Olympia Travel Guide

  • Olympia
    by PeterVancouver
  • Example of sand sculpture Olympia
    Example of sand sculpture Olympia
    by PeterVancouver
  • So much to investigate
    So much to investigate
    by PeterVancouver

Olympia Highlights

  • Pro
    olyrunner profile photo

    olyrunner says…

     Great coffee, close to Seattle, Portland and the mountains... 

  • Con
    olyrunner profile photo

    olyrunner says…

     Rain, rain and more rain.... 

  • In a nutshell
    olyrunner profile photo

    olyrunner says…

     If you can handle 9 months of rain, you'll be rewarded with an incredible summer. 

Olympia Things to Do

  • Mima Mounds

    NOTE: As of July of 2011, it is required to have a Discover Pass or pay a day use fee for Washington public lands.Local Native American tribes tell the story of a girl that refused to wash her face, due to the possible severe repercussions such a washing might have. When they were finally able to convince her that she really should wash her face, a...

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  • Capitol Lake

    The above photo shows Capitol Lake from the trail that surrounds the northern part of the lake. To the left side it is possible to see the dome of the "new" (as of the 1910s) Capitol Building. The northern part of Capitol Lake and the forests surrounding the lake dominate this scene.Many years ago, a dam and dike were constructed across the mouth...

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  • Wasington State Captitol

    the state Capitol of Washington State lies in Olympia, Lying along Interstate 5 south, about 60 miles south of Seattle and a few minutes drive from the Outlet Stores of Centralia. The Capitol houses the state legislative building and the State Supreme Court and State Governor's House.

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  • Childrens Hands on Museum

    A wonderful experience for our three grandchildren of between 3 and 7 years old and well worth the 4 hour drive from Canada down the I5There is so much of truly hands on activities that even after a long trip, they all managed to keep more than busy from noon until the closing time of 17.00hrs.Wish we had something like this in Vancouver as...

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  • Chehalis Western Trail

    In the early 1980s Weyerhaeuser decided it was time to cease operation of its railroad between its properties in the Cascades foothills and Puget Sound. Parts of this railroad remained in operation into the 1990s, and one shop facility stayed open until around 2005.However, today, there are some 35 miles of ex-logging railroad that have been...

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  • Visiting the Capitol and its Grounds

    In the very early 1900s, there was a movement to create artificial and massive classical public works as part of the "City Beautiful" efforts. This era reached its pinnacle in such structures as the 1911 designed (and not completed until the late 1920s) Capitol Building in Olympia. The plan called for the capitol campus to overlook a freshwater...

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Olympia Hotels

See all 13 Hotels in Olympia
  • Ramada Olympia

    4520 Martin Way East, (formerly Ameritel Inn Olympia), Olympia, Washington, 98516, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

  • Red Lion Hotel Olympia

    2300 Evergreen Park Drive, (Formerly WestCoast), Olympia, Washington, 98502, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Couples

    Hotel Class 2.5 out of 5 stars

  • Phoenix Inn Suites Olympia

    415 Capitol Way N, Olympia, Washington, 98501, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

Olympia Restaurants

  • Long Tradition of Sea Food

    NOTE: In July of 2013 a fire nearly completely destroyed the historic building in which the Oyster House lived. They hope to reopen at some point, and partial demolition and reconstruction is ongoing. See The Web Site for information.The building in which The Oyster House lives today has a long and storied history in the world of sea food. It was...

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  • Plenty Restaurant - Downtown Olympia

    We had a late afternoon lunch at Plenty in Olympia while driving through the area. I'm not a fan of chain restaurants of any kind, and I had never visited the Capital of Washington, so we decided to drive through town and find a local place for some food. Plenty Restaurant was one of the few options we saw that wasn't Asian food. The inside was...

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  • Never eat at Ben Moore's! Worst Service...

    Horrible, horrible, horrible... That is the only way to describe my experience at Ben Moore's, and it is an understatement. I have traveled all around the world and it was here at home in Olympia that I came across the rudest waitress I have ever met. She had a horrible attitude from the moment I set foot in the door and it just got worse from...

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Olympia Nightlife

  • oly bars

    Downtown Olympia is the only place that matters for nightlife. The best ambiance is at The Brotherhood, a funky bar just off 4th Ave. Wacky collection of velvet bullfighter paintings, Kennedy tapestrys on the wall and a full size shuffleboard table. Occasional interesting live music, but mostly a loud and lively chat bar. On 4thAve. I recommend The...

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  • If you're into music Oly is an...

    If you're into music Oly is an awesome place to spend some time. It doesn't matter what day of the week it is, there is probably a show. Just look around town for fliers. Depending on your music taste, Dumpster Values, Le Voyeur, the 4th Ave Tavern, and the bulletin board in the alley of the Capitol theater are all heavily plastered with punk,...

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  • Olympia's nightlife is very...

    Olympia's nightlife is very diverse and there are many places to cater to different tastes. Olympia has been extremely well-known for its music scene and on any weekend night you can see numerous bands scattered throughout the various clubs downtown. Many indie bands and more harder rock/punk bands descend on the city also during the week. You can...

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Olympia Transportation

  • Amtrak Station isn't in Olympia!

    The best routing for intercity passenger trains between Portland and Seattle wound up not passing through downtown Olympia due to nearby hills. That was acceptable at first, since adequate train traffic existed on the branch line to meet the needs of Olympia.Unfortunately, today, with the passenger traffic cut back to only a few trains a day...

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  • Small Transit Service is Award Winner

    While the resources for providing public transit in Olympia and surrounding areas are somewhat limited due to the population level and the sheer amount of sprawl all over any available piece of ground, Intercity Transit does a reasonably good job with what it has available.To that end, Intercity Transit has also won the 2009 "America's Best Transit...

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  • SeaTac to Olympia Transport Options

    This "tip" was created in response to a posting on the VirtualTourist Forums, and therefore significant changes will have to be made over time (including photos). Expect the material here to be a bit raw for a little while until I have time to do a better job editing it and getting it up to VT "tip" standards.Your best source of information is the...

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Olympia Shopping

  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Artwork,...

    Located in a section of town that was once part of the Port of Olympia, the Olympia Farmer's Market is housed in a new building that does honor to the traditional building practices of the old port side warehouses and related buildings. The market has been a part of Olympia since 1973, and therefore has become an institution that is well respected...

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  • Fresh Fruit & veg plus home made...

    If you want good fresh fruit & veg this is the place to come and get it, also there are alot of crafts in which people have spent alot of time making themselves and selling them at a very good price. fresh fruit & veg, fish, hand made arts & crafts what you like, you pay for what you get

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  • Olympia Hotels

    13 Hotels in Olympia

    12 Reviews and Opinions

Olympia Local Customs

  • Procession of the Species: Annual...

    Part Carnival Parade (in the South American sense), part environmental awareness campaign, part folk art festival, part sculpture show, and part costume party, the annual Procession of the Species is only part of a long event surrounding environmental education and awareness.The most well known of the events is the Saturday evening procession, but...

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  • Get Your Brew On

    Coffee, that is. Olympia is home to Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters. While that big, green "other coffee company" may have put specialty coffee on the map, B&B is where it's at, whether you're in Olympia or elsewhere. If you're in town, stop at the retail store or head down to the tasting room at the roastery, next door to the Olympia Farmer's...

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  • Do not be judgemental about...

    Do not be judgemental about anything. Tolerance is the golden virtue in Olympia. I've seen people get in serious trouble by making fun of gays, women, or minorities. The goal is to remember that we are all people and we must live together.Also, don't take anybody at face value. A lot of people wearing grungy clothes are very hygenic. A lot of...

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Olympia Warnings and Dangers

  • Safe! Mostly.....

    I live in Olympia, I have read some of your reveiws, the houses are BEAUTIFUL! Plus downtown olympia is the only kind of gross place, there is the countryside!There are like 5 cupcake shops, and yes the water is a little icky in the Puget Sound, but all you need to do is look past the people, we arnt hippies, or goths, emos, or freaks, we are...

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  • Hazardous Water and Ground - Wash after...

    Like much of the waters of Puget Sound, the area around Olympia suffers from heavy industrial contamination. Thus, if you have contact with the water or soil near the water, it is recommended that you wash whatever came in contact with the water or soil. It is best to not let your children have much contact with it, and certainly they should not...

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  • BEWARE THE REEF

    this place is notorious for housing the more dangerous residents of olympia, plus it's dirty and pretty nasty. go straight to the back and into the dirty grimy lounge. wendy will make you the toughest stiffest drink you have ever had, out of a dirty glass....but who cares? the drinks are great!

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Olympia Tourist Traps

  • The Oyster House - If you are...

    The Oyster House - If you are into TGI Friday's go right ahead. The food is okay, but if you are really looking for a great seafood dinner, try Anthony's Homeport near the Oly Famer's Market. The food is 100 times better and the view around sunset is every bit as good as the Oyster House without the sports bar atmosphere.

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  • The malls are lame. The...

    The malls are lame. The Capitol is boring. Go where the interesting people are and you'll be fine.The tourist trap about partying is to leave Olympia to go to Tacoma or Seattle. Seattle may be better, but in my experience Tacoma was never worth it. Stay in Olympia and if not enough people are out, stay home and drink and laugh. It's all good.

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  • Alice's Restaurant & Johnson...

    Alice's Restaurant & Johnson Creek Winery19248 Johnson Creek Rd.Rainier, WARun away runaway. Once one of the finer dinner houses in the south sound area, this place has bottomed out. The owners have gone from great customer service to a 'Customer is always wrong' way of doing things. 'My way or the Highway' is more their motto nowadays, from the...

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Olympia What to Pack

  • Leave the Umbrella at Home

    If you're traveling in either the fall, winter or early spring, you'll be pleased to know that the temperatures rarely slip below freezing, usually hovering around low to mid 40's during the day. However, most locals get by on medium weight jackets/sweaters with a good sized hood. Despite how much it rains (drizzles) here, most folks leave the...

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  • Rain Gear

    Unless we are in the middle of an unexpected drought, you're going to want to bring rain gear. We get a lot of the wet stuff. But we're also rewarded with a lot of green vegetation and really great sunsets every now and then. Like this one.

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  • Packing List

    Olympia is extremely wet and moderately cold in the months of Novmeber through March. Make sure to bring wet weather gear and pack for temp in the 40's.The summer months of June, July and August are for the most part dry and warm with temperatures in the upper 70's but some days may get into the mid to upper 80's. Shorts are good to bring but...

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Olympia Off The Beaten Path

  • The Arc of Statehood - Capitol Lake Wall

    Along the eastern edge of Capitol Lake, you will find a low wall that separates the gravel pathway from the water, mudflats, and water brush that are part of Capitol Lake. A casual look will make this wall look just like any other such wall seen along waterways in any other park.However, take a closer look at this wall - it is called the "Arc of...

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  • Percival Landing Plinth Project

    The boardwalk along Percival Landing isn't just a place to get good views of the old Olympia waterfront. It also has been turned into an art corridor of sculptures. The plinth refers to the base on which the sculpture sits.The work on display changes every year (but the plinths are permanent). Each year new sculptures arrive and are put on display,...

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  • Percival Landing Boardwalk

    Percival Landing is the name for the area at the south end of the west bay, at the southern end of Budd Inlet. This is the more commercialized section of the Olympia waterfront, including the Olympia Yacht Club and the Port of Olympia (at the north end).A board walk, some of which appears to be made from the older wooden port piers and other...

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Olympia Favorites

  • itshotrod's General Tip

    This isn't really my fondest, but it's certainly worthy:Graduation attire at the Evergreen State College 2001

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  • Visit the capitol is you find...

    Visit the capitol is you find yourself in Olympia. For newcomers this would be fairly interesting I would think though it would be pretty boring to me. I miss Happy Terikayi when I'm away from Olympia. They have the best teriyaki in the area and I would recommend trying their yakisoba dish.

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  • Visit the waterfront at...

    Visit the waterfront at Percival Landing. Shops, restaurants, and boats. A nice place for a leisurely stroll.

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