Years ago, when I was urging a friend to move to the Inland Northwest, the word I found myself using most often to explain why I live here was "easy." It's easy to live in Spokane. My commute isn't snarled with traffic like it was in Seattle and Portland. You can pedal to single track mountain bike trails, instead of driving an hour out of town to ride. An abundance of lakes and ski resorts are less than a tank of gas away. There aren't two-year waiting lists to get your kid into that pre-school, and an exceptional meal out doesn't always have to require reservations a week or two in advance.
Living in the Inland Northwest is still easy. But the word I find myself using most often these days is vibrant. Major developments are re-shaping pockets of the Inland Northwest, from Kendall Yards, to the newly purchased Atlas Mill development along the waterfront in Coeur d'Alene. Old stalwarts of Spokane like Riverfront Park, the downtown Macy's Building and the Ridpath Hotel are having new life breathed into them. New chef-driven restaurants like the Park Lodge, Cochinito Taqueria and Honey Eatery and Social Club are springing up, along with impressive culinary festivals like Crave! and the Coeur d'Alene Resort's Food & Wine Festival.
Our goal with this year's Annual Manual was to capture and communicate this vibrancy. From the colorful cover illustration by local artist Marina Gulova, to the feature articles on pickleball, the region's coffee renaissance and outdoor art, we hope you see it, too!
About the Annual Manual
The Annual Manual is published every September by the folks who bring you the Inlander every week. We like to call it the Insider's Guide to the Inland Northwest. This annual guide is locally focused, so don't expect to see stories about national chains in these pages. You should also know that all the people, places and things we write about don't pay to be listed in the Annual Manual. That wouldn't be cool (or ethical, for that matter). We write about them because we think they're awesome.
About the cover artist
Even as a fourth grader, Marina Gulova was incorporating words into her art, spending hours perfecting bubble letters and designing posters. Now, a graduate of Eastern Washington University's visual communication design program and a working artist and graphic designer, she has mastered a unique ability to marry hand-lettered text and illustration. For this cover, Marina was determined to communicate the retro and playful vibe Spokane embodies. "It's a very vibrant city," she explains, "so the colors needed to be very vibrant." To see more of Marina's work, look for her handle @tenthousandmoths on Instagram and Facebook.