Spokane is the largest city in Washington state east of the Cascade mountain range. It is considered the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest, as well as the second largest city in the state and third largest in the Pacific Northwest. The city has an estimated population of 204,400 as of 2008.
There are many culturally, economically, and architecturally distinct communities in Spokane. The neighborhoods range from contemporary, to Victorian-era, to artistic. They are beginning to gain attention for their diversity and charm. The city is home to 18 recognized National Register Historical Districts, more than any other city of the Northwest.
The dominant culture of Spokane is connected to the outdoors. It experiences four distinct seasons, which combined with the dozens of lakes and rivers, as well as mountains, in close proximity, allows for many outdoor recreation. Swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, biking and skiing are some of the most popular activities to take part in.
Apart from the outdoor culture, Spokane is home to a fairly large urban culture. There are many different visual and performing arts venues and events throughout the year. One of the most famous is the First Friday Artwalk, which takes place the first friday of every month. Local vendors and performers take to the streets of downtown and display their talent for spectators.
Although there are no major league franchise teams in Spokane, there are several professional sports teams. The Spokane Shock (af2), Spokane Indians (Northwest League), Spokane Chiefs (Western Hockey League), and the Spokane Spiders (Premier Development League) all call the city home.