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  • Phil Wells

Spokane vs Coeur d'Alene

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

So you’re thinking about moving to the Inland North West and you’re considering Spokane and Coeur d’Alene - Both are truly beautiful places to live but which one is right for you?


Separated by only 35 miles there is a huge amount these 2 places have in common but there are a few key differences you need to be aware of before you move.


In this article we’re going to discuss those key differences. We’re going to look at the way of life in each location, the activities available in each and the city amenities. Then we’ll look at some hard facts in terms of taxes and the cost of living and of course we’ll look at real estate too. Let’s get into it.



The way of life


Spokane is bigger and busier than CDA with a lot more going on. The downtown scene has a ton of things to do and you’re spoilt for choice in terms of bars, restaurants and shopping. Spokane also offers an active lifestyle with access to nature in every direction as well a vibrant urban environment too.


Riverfront Park - Spokane

CDA is definitely a slower paced, country living kind of place so if that’s the kind of lifestyle you wish to pursue then CDA might be perfect for you. The lake dominates the city and promotes an active, outdoorsy way of life - you’ll always find people hiking Tubbs Hill, sailing on the lake or cycling around - so if you want a lakeside lifestyle on or near a world class lake then CDA is for you.


CDA Resort marina

The tourist industry also plays a large role in CDA and you can see this with the huge resorts along the water front.


The way I hear a lot of people contrast the two is that Spokane is the big city with with lots going on in terms business, jobs and a busy Downtown scene whereas CDA is more a place for leisure, recreation and natural beauty.


Activities


Spokane has a wide range of activities and is the place to go for concerts, shows, shopping, sporting events and for the Downtown scene. If there’s a big concert or event on you’ll be going to the Spokane Arena, Northern Quest Casino, the Spokane Convention Center or other venues in Spokane. Equally if you want to do some shopping then you’ll likely be heading there too.


So if you value having these things on your doorstep then Spokane is probably going to be the place for you. There are also a ton of outdoor activities available such as hiking, skiing, mountain biking, river activities as well as lake activities.


Iller Creek Trail - Spokane

Coeur d'Alene is a great place to go for recreation activities. If you want to spend the day on the lake or you want to go hunting or fishing then Coeur d'Alene and the surrounding area has you covered. The lake there is impossibly pretty and simply can’t be beaten.

The view from Canfield mountain (CDA)

Ammenties


Comparing Spokane and Coeur d'Alene in terms of cities amenities, one of the biggest factors here is that Spokane has the Airport. So you will need to travel to Spokane from Coeur d'Alene if you want to fly anywhere. Granted it’s not a huge distant but it is undeniably easier to live in Spokane if you fly a lot.


Next are the hospitals - The medical sector in Spokane is huge with a ton of hospitals, a VA hospital and 2 medical schools. People commute into Spokane regularly for health care reasons and Coeur d'Alene really just doesn’t compare on this front.


In terms of new construction Spokane is a growing city with new homes being built all the time and most importantly there’s space to do it so if you’re looking for a home ready to build or land to do it yourself then you can find it around Spokane. Coeur d'Alene is surrounded by mountains and the lake so there isn’t really much space for Coeur d'Alene to grow unless you head out of the city and move towards Rathdrum, Post Falls and back towards Spokane.


Spokane also has a pretty extensive public transport system with buses crisscrossing the city. Coeur d’Alene doesn’t really have anything to offer in terms of public transport. However, Coeur d'Alene does have a lot more free parking options than Spokane does - if you’re watched any of my videos you’ll know that parking in Spokane can be tricky at the best of times.


In terms of the natural beauty it’s difficult to draw a distinction here, both places are extremely fortunate to have such amazing natural beauty. The biggest factor in Coeur d'Alene's favor is of course that big beautiful lake that draws visitors from wide and far.



Taxes


It’s time to look at some hard facts with some cost of living and we’ll start by looking at taxes.


Spokane and Coeur d'Alene are only 35 miles away but are obviously in different states so you are going to find 2 different tax rates. Now I’m not a tax expert so don’t take any of this as advice and do your own research. Remember too these rates may change from the time. These tax rates are readily available on tax-rates.org.


WA has no income tax whereas Idaho does. Now if you’re moving from a high income tax state like California or New York you’re going to love either state. But if you’re looking at retiring on a fixed income then maybe 0% income tax in Spokane might be enough to sway you.


Sales tax is 8.9% in WA whereas it’s only 6% in ID. However, groceries are exempt in WA whereas they aren’t in Idaho. WA has a weird 20.5% liquor tax whereas ID doesn’t, it’s taxed at the normal 6%.


In terms of property taxes your going to find Spokane’s property taxes are on average 1% with some variation whereas Idaho the average is 0.6%. tax-rates.org


Lastly, if you run a business then corporate income tax rate in Idaho is 7.6% and 0% in WA.


Cost of living


Looking next at the key factors that make up the cost of living. I got these figures from bestplaces.net and the median home prices are way out of date so try so take these figures as showing the relative position of Spokane vs Coeur d'Alene and not as being an exact science.




The base line with these figures is 100 which represents the US as a whole. - overall we can see that it costs 15% more to live in Coeur d'Alene than Spokane and that Coeur d'Alene is slightly above the national average whereas Spokane is slightly below.


Housing - Median home prices are 300K in Spokane and around 400K in Coeur d'Alene - $100K difference.


Food - no real difference


Utilities - no real difference


Healthcare - significantly cheaper in Spokane and that’s probably because the medical industry in Spokane is so large with more competition. So if you’re self employed or your employer doesn’t offer you health care then you may be better off in Spokane when it comes to paying for your own healthcare.


Transportation - if you’re wondering this includes gas prices, insurance, maintenance and public transport prices - 12% more in Spokane. Maybe this is because we have more public transports here than in Coeur d'Alene.


Final thoughts


Spokane and Coeur d'Alene are part of the same ecosystem and are continuing to grow together. People travel between the 2 all the time and both are great places to live. If you live in one you’re almost guaranteed to spend time in the other while living in the area.


I hope after this you’re now aware of the key difference between these 2 places. Let me know which place you prefer in the comments below and most importantly why.

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