Olympia, the capital city of Washington State, is a vibrant and picturesque destination with a rich history and natural beauty. Nestled at the southern tip of Puget Sound, Olympia offers a blend of outdoor adventures, cultural attractions, and a thriving arts scene. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Olympia.
1. Washington State Capitol
Start your visit by exploring the Washington State Capitol, a stunning neoclassical building that houses the offices of the Governor and other state agencies. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and architecture of this impressive landmark. Don’t miss the opportunity to walk around the beautifully landscaped Capitol Campus.
2. Percival Landing Park
Located along the waterfront, Percival Landing Park is a popular spot for strolling, picnicking, and enjoying scenic views of the bay. Take a leisurely walk along the boardwalk, relax on one of the benches, or watch boats sail by. The park also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year.
3. Olympic National Park
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_National_Park
Just a short drive from Olympia, Olympic National Park is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Explore its diverse landscapes, including temperate rainforests, rugged mountains, and pristine coastline. Hike along the trails, admire picturesque waterfalls, and keep an eye out for wildlife. The park offers opportunities for camping, fishing, and even hot springs.
4. Hands On Children’s Museum
If you’re traveling with kids, the Hands On Children’s Museum is a must-visit. This interactive museum features exhibits and activities that engage young minds through play and exploration. From a life-sized tugboat to a giant treehouse, children can learn about science, art, and culture in a fun and educational way.
5. Tumwater Falls Park
Just a few miles from Olympia, Tumwater Falls Park is a scenic gem. The park boasts a series of beautiful waterfalls on the Deschutes River, with well-maintained trails and viewing platforms. It’s a great place for a picnic, a leisurely walk, or photography enthusiasts looking to capture the natural beauty.
6. Heritage Park
Situated in downtown Olympia, Heritage Park is a beautiful urban oasis. The park encompasses Capitol Lake and offers picturesque views of the Capitol building. Take a stroll along the waterfront, relax on the grassy lawns, or visit the Heritage Park Fountain, which lights up in vibrant colors during the evening.
7. Priest Point Park
Image Source: https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/priest-point-park
This 314-acre waterfront park is a nature lover’s paradise. With miles of hiking trails, beautiful forested areas, and stunning views of the Sound, Priest Point Park is perfect for a peaceful escape. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as deer, birds, and even seals along the shore.
8. East Bay Public Plaza
Situated near the waterfront, East Bay Public Plaza is a beautifully designed public space that offers scenic views of the marina and Puget Sound. Enjoy the well-maintained lawns, interactive fountains, and public art installations. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic or to simply relax and take in the surroundings.
9. Yashiro Japanese Garden
Experience tranquility at the Yashiro Japanese Garden, a hidden gem tucked away within Olympia’s Priest Point Park. This serene and meticulously maintained garden features traditional Japanese landscaping, including a koi pond, stone lanterns, and peaceful walking paths. It’s a place of serenity and reflection.
10. Olympia Waterfront Trail
Lace up your walking shoes or rent a bike to explore the Olympia Waterfront Trail. This picturesque trail follows the shoreline and offers breathtaking views of the Sound, downtown Olympia, and the Capitol building. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, go for a jog, or bring your binoculars for birdwatching along the way.
11. Tolmie State Park
Image Source: https://www.parks.wa.gov/297/Tolmie
Located a short drive from Olympia, Tolmie State Park is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the park’s trails, stroll along the beach, or go kayaking in the calm waters. The park also offers picnic areas and a designated diving area for those interested in underwater exploration.
12. South Sound Estuarium
Discover the wonders of the Puget Sound marine ecosystem at the South Sound Estuarium. This educational center features interactive exhibits, aquarium tanks with local marine life, and knowledgeable staff who can provide insights into the unique environment and conservation efforts. It’s a great place for both adults and children to learn about the rich biodiversity of the region.
13. Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve
Explore the mysterious Mima Mounds, a natural phenomenon located just outside of Olympia. These intriguing mounds cover an extensive area and have puzzled scientists for years. Take a hike through the preserve’s trails, observe the unique prairie landscape, and learn about the various theories surrounding the formation of these enigmatic mounds.
14. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a natural gem located near Olympia, Washington. This expansive refuge covers over 3,000 acres and is home to diverse ecosystems, providing habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species.
15. Percival Landing
Percival Landing is a popular waterfront park located in downtown Olympia, Washington. Situated along the shores of Budd Inlet, this picturesque destination offers a range of activities and amenities for visitors to enjoy.
16. Monarch Sculpture Park
Image Source: https://www.monarchsculpturepark.org/
Monarch Sculpture Park is a captivating outdoor art gallery located in Tenino, Washington, just a short drive from Olympia. Set amidst a serene natural landscape, this unique park showcases an array of sculptures created by local and international artists.
17. Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area
Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area is a stunning nature preserve located near Olympia, Washington. This 832-acre site encompasses a diverse range of habitats, including saltwater marshes, mudflats, wetlands, forests, and shoreline, making it a haven for wildlife and a popular destination for nature enthusiasts.
18. Tolmie State Park
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tolmie_State_Park
Tolmie State Park is a scenic waterfront park located in Olympia, Washington. Nestled on the shores of Puget Sound, this 105-acre park offers a range of outdoor activities and stunning natural beauty. Tolmie State Park features a beautiful stretch of sandy beach that provides access to the tranquil waters of Puget Sound. Whether you want to relax on the shore, go for a swim, or simply enjoy the sound of waves, the beach offers a serene setting for beachcombing and enjoying the coastal environment.
19. Millersylvania State Park
Image Source: https://www.parks.wa.gov/546/Millersylvania
Millersylvania State Park is a beautiful recreational area located near Olympia, Washington. Spanning over 842 acres, this state park offers a wide range of activities and amenities for visitors to enjoy. Millersylvania State Park features a large campground with over 120 campsites suitable for tents and RVs. The campground offers a variety of amenities, including restrooms, showers, and picnic tables.
20. Olympic Flight Museum
The Olympic Flight Museum is a must-visit attraction for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs in Olympia, Washington. This aviation museum showcases a remarkable collection of vintage aircraft, artifacts, and exhibits that highlight the rich aviation history of the region.
21. WET Science Center
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The WET Science Center is a unique and interactive science center located in downtown Olympia, Washington. WET stands for “Water Education and Technology,” and the center is dedicated to promoting awareness and understanding of water resources and environmental stewardship.
22. Mclane Creek Nature Trail
McLane Creek Nature Trail is a serene and picturesque nature trail located near Olympia, Washington. This trail is part of the larger Capitol State Forest and offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest’s natural surroundings.
23. 5th Avenue Bridge
The 5th Avenue Bridge, also known as the 5th Avenue Deschutes River Bridge, is a prominent landmark in Olympia, Washington. This historic bridge spans the picturesque Deschutes River and serves as an important transportation route within the city. The 5th Avenue Bridge is an architectural gem that showcases the charm of the early 20th century.
24. Bigelow House Museum
Image Source: https://olympiahistory.org/bigelow-house-museum-2/
The Bigelow House Museum is a fascinating historic site located in Olympia, Washington. It is the oldest residence in the city and provides visitors with a glimpse into the early days of Olympia’s history. The Bigelow House is a beautifully preserved historic home that was built in 1854 by pioneer Daniel Bigelow and his wife, Ann Elizabeth White Bigelow. The house reflects the architectural style of the mid-19th century and offers a rare opportunity to step back in time and experience the lifestyle of the early settlers in the region.
25. West Bay Park
West Bay Park is a scenic waterfront park located in Olympia, Washington. Situated on the western shore of Budd Inlet, the park offers visitors a peaceful and natural setting to enjoy outdoor activities and take in the beauty of the Puget Sound.
26. Marathon Park
Marathon Park is a beautiful public park located in Olympia, Washington. Nestled along the waterfront of Budd Inlet, the park offers a range of recreational opportunities and stunning views of the Puget Sound. Marathon Park is situated on the shores of Budd Inlet, providing visitors with breathtaking views of the water and the surrounding natural beauty. The park’s location offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere, perfect for enjoying the sights and sounds of the Puget Sound.
27. Yauger Park
Image Source: https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/yauger-park
Yauger Park is a popular community park located in Olympia, Washington. This spacious park offers a wide range of recreational activities, amenities, and natural beauty, making it a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike. Yauger Park features multiple sports fields and courts, providing opportunities for various athletic activities. You’ll find soccer fields, baseball and softball fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast looking for a game or a casual player wanting to enjoy some friendly competition, Yauger Park has the facilities to accommodate your needs.
28. Capitol State Forest
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitol_State_Forest
Capitol State Forest is a sprawling forested area located near Olympia, Washington. Spanning over 110,000 acres, this vast forest offers an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities and a chance to immerse oneself in nature.
29. Columbus Park
Columbus Park is a small neighborhood park located in Olympia, Washington. While it may not be as well-known as some of the larger parks in the area, it still offers a pleasant outdoor space for recreation and relaxation. Columbus Park features open green spaces where visitors can engage in outdoor activities such as playing catch, flying kites, or enjoying a leisurely walk. There is also a picnic area with tables and benches, providing a spot for families and friends to gather and have a picnic lunch.
30. Hope Island Marine State Park
Image Source: https://www.parks.wa.gov/517/Hope-Island—Mason
Hope Island Marine State Park is a beautiful marine park located in the southern part of Puget Sound near Olympia, Washington. Accessible only by boat, this island park offers a serene and natural environment for outdoor enthusiasts to explore. Hope Island is known for its pristine beauty and lush greenery. The island is covered in dense forests of Western red cedar, Douglas fir, and other native trees.
31. Temple Beth Hatfiloh
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Temple Beth Hatfiloh is a vibrant and inclusive Jewish community located in Olympia, Washington. It serves as a spiritual home and gathering place for people of all backgrounds and levels of observance. Temple Beth Hatfiloh provides a welcoming and supportive community for individuals and families to engage in Jewish worship, celebrations, and learning.
Olympia, Washington, is a captivating destination that offers a mix of history, nature, culture, and culinary delights. Whether you’re interested in exploring its historic landmarks, enjoying outdoor adventures, or imm ersing yourself in the arts and local flavors, Olympia has something to cater to your interests. Whether you’re interested in history or outdoor adventures, arts and culture, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature, Olympia has something to offer for everyone.
Places and Things To Do