County Offices
2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW
Olympia, 360-754-3800

Chamber of Commerce
809 Legion Way SE
Olympia 360-357-3362

Thurston County, Washington, is located at the southern end of Puget Sound in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Majestic Mount Rainier and the rugged Cascade Mountains are nearby to the east, while the Pacific Coast is just an hour’s drive to the west. Home to more than 260,000 residents, Thurston County is 60 miles south of Seattle and 100 miles north of Portland, Oregon.

Public and private education are important to residents of the county and are well represented. The County’s main public school district is the Olympia School District. The school district has a total of 18 schools: 11 elementary schools, 4 middle schools and 3 high schools. The other major cities within the county are also home to successful school districts.

In addition to primary & secondary schools, the county has a number of institutions of higher learning, including The Evergreen State College, South Puget Sound Community College, and Saint Martin’s University. The Evergreen State College (TESC) offers bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts and/or Science, and master’s degrees in Environmental Studies, Public Administration, Masters of Education, and Masters in Teaching. The South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) offers associate degrees in Arts, Science, Biology, Elementary Education, Pre-Nursing, Applied Science, General Studies, and Business. Saint Martin’s University (SMU) offers bachelor’s degrees for 25 majors spanning liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering as well as graduate programs including Master of Business Administration, Master in Teaching, Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Master of Civil Engineering, Master of Mechanical Engineering, and Master of Engineering Management.

Thurston County has a wide array of public parks and nature conservation areas. The Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area is a 600-acre parcel that preserves more than 5 miles of Puget Sound waterfront along the Woodard and Chapman bays of the Henderson Inlet. Percival Landing Park includes 0.9 miles of boardwalk along Budd Inlet, as well as a playground, picnic areas and a large open space. The Watershed Park is the site of the former waterworks for the city, and today features a loop trail with a large second-growth forest. Other county parks include Priest Point Park, Burfoot Park, Sunrise Park and Yauger Park, which is home to one of Olympia’s public skate parks including Friendly Grove which is nestled in a small Eastside Community, and Trillium Park, which was created by the efforts of adjoining neighborhood associations with the easement of private property. The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is located just outside of Olympia, as is the Capitol State Forest. Outdoor recreation is a hallmark of the region, offering everything from hiking, biking salt and freshwater fishing and of course boating.

Olympia is the regional center for fine arts. A number of theatrical experiences are available with companies such as Animal Fire Theater, Olympia Family Theater, Theater Artists Olympia (TAO), Olympia Little Theater, and Harlequin Productions at the historic State Theater. The Olympia Symphony Orchestra performs five regular season concerts at The Washington Center and two pop concerts.
Visual art venues include some of the local coffeehouses, Olympia Coffee Roasting Co., Batdorf & Bronson, and Caffe Vita in downtown. A gallery called Art House Designs presents works of sculpture, painting, and printmaking and hosts a jazz performance space. Murals and public art installations of sculpture are prevalent in Olympia, and are especially featured on the State Capitol Campus and along Percival Landing on the urban waterfront. The Washington Center for the Performing Arts also presents visual art exhibitions throughout the season in the spacious lobby areas.

Notable art venues near Olympia include Art in Ecology, housed in Washington Department of Ecology’s 322,000 square foot, three story building on the campus of Saint Martin’s University. Art in Ecology is a long-established art-in-the-workplace venue that features works by numerous northwest artists. Permanent installations by Alfredo Arreguin, commissioned by the Washington State Arts Commission, are accompanied by changing solo and group exhibitions throughout the year.  The South Puget Sound Community College has a gallery in its Minnaert Center with rotating exhibitions. The Evergreen State College, northwest of Olympia, has a professionally curated gallery with rotating shows in the Dan Evans Library building. To the south of Olympia, Monarch Contemporary Art Center and Sculpture Park offers an 80-acre sculpture garden and art gallery.

City of Lacey
City Offices
420 College Street SE
Lacey 360-491-3214

Established as a suburb of Olympia, Lacey is home to over 43,000 residents. Those residents enjoy an enviable quality of life.   Situated on the southern tip of Puget Sound in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, the city lies in the center of natural beauty. There are five freshwater lakes within the city, several miles of hiking and biking paths and many championship golf courses. The city is also home to more than 1,100 acres of public parkland, open spaces and a complete community center. The adjoining 3,700-acre Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge provides residents with unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation. Throughout the year there are an array events to choose from—including summer concerts in the park, movies under the stars, a county fair, a festival of Dixieland jazz, and an open-air community market, the Lacey Spring Fun Fair, and the Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival. Fresh air, sparkling water, outstanding schools, a strong economy, and close proximity to all of the amenities that Seattle has to offer make Lacey a great choice for settling into a new community.

City Offices
601 4th Ave E
Olympia 360-753-8325

Olympia is the capital of the State of Washington and the county seat of Thurston County. It was incorporated on January 28, 1859. The population is just over 47,000. The city borders Lacey, to the east, and Tumwater to the south. Olympia is a major cultural center of the Puget Sound region and is located 60 miles from Seattle. Olympia enjoys the benefits of a stable work force, engaged and educated community, and well-supported school system. Olympia’s Historic downtown offers a variety of eclectic shopping and dining experiences, while Olympia’s westside is a regional shopping destination with several national chain stores.

Mild winters and pleasantly warm summers make the Olympia area an ideal place for outdoor recreation. Olympia maintains 40 public parks for its residents. Public trails lead to saltwater beaches and through forested woodlands. Olympia’s location along Interstate 5 at the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula, puts its residents within two hours or less of regional recreational attractions – from hiking and skiing in the mountains to beachcombing along ocean shores.

Olympia’s historic downtown houses over 450 independently owned businesses. The Farmers Market, State Capitol Campus, Hands on Children’s Museum and public parks are the main attractions for both residents and visitors. The local arts scene thrives with regular performances at local theaters and a bi-annual Arts Walk celebration. Olympia is a great place to call home.

City of Rainier
102 Rochester Street West
Rainier 360-446-2265

Rainier was first settled in 1890, and was officially incorporated in 1947. It is home to just over 1,800 residents.  Rainier features eight acres of parks, highlighted by the Veterans Memorial Park in the center of town.  Nearby, Wilkowksi Park is the site of the Rainier Roundup, the city’s annual bluegrass music festival occurring on the fourth weekend in August. Beside the parks, the Yelm–Tenino Trail connects the cities of Yelm, Rainier, and Tenino in a paved pathway for walkers and bikers. Other parks in Rainier include Gehrke Park, Holiday Park, and Raintree Park. Rainier is served by the Rainier School District. The district consists of an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school Rainier hosts several annual events. In August, Rainier Roundup Days include a community parade and a bluegrass music festival. Also in August, the Rainier Community & Alumni Celebration is held to honor all past & present residents of Rainier. Residents in this community enjoy a small town atmosphere and all of the benefits of living in a close knit community.

City of Tenino
149 Hodgden Street South
Tenino 360-264-2368

Tenino is a city that is home to just over 1600 residents. The residents enjoy a quiet small town lifestyle with all the amenities of larger nearby cities very close to home.  Tenino is home to a historic downtown area, now a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This historic area is a few blocks long and is home to several shops and restaurants. While the he city serves largely as a bedroom community, with many of its citizens commuting by car to larger cities such as Olympia and Tacoma for work. Residents take great pride in their community and are very active in community support. The city is also home to the Yelm–Tenino Trail, a converted rail trail. The 14.5-mile long cycling and walking trail has been constructed along the route of a former Burlington Northern Railroad line. The trail runs parallel to State Route 507 and intersects with the Chehalis Western Trail. Trailheads are located at the trail in the towns of Yelm and Tenino as well as in the town of Rainier. The trail is used by bicyclists participating in the annual Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic as they ride from Yelm to Tenino.

City of Tumwater
555 Israel Road SW
Tumwater 360-754-5855

The City of Tumwater is located at the base of the Deschutes at the southern tip of Puget Sound. It is home to more than 17,000 residents. The rugged Olympic Mountains rise in the distance and Mount Rainier isn’t far away. Tumwater is the southern gateway to Puget Sound’s metropolitan region spanning several counties from Thurston and Pierce to King and Snohomish, including the cities of Tacoma and Seattle. Together, Tumwater and the neighboring cities of Lacey and Olympia, the state capital, form a community just over 100,000 in population.  Tumwater is the oldest American settlement on Puget Sound. The area was chosen for its many natural resources, rivers, prairies, forests and beaches. The vibrant mix of community-minded people and prosperous natural resources make Tumwater rich in history, community and opportunity.

City of Yelm
105 Yelm Avenue West
Yelm 340-458-8401

Yelm is home to a little more than 6,800 residents.  To a large extent, Yelm acts as a bedroom community for residents working in the surrounding cities of Tacoma, Olympia, and Centralia. Yelm also hosts a large number of military families who are currently or were formerly stationed at nearby Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Yelm Middle School and Ridgeline are the middle schools in the Yelm School District. The Yelm City Park is a centerpiece of the community. Located at the corner of SR 507 and Mosman Avenue, the park is approximately one city block in size. It has a kitchen, covered facilities, a playground area, Skateboard Park, picnic tables, public restrooms, and a softball backstop. A number of community events are held at the Yelm City Park each year, including Prairie Days, Christmas in the Park, Family Fun Day, an annual car show, the Yelm Lions Easter Egg Hunt, and more.  Yelm serves as the economic and urban hub of Southeast Thurston County, but also serves as the central point in an area that provides for a large variety of activities and attractions for residents and for visitors.

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