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Moving to Tumwater, WA

Moving to Tumwater, WA Ultimate Guide (2023) | Top Tips for Living There

Even though it is located in Washington, the small city of Tumwater has made multiple claims to be the end of the historic Oregon Trail. While that is still up for debate, this cozy town has much more to offer its local residents.

As the oldest permanent American settlement on Puget Sound, it has a significant history and a great deal of character.

Are you thinking about moving to Tumwater? We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you learn everything you need to know about living there. Check it out for history, cost of living details, fun things to do, and more!

1. History of Tumwater People

The area now known as Tumwater was home to the indigenous Steh-Chass people for thousands of years. Settlers who came to the area in the mid-1800s worked with the Steh-Chass and other native tribes to compile the Medicine Creek Treaty, which allowed both groups to live in harmony and share the land.

Tumwater’s name comes from a combination of English and a Native American language known as Chinook Jargon. The Chinook word “tum” directly translates to “falls” and was added to the English word “water due to the area’s local waterfall.

The city has a steadily growing population of nearly 23,000 people, which is up from 17,000 at the 2000 census.

2. Tumwater Falls

As the most popular landmark around town, Tumwater Falls attracts the attention of anyone lucky enough to visit this charming city. The falls includes a number of beautiful cascades along the French-named Deschutes River that flows north into the Budd Inlet. It is a recognized location for salmon to migrate each year to lay their eggs within the local hatchery.

Tumwater Falls along the Deschutes River

About 130 years ago, the Olympia Light and Power Company planned and built a hydroelectric power plant along the river which was used to power a number of places nearby, as well as the city’s streetcar.

3. Things to Do and Restaurants in Tumwater

Once you’re living in Tumwater, you’ll likely be interested in knowing what fun activities are located around town. One of the best things to do within the city is to visit Tumwater Falls Park. Back in the 1960s, a local brewery donated a large piece of land surrounding the falls to the city, paving the way for a beautiful attraction with gorgeous scenery, walking trails, and riverwalk tours that over 200,000 annual visitors get to enjoy.

About 9 miles south of town center, another great place to see is Millersylvania State Park. Located right next to Deep Lake, the park is a perfect spot to go camping, fishing, kayaking, swimming, and more. Head over there to check out the local wildlife and relax along the shoreline.

Tumwater Falls Park

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Tumwater Falls Park, 110 Deschutes Way SW, Tumwater, WA 98501

Millersylvania State Park

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Millersylvania State Park, 12245 Tilley Rd SW, Olympia, WA 98512

Now that you know what to around town, it’s time to talk about restaurants in Tumwater. If you’re up for some great food inspired by Italy, Pellegrino’s Italian Kitchen offers a wide variety of pasta and seafood plates. While anyone looking for a great pizza joint should stop by The Brick on Trosper for a slice and a good selection of beers on tap.

Pellegrino’s Italian Kitchen


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Pellegrino’s Italian Kitchen, 205 Cleveland Ave S.E, Tumwater, WA 98501

The Brick on Trosper

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The Brick on Trosper, 707 Trosper Rd SW, Tumwater, WA 98512

4. Great Neighborhoods on Every Corner

Are you looking for the best neighborhoods in Tumwater? Well, you have plenty of great places on your list of options. The community of New Market at the center of town is a comfortable area known by the same name as what American settlers called the city before the Medicine Creek Treaty.

A name you’ll recognize from the restaurants above is Trosper, which is a street name and a local neighborhood on the west border. Just south of there is a Littlerock, a family-friendly part of town that hosts one of the city’s elementary schools. Another great option is the Bush prairie neighborhood directly to the northeast of the Olympia Regional Airport, which is located within Tumwater borders.

The city of Tumwater is part of Thurston County and includes the zip codes of 98501, 98502, and 98512. The two local area codes are 360 and 564.

If you are thinking of buying or selling in the Tumwater area we highly recommend contacting Greene Realty Group.

5. Affordable Cost of Living in Tumwater

The cost of living in Tumwater is not only affordable by the state of Washington standards but even when compared to national averages. You’ll see lower prices compared to United States numbers including a 26% difference on your utilities, as well as a savings of around 22% on healthcare expenses.

A neighborhood in Tumwater, WA during fall

The only budget you should anticipate to be a bit higher than average is the local housing prices. The average cost of a home in Tumwater is about $310,300, a number that is up 9.2% since this time last year. And the percentage is still on the rise as it is projected to increase an additional 5.7% in the next 12 months.

While anyone interested in renting a place around the area can expect to pay an average rent price between $1,446 per month for a two-bedroom location and around $2,100 per month for a home with four or more bedrooms.

6. Great Educational System

Parents always want to be assured their children will have a good education experience whenever they are thinking of relocating to a new place. You’ll be happy to hear the Tumwater School District offers high-quality programs, especially at the highly ranked public high schools.

Young, primary age students will likely begin at one of the cities three main elementary schools including Michael T. Simmons Elementary, Peter G Schmidt Elementary, Tumwater Hill Elementary. Junior high students have two options depending on where you’re located in town between Tumwater Middle School and George Washington Bush Middle School. Teens can attend one of the two equally rated high school systems in town: Tumwater High or A.G. West Black Hills High.

7. Strong Government Job Opportunities in Tumwater

As a suburb of the state capital of Olympia, many of the state office buildings are located in Tumwater. Government establishments such as the Department of Transportation, Attorney General’s Office, and the Washington State Parks and Recreation offices offer the most job opportunities available in town.

But beyond these offices, you’ll find a large number of successful manufacturing companies that are always hiring, including Cardinal Glass Industries, Kloeckner Metals, and Soloy Aviation Solutions. Tumwater is also still large enough to host a number of major retailers with jobs at big names like Walmart, Home Depot, and Costco Wholesale.

8. Expect Rainy Weather

At just over an hour away from Seattle, you can expect a similar climate to the big city. That typically means warm, partly cloudy summers between 50°F and 80°F. Rainy, cold winters in the low 30s and 40s with around 50 inches of rain each year.

Young child in yellow raincoat with umbrella

As long as you can handle a decent amount of rain, Tumwater weather is comfortable and pleasant for most of the year.

Tips for Moving to Tumwater, WA

These are just a few great things about this quiet and comfortable Olympia suburb. If you’re thinking about moving to Tumwater, make sure that you:

  • Learn the local history
  • Take some time to visit local attractions
  • Check out the variety of neighborhoods to find the best one for your lifestyle
  • Prepare for a good amount of rain

And when the time comes to prepare for your transition, be sure to reach out to our professional moving crew for help. Here at All Ready Moving, we offer top-rated moving services in the area that make your relocation a breeze. Give our Tumwater movers a call today at (360) 507-2447 to learn more about what we can do for you!

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