#18 Emerson / Garfield Neighborhood

Read story
read story

Spokane’s Best Neighborhoods –

Hipster Rating (out of 10): 10
Predominant Housing Prices: 
Ownership: $175,000 - $400,000
Rental: $650+
Housing Density: A healthy mix of single and multi family.
Mixed Use Rating: Pretty good.

Emerson Garfield is located just north of downtown Spokane.

Emerson / Garfield Neighborhood Description

If you’re looking for a place to park a few dollars, Emerson / Garfield is a competitive candidate. Without question, the neighborhood is among the fastest appreciating assets within the city. The neighborhood’s housing stock is historic, affordable, and potentially luxurious. Additionally, the City of Spokane invested about $7 million to beautify the main thoroughfare through the neighborhood – otherwise known as north Monroe.

Emerson / Garfield is Spokane’s next South Perry District.

Elements that Create Great Neighborhoods

An Identifiable Center

North Monroe Street is Emerson / Garfield’s center. A mostly historic commercial district, the traveler along north Monroe gets to experience a variety of mixed land uses and the shabby-chic character of the street is ripe for a hipster explosion.

There’s a lot to explore on post-pubescent Monroe, good real estate investments chief among them.


Emerson / Garfield’s neighborhood boundaries are mostly subtle, aside from a steep incline into the Garland neighborhood on the north end, the neighborhood’s housing stock and character subtly transition into other neighborhoods as you travel away from Monroe Street.

A Front Door

I’m afraid there is no front door welcoming visitors and residents to Emerson / Garfield. Gateway signage, even into neighborhoods, creates a sense of place and reaffirms a neighborhood’s identity. A nice gateway at the intersection of Northwest Boulevard and Monroe would serve the neighborhood (and the city) well.

Mixed Land Uses

Emerson / Garfield is sneaky good in this category because it feels like an old historic neighborhood with mostly single family homes. Naturally, the generally walkable commercial uses along Monroe Street help the dynamic, but there is also a nice peppering of higher density multi-family units throughout the neighborhood.

Diverse Architecture

Being a historic neighborhood, Emerson / Garfield scores well in this category. The architecture found in the neighborhood is some of the best in Spokane.

Buildings that Address the Street

Nearly all the old homes address the street and create a sense of community space with eyes on it. Naturally, the older, more palatial homes have large, wide open porches. On the commercial side of the equation, the historic brick structures welcome the visitor with pride. Sadly, there was a stretch during the 1970s and 80s whereby an auto-centric dynamic was introduced into the built environment. Today, those structures look horribly out of place and diminish the neighborhoods quality of life.

Streets that Generally Connect

Emerson / Garfield neighborhood is on a perfect grid. All blocks are square and all streets connect.

Detached Sidewalks

Emerson / Garfield is chalk-a-block with detached sidewalks. Many have the original lines of street trees planted along them.

Emerson-Garfield neighborhood street
The streets of Emerson / Garfield neighborhood have detached sidewalks and a healthy tree canopy.

Street Trees

The neighborhood is lush with a diverse mix of mature street trees.


It’s easy to walk around Emerson / Garfield to fulfill your day to day needs. Aside from missing a walkable grocery store, the neighborhood’s mix of land uses is deep and diverse.

Neighborhood Challenges

Emerson / Garfield is a neighborhood on the rise. It’s 20th on the list of Spokane’s Best Neighborhoods because petty crime is still an issue. Nevertheless, with the city’s recent streetscape and walkability improvements on north Monroe, it’s easy access to downtown, walkability, historic structures, and lush tree canopy, Emerson / Garfield is a dream neighborhood for tech refugees moving to Spokane from Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

For the city’s part, continuing to stoke the fire of neighborhood enhancement can primarily happen in affordable increments at this point, such as planting trees to replace those that have died, small business incentives along north Monroe, and figuring out a way to reduce petty crime will go a long way.


Story tags: