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Puyallup, Washington
Flag of Puyallup, Washington
Official seal of Puyallup, Washington
"Working To Be Your Community of Choice"
Location of Puyallup, Washington
Location of Puyallup, Washington
Puyallup, Washington is located in Washington (state)
Puyallup, Washington
Puyallup, Washington
Location in Washington (state)
Puyallup, Washington is located in the United States
Puyallup, Washington
Puyallup, Washington
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Washington
County Pierce
Named for Puyallup tribe
 • Type Council–manager
 • Total 14.24 sq mi (36.89 km2)
 • Land 14.13 sq mi (36.61 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.28 km2)
46 ft (14 m)
 • Total 42,973
 • Density 2,996.89/sq mi (1,157.07/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
Area code 253
FIPS code 53-56695
GNIS feature ID 1533368

Puyallup ( pew-AL-əp or pew-AWL-əp) is a city in Pierce County, Washington, United States, located about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Tacoma and 35 miles (56 km) south of Seattle. It had a population of 42,973 at the 2020 census. The city's name comes from the Puyallup Tribe of Native Americans and means "the generous people". Puyallup is also home to the Washington State Fair, the state's largest fair.


Meeker at dedication
Ezra Meeker (near lower right) at the 1926 dedication of his own statue by Alonzo Victor Lewis in Puyallup's Pioneer Park, on the site of his original cabin.

In 1833, The Puyallup Valley was a maze of creeks and old forest growth. It was subjected to frequent floods and massive log jams from the meandering river. The first white settlers were part of the first wagon train to cross the Cascades at Naches Pass in 1853. Native Americans numbered about 2,000 in what is now the Puyallup Valley in the 1830s and 1840s. The first European settlers arrived in the 1850s. In 1877, Ezra Meeker platted a townsite and named it Puyallup after the local Puyallup Indian tribes. The town grew rapidly throughout the 1880s and was incorporated in 1890, the first mayor being Ezra Meeker. The turn of the 20th century brought change to the valley with the growth of nearby Tacoma and the interurban rail lines. The Western Washington Fairgrounds were developed giving local farmers a place to exhibit their crops and livestock. During the early part of World War II, the fairgrounds were part of Camp Harmony, a temporary Japanese American internment camp for more than 7,000 detainees, most of whom were American citizens. Subsequently, they were moved to the Minidoka relocation center near Twin Falls, Idaho.


Puyallup is located at 47°10′33″N 122°17′37″W / 47.17583°N 122.29361°W / 47.17583; -122.29361 (47.1757,-122.2936).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.04 square miles (36.36 km2), of which 13.93 square miles (36.08 km2) is land and 0.11 square miles (0.28 km2) is water, mainly consisting of the Puyallup River estuary.

Puyallup is 12.2 mi² (31.6 km²), As it is bordered largely by unincorporated Pierce County. The closest neighbors include the city of Sumner to the northeast, Fife and Edgewood to the north, Tacoma to the northwest, Summit and Midland to the west, South Hill, Graham and Frederickson to the south, McMillin and Orting to the southeast, and Alderton to the east.

Downtown and the valley neighborhoods of Puyallup would likely be damaged or destroyed in a moderate or large eruption of nearby Mount Rainier.


Puyallup experiences an Oceanic climate (Köppen classification: Csb). Winters are cool and wet. High temperatures average in the mid to upper 40s, with lows near freezing. The surrounding hills (averaging 500 feet (150 m) above sea level) often experience the extremes of winter, with lows below freezing more often, and higher snowfall amounts. Snowfall is rare, and often only occurs on a few days a year, sometimes as early as November, and as late as April. Spring brings less rain, and more mild temperatures, with highs regularly in the mid 50s (12-14 C), to around 60 (15 C). Spring often records the first 70 F (21 C) mark. Summers are warm and dry, with highs in the 70s most days. Many days can max out in the 80s, and sometimes the 90s. 100 F (37.7 C) readings happen very rarely; On July 29, 2009, during a prolonged period of hot weather, Puyallup recorded a reading of 105 F (40.5 C), the warmest since records have been kept. Summer thunderstorms happen occasionally, but are often isolated and rarely (if ever) severe. Storms often roll off the Cascades, and into the surrounding areas. Often, these storms are a result of warm moist air from monsoons in the southwestern United States. Summer is warmest in July and August, and occasionally September. By October and the fall season, temperatures begin to tumble and rain begins to pick up.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 312
1880 297 −4.8%
1890 1,732 483.2%
1900 1,884 8.8%
1910 4,544 141.2%
1920 6,323 39.2%
1930 7,094 12.2%
1940 7,889 11.2%
1950 10,010 26.9%
1960 12,063 20.5%
1970 14,742 22.2%
1980 18,251 23.8%
1990 23,875 30.8%
2000 33,011 38.3%
2010 37,022 12.2%
2019 (est.) 42,361 14.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 37,022 people, 14,950 households, and 9,528 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,657.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,026.1/km2). There were 16,171 housing units at an average density of 1,160.9 per square mile (448.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.4% White, 2.1% African American, 1.4% Native American, 3.8% Asian, 0.7% Pacific Islander, 2.1% from other races, and 5.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.9% of the population.

There were 14,950 households, of which 32.8% had children under age 18 living with them, 45.8% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.3% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.7% had someone living alone who was aged 65 years or older. The average household size was 2.43 persons and the average family size was 2.98 .

The median age in the city was 36.8 years. 23.6% of residents were under age 18; 10.2% were between ages 18 and 24; 27% were from 25 to 44; 26.8% were from 45 to 64; and 12.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female.

Puyallup, WA - Pioneer Park Condominiums 01
A modern condominium project near Pioneer Park


The Valley

The valley in which Puyallup was originally settled forms the town. Its fertile soil is optimal for the acres of daffodils which were grown for distribution world-wide, and are featured in the town's annual spring parade. The Puyallup River meanders between the hills, through the glacial basin, from its namesake glacier on Mt. Rainier, terminating in Puget Sound at the Port of Tacoma. It is cold, silty, and brown, sometimes green. From most perspectives in the town of Puyallup, Mt. Rainier is visible to the southeast.

Downtown Puyallup has several notable landmarks, including Ezra Meeker's mansion, which was built and inhabited by one of the town's founding families, who made their way to Puyallup via the Oregon trail. The downtown shopping district is made up of historic buildings, which date to the town's origin. Pioneer Park is a community focal point, which boasts a public library, a park with a playground, and walking paths. As the focal point of the park, there is a bronze statue honoring Ezra Meeker. A new element is the public stage by the public library. At the public stage local musicians put on free shows for the public. Southeast Puyallup is also where the Pierce County Foothills Trail begins.

Ezra Meeker Mansion

Puyallup, WA - Ezra Meeker Mansion 03
Ezra Meeker Mansion, 2015

1890 Italianate Victorian home of Oregon Trail pioneer Ezra Meeker and his wife Eliza Jane Meeker. Known as the Hop King, he ultimately lost a fortune due to a disease in the hops. More famous for following the Oregon Trail throughout the years and erecting monuments along the trail to remind people, today it is a small house museum owned and operated by the Puyallup Historical Society at Meeker Mansion. Formerly the Ezra Meeker Historical Society, the mansion can be rented for weddings, teas or other social events (see ).

Washington State Fair

Puyallup is home to the Washington State Fair. The Washington State Fair is also one of the ten largest fairs in the country, attracting over 1 million people a year. The city itself is built around the Puyallup Fairgrounds and the fairgrounds can be seen prominently from neighboring South Hill. The fair traditionally runs for 21 days in September and, as the "Spring Fair", for four days in April. The fair serves as an anchor for unique local businesses and restaurants. "Do The Puyallup" has been a longstanding promotional slogan. Starting in 2013, the fair was renamed the Washington State Fair.

During World War II, the Puyallup Fairgrounds (i.e., The Puyallup Assembly Area) were used as an internment camp for United States citizens or residents of Japanese descent or origin that was called "Camp Harmony".

Daffodil Festival Parade

Puyallup also hosts and is origin of the annual four-part Daffodil Parade, which takes place every year in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting.

The parade includes many groups and has many floats, most of which are covered in daffodils, or are themed in the daffodil season. Most of the local junior high and high school marching bands also march. Car clubs, veteran groups and also some businesses are a part of the parade.

Antique District

Puyallup, WA - east side of 100 block of S. Meridian 01
East side of 100 block of S. Meridian; in foreground, an antique shop in a former J.C. Penney.

Puyallup is known for its myriad antiques stores, many of which are located next to each other on the main north-south street of Meridian. Puyallup is one of many cities and towns in Washington that contains an 'old-fashioned' downtown shopping area.

Paul H. Karshner Memorial Museum

The Karshner Museum is the only K–12 teaching museum owned and operated by a school district west of the Mississippi. The essential education and curriculum-based program serves the Puyallup School District's 20,000 K–12 student population. Since 1930, the Karshner Museum has provided hands-on and curriculum-based learning experiences to thousands of students through the museum visit program. The education trunk or "Discovery Kit" program has served students, teachers and community members since the 1970s. These Kits utilize real or replica artifacts for the purposes of bringing history, art and culture to life in the school classroom.

Arts Downtown Outdoor Gallery

Starting in 1995, the regional nonprofit organization Valley Arts United began working with local volunteers to support a rotating selection of outdoor public artwork. Consisting mostly of statuary dispersed about the downtown core, this collection has grown to a collection of about 32 permanent pieces. New works are added regularly.

Farmers' Market

Puyallup, WA - Pioneer Park Pavilion 05
Pioneer Park Pavilion

Downtown Puyallup's farmers' market takes place every Saturday (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m to 2 p.m.) from early May to late October. Many locals gather to sell home-grown produce and plants, baked goods, and crafts. The market is at Pioneer Park, in the modern pavilion building next to the library.


The Puyallup School District has 35 schools attended by more than 22,250 students. The district is the ninth largest in Washington state, extending to neighboring South Hill, parts of Tacoma, and the Edgewood area. Some local schools hold annual warning drills on account of the dangers of lahars in the event of an eruption of Mount Rainier, which would leave students with a maximum of 15 minutes to find higher land or the top of a building.

Puyallup is also home to Pierce College Puyallup, a community college that opened in 1990. It is one of the two main campuses belonging to the college, the other being Pierce College Fort Steilacoom in Lakewood.

The city is served by the Puyallup Public Library, which was established in 1913 and has been housed in its current building in Pioneer Park since 2002. It is not affiliated with either the Tacoma Public Library or the Pierce County Library System.


Puyallup is located at the intersection of State Route 167 and State Route 512, with freeway access to Lakewood and the Green River Valley. The city is also served by Pierce Transit buses and Sounder commuter rail at Puyallup station.

The city is located near the Pierce County Airport (KPLU), a small municipal airport in South Hill.

Notable people

  • Zach Banner (born 1993), American NFL football offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Frank Brouillet, former Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Member of Washington State House of Reps, Educator
  • Gail Bruce, former American football player
  • Army Sergeant First Class Nathan Chapman, First US combat casualty of Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Army Major General Chester Victor Clifton Jr.
  • Amber Cope, Former NASCAR Driver
  • Angela Ruch, professional stockcar driver and sister of Amber Cope
  • Natasha Curry, news anchor at CNN Headline News
  • Zach Davies, MLB free agent pitcher
  • Chris Egan, nine-time Emmy award-winning television sports reporter/anchor for KING-TV
  • Brandon Gibson, American football player
  • Chris Gildon, state legislator
  • Harriet A. Hall, medical columnist and Alternative medicine critic
  • Nick Harmer, bassist for Death Cab for Cutie
  • Teri Hickel, state representative
  • Brock Huard, sports talk show host, former NFL and college quarterback
  • Megan Jendrick, Olympic swimmer
  • Demetrious Johnson, Former UFC Flyweight fighter
  • Dustin-Leigh Konzelman, Miss California (2005) and Amazing Race contestant
  • Jon Lester, former MLB pitcher
  • Angela Rasmussen, virologist
  • Angela Ruch, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Driver
  • Leonard A. Sawyer, state legislator
  • Kelly Sullivan, actress
  • Gertrude Wilhelmsen, Olympic athlete
  • Soyeon Yi, South Korean astronaut
  • Drew Rasmussen, pitcher currently playing for the Tampa Bay Rays
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