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Where to stay, what to do, etc.

Uptown Village in Yelm features an eight-screen cineplex with comfy recliners. Photo credit: Drew White

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Yelm is a small town in Thurston County known for its rural setting and stunning views of Mount Rainier. Referred to as the Pride of the Prairie, it's home to many independently-owned shops and restaurants. Natural beauty is abundant in Yelm, from farmlands and forests to the Nisqually River, which flows through on its way to the Puget Sound.

How to get there

Yelm sits between state Routes 510 and 507 -- about 30 minutes from Olympia and 45 minutes from Tacoma. For a map and directions, click here

Where to stay

Centrally located in Yelm, the Prairie Hotel is a cozy retreat with moderately priced king, double and studio rooms along with one-bedroom suites. Amenities include a fitness center and complimentary grab-and-go breakfast. Dog-friendly rooms are available. For a country bed-and-breakfast experience, stay at Blueberry Hill Farm. This quaint farmhouse sits on seven scenic acres. The downstairs apartment is a 1,000-square-foot guesthouse with a master bedroom, bathroom, living room and full kitchen. Guests are treated to a loaf of homemade bread with butter and jam. Dogs are welcome. 

Where to eat

For a small town, Yelm offers a variety of dining options. Jim Bob's Chuck Wagon is a family-friendly restaurant that serves breakfast all day. Their "off the block" brisket, pulled pork and burgers get great reviews -- and kids like the free ice cream cone that comes with the meal. For brick oven pizza and Italian dishes, try Pizzeria La Gitana or Casa Mia. Mr. Doug's Restaurant is a local hangout that serves American cuisine in a casual setting. Dine at Gather Gastropub (previously Simply Organic) for fresh, organic entrées. Online reviews call this spot the "talk of the town" and rave about the sweet potato fries. If you're in the mood for Mexican food, head to El Rey Burro. This unassuming "hidden gem" sits behind a gas station and serves up delicious burritos, tamales and taco plates. 

What to do 

Yelm's top attraction is its locally-owned movie theater, Yelm Cinemas. The eight-screen cineplex shows first-runs and independent films. It's known for its good prices, comfy recliners and all-you-can-eat, self-serve popcorn. The lounge next door is a popular spot to grab a bite to eat. You can also bowl at family-owned Prairie Lanes or play golf at Tahoma Valley Golf & Country Club. Pick up fresh produce and local goods at the Yelm Farmers Market, open May 26 through Oct. 2, 2018.

Where to enjoy nature

Fish or boat on Clearwood Lake, Lake Lawrence and the Deschutes and Nisqually rivers. Hike or bike on the Yelm-Tenino Trail, a 14.5-mile path that connects Yelm, Rainier and Tenino. For a few more miles, take Yelm's Prairie Line Trail, which meets up with the Yelm-Tenino Trail. 

Living in Yelm

Yelm's close proximity to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Olympia and Tacoma make it a popular residence for military families and commuters. A cozy small-town vibe and affordable housing are part of the allure. If you're considering moving to Yelm, check out the new home communities of Cherry Meadows and Tahoma Terra by Soundbuilt Homes. For resale properties, the real estate agents at Burger Professionals can show you homes and help you through the purchasing process. 


Discover more and see Yelm's view of Mount Rainier here. Click here to learn about living and working in Yelm. History buffs: check out the Yelm History Project

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