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Moving to and Living In Rochester, WA

Moving to Rochester WA? 🎰 | What It’s Like Living in Rochester Washington

Last Updated on: 11th July 2023, 08:46 am

Always dreamed of moving to a small town in the Pacific Northwest? Then you’ll love living in Rochester, WA. Rochester is a census-designated place in Washington State that was founded in 1852 but platted in 1890. Named after the city of Rochester, Indiana, the hometown of one of the CDP’s early founders, the community is known for its strawberry production and was a major fruit exporter until the late 20th Century. Today, Rochester, WA is a good place to live, with natural beauty, friendly neighbors, and a small-town atmosphere. Here’s what you need to know about moving to Rochester.

Where Is Rochester, WA?

Rochester, Washington is in Thurston County, in the western central part of the state. It’s near the southern tip of the Puget Sound within the Olympia-Tumwater metro area. Nearby towns and communities include Grand Mound, Gate, Independence, and Chehalis Village, Washington.



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Rochester is 22.4 miles or a 25-minute car ride from Olympia.

Rochester, WA Population & Demographics

The population of Rochester is 6,064, according to the 2020 census, which is a 154% increase compared to 2010. The population density is 716.6 residents per square mile.

Other Rochester Demographics

  • The population of Rochester is exactly 50% male and 50% female.
  • The median age in Rochester is 40.4 years old.
  • The ethnic/racial breakdown of Rochester is 78.3% white, 17.5% Hispanic, 2.3% Native American and 14.8% biracial.
  • The median household income is $83,399, which is only slightly higher than the statewide average of $82,400.
  • About 89.9% of residents are high school graduates, yet only 18.8% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • The foreign-born population is 7%

Is Rochester, WA, Safe?

Crime is likely a major concern if you’re thinking of living in Rochester. Overall, Rochester, WA, is very safe. The total crime rate in Rochester is 1,370 incidents per 100,000 people, which is 42% lower than the national average. The violent crime rate is 133 per 100,000 people, which is 66% lower than the country overall, and the property crime rate is 1,237, which is 37% lower than the rest of the US. Your chances of being the victim of a crime in Rochester are 1 in 73, and your chances of being the victim of a violent crime are 1 in 752, which is significantly lower than the Olympia crime rate

Thurston County Sheriff’s Office patrols Rochester, which is responsible for providing police services to all the unincorporated areas of Thurston County. Sheriff Derek Sanders leads the force, and you can find their headquarters at 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW Building 3, Olympia, WA 98502.



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Things to Do in Rochester, WA?

Even though it’s a small community, residents will still find many fun things to do in Rochester, from casinos to nature preserves. Although there are a few scattered shops along US Route 12, residents are better off driving into Olympia. The Capital Mall is a popular destination with over 100 retail stores and a movie theater located under 20 miles from Rochester. Beyond shopping, here are the best things to do in Rochester.

Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel

Owned and operated by the Chehalis Tribe, Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel is a resort and casino with over 100 slot machines and live poker, roulette, craps, and other popular games.

12888 188th Ave SW, Rochester, WA 98579 (800) 720-1788


Lael’s Moon Garden Nursery

Lael’s Moon Garden Nursery is one of the best Rochester attractions for families, showcasing over 40 years of gardening experimentation with gorgeous plant-lined pathways and picnic areas.

17813 Moon Rd SW, Rochester, WA 98579 (360) 273-9567

South Sound Speedway

South Sound Speedway is a 0.375-mile racetrack hosting frequent racing events with stock cars and sprint cars, including the Northwest Super Late Model Series once or twice per season. They even have a kids club, making it one of the best Rochester family activities in the summer.

3730 183rd Ave SW, Rochester, WA 98579 (360) 273-6420

Additional attractions near Rochester

Rochester Community Park is the only public park in the city, which is maintained by the Thurston County Public Works Department. You can find a calendar of events on their website.

Rochester, WA Restaurants

Although you won’t find many fine dining establishments, plenty of great restaurants in Rochester, WA offer comfort food and affordable prices. Here are a few of the best places to eat in Rochester.

Big Foot BBQ

Big Foot BBQ is a local favorite serving some of the best barbecues in Thurston County, from baby back ribs to brisket. 

9447 US-12, Rochester, WA 98579 (360) 977-0996

Mariachi Alegre

Mariachi Alegre is a Mexican restaurant in the Grand Mound Shopping Center, serving authentic Mexican cuisines, such as Chile Relleno, and carne asada.

19947 Old Hwy 99 SW, Rochester, WA 98579 (360) 273-9030

Highway 21 Drive-Inn

Highway 21 Drive-Inn is a classic 50’s style drive-in, serving cheeseburgers, onion rings, chicken fingers, and more. With fast service, great food, and unbeatable prices, many locals consider it to be one of the best restaurants in Rochester.

10220 US-12, Rochester, WA 98579 (360) 273-7549

Average Rent and Homes Sales in Rochester, WA

The Rochester WA real estate market is reasonably affordable for the high quality of life the town provides. Most Rochester residents own their own homes, and only about 17% of the population are renters. So if you’re planning on moving to Rochester, you’ll likely be looking to buy a home. Approximately 98% of homes are also owner-occupied, and only 2% are vacant. 

The average rent in Rochester, WA is $1728 per month, according to RentCafe, which is right on par with the national average. Prices start around $1070 for a one-bedroom and go up to $3350 for 3+ bedrooms.

The Rochester real estate market primarily consists of detached single-family ranch-style homes, although you will find a few multifamily apartment buildings and condominium complexes as well.

The median list price of homes for sale in Rochester WA is $485,000, according to Redfin, which is up by 14.8% this year. That’s only slightly higher than the US average of $407,415. The median price per square foot of Rochester homes is $318.

Jobs in Rochester

Before moving to Rochester, you’ll likely want to consider the job opportunities. The economy of Rochester is primarily centered around agriculture, construction, and government. The largest industries are public administration, healthcare, and retail, and most jobs are in office and administrative support, sales, or management. Residents will find many great jobs in Rochester, WA, ranging from RNs to paralegals.

Largest Employers in Thurston County:

According to Payscale, the average rate of an hourly employee in Rochester, WA is $20.92 per hour. The best places to work in Rochester tend to be in health services or one of the local casinos.

Rochester Schools

The Rochester School District includes two elementary schools, one developmental preschool, one middle school, one high school, and an alternative school. The district ranks highly for diversity and college readiness, and most schools test at or above average compared to the rest of the state. The district’s minority enrollment rate is 40%, and the average student-to-teacher ratio is 18:1. 

There are no private schools in Rochester, but a few nearby, including Centralia Christian School and Christ the King Academy.

Residents living in Rochester can also stop by the Rochester Branch of the Timberland Public Library System to take out books and media.

Rochester Statistics & Information

  • Rochester WA County: Thurston County
  • Rochester WAArea: 2.3 square miles
  • Rochester WA Zip Code: 98579
  • Rochester WA Area Codes: 360
  • Rochester WA Elevation: 144 ft
  • Rochester WA Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time
  • Closest Airport to Rochester: The closest airport to Rochester WA is Chehalis-Centralia Airport (CLS), which is about 15 miles away

Rochester Map

Explore more attractions, restaurants, and fun things to do in Rochester with this map!

Ready to relocate to this picturesque town in the Pacific Northwest? Trust our team of qualified Rochester movers to make your transition smooth and simple. Call 360-507-2447 today for a free, personalized moving estimate.

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