The Washington State Fair (formerly the Puyallup Fair) is the largest attraction held in all of Washington State and attending is a regular tradition for tons of people from the entire Puget Sound region.
Suggested Reading: Best Things to do at the Puyallup Fair
The fair takes place on the Puyallup Fairgrounds in Puyallup, which is about 35 miles south of Seattle and 10 miles east of Tacoma, and is also home to the Puyallup Spring Fair, Oktoberfest, and Victorian Country Christmas, as well as other events throughout the year. The Puyallup Fair has taken place since October 1900 and currently brings in more than 1 million people each year!
Exhibit halls, barns, rides, food areas, and stages are located throughout the grounds. If you are not already familiar with what is where, check out this map. Just remember which color gate you came in—there are colored stripes on the ground that can lead you back if you don’t remember how to get there later!
110 9th Ave SW
Puyallup WA 98371
Tickets and Discounts
Fair admission is generally just around or just over $10. Ride and game tickets can be purchased separately, but you have many options to customize your fair experience, as well as several options to get tickets at a discount.
The first option to get tickets is to buy directly from the Puyallup Fair’s website. If you purchase tickets before the fair opens, you can get discounts on just about everything here. The fair website allows you to buy fair admission and special bundle deals, including Dizzy Passes, which are the best option if you want to ride lots of rides.
You can also find ride-food-admission packages at Fred Meyer and often discount admission at Safeway, too.
Puyallup Fair Concerts and Events
Each year brings a new set of performers, but you can always count on headliners. “Weird Al” Yankovic tends to be a repeat offender, and while he is not here every year, he comes back often and his shows are popular and awesomely funny. Other performers range from Amy Grant to Heart to the Beach Boys and Carrie Underwood.
Seating for concerts comes at several levels—the cheapest seats are Grandstand seats. Unlike many cheap seats, these aren’t nosebleeds since the arena is not too large. Tickets can be purchased in advance from the fair’s website, but often there are still seats the day of the concerts as well for many shows and there is a box office near the main gate.
The Puyallup Fair Rodeo is also a large event that takes place on the fairgrounds each year at the same time as the fair. A number of 4-H shows and competitions take place every day. There are several smaller free stages, including the Coca-Cola Stage, Fountain Plaza Stage, and Showplace Stage. Schedules for events at these are usually posted near the stages. Shows include jugglers, magic acts, bands, hypnotists, and more.
Of course, a world-class fair has to have rides, and the Puyallup Fair does! Whether you want to get your thrill on or need something fun for your three-year-old to ride, there are rides that are just right. Thrilling rides include the fair’s resident roller coaster and the Extreme Scream. There are also special thrill rides each year (often not included in the Dizzy Pass) to mix things up a bit, and many mid-level (not too scary) rides that are fun for everyone. There is a full array of rides for small children, too, and most require kids to be at least 36 inches tall.
The Puyallup Fair is famous for several types of tasty treats. While they may not sound like a big deal, scones are possibly the most popular fair food here. These are simple scones—lightly sweet, biscuit-style and stuffed with raspberry jam and butter (you can request butter or jam only), but these are essential parts of the fair experience. Some scone locations will have very long lines while others often have no wait at all.
Other popular foods here include the Krusty Pup (corn dogs), giant Earthquake Burgers, massive piles of curly fries, funnel cakes, elephant ears, and more. Just about anything that can be fried has been fried and is located at a food stall here.
Animals and Agriculture
There are many of these here for all to see. Cows and a milking facility for visitors to view, horses, cats and dogs, chickens, goats, sheep, and others are all located in barns all around the fairgrounds. You can also catch shows involving animals, from horse-riding competitions to Mutton Bustin’—kids riding sheep. Animal exhibits are located near the Blue, Green, and Purple Gates.
There are also many agriculture exhibits in the halls located mostly around the Gold and Red Gates.
Getting There and Parking
If you don’t want to deal with driving or parking, there is usually a bus option. Formerly, Pierce Transit offered express service from the South Hill Mall, Tacoma Mall, and Lakewood Towne Center, but the fair has taken over this service. Regardless of who runs it, there are likely to be shuttles from the mall parking lots and they cost just a few dollars round trip.
There are many routes to the fairgrounds depending on where you are located, and the best route can vary depending on where you are coming from in Tacoma since both River Road and WA-512 will take you out to the fair. Check Google maps for specific directions from your starting point. If you come on opening day, expect traffic, delays, and possibly a tough time finding parking.
There are several lots located all around the grounds, including a large lot across from the Blue Gate on Meridien and several lots along the back of the fairgrounds outside of the Green, Purple, and Orange Gates. You will always pay a little more to park at the fair parking lots, but they are close and convenient. If you want to save money, though, drive around the streets surrounding the fair—many local families offer up their yards as parking lots for more modest fees and you can even find street parking for free if you’re willing to walk a few blocks.