Pierce County is a county in the state of Washington, covering a total area of over 1,800 square miles. The county is home to more than 876,000 residents, making it the second-most populous county in Washington, right after King County. It is included in the Seattle metropolitan area, and its largest city is its county seat, Tacoma.
History of Pierce County
Pierce County was formed out of Thurston County on December 22, 1852 through the Territorial Legislature of Oregon. Thurston County, which extended from the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean and from Olympia all the way to the Canadian border, was deemed too large for a single county. The legislature decided to create several new counties which became Jefferson, King, and Pierce County. In addition, the legislature passed laws appointing the county’s first officers and designating Steilacoom as the county seat, as it was the only town with its own jail in Washington. The county seat eventually moved to Tacoma after it became the Northern Pacific Railroad’s terminus.
The founding of Pierce County brought forth a slow but steady arrival of new settlers. The very first land claims in 1854 eventually became the city of Orting, which was incorporated later in 1889, which was the same year when the first school district in the state was established.
From its early years until today, Pierce County and its cities continue to grow and provide a high quality of life for all residents. Its top-quality schools, world-class healthcare, vibrant business environment, and wealth of incredible attractions and destinations all combine to make it one of the best places in Washington to call home.
Attractions in Pierce County
- Looking for one of the best things to do in Tacoma? Be sure to visit Point Defiance Park, a sprawling 760-acre park that features well-maintained trails and beaches, an off-leash dog park, a boardwalk, gorgeous flower gardens, and more. The park is also home to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, a family-friendly destination with more than 9,000 fascinating specimens representing over 360 animal species.
- Since 1900, the city of Puyallup has been hosting the Washington State Fair, one of the most anticipated events in Pierce County. Originally known as the Valley Fair and later on as the Puyallup Fair, the Washington State Fair draws more than a million visitors every September, who come to enjoy fun rides, incredible performances, delicious food, and more. Definitely something to look forward to for anyone looking for unforgettable things to do in Puyallup.
- Treat your taste buds at The Lobster Shop, considered one of the best restaurants in Tacoma. Here, diners get to enjoy an enticing assortment of incredible seafood dishes complemented by a selection of innovative cocktails, all while soaking in panoramic views of the serene waters of Puget Sound.
- Go on an unforgettable outdoor adventure at the Sumner Link Trail, which connects the north’s Lakeland Hills Trail and Interurban Trail and the south’s Riverwalk Trail and Foothills Trail. This picturesque trail boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the region, with soothing river views and a variety of native wildlife and vegetation.
- If you’re searching for more fun things to do in Tacoma, drop by the Tacoma Nature Center, a 71-acre nature preserve with scenic nature trails, enchanting wetlands, and a variety of native flora and fauna. The center also hosts fun nature programs and summer day camps every year.
Arts and culture
- Located in Tacoma, the Museum of Glass is a 75,000-square-foot museum entirely dedicated to the medium of glass. The museum’s permanent collection showcases outstanding works of art crafted by talented artists from all over the world. In addition, the museum organizes community programs, artist talks and discussions, and a variety of hands-on opportunities throughout the year.
- The Tacoma Art Museum serves different communities throughout the Northwest through its diverse exhibits, collections, and educational programs. The museum’s collection features over 5,000 works emphasizing the artists of the Northwest and the greater western region.
- The Grand Cinema is a non-profit, independent art house cinema located in downtown Tacoma, showcasing some of the finest independent and foreign documentary films. Each October, the venue hosts the Tacoma Film Festival, which celebrates independent films reflecting the diverse sensibilities of Washington’s western region. The festival includes selections from the Pacific Northwest as well as different countries from across the globe. You can take a look at some of the festival’s previous winners from different categories here.
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