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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Olympia, Washington

Olympia is a relaxed college town of 45,000 people in southern Washington. There are 3 community colleges, led by Evergreen State College which creates a youthful presence here. Outside Magazine named Olympia as one of the best college towns in America.  The city, the capital of Washington, serves as a regional shopping, cultural, and entertainment center.

There are many cultural activities to enjoy in Olympia. There are plenty of open spaces and beautiful parklands. Olympia National Park is perfect for hiking and other activities. The presence of Puget Sound should appeal to sailors and fishermen.  The area gets plenty of rain but it also has a relatively mild climate. All that rain results in a lush and picturesque environment that is second to none, with Puget Sound on one side and the Olympic mountains on the other. This diverse city has a wet but mild climate in the winter. Photo of Capital Theatre courtesy of Wikipedia and Joe Mabel.

Where to Retire in Olympia and Home Prices

Retirees can live in town in nice neighborhoods, the suburbs, or in some of the active adult communities in the region (see link to Active Communities at top left). Zillow reports the median home value was $547,953 in mid-2022.

What Is Special about Olympia

• Small college town and the state capital • Relatively low cost of living • the evergreen forests of Olympic National Park • Puget Sound • Procession of the Species, a community arts-based festival and parade •  One of Washington’s largest flea markets • Vibrant cultural scene

What Is Not Special about Olympia

 Earthquakes, and rainy, cloudy weather with over 50 inches of rain annually and year-round average of 75% cloud coverage.

Climate and Physical Environment

Olympia is located on the extreme southern tip of Puget Sound on Budd Inlet. The majestic mountains of the Olympia National Park and Puget Sound provide a rare backdrop. Several strong earthquakes occurred here in 1949, 1965, and 2001.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Olympia has become a hub for artists and musicians, and there is a popular Mozart at a Music in the Dark concert.  Theater companies include Capital Playhouse, Olympia Family Theater, Theater Artists Olympia, 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. There are art galleries in some of the community colleges, as well as a film festival.


The crime rate is slightly above average in Olympia.

Medical Facilities

Columbia Capital Medical Hospital. Providence St. Peter Hospital


Olympia has a regional airport. The city's walkability is average compared to other cities.

Valuable Links

Olympia, Washington

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