About Olympia

Welcome to Olympia

A family enjoys a day out in OlympiaWith an economic engine fueled to a great extent by state government, Olympia enjoys the benefits of a stable work force, engaged and educated community, and well-supported school system.

Historic downtown Olympia offers a variety of eclectic shopping and dining experiences, while Olympia's westside is a regional shopping destination at numerous national brand stores and the auto mall.

Mild winters and pleasantly warm summers make the Olympia area an ideal place for outdoor recreation. In Olympia, you can "get out of town" without even leaving the city. Olympia maintains 40 public parks for your recreation enjoyment. Public trails lead to saltwater beaches where native tribes once met for potlatches through woods thick with big-leaf maples and towering Douglas firs. Salmon return to Budd Inlet each fall and run the ladder under the 5th Avenue Bridge.

Olympia's strategic geographic location along Interstate 5 at the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula, puts one within two hours or less of regional recreational attractions - from hiking and skiing in the mountains to beachcombing along ocean shores.

Olympia is a diverse communityDemographics

With a diverse citizenship ranging from seasoned legislator to street artist and everything in between, Olympia is a truly unique and welcoming place to visit or call home.


City of Olympia Population

  • 2014 estimate* 49,670
  • 2010 census 46,478
  • 2000 census 42,514
  • 1990 census 33,729

*Estimates are updated and released annually in April by the State of Washington Office of Financial Management.

Thurston County Statistics (2010)

  • Population 254,095
  • Median Age 38.5
  • Avg. Household 2.46
  • Cost of Living Index 106.5
  • Median Household Income $57,988

For detailed census and demographic information about Olympia and Thurston County, Washington, visit The Profile compiled by Thurston Regional Planning Council.

Aerial view of Olympia 1929History

Olympia has a rich history. The town was platted by Edmund Sylvester in 1850. The Maine native laid out a New England style community with a town square, tree lined streets, land for schools, and a Masonic Hall.

Visit the History of Olympia page to learn more...

Kids in Olympia SchoolSchools

With three top-notch K-12 school districts and several levels of higher education in the greater Thurston County area, Olympia is a great place to lay the building blocks for the rest of your life.

Olympia officials meeting with Kato City delegationSister City Affiliation

On April 22, 1981 the City of Olympia signed a Sister City Friendship Agreement with the Town of Yashiro, Japan (now Kato City, Japan).

Since then, the two cities have exchanged visits of civic groups, students, community residents, teachers, business leaders, and elected officials. In Olympia, the friendship is nurtured and sustained by the volunteer work of the Olympia/Kato City Association. The organization encourages cross-cultural understanding and international friendship through its various projects and visits.

When Olympia dedicated the new Fourth Avenue bridge on May 16, 2004, the City Council officially named it the Olympia-Yashiro Friendship Bridge in honor of the longstanding friendship between the two cities. Bronze plaques mounted on the east and west ends of the bridge commemorate the relationship.

The Yashiro Japanese Garden, created in honor of the friendship, is located adjacent to Lee Creighton Justice Center (former City Hall) on Plum Street. On display in the Garden are granite lanterns and a granite pagoda which were gifts to Olympia from the people of former Yashiro town. Several other commemorative gifts from Yashiro are on display in the lobby of Olympia City Hall, 601 Fourth Avenue E, Olympia.

The main street in Kato City is named Olympia Avenue.