Liberty Lake Feature Image

#10 Liberty Lake, Washington

Metro Spokane Places to Live

2020 population: 12,138
Drive time to downtown Coeur d’Alene: 20 minutes
Drive time to downtown Spokane: 20 minutes


Metro Spokane Suburbs
Liberty Lake is metro Spokane’s premier suburb.

Overall Character: ★★★★☆
Urban: ☆☆☆☆☆
Suburban: ★★★★★
Walkability: ★★☆☆☆
Market Activity: ★★★★★
Farm Town: ☆☆☆☆☆
Timber Town: ☆☆☆☆☆
Lake / River Town: ★★★★★


Liberty Lake's subdivisions sure do shimmer.
Liberty Lake’s subdivisions sure do shimmer.

Liberty Lake Community Description

If you’re going to suburb, suburb right. Suburb Liberty Lake.

Liberty Lake is metro Spokane’s best suburb from a number of perspectives. It also has a lake, which is a huge bonus. It also has Micah Peak, which is one of the tallest peaks in the urbanized metro. And, let’s not forget the Spokane River, which is quite raftable during the warm months. Also during the warm months, it’s common place to see golf carts cooking around Liberty Lake as somewhat of a compromise between walking or riding bikes – all those golf carts humming around certainly does add character.

In the end, Liberty Lake is a trippy place. It wants to be a regular old, functional city. Along the margins, it is a functional city. But achieving marginal city qualities does not city make.

Tree lined streets with detached sidewalks abound, yet they are good for nothing more than a pleasant stroll. You are not destination seeking if you’re walking in Liberty Lake. It is simply a nice walk with no where to go but catching Wheel of Fortune at 7:30.

Interestingly, if you want to see real Liberty Lake, take a drive down toward the lake front. The Liberty Lake front. The city’s namesake is not even within Liberty Lake’s city limits, ironically, but it is indeed the built environment with the most history and character. Back in the old days, like 25 years ago, the dense cluster of homes around Liberty Lake, lake, were Liberty Lake. Washington State municipal law is a funny thing because, evidently, when you incorporate a city by virtue of its place name, you don’t have to actually include the geographic location it’s named after.

Thus, Liberty Lake, as a water body, is not in the city of Liberty Lake. Worse yet, Liberty Lake, as a functional historic urban place within metro Spokane, is also not within the city of Liberty Lake.

Alas, it appears the attorneys who drew a line around Liberty Lake when it incorporated in 2001 worried little about geography (and reality). Such is Liberty Lake’s biggest liability, but I digress. Municipal Liberty Lake is centered around two big strip malls and has residential subdivisions that are aging quite well due to their attention to detail. Suburban real estate development is a mysterious and wonderful thing. So is Liberty Lake. If this were a list ranking Spokane’s best suburbs, Liberty Lake would be number one.

Liberty Lake's namesake
Liberty Lake’s namesake water body. That’s Micah Peak behind it. There’s great public trails up the peak. Best part is when you’re done hiking the trail, you can jump in the lake.

Old Liberty Lake
Old Liberty Lake is far more dense than the shapely subdivisions in municipal Liberty Lake.

Liberty Lake private beaches
For the most part, Liberty Lake’s beaches are private.

Liberty Lake public beach
Except for this one, which is a county park located on the other side of Liberty Lake.

Liberty Lake Centennial Trail
And let’s not forget the Spokane River, which bookends Liberty Lake’s northern boundary. That’s the Centennial Trail that runs along the river for roughly 50 miles (and growing).