A capital way to enjoy a day, or weekend

Olympia has lots to offer

By Marie Hanley on June 3, 2022

Looking for an enjoyable way this month to experience a day out of the office or a weekend getaway?  Then look no further than Olympia.

The capital of Washington, Olympia is home to a number of historic buildings, like the 1909 Governor's Mansion and the Legislative Building built in 1928. Of special consideration is the Tivoli Fountain; be sure to bring a camera!

Just a stone's throw from the capitol buildings is Capitol Lake, a 260-acre body of water that features a quiet, 3.5-mile walking trail.

Other intriguing places to visit include the oldest house in the state, the Bigelow House Museum.  What's more, the Schmidt House, a home built in 1904 for Leopold Schmidt, the founder of Olympic Brewing Company, is another architectural treasure.

Speaking of beer .... Give Headless Mumby Brewing, Three Magnets Brewing Company, or Top Rung Brewing Company a look - and taste. If beer isn't your thing, the Cheeky Martini Lounge (a plant-based cocktail bar) and the Rumors Wine Bar beckon.

When it comes to cultural enlightenment, Olympia is first rate. Parents and children will enjoy the Hands On Children's Museum, the Olympia Pinball Museum or the Puget Sound Estuarium.

The work of local artists can be seen by taking a walking tour of Olympia's downtown galleries - from the Splash Galley and Van Tuinen Art to The Mark Gallery and the Art House Designs, all within a few blocks of each other. 

Also keep an eye out for the many murals that adorn the downtown historic district. The city has over 50 registered murals on building sides and in alleys. Half the fun of public art is turning a corner and finding something unique.

Not more than 10 miles north of Olympia is the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, a 4,529-acre preserve at the confluence of the Puget Sound and the Nisqually River. In the downtown area, Marathon Park, the Yashiro Japanese Garden and Olympia's iconic 3.4-acre waterfront park, Percival Landing, offer peace and quiet.

Nearby the Landing is the Olympia Farmers Market which for over 40 years has featured farm vendors, eastern Washington fruit, artisan foods, crafts and restaurants.

To the southwest of the city is the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve, an area covered with bubble-like mounds. No one is sure what made them, but the half-mile path around the National Natural Landmark gives visitors time to speculate.

Closer to the state capital is the Olympic Flight Museum located at the Olympia Regional Airport. A dedicated hangar shelters heritage planes, helicopters and memorabilia.

When you get hungry, for classic Pacific Northwest cuisine, think about trying the Cascadia Grill, or the La Petite Maison, or perhaps the Mediterranean Breeze. Other fine restaurants in Olympia to keep in mind are the Iron Rabbit, the Swing Wine Bar, and Tugboat Annie's.

Go ahead and start planning a day trip to or weekend stay in Olympia. Chances are, you will go back for more.

For more information, visit https://www.thrillist.com/travel/seattle/things-to-do-in-olympia-washington or https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-olympia.