The Best City for Freelancers
Coworking, Culture, and Cost of Living in the PNW
It’s no secret that freelance and remote jobs are on the rise in the United States. In fact, 35% of the US workforce is freelancing; there are 10 million more freelancers today than 5 years ago. The appeal of the freelancer lifestyle is obvious: live anywhere in the country (or even the world!), work from where you want, when you want, have more time at home with the kids and dogs, and so much more.
No longer tied to a specific location by their jobs, freelancers have become a highly mobile group. With that freedom, many freelancers are searching for their #bestlife. The question then becomes, what is the best city for freelancers? Where can you find the perfect combination of things that matter most to them?
While many Millennials dream of big cities and fast lives, a huge subset of these workers are looking for a better quality of life than is possible in the tech hubs like Seattle and San Francisco. For those looking to live well and enjoy big city conveniences at small town prices, there is no better city for freelancers than Spokane, Washington.
Here’s a few reasons why this Inland Northwest treasure is worth a second look:
Cost of Living
There is no denying that the cost of living in your city is one of the single biggest factors in your happiness and health. Your social status and disposable income varies dramatically depending on the cost of living in your city, even when the monthly salary remains the same. The cost of housing alone can be a deal breaker when considering a new city.
For example, according to Numbeo, rent prices in Seattle are more than double the prices in Spokane. A one-bedroom in Spokane costs about $842/mo, while that same apartment will cost more than $2,100 in Seattle. Want to buy property in Seattle? The price per square foot is a staggering 226% higher in Seattle than in Spokane. Plus, in Spokane, you can buy acreage and live on breathtakingly beautiful land like this.
In San Francisco, the difference is even more severe. Rent on a one bedroom in the city will cost about $3,480/mo, and the price per square foot to purchase property is 499% higher in San Francisco than Spokane!
When the price of owning a home decreases by nearly 500%, what was merely a pipedream in San Francisco becomes an easy reality in Spokane. Home prices start around $100,000 in Spokane, and many FHA and First-Time Homebuyer loans can come with down payments as low as 1.5%. This means that saving for the down payment and finding a home in your price point is exponentially easier in Spokane than Seattle or San Francisco. I repeat: home ownership is within your reach in Washington.
But home ownership isn’t just a bragging right or a milestone - it’s the ability to build equity, customize, and expand in your space. Always wanted a dog but didn’t have the space? In Spokane, you can buy a house with a big yard for less than your monthly rent in Seattle or San Fran.
Let’s be honest - a great city is about more than just how expensive your rent is. Of special interest to freelancers is the availability of workspace. The coffee shop and coworking scene is an essential part of freelancing - especially for those looking to network, meet like-minded people, and just get out of the house. Spokane has a variety of official, membership-based coworking spaces.
For a rundown of our coworking favorites, check out this post.
If you’re looking for something a little more informal, you’ll want to try out a few of Spokane’s coffee shops. The culture of independent, local businesses and restaurants in Spokane means that there is a wider variety of tastes, textures, and styles to choose from than in your typical Starbucks-dominated market. The coffee scene in Spokane has all the intensity and quality you’d come to expect in a PNW town, but with even more options in brands. In short, you’re bound to find the perfect place to plop down your computer, connect to wifi, and rock your socks off!
When coworking and coffee just aren’t your scene, you’re still in good hands. Head over to one of Spokane’s libraries and find yourself in a quiet and focused space, free of charge.
Work is important, but there’s so much more to life than that! Enjoy outdoor activities in every season and be part of an active-minded community in Spokane. Residents enjoy camping, biking, hiking, days out on the lake, hunting, off-roading, skiing, snowboarding, and more. In fact, “Outdoorsy-ness” is such a prevalent part of Spokane culture, that the Parks Department was the first official department created in the city government!
There are gyms, yoga, pilates, indoor swimming pools, dance studios, volleyball and basketball tournaments (including Hoopfest, the largest 3-on-3 outdoor tournament in the WORLD), marathons and nationally coveted races like Bloomsday, and nearly limitless activities and classes hosted by the City.
Arts & Culture
If you’re living in a city like Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, or New York, arts and culture are probably pretty high up on your list. But you don’t have to sacrifice culture when you opt for a lower cost of living! Venues like the Bing Crosby Theatre offer live music, stand-up comedy acts, and cultural events. The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC), nestled in the historic Audubon/Downriver Park neighborhood, provides cultural experiences, rotating art exhibits, and world class displays.
Festivals, local holidays, and art fairs are common throughout the year. Spring, summer, and fall months bring a host of farmer’s markets throughout the city, with organic produce and artisanal goods.
Ease of Access to Major Cities
Many freelance or remote workers need to visit the main office or check in on clients from time to time. For this reason, it’s important to live near an airport with good flight options and pricing. While Spokane is a town of just over 219,000 people (and over 500,000 in Spokane County), it is also home to an international airport.
In less than an hour, and typically under $100, you can be in Seattle or Portland. In about an hour and half, you’ll find yourself in San Francisco. Work trips and weekend getaways are a breeze from Spokane International Airport.
It’s no secret that some cities aren’t looking to grow. Portland, Oregan, for example, is notorious for their “thanks for visiting, now get out!” mentality. And recently, articles in SFGate have highlighted how Californians relocating to Portland have been greeted with less than open arms.
Spokane, on the other hand, is a city looking forward to job and population growth in the coming years. The city actively recruits new businesses to the area, and embraces the increase in California transplants into the PNW culture. Spokane is young, hip, affordable, and easy to get to and from, no matter where in the world you’re headed. Homes are beautiful and affordable, with big yards and space for pets and families. The city’s coffee and coworking scene is on point.
Interested in relocating to Spokane? Start with a free phone consultation with one of our relocation experts by calling (509) 774-4060, or message us directly on Facebook.
The Real Estate Agent Spokane Team
Carrie Meyer, leader of the Real Estate Agent Spokane Team, transferred to real estate after a 30+ year career as a paralegal (Certified Legal Assistant). Her combined experience in law and real estate makes her a tour de force in contracts and negotiations.
Wendy Smith, team member, has lived all over the country before finding her forever home in Spokane. Wendy pairs her real estate experience with a background in customer service to provide an exemplary client experience for both buyers and sellers.
The Real Estate Agent Spokane Team is dedicated to sharing and promoting everything great about Spokane! We believe that Spokane is the best city in America, and there are so many reasons why. That’s why we dedicate our blog, Facebook, and YouTube channel to highlighting the best that Spokane has to offer. Be sure to follow along with us for more insider updates on events, dining and nightlife, and outdoor activities in Spokane.