What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Spokane, WA?

Heather Robbins
by Heather Robbins

Spokane is a gorgeous city located on the eastern side of Washington state, in the desert. It is known for its four-weather climate and hiking trails. Many people love coming from around the world to enjoy the outdoor activities in Spokane, but would exactly would it be like to live there? What are the pros and cons?

Spokane has an affordable cost of living, and the real estate is not overpriced. Additionally, the traffic is calm, and the weather is excellent, which makes the trekking trails in Spokane even more popular since you have more time to enjoy them. However, the crime rate is a bit high, and the air is not necessarily clean.

If you’re thinking of moving to this gorgeous city, it is essential that you understand the pros and cons before making such a huge decision. In this article, we will take you through each advantage as well as the disadvantages to assist you in your decision-making process. Let us get started!

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The Pros Of Living In Spokane, Washington

There are a lot of benefits to living in Spokane, Washington. Below, we will cover the top reasons why residents love this desert-surrounded city and why you might too.

1. Low Cost Of Living And Low Real Estate

The average cost of a large house in Spokane, Washington, is about $300,000. With this amount of money, you can purchase a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home. That is significantly lower compared to Seattle, where it would cost double to get a house with that much space. Not to mention, in Spokane, you are not living on top of each other.

However, it is not just the real estate that’s low cost; the cost of living is low there too. Spokane is primarily desert, but in surrounding areas, there is plenty of farmland which allows Spokane to keep their grocery and food costs on the lower end. Since this area is not prone to disasters, you will not need to pay hundreds of dollars for specialty insurance either.

2. The Weather Is Nice

Most people tend to associate Spokane with Seattle; If it is always raining in Seattle, then the same can be said for Spokane, right? Wrong. Spokane is on the east side of the mountain range, where the land is mostly desert and annually has around 200 days of sunshine and less rain. Seattle averages about 38 inches of rain per year, but Spokane averages around 17 inches annually.

In the winter, it does get pretty cold but stays around 22 degrees. However, it has been known to dip to below zero here and there. You can expect it to remain approximately 80 degrees in the summer, but it has been known to get up to about 106 during heat waves. So, the weather differs from Seattle significantly.

CityPrecipitation (inches)Low TempAverage Temp Winter/SummerHigh Temp
Spokane17.21426 – 88104
Seattle38037 – 79103
Portland43-236 – 84107
Boise131224 – 93111
Eugene47335 – 86108

3. Calm Traffic

Something else that sets Spokane apart from Seattle’s greater metropolitan area is that you will not have to fight the traffic nearly as much. Those who commute to and from Seattle for work spend about 4 hours more in their vehicles per day than those who live in Spokane! In that amount of time, you could have the rest of your tasks done and dinner finished with time to spare.

While the public transportation system is not as great in Spokane as it is on the west side of the state, they do still have a very generous schedule. So, no matter where you need to go, there is always a way to get there. Not to mention, there are plenty of rideshare options and taxi companies, and you will not need to pay as much since the traffic is not jammed.

4. Great For Outdoor Lovers And Hikers

Spokane has some of the most popular trekking trails in the whole pacific northwest. If you were to live here, you will have them at the tip of your fingers and be able to access them anytime that you want. Some of the more popular trails are:

  • Palisades Park: Rimrock Drive
  • Palouse Falls State Park: Fryxell Overlook
  • Deep Creek Canyon: Riverside State Park Trail 25
  • Antoine Peak Conservation Area: Emerald Necklace Trail
  • Iller Creek Conservation Area: Rocks of Sharon
  • Riverside State Park: Bowl and Pitcher
  • Spokane River Natural Area: Knothead Loop
  • Mount Spokane State Park: Lower Kit Carson Loop

There is more than just hiking trails, though. If you love skiing and snowboarding, there are five different world-class ski resorts that less than two hours away from downtown Spokane. You can take a day trip or rent one of their cabins on the top of the mountain; it is up to you.

Of course, for those who do not like adventure but love relaxation, Spokane is on the water. Take your boat out for a cruise, go fishing, kayaking, or swimming. It is up to you. Regardless of what you do, though, you’ll be likely to run into travelers from all around the world. The traffic of tourists isn’t ridiculously high, but many people visit this area for the trails, skiing, and other amenities, giving you an opportunity to broaden your horizons friendwise.

5. No Inheritance Or State Income Tax

When moving to Spokane, you will not get slammed with inheritance tax or even state income tax. This is what makes the area so appealing to people, especially those who are retired. But it is not just retired individuals that benefit from it. Working individuals do as well.

Spokane is also focused on creating more jobs and ensuring that its residents are able to earn a livable wage, not just minimum wage. Since the average pay for a job is greater, and the taxes are less, this allows residents to take home more pay for their other bills or to spend as they wish.

The Cons Of Living In Spokane

Of course, we cannot bring you the list of advantages without telling you the disadvantages of living in Spokane. Below are just a few of the major ones that could be a deal-breaker for you. While it’s not nearly as awful as some other cities, there are a few things to take into consideration before making the decision to move to Spokane.

1. Crime In Spokane Has Been Steadily Climbing

A decade or so ago, Spokane was known as the nice, upper-class city of eastern Washington. Therefore, there was not much crime going on. Over time, people have been moving away, and it is caused housing prices to lower, and the city’s poverty percentage has increased. Most of the crime that happens there is property crime such as grand theft, auto, and sometimes burglaries.

However, one way to counteract that is ensuring that your house is safe with a security system. Usually, even if your property has the stickers like “ADT” or “This area is monitored with cameras,” you will have a 50% less chance of becoming a target.

Due to the increase in poverty, Spokane now has its community of homeless people. Most of them are harmless; however, you do get the troublesome individuals who like to wreak havoc. But for most people, they are not a problem, and neither is the crime rate.

CityProperty Crime/100kViolent Crime/100kTotal Crime/100k

2. High Air Pollution

Spokane ranks as one of the worst cities for air pollution in the country. This is primarily due to its location as it is near the Okanogan National Forest, where they are notorious for large multi-thousand-acre forest fires. Sometimes, during the summer season, Spokane residents have been asked to leave due to the extreme amounts of smoke, but it has not been that bad for some time.

So, if you are someone who has extreme respiratory issues, you may what to rethink your move to Spokane. Or you could always travel to another destination during the wildfire season so that you can skip the chances of getting caught in the large smoke plumes and filling your lungs with ashes.

3. You Are Not Close To Seattle

If you are trying to land a job at Boeing, you will have a better chance of doing that if you live in Seattle, as the plants that put the parts together are in Renton and Everett. Also, you have a better chance of working at Microsoft if you live in the western region of the state. Spokane has many jobs available, but for the better jobs, you are better off living in Seattle than the eastern side of the state.

People move to Spokane and think that it’s the eastern state’s “Seattle,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Spokane is significantly smaller and also doesn’t have nearly as many opportunities as Seattle by way of travel, business, or activities. But, it is different and has some very unique experiences to offer on its own.

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Related Questions

What is a good salary in Spokane?

Residents in Spokane earn anywhere from $19,000 to $130,000, of course, depending on their career. However, on average, they make between $47,000 and $70,000. To live comfortably here, you should be making at least $45,000 a year.

What is winter like in Spokane, WA?

Winters are usually cold in Spokane, and it gets around 40 inches of snow each year. The temperatures in the winter vary from 11 degrees to 30 degrees; however, on average, it is about 26 degrees in the wintertime. You will need to bundle up!

How far is Spokane from Seattle?

Spokane is 230 miles away from Seattle. This drive, without traffic, takes about 4 to 5 hours. However, if you are stuck in a backup on I-90, it can take as much as 8 hours to travel between the two cities. Therefore, it is better to make this drive either at night or in the wee hours of the morning, before 4:00 AM. That way, you can bypass the horrible traffic.

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Heather Robbins
Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.

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