Skip Navigation Links
Living in Olympia

5 Tips for Living in Olympia, Washington: An Overview

Did you know that Olympia, Washington, is home to the nation's smallest city? That's right! According to the 2020 census, their population of 55,626 makes it an authentic small town.

Don't get too excited too quickly. It's also becoming a popular destination due to its low cost of living and proximity to Seattle. People discover this gem when they travel to Washington on business and vacation.

Olympia is the capital of Washington State, and it's easy to see why. Living in Olympia, Washington, means mild winters and warm summers. Lovers of the outdoors will find the waterfront is a great place to spend your days exploring.

Olympia, Washington, has everything you're looking for. We have historical landmarks, artisanal cuisine, and cultural activities. Its charming allure may also be why it's a popular spot for families, young people, and seniors. 

The small-town vibe and tight-knit community are two huge selling points.

Are you considering moving to Olympia, Washington? You may wonder what to expect. Here are five tips for living in Olympia, WA.

1. Cost of Living in Olympia, Washington

Olympia, WA, has one of the lowest costs of living in the greater Seattle area. The cost of living in Olympia is 1 percent lower than Washington's state average.

The cost of living is above the national average for housing, groceries, healthcare, transportation, and goods and services. However, there is one area where the cost of living is lower than the national average, and that's in utilities costs.

When comparing the cost of living in Olympia vs. Seattle, Olympia is more affordable. 

As a home buyer, knowing what to look for in Olympia, WA is important. Homes sell in about eight days and average three offers. The median home price is $525,000, but home sales have declined over the past few years.

More than 50 percent of the residents in Olympia, WA, rent. This trend is countrywide as many people find home ownership unobtainable. However, it could provide opportunities for property investors.

2. Choosing the Right Neighborhoods

If you're considering living in Olympia, Washington, you'll want to speak with a real estate agent to find the right neighborhoods. Because Olympia is a small town, its neighborhoods are very distinct. 

There are plenty of great neighborhoods to choose from if you're looking for a great place to live. The downtown area has seen much growth, and high-end apartments are now a trend. Eastern and western neighborhoods have also seen growth. 

South Capitol

Young professionals seem to gravitate towards the South Capitol. If you're a commuter who wants to be close to work but not in the thick of the city, it's a great option.

It has over 440 homes located along Capitol Lake, most from the 1900s and 1930s. Known for its beautiful fall colors, it's also home to Maple Park.

Cain Road

Are you attracted to affluent neighborhoods with larger homes? Cain Road is worth looking into. It is among the wealthiest neighborhoods in Olympia, Washington, with hundreds of single-family homes. 

The neighborhood association is very strong. The area is a great choice for families because it has parks throughout the area and many three to four-bedroom homes.  

East Olympia

The charm of the eastside is its walkable neighborhoods with tree-lined streets. Mature trees and hills surround the narrow, quiet residential streets.

The community has a mix of subdivisions and small apartment complexes with active neighborhood associations. 

Do you love block parties, garage sales, weekend barbecues, and a strong community? You'll love living in an eastside Olympia neighborhood.

Families can access local parks, including Bigelow Springs Park, which leads to natural springs in Olympia. Plus, new water-themed activities and Lion's Park.

3. Job Market

Remote work has made it possible for millions of people to move about the country. Today, you can work for a Texas company while living in Washington. If you need a career change, Washington State ranks 15th in the country for employment. 

The Olympia area has a wide range of jobs. State and local governments are the biggest employers, with over a quarter of the county's workforce. Health care and social assistance are also popular.

There aren't any big company headquarters, but there are plenty of big employers in Olympia, WA. Providence St. Peter's Hospital employs close to 2,000 people.  Meanwhile, the casinos and grocery stores in neighboring cities are also big employers.

Industrial jobs are centered around the port of Olympia and the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company.

4. Extreme Weather Risk

As climate change talks sweep the nation, living in Olympia, Washington, will place your mind at ease. 

Olympia, WA, is considered to be at low risk for natural disasters because it often isn't affected by major weather or geologic events. The area is away from earthquake fault lines. While storms and occasional flooding may occur, the risk is low compared to other regions.

5. Things to Do

Did we mention that Olympia is the Capitol of Washington? You'll find plenty to do in Olympia and around the city center.

If you live in Washington, Olympia, it's a great place for nature lovers to explore. You can enjoy lush forests, mountains, and beaches year-round with its ideal weather conditions. Plus, there's plenty to do in the city and beyond.

Whether you're looking for historical sites, delicious food, or cultural activities like the nearby Tumwater Artesian Brewfest, there's something for every age group, including:

  • Olympia Farmer's Market
  • Hands-On Children's Museum
  • Olympia Breweries & Nightlife
  • DEFY Olympia
  • Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Seattle is about an hour away if you want to see your favorite Washington state sports teams. You can catch the Mariners, Seahawks, Krakens, and Sounders FC. 

Does Olympia, Washington, Have Your Attention?

As you can see, living in Olympia, Washington, is full of possibilities. This might be your place if you love a small-town feel with big-town amenities. Plus, it's hard to ignore the beautiful weather and amazing sights. 

We'll have you covered when you're ready to travel to Olympia, Washington. Sotheby's International Realty would love to meet with you and show you the best properties on the market.

Connect with our area Realtors to gain access to available homes in Olympia, WA.

Stay in touch

Receive home DIY projects, Thurston County market updates, local community stories and more!

  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA see our Privacy Policy


1722 Harrison Ave NW
Olympia WA 98502


Links Column

Sotheby's International Realty® and the Sotheby's International Realty Logo are service marks licensed to Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates LLC and used with permission. Olympic Sotheby's International Realty fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated. Any services or products provided by independently owned and operated franchises are not provided by affiliated with or related to Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates LLC nor any of its affiliated companies.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Real estate website design, development and optimization by Organic Return