Still life shot of an empty room in a house on moving day

Nestled along the shores of Puget Sound’s Budd Inlet, Olympia is the capital city of Washington state. With a population of around 55,000, Olympia strikes the perfect balance between small-town charm and urban conveniences. Surrounded by the majestic Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges, Olympia enjoys a breathtaking natural setting that fosters an active outdoor lifestyle. From kayaking and sailing on the inlet to hiking and biking on wooded trails, Olympia offers many ways to experience the great outdoors.

Yet, it also provides all the amenities of a much larger city. As the state capital, Olympia is a hub for government, business, healthcare, and education. It boasts a vibrant downtown scene filled with locally-owned shops, restaurants, breweries, and art galleries. The historic downtown district retains its 19th-century architecture and hosts various community events and festivals throughout the year. Olympia is known for its thriving local music scene and is the birthplace of the 1990s riot grrrl punk movement. With its small-town charm, natural beauty, and rich cultural offerings, it’s easy to see why you should consider moving to Washington State’s capital. 

1. Excellent Facilities and Infrastructure

As the state capital, Olympia offers excellent civic facilities and infrastructure. The State Capitol Campus has expansive park-like grounds and walking trails surrounding the Legislative Building, Temple of Justice, and other state government offices. The 60-acre campus hosts community events like summer concerts. Also, Olympia’s City Hall, public library, and Hands On Children’s Museum are conveniently located downtown.

Moreover, it offers easy access to facilities like parks and shopping malls. For those who wish to move here, Olympia storage units, such as those provided by the Store Local, operate in numerous locations. Their services can be easily accessed online, providing additional convenience for newcomers settling in the city. 

Public transportation is provided by Intercity Transit, with service throughout Thurston County and connections to neighboring regions. Olympia’s excellent facilities and infrastructure provide important services while creating attractive community spaces.

2. Natural Beauty and Scenic Locations

Olympia’s natural setting along Puget Sound provides endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. The Capitol State Forest and Watershed Park offer miles of wooded hiking trails with stunning views of the Olympic Mountains. At the edge of downtown, Percival Landing provides access for boating, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding on Budd Inlet. Tumwater Falls Park showcases the scenic 70-foot waterfall along the Deschutes River. Capitol Lake at the base of the State Capitol Building attracts walkers, joggers, and cyclists on its 2.5-mile loop trail.

Over 40 community parks, totaling 1,466 acres of park land, have sports fields, playgrounds, and walking trails. With so much natural beauty surrounding Olympia, enjoying the great outdoors is part of everyday life there.

3. Charming Neighborhoods

Olympia’s neighborhoods each have their own unique character and sense of community. The historic Downtown district along 4th Avenue retains its late 19th-century architecture, independent shops, restaurants, and brewpubs. Just to the north, the Eastside neighborhood has bungalow homes, community gardens, and cafes around East Bay Drive.

West of downtown, the Friendly Grove neighborhood has craftsman homes and an annual garden tour. The Bigelow Neighborhood features historic homes and an artesian wellspring. Further from downtown, the Boston Harbor, Kaiser, and Trosper Lake neighborhoods provide suburban living with parks, trails, and waterfront access. Olympia’s neighborhoods foster community pride while providing diverse housing options and amenities.

4. Strong Local Economy

Olympia has a diverse and stable economy. As the state capital, the government is the largest employer, providing about 20% of local jobs. The downtown office hub houses various state agencies along with municipal and county government offices, supporting professional services and businesses. The Port of Olympia facilitates regional trade and is a major employer. Other key industries are education, healthcare, manufacturing, technology, and tourism.

The unemployment rate in Olympia typically falls 1-2% below the national average. Major employers include the state government, Providence health system, Tumwater School District, and Heritage Bank. With its strong and varied job market, Olympia provides excellent employment opportunities.

5. Educational Opportunities

Olympia offers quality educational options. Olympia High School is known for its academic and athletic programs. The district also has an acclaimed Big Picture alternative high school. 

Higher education choices include South Puget Sound Community College, Saint Martin’s University, Evergreen State College, and satellite campuses of universities like the University of Washington. This range of excellent public and private schools, colleges, and universities make Olympia an ideal place to live, work, and raise a family.

6. Accessible Healthcare

Olympia provides comprehensive healthcare services. The main medical center is Providence St. Peter Hospital, located just west of downtown. It offers specialized treatment centers, 24/7 emergency care, and the latest technology and facilities. Other hospitals include Capital Medical Center and Olympia Multi-Specialty Center. Numerous clinics and private practices serve patients throughout the metro area.

For veterans, the VA Puget Sound Health Care System has an outpatient clinic in Olympia. Various health organizations offer support services, from the American Cancer Society to Planned Parenthood. With its wide range of excellent healthcare providers, Olympia meets the needs of all residents.

7. Rich Cultural Scene

From museums and theaters to music venues and festivals, Olympia has a thriving cultural scene. The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is home to the Olympia Symphony and Opera Theater and hosts national touring acts. Downtown’s historic State Theater presents films, concerts, and events. 

The Hands On Children’s Museum and the Washington State Capital Museum engage visitors with interactive exhibits. Annual cultural events include the Procession of the Species Celebration, the Lakefair Festival, and the Olympia Film Society Festival. 

8. Sustainable Living

Olympia is committed to sustainability and green living. The city gets electricity from renewable sources and has a Climate Action Plan targeting reduced emissions. Many neighborhoods have community gardens for local food production. The Olympia Food Co-Op supports local and organic growers. Public transportation and cycling infrastructure reduce reliance on cars.

Downtown, waterfront parks, and trails allow residents to enjoy nature close to home. Various community organizations promote conservation, smart growth, renewable energy, and other green initiatives. With its progressive values and policies, Olympia promotes an eco-conscious lifestyle.

9. Cost of Living

Olympia’s cost of living is close to the national average, making it very affordable. Housing costs have risen recently but remain reasonable, with median home prices around $550,000 as of mid-2022 and rents averaging $1,500/month. Groceries, utilities, and transportation are less expensive than the national average. The downtown district has small shops with fair prices as well as major retailers.

With no state income tax and property taxes below 1%, Washington has one of the lowest overall tax burdens. Outdoor recreation options like parks, trails, lakes, and beaches offer free and low-cost entertainment. Living in Olympia provides a high quality of life at a reasonable price.


With its natural splendor, friendly neighborhoods, vibrant culture, and active lifestyle, Olympia has something for everyone. Just an hour from major cities like Seattle and Portland, Olympia provides an excellent balance of small-town community with urban conveniences. From hiking trails to music venues, farmers markets to art walks, Olympia’s quality of life is hard to beat. This charming capital city deserves consideration as an ideal place to live, work, and thrive.

You may also like

Leave a Reply