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Old 01-05-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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Tell your kids that from THIS former child's experience, and dozens of other family and friends when kids, that Spokane was NOT boring. But, we loved the outdoors, were easily entertained, and great at providing our own entertainment. Guess it depends upon your kids.

(When I used to teach high school in San Francisco, I'd have kids tell me they were bored and what a boring town SF was. (!!!) I'd ask them "Just what exactly is it you want to do!!?? ''Cause it's all here in this town...and a lot of it you shouldn't oughta be doin'!" They'd usually mumble "I dunno". I'm convinced it's the normal teen state of just wanting things to be, you know, different from what they know.)
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Inactive Account
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Yeah, even "big cities" slow down sometimes. Winters in Southern California aren't much, but they still seemed to keep people at home. Sundays are still kinda slow ... I guess people tend to get all their nightlife-ing over with on Saturday night and then rest up.

Many times I remember driving down Ventura Blvd or Wilshire on a Sunday, and traffic was light with few people about. I suspect only Manhattan and the Vegas Strip are the only truly "24 hour zones" in the US.
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:17 AM
 
374 posts, read 835,185 times
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Originally Posted by Sean_CLT View Post
Yeah, even "big cities" slow down sometimes. Winters in Southern California aren't much, but they still seemed to keep people at home. Sundays are still kinda slow ... I guess people tend to get all their nightlife-ing over with on Saturday night and then rest up.

That just about sums it up perfectly. No matter where you live, most of your time is taken up with the non-glamorous (ie; boring) activities known as "life".
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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The best way to find out is to spend at least 1 week in Spokane WA to check the place out. Visit as many places as you can and talk to as many residents as you can. If you don't like how it feels then you have your answer already. If you feel like that city would work out for you. Then it wouldn't be such a bad choice.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:00 PM
 
Location: eastern washington
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I have lived in the Spokane area my entire life and there are definitely things to do, you just have to seek them out. There are many outdoors places to go play that are within an hour or so drive...lakes in the summer, mountains in the winter, even Silverwood theme park is fun for the kids if you've never been.

People that say there is nothing to do underestimate the value of living in a place that is not overwhelmingly large. There is something going on all the time, wether it's Bloomsday, Hoopfest (my absolute favorite weekend of the summer, hands down), or seeing a show at the opera house. My sisters and mother and I saw the Lion King a little while ago. And if you want to get away, driving to Seattle or the coast is a nice scenic weekend trip. Overall, Spokane is a great place for a family to live.
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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Default Opinions of a former Spokanite

Hi, I thought I would respond as someone who grew up in Spokane and now lives in Seattle (left in 1994 but still go back all the time to visit family). Spokane has its pluses and minuses like any city. I think Spokane can be a great place to live for many people, and here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order.

A big plus is that Spokane is affordable. Housing is very affordable, especially by Seattle standards. Most of the housing is single-family, i.e. not much in the way of condos or large apartment complexes in most of the city. I would say that entertainment costs, food, etc are also affordable for an average salary earner. It's a predominately middle-class city - there are some wealthy enclaves and of course poverty if you look for it, but there's not a huge rich/poor divide.

Spokane has a good school system (there are some superb public schools if you pick the right neighborhood). I grew up in the South Hill (99203 zip code), which is middle-class and then also has some very wealthy areas. My schools (Hutton Elementary, Sacajawea Jr High, Lewis and Clark HS) were all excellent and had fantastic academics and sports. Compared to what I know of the public school system in Seattle, which is pretty dysfunctional, Spokane has excellent educational opportunities for kids. There are a few small universities (private) in the city and a state university nearby, so there is a young population there. The public library system is excellent, with a large, new central library and branches in most neighborhoods. The city government functions well in terms of public services.

You are right about the health care industry, there are several large hospitals (Sacred Heart, Deaconess, Valley Medical). I'm not real clued into the job market there, but from what I know, it's possible to find secure employment with a decent salary that will afford most people a good quality of life. IT seems like a growing profession there, too. "Blue collar", i.e. manufacturing jobs are not in abundance.

Depending on what you like to do for fun, Spokane can either be a good place to live, or "boring". There are tons of parks - very nice ones - and skiing, some hiking, lakes etc nearby. There's not much in the way of museums - I think just one small one. There are local professional sports teams, and hockey and baseball are the big ones, plus local college sports are popular. The Spokane Arena and the Opera House both host visiting events - some Broadway shows, symphony, concerts, etc. You can look at their web sites to get a sense of the types of cultural events available. Riverfront Park downtown is great and also has attractions like ice skaing in the winter. There are some fun festival events during the year - Bloomsday Run, Hoopfest, Pig Out in the Park (I hate that name, but it's a food festival), and also a huge Native American powwow in the summer that is open to the public. The local YMCA and YWCA have good sports programs for adults and kids - swimming, etc., and there is a good system of public pools throughout the city. Spokane has some nice golf courses, both public and private, and some social clubs if you're into that kind of thing (The Spokane Club is the chi-chi place for the local who's who). If you're into nightlife, you'll be disappointed... There's not a whole lot happening after dark.

I wouldn't say Spokane is notable as a culinary destination. Mostly it's chain restaurants - lots of Applebees, Chilis, Olive Gardens, etc. There are some local restaurants and pubs, mostly downtown, that are good, but by and large I've never been impressed with the dining options there.

There are definitely malls; Northtown is the big one on the north side of the city, plus a newer one, Riverpark Square, that's downtown and is a little higher-end. You'll find the same stores you do everywhere else in these malls, but they do seem to be a popular source of entertainment. RPS downtown also has a huge movie theater complex inside that's nice.

Public transit consists of buses, and it's okay if you're in the right area. I relied on it for school and work - they run like every 20 minutes or so at peak times, but only every hour during other parts of the day (this could be old info... I haven't taken the bus in some years there). Spokane is definitely geared to drivers and cars. I wouldn't say there is a traffic problem there; at least I've never encountered a bona fide traffic jam in 37 years living and visiting there. Spokane has a serviceable airport with decent connections to nearby cities - you'll mostly need to connect through Seattle (50 minute flight) to make destinations outside the region.

Esthetically, Spokane is nice looking for the most part. There are many historic buildings downtown and in the surrounding areas (when I say "historic" I mean 1890s and later... Spokane is not that old of a city). Unfortunately downtown has not fared well economically in the past few decades, and there are many empty buildings and storefronts. It's definitely a town where they "roll up the sidewalks" downtown at 6 PM. I'm often taken aback even during the day at how few people there are walking around even downtown during the day - but that's a positive if you don't like crowds. The standout feature are some of the beautiful parks and also some of the neighborhoods. I'm very partial to the South Hill (which actually means the entire southern part of the city, south of downtown, that encompasses many sub-areas), which a particularly nice area of town. It's a very "green" city in terms of parks and tree cover, and very pretty in some parts, and I would say it's "clean", especially compared to some other places I've been.

Ethnically, Spokane is predominately Caucasian, and growing up there, even though there is a very small minority population, there is none of the racial tension I've experienced in some East Coast cities, probably because people just don't have to deal with it. There is a growing immigrant population (for some reason a lot of Russians and Ukrainians settle there), and probably a growing Hispanic population, but overwhelmingly the city is white, Anglo-Saxon and protestant.

Culturally and politically, Spokane is somewhat conservative, and votes mostly Republican. I would say that the right/left split is like 60/40 or even 55/45 on some issues, meaning it's mostly conservative-leaning, but it's not a strong bastion of conservatism by any means. Regardless of politics and religion, people seem pretty tolerant of one another, and I don't remember that it's a terribly partisan place to live. Politics just wasn't that big of an issue for most people when I lived there. There are a lot of churches of all kinds, and also a Jewish temple, and I would say the population is more church-going than not, but there's not one particular denomination or faith that dominates. The Northwest in general is less religious than other parts of the country, and people tend to have a live-and-let-live attitude here.

As a state, Washington is amazing, but I am very partial, having lived here my entire life. We have vastly different climates across the state, from rolling farm country to mountain ranges, rain forests and ocean beaches. In terms of cities, Seattle and Spokane are night and day - in fact most Washingtonians would tell you that we actually have two states - Eastern and Western WA, centered around Seattle and Spokane. If you look at a map, you'll see that Spokane is rather isolated from other cities, and is surrounded by farming area in all directions, so that might give you a clue as to the "culture" of the city. It can be a bit insular or even stale, and the nearest other big city, Seattle, is a five-hour drive away. There is a good deal of Seattle-hating in Spokane, to the point that it seems like a local pasttime. Some of the complaints are valid - Seattle dominates state politics and the economy because half the state population lives in the SEA metro area - others are just sort of silly and I chalk it up to envy Overall I would say it's a small city with a small town outlook and mentality - and I think that is one of the charms of Spokane. It's easy to meet people and make friends, especially if you are involved in your kids' schools, church other other social organizations.

Weather-wise, Spokane has the four distinct seasons. Summer is generally hot and dry, and is the nicest time of year (May-September in a good year). Fall is also lovely, and with all the trees in the city, is very pretty when the leaves turn color. Winter is almost always snowy. Personally I detest snow, but if you're into winter sports, it can be great. They keep the streets plowed and salted, so it's still easy to get around for the most part. January through March I just hated in Spokane - dreary skies, snow and slush. Spring is often very rainy. Overall it's a drier climate. Allergies can be a problem. Spokane has tons of pine trees that release huge amounts of pollen in the spring, and the burning in the surrounding farm country can be a problem for some people.

Regarding neighborhoods, you mentioned the Garland area. I'm not too familiar with it, but it's sort of up-and-coming. It was neglected for a while, but in the 90s more businesses started moving in and it's gentrifying a bit. I've harped a bit on the South Hill, and honestly if I were to move back to Spokane that's the only area I'd live in. It really means the entire southern part of the city with smaller neighborhoods - Lincoln Park, Manito, Moran Prarie, Comstock - that are primarly residential and all a little bit different. Before settling on a house and area, if you can, try renting a house there for a few months and get a sense of the different options available. For me the South Hill is preferable because it's middle class, nice looking, and easy to get around and into downtown. There are also a few business areas in each neighborhood (grocery stores, video stores, etc) so you can access those services nearby.

I don't know if I've answered you're question about "boring". I'm guessing if you're professional, have kids, are oriented towards family activities, that Spokane is going to be a good location. It was certainly a good place for me to grow up, and I have a soft spot for it. Ultimately I left when I was 22 because I really like to be in a city. But going back to visit is always pleasant, and I do think it's a good place for a family to raise kids. Anway good luck, and hope this rambling information is helpful in some way!
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Old 01-10-2010, 02:21 PM
 
Location: In The Outland
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Originally Posted by Anders15 View Post
I am from the east coast and this will by my first city on the west coast.
I really wouldn't refer to Spokane as being on the west coast at all. It's on the western edge of the Northern Rocky Mountains.
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Old 01-10-2010, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Nebuchadnezzar
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Svartkatt, that was a very nice summary.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rickers View Post
I really wouldn't refer to Spokane as being on the west coast at all. It's on the western edge of the Northern Rocky Mountains.
It's all relative. He can get there in less than a days drive which is a big difference in proximity to the Pacific than Virginia...so yeah, to him he's moving to the west coast.

Having lived back east for years, many refer to anything past Colorado as "west coast," just as many in my hometown of Spokane have called anything east of the Rockies as "back east", which seems strange to many folks east of the Mississippi..
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Northwest Limbo
438 posts, read 1,666,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinem View Post
It's all relative. He can get there in less than a days drive which is a big difference in proximity to the Pacific than Virginia...so yeah, to him he's moving to the west coast.

Having lived back east for years, many refer to anything past Colorado as "west coast," just as many in my hometown of Spokane have called anything east of the Rockies as "back east", which seems strange to many folks east of the Mississippi..
Exactly. There was a point in my life where it seemed strange to refer to Spokane as being in the "Northwest." Until I was a young adult the Northwest was anything West of the Cascade Mountains. Anything East was just Eastern Washington and beyond.
I'd like to say that I've evolved a bit beyond that now, but the other day my husband asked me where our friends' son had moved to. I couldn't remember exactly. So I kind of waved my hand eastward and said, "Somewhere in the middle..." Turns out it was South Dakota. :~) D
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