LOCATION: Spokane, Washington

Located in the heart of the Inland Northwest, Spokane is the second largest city in the state of Washington and the financial center of eastern Washington. Named after a Native American word meaning "children of the sun," Spokane certainly brightens the day for many by serving as a vibrant shopping, entertainment, and medical hub for an area that includes Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon, North Idaho, Western Montana, and southern portions of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.

A true nature lover's paradise, Spokane boasts the Spokane River which runs through downtown with spectacular falls on the western end of the city core and beautiful Riverfront Park – the site of the '74 World Fair – in the heart of the city. If you like downhill and cross-country skiing, white-water rafting, camping, hiking, and being out on the lake, then you'll be in your element in Spokane – home to the largest timed road race in the nation (Bloomsday) and the largest three-on-three street basketball tournament (Hoopfest). With so much to see and do for so many, it's no surprise that nearly 418,000 residents proudly call the Spokane metropolitan area "home."

At a glance:

  • Population in 2012: 209,525
  • Median house value: $163,000 (2011)
  • Median household income: $39,999 (2011)
  • Mean travel time to work: 18.4 mins.