Go to the Miller Brewery (on...
Go to the Miller Brewery (on Capitol Blvd and Cleveland...really it's almost Tumwater) and get free beer by taking the tour. It used to be the Olympia Brewery, but Miller bought them out. :(
Olympia beer is still available in mass quantities. Racks of 'stubbies' (small brown bottles) are available at most stores, and McCoy's Tavern (on 4th Ave, towards the eastside of downtown) offers a $4 pitcher of Olympia beer.
I also recommend just immersing yourself in downtown during the day and at night. There are so many cool people, of different varieties, all the time. Spend some time in a coffee shop, sit in on a poetry reading, or dance nuts at a local club. One of the best things about dancing in Olympia is that many people go every week. I have friends from dancing at Thekla on Sunday nights that I never saw except for Sunday nights at Thekla, and then we were good friends.
I almost forgot the Artesian well! The water in Olympia is excellent, rather pure. But if you still can't stand city water, there is a direct line to the artesian wells that supply the city's water. The 'well' is actually a pipe jutting up from the ground and it's located in the parking lot across from McCoy's tavern. Lots of people fill jugs for their drinking water from this well.
There's a legend that if a visitor drinks from the well, they will return someday. Sounds a lot like Rome, but Olympia might be better! There are far too many memories to pick one. I love drinking wine with my friends all day. I love calling friends at 10:05 to watch a movie at Lacey Cinemas at 10:15. I love drinking at the bars and seeing twenty people I know. I love wandering the parks and natural spots. I love riding my bike all over Olympia...it's extremely bike friendly.
Just be tolerant and live life to the fullest. That's what Olympia taught me.
Chehalis Western Trail
The Chehalis Trail is one that stretches from beyond Olympia directly to Mt. Rainier Nat'l Park, so I've heard. A couple years ago the city of Olympia donated the money to create an overpass just for the Trail. Many people just like to take a stroll up and down it for a couple miles but its also very bike-able.
access is available at 12th Avenue in Lacey on the north end and the Yelm Highway. Trailheads are currently located at Chambers Lake (14th Avenue), 67th Avenue and Fir Tree Road. Hours of trailheads are from dawn to dusk daily. Gates are closed at dusk.
Whether you're enjoying the view from afar or making the drive and enjoying it first-hand, Mount Rainier is a beautiful sight. In the winter you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding, and the summer provides ample opportunity for great hikes.
A Capitol Experience Indeed
Along with being the capitol of Washington, the city has a number of smaller and lesser known activities.
Alas, one of the more interesting ones, even for those who don't like alcoholic beverages, has closed and moved to California: that's right, the famous Olympia Brewery is no longer active. Manufacture of that particular brand name beverage, and a number of others in Oregon and Washington, has been consolidated by one of the big international breweries in California. The building is for sale, and has been for a while, and so the once popular brewery tours that were featured in every tourist guide of Olympia no longer show tourists the extensive steps of making beer on a massive scale.
My favorite feature of the brewery, however, was the fountain that once was visible from Interstate 5. How I wish I had photos of that great fountain I could share with you here!
In place of the brewery, however, there are a few museums and attractions related to Olympia being the capitol of the state, plus a number of parks.
Olympia - My Hometown
"An Insider's View of OlyWa"
Welcome to Olympia - I actually grew up here, moved away for college, and then came back as an adult. It's a great place to live if you don't mind the rain. And if you come at the right time of year (late summer, for example) it's a great place to visit as well. If you are a winter sports fan, we have ski and snowboarding areas a short drive away. If you like to hike, we are surrounded by the Olympic Mountains to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east. Of course, Capitol Forest is a local hot spot for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking adventures.
You can enjoy snow and sun at the same time. We get more than our fair share of cold, wet, gray weather, but in the late summer we are rewarded with beautiful, mild weather and incredible views of the water and the mountains.
"The State Capitol"
Olympia is the state capitol, located at the southern tip of Puget Sound. It's a funky town with a diverse group of inhabitants. If you get tired of the slower pace, Seattle is an hour to the north and Portland is 90 minutes to the south.