With its natural beauty and growing industries such as manufacturing, logging, and hospitality, it is no wonder Washington experienced a 5 percent population growth in the past four years. The state's 10 biggest cities are evidence of that growth.
In an unusual twist, Olympia, the capital, is not in the top 10 cities as ranked by population. While growing faster than many other municipalities in the state, it is ranked as the 22nd most populated city in the state.
Here are the top 10 cities in Washington, based on data from the state's Office of Financial Management:
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Visitors to Seattle can be taken back by the weather, which plays a key role in the city. Seattle's website reports the city has rain, on average, at least 50 percent of the time.
The Space Needle and the Seattle Great Wheel are top tourist attractions. In addition, visitors may take in the graves of Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon Lee, and the gravesite of Jimi Hendrix.
This diverse city has seen a craft beer explosion, building on Washington's place as the leading U.S. state producing hops, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Visitors looking for an art scene can visit the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, where they'll find exhibits like "100 Stories: A Centennial Exhibition." This exhibit looks to helping people to understand their past in order to know their future. Anyone looking for a bit of classic Americana will not want to miss the Bing Crosby Collection at Gonzaga University. The famous singer and actor donated many of his personal memorabilia to the university.
Located just south of Seattle, Tacoma's port opens up into Commencement Bay. When settled in 1884, it was known as the "City of Destiny" for being the final point on the Northern Pacific Railroad. Now home to roughly 200,000 people, the city has worked to revitalize itself over the past decade. One of the highlights of this program has been the laying 700 miles of fiber optic cable to provide a high-speed network, according to the city's website.
When they hear the name, many people think of Vancouver, British Columbia, despite the fact that the city in Washington was settled decades before its northern counterpart. What most don't know is how much this city has been involved in the country's military history.
Now maintained by the National Park Service, Vancouver Barracks, or Camp Vancouver, as it was originally called, has housed important military leaders, including Ulysses S. Grant and George C. Marshall.
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Seattle's biggest suburb, Bellevue has placed an emphasis on growth and expansion in recent years. Indeed, an aggressive and comprehensive plan is currently in the works, according to its website. In addition to growth in the downtown area, the city has recently annexed four previously unincorporated communities.
Similar to Bellevue, Kent, Washington, has annexed neighboring municipalities, and in doing so became the third fastest growing city in the state, according to the Office of Financial Management. The growth shows little signs of stopping, with Money Magazine projecting a growth rate of jobs of more than 6 percent between 2013-2018.
Slipping from the sixth largest city in 2010, Everett is nevertheless a place to live, especially for sports fans. The city is the home to several professional sports teams, including the Everett Aquasox Baseball Team, the Everett Silvertips Hockey Club, and the Puget Sound Gunners FC Soccer Team. One of the city's most famous natives is radio host and best-selling author, Glen Beck, founder of The Blaze.
Boeing has a major manufacturing facility in Renton, in operation since 1941, where it made a number of planes for the war effort, including the XPPB-1 Sea Ranger for the U.S. Navy. In 1952, the company moved into civilian aircraft production at the Renton facility. One of them was the 707, the first commercial jetliner. This plane set Boeing's position as a leader in aviation that continues today.
The Yakima Valley area is where most of Washington's hops are grown, according to the Hop Growers of America
. More than 75 percent of the nation's hops are grown there. Of that amount, two-thirds of the hops are exported to countries around the world.
10. Spokane Valley:
The hot topic in Spokane Valley in early 2015 revolved around the state's 2014 decision to allow retail marijuana sales. According to The Spokesman-Review
, council members are concerned about what it would mean the community’s youth if the drug were more available, and the Spokane Valley City Council is moving forward with a moratorium on retail sales of marijuana.
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