10 Reasons to Live in Spokane
PLEASE READ: Cautionary heads up to all the folks reading this listicle for the first time. It was written in 2011 so take it with a grain of salt. I suggest putting to task a new list with all the cool artsy, alternative things I hear are sprouting up all over Spokane since then. I’d do it, but I don’t live in Spokane anymore. Cheers!
SpoCool is collecting lists from local blogger containing reasons to live in Spokane. Before I describe my reasons to live in Spokane, let me begin with my background. I’m a native of a suburban area north of Seattle called Woodinville. I lived there for every single one of my existing memories until the day I left for college. My family’s home was in unincorporated Snohomish County where there was no public transit. I had to beg my parents for a ride to downtown Woodinville. The park and ride would take me anywhere I wanted to go, but traveling outside of a quickly reachable location for someone under 18 was rare.
Growing up, we lived in neighborhoods. The neighborhoods were large lot suburban housing communities that did not connect to arterials or heavily used intersections. They were secluded sanctuaries for families. The only areas in Spokane I can think of off the top of my head that are similar to this concept are the neighborhoods of north Spokane and the upper South hill.
Downtown Woodinville was not a location that was considered a nightlife destination. If you wanted to go out, you left Woodinville. You’d go to neighboring Kirkland to visit the Lake Washington waterfront and bars, lounges and restaurants. You could probably compare Kirkland as our Coeur d’Alene.
Coming to Spokane as an adult, I found a place where I realized, that in close proximity there was opportunity for culture, lifestyle and community. I felt access to something that I always thought was unobtainable. I thought you had to travel elsewhere to experience it. I’ve lived in Spokane for three and a half years and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
1. Proximity to Destinations
Everyone always says this one. Close to nature. We are just under two hours from three major mountain resorts, minutes away from the Spokane International Airport, less than an hour from Lake Coeur d’Alene, less than two hours away from Lake Pend Oreille and less than ten minutes away from a major river, our pride and joy, the Spokane River.
I know what traffic is like on the westside and other west coast cities. Once you experience it enough it becomes this never-ending nightmare, Spokane is a dream come true. With regards to construction season, for the time being you may scream and shout to the heavens, but remember when the City completed South Lincoln Street? It was like driving on clouds. Remember, it does get better.
3. Artistic Opportunities
Most artists when they want to be an artist, they think they need to be in a major metropolitan city to “make it”. Most of the time, they don’t. Here’s a secret. There is a place called Spokane that wants you. The Inland Northwest wants your work and your heart. They want you to make their city beautiful through different media formats. Paintings, photography, video, music and guerilla street art. In less than two years I was able to have my art featured in major Spokane businesses downtown. With groups like Et. Al, Terrain, RiverSpeak, you can’t go wrong with finding an art community that fits you.
4. Making a Difference
There are advocacy groups that would love to have your help defend their cause. There are neighborhoods waiting to have your help. There are non-profits scrambling for volunteers. Five hours a month is all it takes to make a difference for your group of choice. I guarantee there is a group within five minutes of your home that would appreciate your help. You can help out with a local campaign. It is possible that a candidate, him or herself, will knock on your door. Volunteer! If you’re unemployed, this is the best activity you can do to boost your résumé to potential employers.
5. Affordable Housing
As a young twenty-some renter, my first apartment in Spokane was a one-bedroom for $410/month. It was five minutes from downtown and across the street from a grocery store. When you’re making barely above minimum wage, that was perfect. Houses on the south hill range from $115-600,000. In Seattle, you could sell your home in that suburban neighborhood of yours for $600-700,000, come to Spokane and buy something bigger for $300,000.
Moose are a fact of life in Spokane. I knew a gal from California who was shocked to see a moose. She had never seen one in her life. It is possible that in less than an hours distance from Spokane you could see a moose, bear, elk, deer, cougar, marmot, porcupine, etc. Sometimes they end up in the city limits. Sometimes they make the local news.
For those that say there’s nothing to do in Spokane, I have no idea what your problem is. I have something on my calendar every single evening. I’d love to delegate events to you so I can stay at home and play video games. A great way to find out what’s going on in your community is to check out your Facebook events and even your friends events. Instead of hitting “maybe” (I’m looking at you John Waite), read through and see what your community is offering you this evening in the form of entertainment. Another way, check local blogs. KXLY Community Blog finds a butt load of events. The Spovangelist covers more culturally significant preview for upcoming events.
When I watch the news, it is possible for me to say, “Oh! I know that person!” I’m not just talking news anchors and reporters. I’m talking about people being interviewed. It’s a small enough town that you can get to know many people. In some cases, I can not walk across downtown Spokane (takes about twenty minutes) without running into someone I know. It’s not a popularity contest. When you put the effort into networking, you get to know your community by face and name.
9. Wine and Brewskies
I have to admit that I’m not that big of a wine person. It’s people like Josh Wade that have introduced me to another form of evening entertainment. There are currently 18 wineries in Spokane with 20 tasting rooms according to Spokane Wine Magazine. You could spend a weekend drowning yourself in fermented grapes. Something to note: When I tell people I’m from Woodinville, they freak out and say, “Omg! The wine!” Wine was not that big of a deal in Woodinville until AFTER I left for college. Suddenly everyone and their Grandma started a winery in every nook and cranny they could find. As for my the other form of evening entertainment, I hold my allegiance to the brewski. Places like Jones Radiator and The Hop Shop are the go-to places for beer. Our brewery selection isn’t as big but one day I imagine a city of breweries. Honorary shout out to Dry Fly, our local producer of gin, vodka and whiskey.
In the face of slander, us Spokanites will stand up for city and defend it until our dying breath. If the wild folk of Seattle came to our doorstep, ready for battle. We’d be there ready for them in the form of amazing journalists, artists, musicians, lgbt individuals, bloggers, twitter users and more. Our city is continuously improving. Ask any resident who lived here before 1974. Spokane is an endless uphill mountain. I hope we never reach our peak because when we do, it’s all downhill from there.
Submit your own “reasons to live in Spokane” list to firstname.lastname@example.org.