South Sound Living

Living in the South Sound means vibrant cities, vast and incredibly-green wild landscapes, and a healthy coffee addiction. This area offers the unique opportunity to live in a city and be surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The natural environment is an unsurpassed year-round playground with its combination of mountains, old-growth forests, saltwater coastline, islands, waterfalls, rivers and freshwater lakes. Living under a perpetual rain cloud leads to absolutely euphoric sun breaks in the fall, winter, and spring. Our summers are dry (a cool-summer version of the dry-summer mediterranean (Csb) designation, to be exact) and the sun is almost relentlessly present, making it hard to stay inside. Most importantly, the temperatures are mild and there is no humidity! 

The Pacific Northwest is one of the most eco-friendly areas in the United States and Washington consistently ranks among the most sustainable. We have some of the highest water and soil quality, some of the lowest carbon dioxide emissions per capita, strong policies to promote energy efficiency and high air quality, some of the most buildings with LEED accreditation per capita, and consistently rank as one of the largest consumers of renewable energy. 

Living in the South Sound means refining your palate. Rich soils, diverse climates and large-scale irrigation make Washington one of the most productive growing regions in the world. Not only can you harvest most of your own food locally, but there are year-round farmers markets (be sure to bring your reusable tote!). Washington is famous for its fish – sockeye and chinook salmon; chum, coho, and pink salmon; clams; cod; crabs; flounder; halibut; herring; oysters; rockfish; shrimp; steelhead; and tuna. While coffee is very important, the South Sound offers an impressive array of craft alcohol. Washington ranks second for most breweries and wine production in a state and produces more hops and hosts more distilleries than any other state. 

Overall, the nightlife scene in the South Sound is laid back. It is common to spend the evening with a date or friends in a local restaurant or brewery. Live music venues are a very popular way to spend time. If cities or suburbia aren't your style, isolation is readily available in some parts of the Pacific Northwest. 

The South Sound's pillar city, Olympia, is an attractive, mid-sized capital city with a small-town feel. Olympia boasts a low unemployment rate, a strong, well-supported school system, many restaurants and coffee shops, a produce market, kids activities, and arts events. Heavy industry is just 20-30 minutes north toward Tacoma and there are excellent city amenities and services available an hour away in Seattle, although traffic can make the drive challenging.


Additional Information


South Sound

South Sound Proud website and Facebook page

South Sound Magazine

Thurston County

Thurston County website

Thurston County Chamber of Commerce

Thurston County Economic Development Council

ThurstonTalk – stories about what it's like to live, work, and play in Thurston County


City of Olympia 


City of Lacey

Lacey South Sound Chamber


City of Tumwater

Tumwater Area Chamber of Commerce

Washington State

Washington State Department of Commerce

Washington Economic Development Association

Washington State Department of Agriculture