Local Atmosphere

Spokane, WA
Admission Difficulty
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2 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: The weather. I love the sun and you only get it once a week.

3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Spokane has some rough parts of town, especially the neighborhood around Gonzaga. There are some really great places to hang out like coffee shops and great hiking trails and outdoor activities. Downtown Spokane is really close to campus and pretty easy to get to.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Gonzaga is pretty close to downtown Spokane which has a lot of delicious restaurants. However, the mall downtown doesn't have a huge selection of stores so its hard to go shopping.

3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: City with not a lot to do

3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Gonzaga is the main attraction in Spokane, however, the scenery around the campus is great with green fields and trees everywhere.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Iain Bernhoft
Seattle, Wash.
View all previous student authors

If Spokane were a glass, one could spend days arguing whether it were half full or half empty. Truth be told, there's a strong case for both. The half-full Spokane has a quiet upscale downtown nestled picturesquely on the banks of the Spokane River. It has snazzy new restaurants, old brick buildings, coffee shops, and cinemas, as well as Riverfront Park and Spokane Falls. There is a thriving local music scene attracting concerts and events. People remark on how it feels like a small community, even if it has the advantages of a mid-sized city. Not too far from this is hiking, climbing, swimming, and skiing aplenty. The half-empty Spokane is notable for low-rent housing, ugly and abandoned buildings, and congestion. It easily falls into the white trash stereotype with poverty, drug abuse, and mullets being endemic. This is the Spokane that has an influx of meth houses and sexual predators.

Gonzaga is positioned somewhat between the two. The campus is on the river and only a 15- or 20-minute walk from downtown, Riverfront Park, and all the sports and concert venues. But it is also surrounded by the somewhat impoverished Logan neighborhood, and one can quickly run into the depressed and ugly sections of town. The campus itself, however, is clean and beautiful. It's entirely possible to live only in the nice Spokane, mainly on campus but enriched by excursions to downtown or the South Hill. But to think that’s all there is to Spokane would be blatantly false.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. The first Saturday in May brings more than 50,000 intrepid people to participate in the annual Bloomsday 12K run.
  2. Spokane's Hoopfest, played on the streets of downtown, is the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world.
  3. Within a couple hours of Spokane, there are dozens of places for outdoor maniacs, such as climbing (Minnehaha, Vantage, Leavenworth), backpacking, fishing, biking, skiing, snowboarding, and kayaking.
  4. Spokane means "Children of the Sun" in the Spokane tribe's Native American language.
  5. The downtown area is connected by the second largest skywalk system in the United States, keeping your shopping-to-freezing ratio optimal.
Notable Natives
  • Bing Crosby – singer, actor
  • Craig T. Nelson – actor
  • Michael Winslow – "Man of 10,000 Sound Effects," actor ("Police Academy")
Local Slang
  • Spokies: Spokane residents, usually less-than-savory
  • Spokompton, Spokanistan, Spokanee: Fond variations on the city name
  • Spo-Po: Spokane Police
  • The Westside: Seattle, or anything on the other side of the Cascades
Points of Interest
  • Auntie's Bookstore
  • Centennial Trail
  • Lake Coeur d'Alene
  • Manito Park
  • Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture
  • River Park Square
  • Riverfront Park
  • Riverside State Park
  • South Hill
  • Spokane Falls
Shopping Centers
  • NorthTown Mall
  • River Park Square
Movie Theaters
AMC River Park Square 20
808 W. Main St.
(888) AMC-4FUN
Movie Theaters
Garland Theater
924 W. Garland Ave.
(509) 327-1050
Movie Theaters
IMAX Theatre – Riverfront Park
507 N. Howard St.
(509) 625-6686
Movie Theaters
Regal NorthTown Mall 12
4750 N. Division St.
(509) 459-0570
Major Sports Teams
  • Spokane Chiefs: Minor league hockey
  • Spokane Indians: Minor league baseball
  • Spokane Shock: Arena football
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Portland, Ore.: : 5 hours, 30 minutes
  • Seattle: : 4 hours

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 47 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 46 responses

  • 0% Painfully remote.
  • 41% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 2% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 33% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 24% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 47 responses

  • 9% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 43% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 49% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 47 responses

  • 34% No way.
  • 57% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 9% Totally.



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