10 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Spokane, WA

March 28th, 2023

10 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Spokane, WA

Living in Spokane 

Are you considering a move to Spokane, WA, and want to learn more about the area? Make sure you know these ten things about life in Spokane! 

Located in Eastern Washington State, the beautiful city of Spokane is an excellent place to live. As a lively riverfront destination, Spokane is best known for big city amenities without the big city inconveniences. Found about a four-hour drive from Seattle, many people are moving to Spokane to live, work, and play. 

With a growing population of over 229,000, most newcomers are relocating from other Northwest cities and California, Oregon, Texas, and Colorado to access outdoor recreation, affordable homes, and sought-after amenities. Recognized as one of the best places to live in Washington, Spokane is an excellent tourist destination and a wonderful place to find your dream home. 

Best known as the smallest city to ever host the World's Fair in 1974, Spokane has made a name for itself as more than just the second-largest city in Washington. A great place to live for nature lovers, families, and young adults, the average age in Spokane is 36. 

If you are moving to Spokane, Washington, and want to learn more about what this fun city offers, you have come to the right place. Crafted with you in mind, we have compiled this guide of the top things you should know about life in Spokane before packing all your belongings.

Whether relocating for a job or to be closer to nature, make sure you know these ten things before moving to Spokane. 

Downtown Spokane, WA skyline on a sunny day

Here are the ten things to know about living in Spokane 

Cost of Living 

The cost of living in Spokane is 3% higher than the national average, making it one of the most affordable cities to live in Washington. In order to live comfortably in Spokane, a resident should make around $50,000 annually, and the living wage is about $15.26 per hour. According to PayScale, housing expenses are 3% higher than the national average, utility prices are 5% lower, transportation expenses are 2% higher, and grocery prices are 4% higher. 

Cost of Living Item  Spokane Average Price 
Apartment Rent  $1,210/month
Energy Bill  $156.48/month
Phone Bill  $197.86/month
Doctor Visit  $160.00
Dentist Visit  $119.22
Optometrist Visit  $167.00
Cup of Coffee $5.16

* Data sourced from Forbes Advisor

Real Estate Market 

For those moving to Washington, Spokane is a fantastic option for finding your dream home. Known for having a somewhat competitive housing market, most homes spend an average of 51 days on the market. With a median listing home price of $527,527, the average price per square foot is $226. As of February 2023, the supply and demand for homes were about the same, and home prices were down 2.5% compared to last year. 

There are various home types available in Spokane that will fit any lifestyle. With a high concentration of American Craftsman-style bungalows, Spokane is full of beautiful single-family homes, condos, and luxury homes that are located in safe neighborhoods

Job Market 

Spokane has a diverse economy and a comparable job market to other cities of similar size. Providing many jobs in various industries, Spokane has a job market index of 5.6 out of 10. With an economy relying on manufacturing, retail, education, research, and aerospace, young professionals and families moving to Spokane will have access to plenty of job opportunities for part-time and full-time positions. 

Home to the largest labor market in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, future job growth in Spokane over the next ten years is predicted to be 33.4%. Due to the city's investments in higher education, the job force in Spokane is skilled, with 40.23% of the population having an associate's degree or higher and 93.85% of the population having a high school degree or higher. 

Some of the biggest employers in Spokane include Fairchild Air Force Base, Gonzaga University, Clearwater Paper, CPM Inland, Ecova, and Frontier Behavioral Health. 

Spokane River blue water with rocks and trees on the riverbank


Spokane is a sought-after place to live for its above-average public schools. As part of the Spokane School District, which teaches over 28,000 students and has a student-teacher ratio of 19 to one, most schools in Spokane County are in the top 30% of schools in Washington. 

If you are moving to Spokane with school-aged children, check out these top-rated schools in Spokane: 

Elementary School  Middle School  High School 
Wilson Elementary School  Sacajawea Middle School  Lewis and Clark High School 
Hutton Elementary School  Chase Middle School  North Central High School 
Moran Prarie Elementary School Salk Middle School  Ferris High School 

* Data sourced from the U.S. News

Considered a hub for education in the Northwest, there are plenty of higher education opportunities in Spokane for those wanting to further their education. Whether looking for an associate's or a bachelor's degree, some of the top colleges and universities in the area include Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, Spokane Community College, and Spokane Falls Community College.  

Crime Rate 

Spokane is considered a moderately safe city with a lower crime rate than Seattle. With a crime index of seven out of ten, Spokane has a crime rate higher than other similar-sized metro areas, with higher rates of property crime than the national rate. With a crime rate that is 59% greater than the national average, Spokane has the third-highest crime rate in Washington. 

On the plus side, crime rates have been decreasing over the years. Much like any other big city, some areas are bound to be safer than others. To keep your home safe, lock your doors, invest in security cameras, and install motion detector lighting. 

Fire Season 

While Florida deals with hurricanes and the midwest experiences tornadoes, Washington and California are wildfire-prone states. Unfortunately, wildfires are likely to occur in Spokane due to record-breaking droughts, warm conditions, and unhealthy forests. 

As the snow starts to melt earlier in the spring, forests stay drier longer, leading to fires that are easily ignited, burn hotter, and spread faster. In Washington, wildfire season typically starts in early July and ends in September—these long-lasting wildfires, unfortunately, blanket Spokane in smoke that creates unhealthy air quality.  

In order to stay safe in Spokane from wildfires, it is essential to follow burn restrictions and to register for Alert Spokane, a county-wide evacuation notification system. 

Outdoor Activities 

Spokane is a fun city that is home to unique outdoor activities. Offering plenty of ways to enjoy nature and fresh air, many residents like to spend their time hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, skiing, birding, and fishing. Providing epic terrain, there is always something to do outside for all ages, regardless of the season. 

A clear day with snow on Mount Spokane

Check out these favorite outdoor activities in Spokane, WA: 

Riverfront Park: Located in Downtown Spokane, this public urban park is the site of the 1974 World's Fair and includes a cable ride over Spokane Falls, sculptures, a carousel, and gathering spaces. Multiple events are hosted here throughout the year. 

Manito Park: Established in 1904, this historical 90-acre public park features botanical gardens, an arboretum, a pond, and a conservatory. 

Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park: Conquer the slopes at this ski and snowboard park, including seven lifts, two-day lodges, and night skating. Located only 28 miles from Downtown Spokane, this is a popular destination during the snowy months. 

Riverside State Park: This beautiful state park is located nine miles northwest of Spokane and is the perfect place for hiking, biking, horseback riding, boating, fishing, and swimming. 

Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden: Visit this serene Japanese garden with the whole family to enjoy blooming flowers, a playground, and a pond. Offering free admission, this Japanese garden represents the friendship between Spokane and Nishinomiya, Japan. 


Breweries and microbreweries are popping up all over Spokane. Home to some of the best beer in the Inland Northwest, there is no better way to enjoy craft beer than by taking advantage of the many breweries on the Spokane Ale Trail. Whether you like drinking lagers or IPAs, there is no shortage of beer to try when living in Spokane. 

Drinking beer outside with friends on a cold day

Check out these favorite local breweries in Spokane, WA: 

Brick West Brewing: Specializing in German-style ales and IPAs, this Spokane brewing company has a great selection of beers and food.   

Iron Goat Brewing: This award-winning brewery on the West Side of Downtown Spokane has more than 20 beers on tap. 

Bottle Bay Brewing Company: Enjoy great beer, friendly service, and a laid-back atmosphere. All beer is brewed on-site by Marco Plastino, the owner and brewmaster. 

River City Brewing: Located in the Eldridge Building on the West End of Downtown Spokane, this popular brewery offers a great selection of beer, outdoor seating, and live music on the weekends. 

Whistle Punk Brewing: Best known for its bold, small-batch ales, visit this local brewery for tasty brews and a good time. 

Family-Friendly Atmosphere 

Spokane is a great place to raise a family, not only for its excellent schools but for its access to kid-friendly activities. From beautiful, well-maintained parks with playgrounds to museums with various interactive activities and events, it is no wonder that Spokane is considered one of the best places to raise a family in Washington. 

White tiger with beautiful blue eyes

Check out these family-friendly things to do in Spokane, WA: 

Cat Tales Wildlife Center: This unique animal sanctuary is home to exotic animals, majestic cats, and other large wild animals that are non-releasable. Thanks to its knowledgeable zoological staff, the animals that call this non-profit big cat sanctuary home are well cared for and protected. 

Historic Flight Foundation Museum: Established in 2003, this excellent aviation museum is full of unique vintage aircraft produced between 1927 and 1957. 

Mobius Discovery Center: Located on the lower level of River Park Square, this children's museum is worth the visit for its interactive, hands-on exhibits and fun activities. 

Mica Moon Zip Tours and Aerial Park: The perfect activity for thrill seekers, this is Spokane's only zipline canopy tour adventure. 

Fun Unlimited, Inc.: Found at Riverfront Park, rent paddleboards, kayaks, jet skis, and other water sports equipment for a fun day out on the water. 

Traffic and Transportation 

Driving a car in Spokane is one of the best ways to get around, but there are also multiple modes of public transportation available for residents to take advantage of. The Spokane Transit Authority offers bus services with routes all over the city and up to 1,700 bus stop signs. Now offering contactless payment options, riding public transit is easier than ever. 

Spokane's first-ever bus fast rapid transit line is also in the works, and service is expected to begin in July 2023. These new zero-emission buses will offer 15-minute service most hours of the day, every day of the week. If you want more information about this new bus line, please visit the Spokane Transit website


Why are so many people moving to Spokane, WA? 

Many people are relocating from all over the country, specifically from California, for Spokane's affordable housing, urban amenities, outdoor recreation, manageable traffic, and a strong sense of community.  

Is moving to Spokane a good idea? 

Perfect for nature lovers, this lively city in Washington is home to top-rated restaurants, coffee shops, parks, museums, and breweries, making moving to Spokane a great idea.

Does it snow a lot in Spokane, WA? 

Receiving 44 inches of snow every year, it is safe to say that Spokane is no stranger to cold winter weather. 

Is Spokane better than Seattle? 

Spokane and Seattle are beautiful places to live, but Spokane is known to have a lower cost of living and is less densely populated, which may appeal to more people. 

Pros and Cons of Living in Spokane, WA 


  • Lively downtown district 
  • Outdoor activities 
  • Less traffic 
  • Lower cost of living 
  • Family-friendly 
  • Proximity to Seattle 


  • Poor air quality 
  • High levels of pollution 
  • Fire season 
  • Job market 
  • High crime rate 

Moving to Spokane, WA - Final Thoughts 

From its abundance of outdoor activities to its booming real estate market, there are tons of excellent reasons why you should consider moving to Spokane. No matter what property type you are searching for, our team of reliable Real Estate Specialists is here to help with your home-buying journey. Contact us today to kick-start your home search in Spokane, Washington. 



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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.