Olympia : Washington


What It Is Like to Retire in Olympia

If you have been looking to retire in a relaxed college town with ample access to the great outdoors and where something is always going on, then Olympia, with 55,605 people (2020 Census), in southern Washington, might be the place for you. Outside Magazine recently named Olympia as one of the best college towns in America. There are 3 community colleges, led by Evergreen State College which creates a youthful presence here. The city, the capital of Washington, serves as a regional shopping, cultural, and entertainment center.

There are many cultural activities which is one reason why this town is a popular home for retirees. 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. For more information on taxes go to what it is like to retire in Washington State. Here are our reviews of Bellingham and the San Juan Islands

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.


Who Will Like Retirement in Olympia

Olympia attracts a community of who would like to live in a college town, who like culture, and who enjoy being close to one of the world's great outdoor environments. Here is a review of another great college town in Washington Walla Walla

Local Economy Is Driven by

The state capital, tourism, and 3 colleges drive the economy.

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


What people are saying about Olympia

I read the facts but can anyone who has retired to Olympia weigh in on the pros and cons please? Kim
Posted by gordonkm54 on August 06, 2014

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