The city of Spokane is the second-largest in Washington, after Seattle. Positioned in the northeast corner of the state, it is known as the "Lilac City" and is the major center of commerce for the region called the "Inland Empire." Homes here average 3 bedrooms and are modestly priced. A variety of styles can be found, from historic mansions to small bungalows and condominiums.
Spokane has grown outward from the downtown core and now has several distinct neighborhoods. Browns Addition lies to the west of downtown and is the original residential area. It is also the most densely populated. North Hill is north of downtown, while South Hill is to the south. The eastern side of the city is known as East Central. To the northeast is another historical area called Hillyard, where many craftsman style homes are. Many new homes were constructed between 1990 and 2000, which is a decade that experienced notable growth. Residents of Spokane enjoy virtually unlimited outdoor recreation opportunities. Several trail systems crisscross the area and are used year-round for sports such as cycling, running, cross-country skiing and dog sledding. Nearby Mt. Spokane offers downhill skiing, and Spokane River, which runs through the city, is a favorite for river rafters. The area is also home to dozens of lakes which are great for swimming and fishing.
As the seat of Spokane County, many residents of Spokane are employed by the state, county and city governments. Nearby Fairchild Air Force Base also employs a large number of people. With several colleges and universities in the area, the field of higher education is a strong contributor to the local economy. Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital is the largest medical facility in the Inland Empire region and is one of the top 5 employers in Spokane. Several large companies, such as Red Lion Hotels Corporation, have their head offices in Spokane. Commuting times here are generally short, thanks to a grid system of major arterials and Interstate 90, which traverses the city from west to east.