Best Places to Live

Spokane, WA

Population: 210,695
Photo: Visit Spokane

Moonlit snowshoe hikes, snowmobile tours and downhill skiing are just some of the winter activities visitors and residents enjoy in Spokane, WA. A hot nightlife scene, unique restaurants, and a large collection of theaters, art galleries and museums provide plenty of ways to stay entertained and warm during Spokane's coldest time of the year.

Spokane's location near five ski mountains, lakes and forests puts it in a prime spot for winter recreation. One of the larger ski resorts, 49 Degrees North, has a 1,850-foot vertical drop and five chairlifts. Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park, just 28 miles from downtown, features five double chairlifts, a terrain park and snow tubing area. Ice skaters love downtown Spokane's Riverfront Park Ice Palace operated by the city's parks department. The department also co-sponsors with REI guided moonlight snowshoe hikes through the meadows and woods around Mt. Spokane. Many area fishermen head to Cocolalla Lake in Idaho just 66 miles away. Many snowmobile and cross-country skiing trails wind through wooded areas in and around Spokane, and Adventure SportRentals offers snowmobile rentals and guided tours.

Spokane's cultural and historic attractions draw music and art lovers from around the region. An annual Bach Festival begins in late January and showcases the city's talented collection of orchestral musicians, while venues like the INB Performing Arts Center, Bing Crosby Theatre, and the Knitting Factory Concert House stage shows by popular rock, pop and country acts. Four local theater groups produce a range of performances from Broadway shows to improvised sketch comedy. Five nearby casinos not only offer an assortment of card games and slot machines but comedy, magic and musical shows. Spokane also has a good variety of restaurants from which to choose.

Activities: Downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, ice skating, sledding, tubing

Average Annual Snowfall: 48 inches

Winter Temps: 20 to 37

Must Try: A moonlight snowshoe hike around Mt. Spokane.

See where Spokane ranked on our list of Top Cities for Book Lovers.