Puyallup is rooted, literally, in a rich agricultural heritage and continues to celebrate one of its most famous pioneer homesteaders, Ezra Meeker, best known for making the trek west to his home in Puyallup by way of the Oregon trail. Ezra Meeker was a leading citizen of Puyallup, first mayor, onetime Hop King, historian, and author.
The city was named after the Native American tribe, the Puyallup or S’Puyalupubsh (phonetically: spooy-all-up-ahbsh) which means “generous and welcoming behavior to all people (friends and strangers) who enter our lands”. The Puyallup Indian Reservation located in Pierce County includes land in Tacoma, Waller, Fife, Milton, Edgewood. Puyallup and is one of the most urban Indian reservations in the United States. The Puyallup River was also named for the Puyallup tribe.
Puyallup is home to the Washington State Fair. The Puyallup Valley community joined together to create the “Valley Fair” in 1900. The Fair provided a place to exhibit animals of all kinds, and became a premier venue to showcase the crops which flourished in the valley’s rich soil. Today a total of more than 2.5 million people visit the Washington State Fair and Event Center for the September and spring fairs, plus all the other year-round events like the Sewing Expo and Good Guys Car Show.
Though some local farms still exist, the Puyallup business community has grown to include a diverse cross section of commerce and the arts. The historic downtown boasts not only the largest indoor/outdoor farmer’s market in Pierce County, but the 8th largest fair in the nation, and one of the top 10 in the world. It has a thriving antique district that draws attention throughout the state, and a prominent and well known outdoor gallery of art that changes annually and features local artists. Add to that regular performances by the Northwest Sinfonietta, free community summer concerts in Pioneer Park, and visitors soon recognize that Puyallup is a culturally diverse community that celebrates his heritage in a variety of methods.
The Puyallup School District is top notch, providing opportunities for a diverse cross section of career training and advanced classes for post high school education. Puyallup also has plentiful housing and commuter rail and transit access, it’s close to metropolitan cities and has easy access to Mt. Rainier, hiking trails, Puget Sound and a variety of lakes and rivers perfect for fishing and boating enthusiasts.
Things to do in Puyallup
Explore Puyallup’s Outdoor Art Gallery: Sponsored by Arts Downtown, Puyallup’s Outdoor Art Gallery includes a collection of 38 pieces of quality art in downtown Puyallup. Supported by the city, businesses, and private citizens, Arts Downtown provides a free, year-round gallery that features works by student, professional and emerging artists. The goal of Arts Downtown is to provide art for public viewing to increase visual literacy and the quality of life in the Puyallup community. A new mobile tour program allows visitors to access significantly more information about each sculpture. Visitors can also access the tour after they return home to share with others. Visit their website for more information about Arts Downtown. Access their new mobile tour on any web-enabled device.
Book/Author Events, computer classes and more for adults and youth: Sponsored by the Puyallup Public Library and Library Foundation, residents and visitors alike are invited to attend a variety of events throughout the year at the library, most of which are offered at no charge. Renowned authors are invited to speak to the public at various times throughout the year. The Library Foundation also offers computer classes through Microsoft IT Academy; League of Legends, which is open to gamers of all skill levels; the Puyallup History Program, which makes the Library’s History Room available to the public - all of these are just a sample of what’s on the Puyallup Library’s calendar of events. To learn about current events and programs, including opportunities to volunteer, visit their website.
Tour the Puyallup Historical Fish Hatchery Organized in 2012, the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation is a group of Puyallup citizens that came together to create a non-profit group to preserve the Puyallup hatchery for generations to come. Their mission is to retain and improve the historic Puyallup Hatchery and promote watershed stewardship through education. The foundation provides educational tours to local students with up close interactive activities for them to participate in. For more information about visiting the Hatchery located at 1416 14th St. S.W., Puyallup, go to their facebook page.
Tour Meeker Mansion Meeker Mansion is available for tours, field trips and special events. Expert tour guides are able to provide the more detailed learning experience, providing background on the Meeker family, the Mansion’s construction and rehabilitation, and local history. Brochures are available that explain the history of the Mansion, with details for each room. Signs throughout the Mansion point out items of particular significance, as well as background on restoration activity. A film of Ezra Meeker on his promotional Oregon Trail wagon trip is a highlight of the visit. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 12pm to 4pm, March through mid-December, visitors to the Mansion can enjoy guided and self-guided tours. Visit their website for more information about the Mansion, which is located at 321 Pioneer Ave. in downtown Puyallup. Call (253) 848-1770 to schedule tours during off hours, or to schedule an event.
Saturday Farmers Market Sponsored by the Puyallup Main Street Association, the Saturday market features your favorite farmers bringing their best hanging baskets, veggie and fruit starts, flowers, and more - all grown right here in Washington. The market also features a variety of distinct artisan crafters, specialty food vendors, unique and respected non-profits, and top-notch entertainment. Starting in April every year, the market runs through mid-October on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm at Pioneer Park and Pavilion. For more information or vendor applications, call (253) 840-2631 or visit their website.
Dinner and a Concert: Concerts in the Park Series
Sponsored by Puyallup Parks & Recreation, downtown Puyallup hosts free concerts for the public each summer in July and August. Consider making a date for dinner and a concert with your family, or meet up with friends to enjoy Puyallup’s fun downtown atmosphere. Check out the Family Series at Pioneer Park every Thursday at 6:30pm; Noon Tunes at Pioneer Park every Tuesday at noon; and the Family Series at Bradley Lake Park, on various days and times.
For updates and possible changes to the entertainment schedule call (253)841-5457 or visit their website. In the case of inclement weather all concerts at Pioneer Park and Wednesday concerts at Bradley Lake Park may be moved inside the Pioneer Park Pavilion.
Pioneer Park located at 325 South Meridian, Puyallup
Bradley Lake Park located at 531 31st Ave. S.E., Puyallup
Listen to a world class symphony Northwest Sinfonietta is a nationally acclaimed chamber orchestra of the highest caliber that performs in Puyallup at Pioneer Park Pavilion. The ensemble of 30-40 musicians play well known music that inspires and invigorates at a local level. For a list of local performance dates visit their website.
Farm to Table Puyallup has a rich agricultural heritage that residents and visitors can still enjoy. Generations of local farmers still continue to operate in the Puyallup Valley and have expanded their scope of business to include updated retail locations that attract thousands of visitors every year.So if you don’t have the time or space to start your own garden, Puyallup continues to offer healthy, fun and educational opportunities to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables . Check out these two local farms:
SPOONER FARMS: Family owned since 1882, Spooner Farms grows some of the best Washington berries. Start your summer off with their delicious fresh-picked strawberries. Between July and August they harvest raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and corn. Visit the farm for a taste of their homemade berry fudge or cool down with a fresh fruit smoothie. Jam-making supplies, seasonal gifts, and sundries of all sorts are available throughout the season.
Autumn at Spooner Farms has also become a family tradition in the Valley, where you’re free to pick 47 varieties of pumpkins, gourds and squash – both edible and ornamental. Get lost in their giant themed corn maze, nosh on homemade caramel apples, check out the farm animals, get crafty in the activity barn, or yell “Pumpkins Away!” with their original pumpkin sling shots. Great fall decorating provisions, gifts, and concessions available. They also offer booked school tours, Monday-Friday, throughout October. For more information visit their website.
DURIS CUCUMBER FARM: Hazel Duris entered the farm business in 1955 when she asked her husband, Al, to plant her a garden. When the cucumber vines produced more than she needed, she placed the surplus vegetables out on the side of the road in front of their house with a sign that read “Cucumbers for Sale”. Patrons purchased the cucumbers and placed the money in a coffee can near the display. Today visitors can still purchase cucumbers at the roadside farm stand on River Road, which has been expanded to offer a wide assortment of local fresh fruits and vegetables, and continues to offer specialty pickling cucumbers along with everything else you need to make pickles - including the mason jars. For more information visit their website or call (253) 922-7635.
Whether you’re looking for an old favorite or are in the mood to try something new, there’s a restaurant in the downtown area that’s got you covered. Craving something spicy? Check out Bourbon Street for Cajun. Looking for a celebration? Toscano’s, Mama Stortini’s and HG Bistro are perfect for a special occasion. Pizza with the kids - we’ve got that at Trackside Pizza. Giorgio’s Greek Café will have you dreaming of an exotic vacation. Charlie’s has a locally famous salad bar and also serves up some of the best chicken fried steak around. If you want to go with something traditional, Crockett’s Public House has amazing burgers and was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.
Dining options for the whole family abound at the South Hill Mall, where locals pack Red Robin, BJ’s Brewhouse, Olive Garden, Famous Dave’s, Panera and Applebee’s. Further south you can get authentic Thai food at Ayothaya Thai and Bangkok Thai. Buffalo Wild Wings, Puerto Vallarta and Ivar’s are all area favorites as well.
Go Antiquing Downtown Puyallup is known for its thriving Antique District. It includes several large antique malls with thousands of square feet of displays and hundreds of independent vendors featuring an impressive variety of items from country and primitive to fine art, glass and pottery. Whether you’re looking for that perfect retro item for your home, vintage toys for your personal collection, a stylish piece of costume or estate jewelry or local vintage clothing options, Puyallup’s Antique District makes for a fun day of exploring. For more information about store locations, visit their website.
Downtown Brews and Dining Hub Local newspapers are touting downtown Puyallup as an emerging dining hub in Pierce County. With more than a dozen unique independent casual restaurants and pubs, visitors can walk from place to place and make an evening of tastings and meals. Whether you’re in the mood for Asian, Italian, Greek, Cajun, Irish, Mexican or American fare, there are choices galore for ethic food and atmosphere. Make Puyallup your next date night destination and explore our friendly dining establishments for a memorable evening.
Hiking and Biking – Foothills Trail The Foothills Trail sits atop a historic railroad bed and snakes through the river valley southeast of Tacoma. This 25-mile-long trail is a popular commuter route and recreational destination for bicyclists and hikers. One of the most scenic sections for the unobstructed views of nearby Mt. Rainier begins in Orting and follows the Carbon River upstream through farmland and forest. The Foothills Trail is a 12-foot wide non-motorized asphalt trail / linear park suitable for bicycles, walking, in-line skates, and wheelchairs. It also has a soft shoulder path for equestrians. The completed paved sections include 15 miles from Meeker to the South Prairie Creek in South Prairie, and a 2 mile section in Buckley. The future plan is to continue the trail to Puyallup, where it will connect with the Riverwalk Trail, ultimately continuing on to Tacoma and Sumner where it will link to the Interurban Trail that now extends through Kent and Auburn. The trail in Buckley will continue east to King County and Enumclaw. When complete, this trail will be more than 28 miles in length. June 28, 2007 marked the opening of the entire length of the Foothills Trail, extending from Buckley through the Town of South Prairie, the City of Orting and into the City of Puyallup. To see the Foothills Trail Map, visit their website.