look like much, but it is a Spokane institution that serves up cheap burgers, hand-cut fries, and 50’s style flair. For something a little more upscale, Clover is relatively new to the scene, but already turning heads with everything prepared from scratch and seasoned with fresh herbs grown in the on-site greenhouse. Discover other great restaurants with the following links.
Things to Do in Spokane
If you’re spending a day or even a week in Spokane, you’ll find plenty to do. There are 32 golf courses, 9 ski areas and endless miles of trails for hiking and biking. Shop for eclectic gifts in the Davenport Arts District at 2nd and Madison then head over to the reconstructed Monroe Street Bridge for a spectacular view of the falls. Just a few blocks away, Riverfront Park features art installations, an IMAX Theatre, amusement rides, and the famed Ice Palace, one of the nation’s top outdoor ice skating rinks. For a taste of adventure, white water rafting on the Spokane River is just minutes from downtown, or for something more relaxing, tour several of the 21 wineries and tasting rooms in the Spokane area. Find more great ideas for things to do with the following links.