Lakewood is the second largest city in Washington’s Pierce County, after county seat Tacoma. It had a population of 58,163 as of the last U.S. Census; and it is among the region’s most diverse towns with a population that was 59.3 percent white, 11.8 percent African-American, 9 percent Asian, 2.6 percent Pacific Islander, 1.3 percent Native American and 7.3 percent other races in 2010. Latinos, of any race, also made up 15.3 percent of the city’s population that year. The city was officially incorporated in 1996 after previously being referred to as the Lakes District and Tacoma/Lakewood Center.
Shopping and Dining
The city is home to the spacious Lakewood Towne Center which includes 24 Hour Fitness; Barnes & Noble one of the region’s last chain bookstores; and AMC Lakewood Mall 12, which allows movie buffs to catch the latest blockbusters in comfy, reclining seats.
Lakewood offers some of the most diverse dining options in the county with a plethora of Asian, Latin and European dining options: Enjoy tasty Thai and Vietnamese apps at Long Beach Cafe; sample savory El Salvadorian eats at El Pulgarcito; or fill up with a hearty breakfast at the vegetarian friendly MoonRise Cafe.
Anchoring Lakewood’s nightlife is the Great American Casino which boasts live entertainment every weekend; or enjoy a more low-key night out at the Rollies Tavern or the Lake City Pub.
Parks and local attractions
There are plenty of places to get out and enjoy the great outdoors in Lakewood including the scenic, five-acre American Lake Park; Kiwanis Park, which includes the city’s biggest skate park; and Fort Steilacoom Park (technically in the neighboring town of Fort Steilacoom) which attracts 15,000 revelers each summer with its popular Summer Fest celebration.
The 78-year-old Lakewood Playhouse anchors the local arts scene with an array of edgy theater productions (the likes of “Spamalot,” “Doubt” and “The Rocky Horror Show” in recent years.)
The LeMay Family Collection – owned by Harold and Nancy LeMay – is housed in the historic Marymount Event Center. It includes more than 1,500 vintage vehicles, everything from turn-of-the-century Model Ts to roaring, shiny muscle cars. Many of its contents are showcased in exhibits at the LeMay America’s Car Museum in Tacoma’s Dome Districts.
Lakewood is also home to the stately Thornewood Castle, a historic, Tudor-Gothic-style building that was used to depict the haunted mansion in Stephen King’s ABC-TV mini series “Rose Red” in 2002. It is open for weddings, vacation rentals and other events. But beware: Some locals insist that it’s really haunted.
Lakewood’s Clover Park School District includes 17 elementary schools, four middles schools and three high schools.The city is located conveniently near Seattle and SeaTac International airports to the north (about 45 and 35 miles, respectively) and 20 minutes from state capitol Olympia to the south. It is served by Pierce Transit and Sound Transit Amtrak Service.