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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Spokane, Washington

A large and bustling college city, Spokane is one of the largest cities in the Northwest. It is located on Washington's eastern border with Idaho.  It is the cultural, social, and economic hub of this area, along with neighboring Coeur D'Alene.  Home to the private colleges Gonzaga and Whitworth, among many others, Spokane has all the fixtures of a vibrant college city. The population is about 202,000.

Spokane hosts a variety of cultural events related to the colleges and otherwise, from the Spokane International Film Festival to Spokane Comic Con.

Spokane has an active urban redevelopment history. The RiverPark Square Mall is a downtown anchor as are many reclaimed historic buildings such as the Davenport Hotel and historic Fox Theatre. Kendall Yards is a huge new development. There are many interesting neighborhoods ranging from the late Victorian-era style Browne's Addition, to the Davenport Arts District of Downtown, to the more contemporary neighborhoods of North Spokane. The Spokane River and Spokane Falls run through the city which makes for a very interesting physical feature. 

Where to Retire in Spokane and Home Prices

Baby boomers or active adults looking for retirement communities in Spokane will find every kind of neighborhood, from traditional downtown homes to brand new over-55 communities.
The National Association of Realtors reports the median home sales price in the Spokane-Spokane Valley area to be $389,400 in the 4th quarter of 2022.

What Is Special about Spokane

Spokane has 75 parks! Those include Riverfront Park and Riverside State Park, which are either or adjacent to downtown. There are 76 lakes or bodies of water nearby, in addition to plentiful festivals and things to do. Spokane is one of the most affordable cities in the northwest. Two private universities are located here- Gonzaga and Whitworth - along with satellite campuses of several state universities.

What Is Not Special about Spokane

Spokane is remote - almost 300 miles to the nearest large city, Seattle. Well, remote is relative; 300 fast miles on Interstate 90 to Seattle and "the coast". Another point about not special Spokane -it is not diverse.

Climate and Physical Environment

Spokane is where the steppe meets the foothills of the Rockies (Selkirks). It is dry and fairly cold in winter. The Spokane River and Spokane Falls run through the city. There is often snow cover in winter, summers can be hot. Being east of the Cascades, Spokane is in a very different and much drier climate than Seattle. The average July high is 82 degrees and the average January low is 22.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The Spokane Symphony and several theatre groups perform in Spokane. There are a number of galleries in the Davenport and Garland Districts. The Fox Theater is active, restored original Art Deco state. Festivals and events are held throughout the year, including Spokane's two main Artwalk dates which attract large crowds to the art districts.


The crime rate is very high vs. the national average.

Medical Facilities

Spokane has 2 major hospitals, Sacred Heart Medical and Deaconess Medical Center. It is the medical hub of this part of the northwest


Spokane International Airport (with no international flights!) is one of the busiest airports in the northwest. I 90 goes through town. Rapid Transit is provided by ample bus service, a light rail system is planned.

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