Spokane is the second largest city in Washington. Its 200,000 residents enjoy beautiful scenery and an exciting array of outdoor activities. Spokane is also known as the hub of the Inland Northwest, an area with a population of more than 1.4 million people. The city is home to shopping, entertainment and medical facilities that serve eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, Western Montana and parts of Southern Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.
The Spokane region has a relatively low cost of living and a highly educated workforce. Additionally, recent investment has spurred revitalization in Spokane. New stores, restaurants and entertainment facilities are attracting tourists, as well as new residents and businesses, at a rapid pace.
Traditional industries in the Spokane region include manufacturing, forestry and agriculture. Recently the economy has begun to diversify, and jobs are being added in technology, education, health care and bio-sciences. The result is that white-collar jobs dominate Spokane's economy, and white-collar workers make up 60 percent of the city's employed workforce. Twenty-four percent of the city's workers have blue-collar jobs, and 16 percent hold jobs that are classified as service and farm work.
The top 10 employers in Spokane County are:
However, Spokane is not made up of all large companies. More than 80 percent of businesses in the city are small businesses with fewer than 11 employees. Organizations such as Greater Spokane Incorporated work to foster economic growth and create a business climate that encourages companies to set up shop in Spokane. The effort seems to be paying off. Forbes magazine ranked Spokane 9th on its list of the best places in America for businesses and careers. Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Spokane 16th in the country on its list of top mid-size cities for entrepreneurs.
Spokane has 66 distinct neighborhoods. A sampling of the neighborhoods includes:
Nearly 70,000 students take classes at 14 diverse colleges and universities in the Spokane region. These institutions help supply Spokane with a highly educated workforce that drives its economy. Colleges and universities with campuses in the city of Spokane include:
With more than 80 arts organizations and museums making their home in and around Spokane, lovers of art, music and theater will find plenty to do. The city is a regular stop for touring Broadway shows and major concert tours. The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture just underwent a $28 million renovation and expansion. Additionally, the Spokane Symphony now performs inside a newly renovated concert hall.
Spokane's four-season climate supports a wide variety of recreational activities. Within a 50-mile drive of Spokane, outdoor enthusiasts will find 76 lakes, four major rivers, 13 ski areas and 75 parks. One of the most well-known parks is Riverside State Park, a 7,600-acre park set along the Spokane River. Across the region, boating, fishing, rafting, biking and hiking are popular activities. Large hiking trails, such as the Centennial Trail, are equipped with parking facilities, directories, water, picnic tables and restrooms.
Spokane is sure to score big with any sports fanatic. The region is home to college teams from four NCAA division one schools and four minor league professional sports teams. The city also plays host to a variety of unusual sporting events, including: