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Urban Spelunker: Downtown Olympia

Divine matrimony of bohemian, hipster and upper-class flair

Imaginative gifts and accessories for your home, your body and your life can be found at Popinjay in downtown Olympia. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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When entering downtown Olympia, you will likely first be taken by the majestic state capitol, surrounding historical architecture and park scenery. As you venture further, you'll discover an eclectic mix of shopping and dining options in what is perhaps one of the most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods around. Downtown Olympia is swirling with a divine matrimony of bohemian, hipster and upper-class flair. There's a little something for every urban spelunker. Here are a few of my finds:

[Graphic Novel Groupies]

Whether you used to collect comics, are a lover of the X-Men or can still manage to keep up with the ever-changing story lines, a visit to a comic shop is a visual journey. Sadly, though, it seems as though many local shops disappeared with the 90s. In Downtown Olympia, however, there still stands one. Aptly named the Danger Room, this comic book shop is the bee's knees. The guys on staff know their stuff, and the selection of comics, graphic novels and super hero action figures is vast. Get your geek on. 201 4th Ave W., Olympia, 360.705.3050. Open Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m. 

[Show Scenesters]

If you're looking to catch some "real live theatre" during your visit, Harlequin Productions is the place to go. Harlequin Productions has called the State Theater home for nearly 20 years and produces professional stage shows during its six-show season. You can look forward to Jesus Christ Superstar to run from June 20 through July 20. Not only does the 212-seat auditorium host your average productions, but it also has a couple of themed evenings each run, like Ladies Night Out, which includes locally crafted truffles and champagne, or Pride Night, which also includes refreshments. 202 4th Ave. E., Olympia, 360.786.0151. For show times and information visit

[Gifts Galore]

Popinjay is a treasure trove for those looking for a thoughtful gift. This classy store is teeming with lovely gift ideas, whether for your grandma or a baby shower. As you enter, you're welcomed by a lovely display of truffles and chocolates, but don't get distracted just yet. As you journey to the rear of the store, you'll spy jewelry, art, decorative accessories for the home and even some uber cute options for the tots in your life. 414 Capitol Way S., Olympia, 360.352.9841. Open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

[Book Bounty]

Downtown actually has several bookish destinations, with Last Word Books just being one of them. Last Word Books has loads of titles that line the shelves and walls, from classic literary greats to rare finds. Furthermore, Last Word Books hosts reading events on a fairly regular basis, giving book worms the opportunity to mingle and talk all things books. If you are a lover of the written word, this is a good go-to. 211 4th Ave. E., Olympia, 360.786.9673. Open Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

[Fragrance and Fun]

When your shopping list includes a unicorn mask, ‘stache mug, zombie literature and smell-good lotions, there really is only one spot for you to stop, and that is Archibald Sisters. Yes, you can find all of this and much, much more. This hip shop is home to all things kitschy and pop culture for gifting. And toward the back of the store, you'll find loads of unique gift cards and a fragrance center that includes lotions, washes and more that can even be personalized to your aroma needs. 406 Capitol Way S., Olympia, 360.943.2707. Open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Hip Threads: Sweet Life, G. Miller

Wine and Dine: Rumors Wine Bar, The Mark

Roasted Bean Lovin': Batdorf & Bronson, Caffe Vita, Volcano Vapor Cafe (for the lovers of vaping with their roasted bean)

Bicycles, Bicycles, Bicycles: Old Town Bicycle

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