Urban Spelunker: West Olympia

Shops, eats and treats in Olympia's westside

By Jackie Fender on October 31, 2013

While downtown Olympia plays home to a walkable collection of boutique-like shopping experiences and a plethora of locally owned dining options, West Olympia is better known for its big box stores and as a destination for mall rats and college kids due to its close proximity to The Evergreen State College. That's not to say that West Olympia isn't host to lovely locations of its own, they simply are not in a concentrated area like in downtown. West Olympia has a diverse community of must visits scattered throughout the district; here are just a few worth spelunking.

[Baking Betties]
Drive toward the outskirts of West Olympia, keep driving until you feel like surely you've missed it, and there you'll find Blue Heron Bakery. This is whole-grain baked goods at its finest. This charming, snug bakery features cookies, pastries, bread and granola. With dairy and egg-free options, Blue Heron is vegan friendly, and quality, pure ingredients means that you can indulge your sweet tooth and carb loving in a healthy(ish) way. Open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, 4935 Mud Bay Road NW, Olympia, 360.866.2253

[Healthy Hippies]
Olympia Food Co-op is a member-owned and operated grocer that specializes in healthy, locally sourced, organic food stuffs and products. One need not be a member to shop here, however; it's open to the public. It also hosts a variety of educational cooking courses so you can use those healthy ingredients to their optimum yum capacity. Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, 961 Rogers St., Olympia, 360.754.7666

[Coffee Connoisseurs]
Though there are many cafe options for lovers of the roasted bean, Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. is a personal go to. Not only does it have fantastic beans that you can purchase onsite and a selection of pastries and baked goods to accompany your cup of joe, it also has a lovely outdoor "garden" area where you can take a seat, soak in some sun and sip. Open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 1706 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia, 360.705.9451

[French Fare]
La Petite Maison's Chef Justin Wells serves up delightful French cuisine using fresh seasonal ingredients, then pairs it with a choice from an impressive wine selection. True to its name, which means "the little house," it's located in one of Olympia's charming, intimate historical homes and is date-night worthy. I'd recommend a reservation as dinner is served on a very limited schedule compared to most establishments. Open 5:30-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 101 Division St. NW, Olympia, 360.754.9623

[Short Stroll]
Garfield Nature Trail is a perfect visit for nature hounds who need to get a quick fix. Meant to bridge two separate neighborhoods, this little trail is only about a mile roundtrip. Located just a couple of blocks from Sage's Brunch House, I'd recommend it for a post-meal jaunt. Currently, there are piles of leaves for all-over fun for the dogs and kids, and there is also a cute creek. 620 Rogers St. NW, Olympia