Living in Coeur d’Alene: 10 Pros & Cons
Truth be told, Coeur d’Alene has so many significant aspects that we can fit two things into this category. First, tucked away in the Northern Idaho panhandle, Coeur d’Alene (often referred to as “CDA” for short) is the largest city in Northern Idaho, with a population of roughly 52,000 as the last record in the 2019 Census Report. A 1-hour drive north will land you in Sandpoint, ID (known for its 43-mile-long Lake Pend Oreille), a 2-hour drive north will land you in the country of Canada, and a short drive west will take you to Spokane, WA.
Pros of Living in Cd’A
Living in Coeur d’Alene has many positive aspects – but don’t forget to balance those out with some of the negative aspects that most certainly exist. After all, nothing and nowhere is perfect. So let’s start with a few pros we believe are worth appreciating.
5. Greatness Shines Throughout The Community
You may not witness it daily, but many incredible non-profit organizations are home here in the Cd’A area. There are many incredible resources here for by the community, for the community. If you’re visiting downtown Coeur d’Alene, we recommend visiting the Humans Rights Education Institute, a community resource established in 1998 in an iconic, historical red-bricked building near the city park. The institute supports human rights education, celebrates diversity, and serves community programs and exhibitions.
4. There Are Things To Do in Coeur d’Alene
There is an ever-growing list of things to do in Coeur d’Alene and surrounding communities like Post Falls, especially Spokane. In Coeur d’Alene, the summertime has a lot to offer. The area is home to a growing number of parks, many of which are downtown and are regularly used for free concerts, movies, and locally hosted events, big and small. There are tons of your everyday big brand stores to shop at and many better local small businesses you’ll find nowhere else but here. With that, many recreational opportunities for fun throughout every season.
3. Coeur d’Alene Weather
The weather in Coeur d’Alene is enjoyable year-round when it comes to weather. With rainfall at 27 inches annually and snowfall at 42 inches per year, precipitation is not overbearing. Additionally, Coeur d’Alene sees an average of 174 days of sunshine, making it easy to get outside and enjoy all the great activities that Coeur d’Alene offers. Paddleboard in the summers and snowboard in the winters. You really can do it all in Coeur d’Alene! Additionally, because of its unique location, residents of CDA don’t worry about common natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes.
2. Coeur d’Alene Is A (Clean?) Lake Town
A clean city, and not just any clean city, Coeur d’Alene made global headlines by ranking #1 as the cleanest city in America by Expedia.com years back.
Lake Coeur d’Alene, officially Coeur d’Alene Lake, is a natural dam-controlled lake in North Idaho. Coeur d’Alene Lake is 26 miles long and has roughly 135 miles of shoreline, home to numerous parks, campgrounds, beach areas, and trails.
CdA is an adventurer’s paradise, with endless trails like the Centennial Trail, to the nearby National Forests. It’s not uncommon to see every type of outdoor activity utilized in Coeur d’Alene. Recreate however you want, from Lake cruises and ATV trails to ziplines, parasailing, golfing, skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking! Coeur d’Alene truly does offer it all for outdoor enthusiasts.
1. Cd’A is an Artisan Hotspot:
Coeur d’Alene offers it all if you enjoy great local coffee, epic foodie options, and great shopping. A local favorite coffee shop is Vault Coffee, a great corner coffee shop with great coffee and special treats and eats. Check out their espresso options, and if you’re hungry, don’t pass up on their bakery goods – a personal favorite is their warm giant-sized chocolate chip cookie with a salted top. (YES!)
If you’re looking for a great bite to eat, swing by The Crown & Thistle Pub for a super selection of beer and wines, and while you are there, don’t miss out on their homemade Cracker Jax and Pub-Corn! Then, if they want to walk off those great bites with a caffeine surge, they take a walk through the Midtown Home & Vintage Market, a true local favorite with incredibly trendy chic offerings. You’re bound to find something you love!
A Few Cons To The Coeur d’Alene Lifestyle
It wouldn’t be fair to discuss the significant aspects of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, without discussing the negative ones. But, like any other town in America, even a wonderful community like Cd’A has areas for improvement. So let’s look at the cons of living in Coeur d’Alene.
5. Coeur d’Alene Racism
The area is sometimes recognized for an ugly white supremacy past. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is arguably plagued with this haunting past – And it’s not absent to this day, with a nationwide reported incident as recent as 2021.
The arrival of white supremacist Richard Butler in the 1970s opened a dark chapter of North Idaho history. With intimidation and overt racism, Butler’s Aryan Nation ideologies were exercised, and leading community members founded a task force that became the standard when forming a community response to racism.
4. Idaho’s Education System
Idaho generally carries poor educational system ratings, affecting the CDA Public School system. According to Education Week’s annual report, Idaho finished 48th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. With an overall score of 68.1 out of 100 points, Idaho was graded at a D+, placing Idaho with states like Mississippi, Nevada, and New Mexico.
3. Competitive Housing Markets:
Be prepared to fight for a house in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, if you’re in the market. Single-family housing inventory is low, and multi-family housing is in short supply, relative to high demand, creating a homeowner’s dream for a few while also making Coeur d’Alene a first-time homebuyer’s nightmare. In a recent news story, local real-estate experts stated there were 15-20 buyers for every home that hit the market.
2. Rapid Growth & Straining Infrastructure:
Anytime a new community sees an explosion of growth, there will be a strain on the population’s infrastructure. Coeur d’Alene has experienced rapid growth over the last years with no slowdown. But with that comes a very frustrating experience for locals – traffic congestion, jam-packed summer tourism, and an overall sense of a town outgrowing its current infrastructure.
1. Crowded Summers:
We have hinted at it above, but if it wasn’t clear, let’s lay it out now for you, Coeur d’Alene gets BUSY in the summers. That’s been a trend for many years now, as local tourism attractions grew and brought more attention to the area. Between the housing boom and population numbers rising, coupled with the undeniable desire to live in the area for its outdoor recreation. It has quickly become a consideration for many.
A Few Concluding Thoughts
Hopefully, this was a helpful article. Living in Coeur d’Alene is considerable, and we’re not faulting it altogether. However, it’s only fair to highlight the good and the bad when sharing information that leads people to choose where they live, work, and recreate.