Established in 1891, Lacey is one of Puget Sound’s most livable and economically vibrant communities. Whether you’re searching for an optimal location to establish or expand your business; longing for that “Pacific Northwest experience” in which to live or raise a family; or seeking a mild climate and outstanding services for retirement, Lacey is a perfect fit.
Residents enjoy the highest median household income of any city or town in Thurston County. Known for its quiet, safe neighborhoods, the community’s crime rate is about one-half that of similarly sized cities in western Washington. Excellent waterfront- and golf course-living opportunities are found here, with urban-style townhomes presenting another popular option.
Nearly 20 percent of the community has been designated for parks and open space. With five freshwater lakes, the sparkling waters of Puget Sound, four outstanding golf courses, miles of walking and bicycle paths and the adjacent 3,700-acre Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, outdoor recreation opportunities are virtually unlimited.
The city also holds the distinction of being an official EPA “Green Power Community” due to its commitment to green power use – one of the first in the nation.
A wide array of community events, including an outdoor summer concert series, old-fashioned county fair, Capital Food and Wine Festival, Dixieland Jazz Festival and Lacey Spring Fun Fair, appeal to residents and visitors of all ages.
Students attending North Thurston Public Schools are among the most academically successful in the region, garnering state Board of Education “Top Performing Schools” designations, as well as mentions in Newsweek magazine. And in the center of the city’s downtown district, the pristine 300-acre campus of historic Saint Martin’s University offers quiet respite; the sound of the adjoining monastery’s bells often waft through the forested setting.
It’s no wonder business enterprises from around the country have taken notice of Lacey’s high quality of life – and economic development has flourished as a result. Six times over the last decade, quarterly employment growth within the city and adjacent metro area has ranked within the top 15% of the nation’s 325 largest metropolitan counties.
City of Lacey
420 College St. SE
Lacey, WA 98503
As Washington State’s capital city, Olympia is the financial, cultural and economic center of south Puget Sound. National polls consistently rank Olympia at or near the top for livability. Currently, Olympia is:
- Ranked by Sperling’s Best Places as the most secure mid-sized metro area.
- Listed as a Top 10 small city for health and wellness on the Gallup Well-Being Index.
- One of 10 great public spaces in 2010 for the Percival Landing Boardwalk.
You will find that Olympia is impacted by a number of industries including health care and is the seat of state government; transportation access from Interstate 5 and State Route 101; an active waterfront port and marine terminal; local and national transit centers; and convenient access to rail lines. Olympia has a stable council-manager government structure with only three city managers since 1982. Olympia’s seven-member city council has adopted an action-oriented agenda, and in partnership with other local agencies, is investing over $100 million in waterfront and downtown public projects.
Olympians take pride in the community’s visual beauty and livability. In 2011, the city received its 18th designation as a Tree City USA. A system of walking, biking and hiking trails provide a convenient commute and leisure access within the city and throughout the greater area. The quality of Olympia’s aquifer-fed, municipally-operated water utility exceeds state and federal standards.
From wildlife habitats to playground and ball fields, the City of Olympia manages 40 parks totaling nearly 1,000 acres of property. And art comes alive in Olympia with more performing and visual art venues per capita than any other city in Washington State.
City of Olympia
P.O. Box 1967
Olympia, WA 98507-1967
Tumwater, known as Washington’s First Community, was the starting point for further American settlements at Olympia, Seattle, Whidbey Island and other points on Puget Sound. It was from Puget Sound that the movement to divide Oregon grew, resulting in the creation of the Washington Territory in 1853.
The city’s early growth and development were greatly influenced by the close proximity to the power generating falls of the Deschutes River, nearby salt water access for transportation and communication, and abundance of timber in the area. The town developed on the lands around the mouth of the river, and homes and sawmills sprang up along its banks above the original settlement. The current Tumwater Brewery District Plan was created with four goals in mind:
- To create a stronger sense of place by facilitating pedestrian access, establishing gathering places for residents and fostering a distinct District identity
2. To improve transportation options, safety and access within and across the District
3. To expand economic opportunity and activity
4. To improve the function and appearance of the built environment
Tumwater is the third-largest city in Thurston County with an official population of 24,040, covering over 14.5 square miles.
City of Tumwater
555 Israel Rd.
Tumwater, WA 98501
Yelm stands out among the most-livable cities in Thurston County– highly attractive and affordable. The quality of life remains as energizing and vital today as it was 150 years ago when settlers first arrived in the Nisqually Valley. Successful partnerships and community cooperation, individually and together, make the greater Yelm community strong and vibrant. Progressive- and community-minded leaders plan and shape this dynamic and exciting city where many opportunities exist.
Yelm offers safe neighborhoods, affordable housing, great schools, fabulous parks, family-oriented community celebrations and a vast array of business, employment and volunteer opportunities. Residents enjoy spectacular views of Mount Rainier from nearly every place in the city. Yelm is a recognized Tree City USA city for 15 consecutive years and holds the largest Arbor Day celebration in the state, as well as hosting a diverse urban forest of beautifully vital and colorful street trees.
The city has thoughtfully invested in infrastructure upgrades over the past decade, creating new roads and parks, and also expanding the water system. Increased economic opportunities, availability of retail goods and services, proximity to military installations and an abundance of recreation options are why many people have chosen to make Yelm their new hometown. An engaged, proactive business community and local service organizations work together to enhance and help maintain the exceptional quality of life experienced by our residents and our neighbors.
Yelm has become the center of commerce for south Thurston and southeast Pierce counties, with a daily service area of over 30,000 people. Walkable and beautiful, Yelm blends the past with the future to create a sense of history – mixing potential and hope in the present. Learning about the colorful characters who shaped Yelm and the surrounding prairie is easy at the Yelm Historical Museum. The Longmire Park athletic complex addresses the needs of our new and future generations. Built for young ball players, families and others, the park is a shining addition to the community and a prime spot for mountain viewing. Yelm’s Public Safety Building and Emergency Operations Center enhances public safety programs and court services, and provides state-of-the-art police services and emergency/disaster operations.
Other city services include a municipal water system and Washington’s first reclaimed-water treatment facilities. Reclaimed water is used for irrigation and provides water for a public catch-and-release pond at Cochrane Memorial Park, near the city enter. Yelm city employees are professional, efficient and provide exceptional service in every department. Residents can expect to be treated with courtesy and respect.
Off the beaten track, Yelm is within driving distance of all the major metropolitan areas of western Washington. We invite you to discover Yelm, where we meet challenges with creative solutions to strengthen the fabric of our community and sustain our quality of life. Yelm is a great city to live, work and play.
City of Yelm
105 Yelm Ave. W
Yelm, WA 98597
Thurston County, Washington, is 738 square miles situated at the southern end of Puget Sound between the Olympic Peninsula and Mount Rainier, in between Portland and Seattle. The county has a moderate climate, typically without extreme temperatures. The average high is 63 degrees F and the average low is 42 degrees F. The rainfall is enough that the area stays green and beautiful year-round.
Unincorporated Thurston County is about 612 square miles from Lewis County to the south, up to the three major cities of Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater. In between, you can find a variety of neighborhoods from the very modern to the more rural and rustic.
If you want urban amenities, there is a neighborhood for that. If you want isolation and Mother Nature all around, you can find that as well. There are several tidy cities and towns in the rural areas including Tenino, Rainier and Bucoda. There is also the booming area of Rochester and Grand Mound.
Thurston County boasts a wide array of recreational activities including three county parks. Burfoot and Frye Cove parks are pristine slices of nature, both situated on the salt water along Puget Sound. Kenneydell Park features a swimming area at fresh water Black Lake. The Chehalis Western Recreational Trail winds through spectacular scenery from the south county to the urban centers to the north.
2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW
Olympia, WA 98502