Surrounded by saltwater shores and mountain peaks, Pierce County includes diverse areas from bustling cities to sprawling farmlands. It has something for everyone. Pierce County residents enjoy affordable housing, a strong job market, nationally recognized schools and an excellent quality of life.
Pierce County's population is 813,600 (2009). The largest cities in Pierce County are Tacoma (204,200 - 2009 population) and Puyallup, (38,900 - 2009 population).
Pierce County is made up of the following towns:
Auburn, Bonney Lake, Buckley, Carbonado, DuPont, Eatonville, Edgewood, Enumclaw , Fife, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Milton, Orting, Pacific, Puyallup, Roy, Ruston, South Prairie, Steilacoom,Sumner, Tacoma, University Place, and Wilkeson.
Large-scale festivals, combined with a full gamut of music, art, theater and historical museum events held throughout the year, bring a high level of quality cultural opportunities to Pierce County.
Each September, Puyallup is host to the Washington State Fair - the state's biggest fair. This three-week event brings headlining musicians and comedians to its main stage, as well as all the rides, food, barnyard animals and handicraft displays of a traditional county fair.
Many Washington residents consider the Puyallup Fair a “must do" and return year after year with their families. For information on this year’s fair dates, performers, special features, maps, directions and more, visit the official site of the Washington State Fair.
In the spirit of community and the excellence and integrity of Puyallup-area youth, the annual Daffodil Festival was born. Held each April in Puyallup, the entire festival climaxes with the Grand Floral Street Parade, including floats and a royal court of locally-crowned youth. This popular parade travels through the cities of Orting, Puyallup, Sumner and Tacoma. For more information on this year’s festival, click here to go the official site of the Daffodil Festival.
Located in downtown Tacoma, the Broadway Center for Performing Arts encompasses four beautifully restored theaters, which host a rich variety of music, dance and theatrical performances year-round. The Broadway Center coordinates the following local performing groups:
For more information on performances and special events, click here to go to the official web site of the Broadway Center for Performing Arts.
Graduations, concerts, conventions, exhibitions and sports events are held at the Tacoma Dome. For more information or to see upcoming events, click here to go to the official web site of the Tacoma Dome.
Internationally known as a vibrant, diversified and community-supported arts community, the Pacific Northwest is home to a wealth of highly-gifted artists. Tacoma plays host to international art exhibits as well as offering a broad selection of local galleries for art connoisseurs. To find out more, click on one of the following arts organizations to go to their home page:
Most large-scale theater performances in Tacoma are coordinated by the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts. However, several smaller theater companies make Pierce County home. For more information on this year’s locally-produced shows, contact the groups listed below:
In Pierce County there are 15 public school districts with a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 students. In addition, Pierce County boasts a number of fine private schools and academies.
Teachers in both school districts regularly earn statewide honors from their peers for their innovations in further raising the standards of education.
Adult and continuing education facilities/programs in the region include:
Pierce County has thousands of retail businesses, including small businesses, downtown shopping districts and several large malls.
Tacoma offers 12 distinct and unique shopping and business districts. Puyallup's historical downtown business district offers many shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities.
Outdoor enthusiasts often make their home in the Pacific Northwest, where they are a day’s drive or less from all their favorite activities. You’ll find that we keep up a fairly active lifestyle, taking full advantage of our mountains, lakes and ocean waters for sport as well as relaxation.
Pierce County’s close proximity to Mount Rainier National Park—a favorite of both tourists and locals—gives hikers, bikers, climbers, campers and nature lovers a direct route to choice Washington terrain. However, there’s a whole lot more to Pierce County and Western Washington than just one national park. In fact, a vast array of parklands, natural preservation areas, facilities for team and racquet sports, golf courses and other sports arenas for ice skating, indoor sports and swimming are spread out across our region, affording quick and easy access.
We've listed just a few of our extraordinary parks, sports venues and recreation attractions for you below. To get the big picture of all that South King County (Auburn, WA), and Pierce County, Washington and the rest of our beautiful state has to offer go to:
Mount Rainier National Park
From the experienced climber to the wildflower gardener, there’s something spectacular for everyone at Mount Rainier National Park. With an excellent visitor’s center as well as camping and picnicking grounds, you could easily spend a day to a week or more in the park. Two lodges, Paradise and Longmire, make it comfortable for anyone to stay overnight with or without a sleeping bag. A climbing school at Paradise guides teams up to the summit, 14,411 feet above.
Mount Rainier is home to bears, mountain goats, beavers, marmots, squirrels, chipmunks and many other critters and birds. July and August are two of the best months to snap pictures of the blooming wildflowers in the meadows at the timberline. This is one park you have to come and experience for yourself! For more information, visit the official web site for Mount Rainier National Park.
Point Defiance Park
Second only to Mount Rainier in popularity, Point Defiance Park is another of Pierce County’s natural treasures. Point Defiance Park is a 700-acre wooden parkland that juts out into the Puget Sound, encompassing Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, extensive gardens, historical sites, the ferry to Vashon Island and boating and scuba diving areas.
Nationally acclaimed Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has been ranked among the top zoos in the United States for its naturalistic exhibits, animal care and commitment to wildlife conservation. Highlights of this pioneering zoo include the Beluga whale, walrus, seal and polar bear exhibits. An underwater viewing window brings you face-to-face with sharks, barracudas, stingrays and tropical fish. In December, life-size replicas of zoo animals made of twinkling lights create the ZooLights driving tour through the park. For more details, go to the official web site of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
Point Defiance Park is a gardener’s delight with exceptional displays of roses, dahlias, camellias, native rhododendrons and Japanese gardening techniques. For more information on gardening at Point Defiance Park, visit the web site for the Tacoma Garden Club.
Points of historical interest within the protected grounds of Point Defiance Park include Fort Nisqually. For more history or visitor’s information on these locations, go to Fort Nisqually website.
A 15-minute ferry ride takes you from Point Defiance Park to Vashon Island. Visit Vashon Island’s Strawberry Festival in mid-July, shop the Saturday Market, pick your own strawberries and raspberries in our U-pick fields, rent a kayak, go sailing or just spend a relaxing weekend meandering through town. Click here for more information on Vashon Island. For details on the ferry route from Point Defiance Park to Vashon Island, go to Washington State Ferries.
For more information on additional parks, community sports facilities and local activity programs, visit the websites:
Tacoma is home to AAA baseball, professional hockey, university football squads and near to horse racing and Seattle’s professional sports teams. Click on any of the following sports clubs/venues to go to their web site:
Two university football squads are favorites of local spectators. To find out more about these teams, click on one of the schools below:
At first glance, it appears that options for outside recreation are endless. Pierce County has 361 freshwater lakes, glacier-fed rivers and more than 20 recreational marinas. In addition to our local parks and sports teams, you may like to explore:
The Puget Sound region has an excellent highway and transportation system that enables people to easily get where they are going—be it by car, bus, train, water or air.
The Washington State ferry system, which transports motorists and pedestrians across beautiful Puget Sound in comfort, is one of the best ferry systems in the world.
Major highways in the area include Interstate 5, which runs north-sound along the West Coast between San Diego, Calif. and the Canadian border and Interstate 90, which connects Seattle with major cities in the eastern U.S.
The region is served by Amtrak, which has stations in downtown Tacoma and Seattle.
Public transportation buses are plentiful in the region, with Tacoma and Puyallup being the major transfer center for riders traveling to and from eastern Pierce County. Click here for more information about public transit options.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac Airport), is one of the busiest in the nation where people can board flights to anywhere they want to travel in the United States. Dozens of daily international flights are also available to most major cities in Europe, Asia, South America and Indonesia.