Though the Pacific coast tends to get more attention, it’s time to acknowledge how awesome eastern Washington is, especially Spokane. Home to some 215,000 residents, Spokane serves as a major hub for the Inland Northwest — which includes parts of Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon — and thus has a robust economy. You’ll find jobs in everything from healthcare and communication to manufacturing and construction. If you’re looking for a fresh start, Spokane offers an affordable cost of living alongside a high quality of life — skiing, golfing, hiking, fishing and camping are just a few of your potential new hobbies.
Top Industries and Employers: Healthcare, aerospace, advanced manufacturing and transportation are thriving industries in Spokane.
Best Coffee Shop: Atticus Coffee & Gifts. Because who doesn’t love a coffee shop inspired by “To Kill a Mockingbird”?
Best Local Beer/Brewery: The aptly named Head Butt IPA or Goatmeal Stout from Iron Goat Brewing, which offers plenty of space to spread out and spend an afternoon with friends.
Must-Have Meal: The meatloaf dinner, the meatloaf sandwich or meatloaf benedict, served inside a historic train car at Frank’s Diner.
Best Co-Working Space: StartUp Spokane. In addition to offering co-working space, StartUp Spokane has everything — and we mean everything — your business needs to survive, including one-on-one entrepreneur assistance and tons of events, panels and gatherings.
Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Head to Garageland with your coworkers for happy hour and vintage arcade games.
Creative Hub: Spokane Arts, a nonprofit that serves as the hub for all things arts and culture in Spokane. The group spearheads everything from a poet laureate initiative to an arts incubator.
Favorite Weekend Activity: Hit the trail — the 40-mile paved Centennial Trail — to walk the dog, ride a bike or just to clear the cobwebs after a long week.
Free Way to Have Fun: Live and breathe some of Spokane’s eco-friendly history with a day at Riverfront Park, created for the first environmentally themed World’s Fair in 1974. The park offers 100 acres of public art installations, fountains and — wait for it — the world’s largest Radio Flyer red wagon.
Local Dream Job: Gardener at Manito Park, which has gorgeous flower displays, a conservatory, playgrounds and a pond.
- Sarah Kuta