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A day in Olympia: Exploring the capital city

From its natural beauty and cultural attractions to its rich history and culinary delights, Olympia, offers a wealth of experiences waiting to be discovered. Photo credit: Stock photo

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Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Olympia offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. As the capital of the state, Olympia boasts a rich heritage, stunning waterfront vistas, and a vibrant arts scene, making it an ideal destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.

Morning: Embrace nature

Begin your day in Olympia with a rejuvenating stroll along the picturesque waterfront. The city is blessed with an abundance of green spaces, including Percival Landing Park, which features a mile-long boardwalk offering sweeping views of Budd Inlet and the Olympic Mountains beyond. Take in the crisp morning air as you watch boats bobbing in the marina and seabirds gliding overhead.

Afterward, head to the nearby Capitol State Forest for a hike or scenic drive. With over 100,000 acres of lush forestland, the park offers countless opportunities for outdoor recreation, from hiking and mountain biking to horseback riding and wildlife watching. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the mysterious Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve, where you can marvel at the otherworldly landscape of grass-covered mounds.

Midday: Cultural exploration

For lunch, venture into downtown Olympia, where you'll find a diverse array of dining options to suit every palate. From farm-to-table eateries serving up fresh, locally sourced cuisine to international restaurants offering flavors from around the globe, there's something to satisfy every craving.

After lunch, take some time to explore Olympia's thriving arts scene. The city is home to numerous galleries, studios, and performance spaces showcasing the work of local artists and performers. Visit the Washington State Capitol Campus to admire the impressive architecture of the Legislative Building, plus marvel in the beauty of the preserved historic gardens of the Capitol Campus. These gardens are home to the largest English Oak in the nation, plus cherry blossom trees that bloom each spring.

Afternoon: Historic treasures

No visit to Olympia would be complete without exploring its rich history. Make your way to the historic district of downtown Olympia, where you can wander among beautifully preserved Victorian-era buildings and charming boutiques. Stop by the Hands On Children's Museum for a fun and interactive learning experience that's sure to delight visitors of all ages.

For a deeper dive into the past, pay a visit to the Bigelow House Museum, the oldest residence in Olympia. Built in 1854, this stately home offers a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of early settlers in the region. Guided tours are available, allowing you to explore the house's furnished rooms and learn about the history of the Bigelow family.

Evening: Culinary delights

As the day draws to a close, treat yourself to a memorable dining experience at one of Olympia's acclaimed restaurants. Whether you're in the mood for fresh seafood straight from the Puget Sound, gourmet cuisine crafted with locally sourced ingredients, or casual fare with a creative twist, you'll find no shortage of options to tantalize your taste buds.

We recommend Anthony's Home Port,  Basilico Ristorante and Equal Latin Restaurant and Bar.

After dinner, in the summer months when it stays light out, take a leisurely stroll along Capitol Lake to admire the city's twinkling skyline reflected in the calm waters. If you're in the mood for entertainment, catch a live performance at one of Olympia's many theaters or music venues, where you can enjoy everything from indie rock and jazz to classical music and experimental theater.

From its natural beauty and cultural attractions to its rich history and culinary delights, Olympia, offers a wealth of experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you're exploring the city's scenic waterfront, delving into its vibrant arts scene, or immersing yourself in its fascinating history, a day in Olympia is sure to leave you with memories to last a lifetime. So pack your bags, hit the road, and prepare to be enchanted by all that this charming capital city has to offer.

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