Spokane Valley Cover Photo

#17 Spokane Valley, Washington

Metro Spokane Places to Live

2020 population: 103,701
Drive time to downtown Coeur d’Alene: 25 minutes
Drive time to downtown Spokane: 10 to 20 minutes


Metro Spokane Suburbs
Spokane Valley is Spokane as it drifts into suburbia.

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


Sign pollution in Spokane Valley
Sign pollution in Spokane Valley is off the charts. And six tacos for $8.99 is stupendous.

Spokane Valley Community Description

Spokane Valley is a cornerstone city within the Spokane metro. Spokane Valley incorporated in 2001 and instantly became one of the largest cities in the state of Washington. Trouble is it’s less of a city in any true sense of the word and more just an agglomeration of subdivisions and strip malls built in different eras. Older pieces of the Valley, original pieces, maintain the city of Spokane’s grid street pattern. Many of those neighborhoods are quite nice, with plenty of trees and enough history to provide architectural character. You’ll find these neighborhoods south of Sprague avenue as one ascends up the Valley’s south hill. Many of Spokane Valley’s new subdivisions are also quite pleasant.

Alas, the above paragraph represents all the nice things I have to say about Spokane Valley, so let’s talk about the not so nice things, as follows: there’s plenty of run-down neighborhoods adjacent to high impact industrial areas, only a few streets connect across town, which creates a traffic nightmare, there’s only a few bridges that can get you over Interstate-90, which creates another traffic nightmare, there’s only a few roads that get you past the rail line that slices off the northern third of Spokane Valley, which creates yet another traffic nightmare, and there’s no urban character, aside from strip mall, after strip mall, after strip mall.

Spokane Valley has bad traffic and, for the most part, is an unattractive city from an urban design perspective. Downtown Spokane Valley is the Spokane Valley Mall.

With the above liabilities in mind, Spokane Valley is big enough to have pockets of fantastic neighborhoods that are quite livable (if you can swallow everything else). Likewise, properties along the Spokane River are generally fantastic, as well as properties above the sprawl of Sprague Avenue as one elevates toward the hills that make Spokane Valley a valley.

Phew! Feels good to end on a positive note with Spokane Valley. Actually, scratch that. Spokane Valley needs a lot of work before it can be considered anything more than a character free, garden variety suburb.

A neighborhood in Spokane Valley
As one moves up the hills from the Spokane River and Sprague Avenue, this is what an average neighborhood street in the older part of Spokane Valley looks like.

Zeroed-out set backs are rare in Spokane Valley
Look! A line of commercial buildings in Spokane Valley with zeroed out set backs. I’d venture to bet they are classified as non-conforming uses within the city’s zoning code. Sure hope they don’t suffer an act of God because it will be a strip mall that replaces them.

Rail Lines in Spokane Valley
This rail line is a significant barrier to the northern portion of Spokane Valley. There are few roads that traverse it and, those that do, are at grade, which means you have to wait for trains on a regular basis — like every 20 minutes regular basis.