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Cities Near Olympia WA | 🏘 Best Places to Live Near Olympia

Last Updated on: 8th April 2024, 10:44 am

Don’t miss Olympia WA! With beautiful outdoor attractions, a diverse and vibrant economy, and a thriving arts scene, Olympia is a wonderful place to live. Yet you shouldn’t miss cities near Olympia WA, either. You can choose from dozens of places to live in the Olympia metropolitan area, each with something special to offer.

But the sheer number of towns near Olympia WA can make it hard to find one place to live. You should research various cities near Olympia, compare your options, then select the right one. Here’s what you should know about cities near Olympia Washington.

Largest Cities Near Olympia WA

The largest cities near Olympia WA are located within 30 miles of Olympia and have a population of at least 10,000 people. Some of these communities are cities close to Olympia WA with incorporated municipal governments, while other places to live near Olympia are census-designated places (CDPs) without municipal governments. The CDPs are conveniently located near public resources and amenities, so you can get services easily.

Tacoma – 30.0 Miles From Olympia

  • Population: 219,346
  • County: Pierce County

Tacoma WA is by far the largest city near Olympia, located 30 miles northeast of Olympia along Puget Sound. Its population is nearly four times larger than Tacoma’s, so it’s a perfect choice if you want a large city to live in. The Tacoma cost of living is affordable, especially when you compare it to major cities like Seattle. According to RentCafe, Tacoma apartments cost $1,676 a month, lower than the national average of $1,718 a month. According to Redfin, Tacoma homes for sale have a median sale price of $460,000, $300,000 less than the median for Seattle homes for sale. You can use first-time homebuyer programs to make buying a home in Tacoma even more affordable.

The best museums in Tacoma are some of the best museums in the country. The Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) is the largest art museum in the city and one of the largest in the state, containing over 5,400 works of art from various artists. The Museum of Glass is the largest glass museum on the West Coast and a hub for kid-friendly programs, including classes where children can work in glass studios with resident artists.

Lakewood – 22.4 Miles From Olympia

  • Lakewood population: 63,612
  • County: Pierce County

Lakewood WA is one of the most diverse cities near Olympia. 18.1% of residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, 15.1% identify as two or more races and 14.2% identify as Black or African American. Over 2,400 Lakewood residents were born in Mexico, and over 1,000 were born in the Philippines and Korea.

You can enjoy a number of Lakewood restaurants after moving to Lakewood. The Black Bear Diner is a cozy family-friendly diner that offers all-day breakfast, including freshly-made waffles and French toast. If you want a night out with your friends, you can go to The Ram Restaurant and Brewery, a casual American brewery well known for its IPAs and cocktails. You can sample cuisines from all over the world; Bruno’s European Restaurant offers German and Eastern European food like schnitzel, while Memo’s Restaurant serves authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex food.

Lacey – 4.5 Miles From Olympia

  • Lacey population: 53,526
  • County: Thurston County

Lacey WA was well-known as a commuter city of Olympia for decades, but it’s transformed recently and developed a reputation as a notable city in its own right. Saint Martin’s University is a private Catholic university that US News ranks in the top 50 regional universities in the Western United States. The university has over 40 degree programs, including 14 different graduate degree programs and courses at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) and Centralia College.

Lacey has some of the best parks in the Olympia area, making it a great city close to Olympia Washington for an outdoor lifestyle. Rainier Vista Community Park covers 46.4 acres and contains soccer fields, pickleball courts, and paved walking paths. Woodland Creek Community Park covers 72.8 acres and contains a creek and pond open for fishing. Lacey is a walkable community, with most attractions located within walking distance of each other. Cul de sacs are flat and contain paved sidewalks, readable street signs, and street lights, so you can go for walks at night easily.

Parkland – 24.9 Miles From Olympia

  • Population: 35,803
  • County: Pierce County

Parkland is a census-designated place best known as a suburb of Tacoma, though it’s only a short distance away from Olympia. It’s home to Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), which US News ranks in the top 25 regional universities in the Western United States. PLU is known for its nursing, business administration, and exercise science programs. Over half of classes at PLU have fewer than 20 students, so you can receive personalized support from your teachers.

Parkland is located at the intersection between State Route 7 and State Route 512. Route 7 runs north to south, while Route 512 runs west and east, giving you access to various towns near Olympia Washington, which can make Parkland great for frequent travelers and commuters. Parkland borders JBLM, so it’s one of the best places to live near Olympia for Air Force families.

University Place – 27.5 Miles From Olympia

  • Population: 34,866
  • County: Pierce County

University Place is a steadily growing city on the outskirts of the Olympia metro area. The population has nearly tripled since 1970, with many families having children or moving to University Place with their children. Nearly one-quarter of residents are under the age of 18, and nearly one-third of all households have children in them. US News ranks Curtis High School in University Place in the top 50 high schools in Washington. Curtis High School has a graduation rate of 94%, and qualifying juniors and seniors can take classes at local colleges.

Spanaway – 26.5 Miles From Olympia

  • Population: 33,776
  • County: Pierce County

Spanaway is well known for its convenient access to Mt Rainier National Park; trains used to run between the community and the park. These trains are no longer in operation, but Spanaway is less than 50 miles from Mount Rainier, so you can drive easily to the mountain and go hiking when you want. You can also visit Spanaway Park, a public park covering 135 acres that is a major hub for aquatic activities. The park contains two swimming beaches, a boat launch, and a fishing pier.

Tumwater – 2.8 Miles From Olympia

  • Population: 25,350
  • County: Thurston County

Tumwater borders Olympia to the south, making it a good choice for commuters and businesspeople. It contains Olympia Regional Airport, a prominent airport for private airplanes used by entrepreneurs. Tumwater added nearly 600 jobs to its economy between 2020 and 2021. According to Payscale, Tumwater jobs have an average salary of $74,000 a year, and many sectors in Tumwater pay more than that. Public administration accounts for 24.3% of Tumwater jobs, and public administration jobs in Tumwater have median earnings of $141,657.

Centralia – 24.8 Miles From Olympia

  • Centralia population: 18,183
  • County: Lewis County

Centralia WA is another convenient city near Olympia for commuters. It’s located at the midpoint between Seattle and Portland, and it’s along Interstate 5, so you can travel to the two cities easily, as well as various cities in Olympia and the best places to live near Olympia. Centralia College is the longest-operating junior college in Washington state, offering associate degrees and applied bachelor’s degrees in various areas of study.

Centralia has several unique indoor attractions, including family-friendly destinations. The Centralia Rollerdrome is one of the largest roller skating rinks in the state, and it’s open to kids for parties and other special events. Fairway Lanes is a top bowling alley popular amongst leagues and home to an on-site pro shop where you can buy your own bowling balls and gear. Insert Coin is an arcade open to kids during the day and then limited to adults at night. You can spend all day at Insert Coin playing classic arcade games, eating stuffed burgers and pizza, and drinking beers and ciders from a self-serve tap wall.

Yelm – 19.4 Miles From Olympia

  • Population: 10,617
  • County: Thurston County

Yelm WA is one of the fastest growing cities near Olympia; the city has tripled its population since 2000. The community is popular amongst military families stationed at JBLM as well as commuters with jobs in Tacoma and Olympia. Notable Yelm attractions include Yelm Cinemas, a locally-run movie theater with eight separate moving screens. Yelm Cinemas is well-known for offering self-serve, all-you-can-eat popcorn. If you want to go golfing, you can go to Tahoma Valley Golf Course, which offers manicured greens and recently renovated teeing grounds.

Shelton – 21.9 Miles From Olympia

  • Shelton WA population: 10,371
  • County: Mason County

Shelton WA was formerly known as Christmastown USA, as it was a prominent site for Christmas tree farms and Christmas festivals. It’s now a quaint city on the western edge of the Puget Sound area with access to numerous parks and outdoor attractions. The city has a small coastline along Oakland Bay, so you can go boating and fishing in the water. The Shelton Yacht Club operates a private marina in the bay and is a popular site for parties. Kneeland Park covers four acres and contains picnic tables and a covered pavilion, making it a good place for picnics and private parties.

Other Cities in Olympia Washington

The following communities have populations between 2,500 and 10,000 people and are within 30 miles of Olympia. This list includes towns near Olympia WA and census-designated places, including Grand Mound, a community well known for its kid-friendly points of interest like Great Wolf Lodge Washington.

Towns and Cities Near Olympia (2,500 to 10,000 Population) County Population (2020) Distance from Olympia in Miles
Tanglewilde Thurston 6,265 6.1
Rainier Thurston 2,369 16.6
Grand Mound Thurston 3,301 18.4
Rochester Thurston 6,064 18.9
Steilacoom Pierce 6,727 20.0
North Yelm Thurston 3,140 21.7
Chehalis Lewis 7,439 28.0
Elma Grays Harbor 3,438 29.5

Map of Cities Near Olympia and Surrounding Area

You can use this map to find these great cities near Olympia, as well as top attractions, restaurants, and points of interest.

Small Cities and Towns Near Olympia WA

The following are cities, towns, and CDPs with a population of less than 2,500 that are within 30 miles of Olympia. While these towns near Olympia WA are smaller than other communities, they have safe streets, quaint atmospheres, and spacious homes for sale.

Small Cities and Towns Near Olympia (1 to 2,500 Population) County Population (2020) Distance from Olympia in Miles
Tenino Thurston 1,870 15.1
Rainier Thurston 2,369 16.6
Bucoda Thurston 600 19.4
McCleary Grays Harbor 1,997 21.4
Roy Pierce 816 27.1
Oakville Grays Harbor 715 29.1
Malone Grays Harbor 341 29.6

Major Cities Near Olympia WA

One of the nice things about living in Olympia or cities near Olympia WA is that you can go on day trips to numerous major cities. Major cities near Olympia have unique attractions and amenities you can’t find in other places, and you can better understand what life is like in the Pacific Northwest by visiting these locations. You can also visit a few different major cities in Canada and see what Canadian culture is like.

The following major cities have populations of at least 100,000 and are within eight hours of driving time from Olympia. Most of these cities have airports, so you can fly to them if you want, but most residents living in cities near Olympia WA use their cars to get to them.

Major Cities Near Olympia WA Population (2020) Distance from Olympia in Miles
Seattle, WA 737,015 61.1
Bellevue, WA 151,854 63.9
Vancouver, WA 190,915 106
Portland, OR 652,503 114
Salem, OR 175,535 160
Surrey, BC, Canada 568,322 193
Vancouver, BC, Canada 662,248 203
Eugene, OR 176,654 223
Spokane, WA 228,989 320
Kelowna, BC, Canada 222,748 372
Boise, ID 235,684 527

Olympia Area Cities FAQs

What City Is Close to Olympia Washington?

Tacoma is the closest major city to Olympia, being located just 30 miles away from Olympia.

What Major Cities Are Near Olympia?

Tacoma, Seattle, and Bellevue are all within 100 miles of Olympia.

What Cities Are 1 Hour From Olympia?

Tacoma, Lakewood, Lacey, Seattle, and Bellevue are all within one hour from Olympia Washington.

Cities near Olympia WA are family-friendly, fun, and affordable! You can enjoy commuter-friendly cities like Tacoma and Lacey, and you can always travel to incredible major cities like Seattle and Portland. Once you’ve picked a great city near Olympia, you can figure out moving to your new home.

All Ready Moving’s team of Olympia movers has over 20 years of experience in the moving industry. Get a free estimate by calling 360-507-2447.

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