Tumwater Travel Guide

  • Bridge at Lower Falls in Tumwater
    Bridge at Lower Falls in Tumwater
    by glabah
  • Remains of the 1906 Olympia Brewery Building
    Remains of the 1906 Olympia Brewery...
    by glabah
  • Crosby House Museum is Open on Sundays Only
    Crosby House Museum is Open on Sundays...
    by glabah

Tumwater Things to Do

  • glabah's Profile Photo

    No Brewery, No Tours!

    by glabah Updated Nov 11, 2012

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    The Olympia Brewery (actually located in Tumwater) ceased operations in 2003, and new owner SAB-Miller now produces Olympia Beer in California.

    At one time tours were offered of the plant, but as the plant is no longer operating and has been for sale since 2003, there is nothing left to tour.

    The large blank wall that you see near the center of this photo used to say "Tours Daily - Visitors Welcome". Unfortunately neither is the case today.

    We can hope that at some point in time Tumwater's most famous tourist feature returns to operations of some sort, and we can also hope that whatever is once made in this plant will offer tours of its operations once again.

    Olympia Brewery has been Silent Since 2003 Battered Remains of Oldest Brewery Building

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    Tumwater - Olympia Trail

    by glabah Written Nov 11, 2012

    Capitol Lake is regarded as being a feature of Olympia, just north of Tumwater. However, the water actually backs up into Tumwater, and the trail that connects the two communities and runs beside Capitol Lake straddles the border between the two.

    The trail starts in Tumwater Historical Park, though it is somewhat hidden in this park. To find it you must first find the boat ramp (which was closed several years ago due to a highly contagous invasive species of New Zealand snail that now inhabits the lake). This is located at the far north end of Tumwater Historical Park, and requires going down hill into the lower level of the park and following the narrow road north as far as it goes.

    On the right side of the boat ramp, follow the paved trail. This goes under the freeway bridge over the lake, and then runs along the freeway fill along the edge of the lake and connects to the trail along the west edge of the lake.

    The freeway is nowhere nearly as noisy as I thought it would be at this distance, and there must be some good design work in placing the vegetation along the highway to keep the noise in the park down.

    Along its northern segment, the trail has several benches, two floating observation areas / fishing piers, several elevated picnic table areas, and a small visitor's center and restroom at the very north end where the park transitions into a trail owned by the city of Olympia. The visitors center and restrooms close fairly early in the winter, but there are others located about 1 mile north in a park owned by the city of Olympia.

    The wider sections of the trail have a gravel walking / jogging area and a paved area for bicyclists, as pavement is known to be quite unhealthy for foot traffic (especially jogging).

    The segment that runs under the freeway bridge is subject to water drainage holes from the freeway bridge, so be careful when walking on this segment. Also, this segment has blind curves to be very careful to stay out of the way of potential high speed bike traffic when going around these curves.

    In the winter, watch for water birds on the water. Bufflehead, wigeons, tundra swans, and various others are frequently seen on the water in the winter.

    Fishing / Observation Pier off of Lake Trail Paved Trail along Capitol Lake Trail is Wide and has Gravel Walk / Jogging Strip Segment of Trail passing under Interstate 5 Entrance to Trail from S. Side (Historical Park)
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Tumwater Historical Park

    by glabah Written Aug 7, 2012

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    Not too much remains of old historical Tumwater, but as a long time location of a First Nations community, plus a very early settlement on Puget Sound, the community does have some historical significance. Unfortunately, a lot of this has been lost, especially with Interstate 5 cutting through the middle of what was once the historical center of town.

    However, several buildings of historical significance have been preserved. Three of those are houses located inside Tumwater Historical Park.

    A large portion of Tumwater Historical Park is more traditional city park, including a playground, picnic shelters, and a fair amount of open space devoted to outdoor enjoyment. The preserved houses are located on the upper area of the park, while the actual city park setting is located down the hill from the houses. There is far more car parking at the bottom of the hill in the city park area, and it may be necessary to park there if you can't find parking up above.

    The major problem with the park is the traffic noise from Interstate 5, but oddly enough the noise is nowhere near as loud as I thought it would be - at least during the times I have visited. I have found, however, in other locations this noise depends a lot on the weather patterns at the time, so it may be that sometimes the noise is louder than others.

    A paved trail on the south side of the park leads uphill to Simmons Road, and it is possible to take the sidewalk south to the entrance to Tumwater Falls Park.

    Tumwater Historical Park: History + Lake Side Park Park features Playground, Picnic Shelter Tumwater Historical Park has Two Historic Houses
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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Tumwater Hotels

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Tumwater Restaurants

  • Pellegrino's Italian Kitchen: Family Style Italian Food

    by histrionia62 Updated Jul 14, 2004

    This is a family restaurant with some interesting dishes and very reasonable prices. We used a coupon from Restaurant.com and got 50% off for a real bargain.

    Favorite Dish: Italian Flag
    A creamy cake dessert that I have forgotten the name of already but I can see it in my mind's eye!

    Pellegrino's Italian Kitchen

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Tumwater Off The Beaten Path

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    Henderson House Museum - Currently...

    by glabah Written Jun 26, 2015

    As the name implies, Henderson (as in Henderson Inlet) was an early family in this area. The families that occupied this house had a long history of involvement with industry in the early years of this area. This included the brewery, but also a few other industries.

    The house is quite attractive and has some nice features that are certainly not found on most houses today.

    Unfortunately, for various reasons this house has had to be closed to the public for the time being.

    As with the other historic house in Tumwater, it is located in Tumwater Historical Park. Please see that tip for informaiton on how to get to this area.

    Henderson House Museum is Currently Closed
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    Crosby House Museum - Open Sundays

    by glabah Written Jun 26, 2015

    Most of the time, the Crosby House Museum is open Sundays from 1 to 4 pm. This makes it a bit of a challenge to visit the inside of the house, but it located inside Tumwater Historical Park and thus it is possible to at least see the outside of the house.

    The structure was built around 1860, and quite a lot of effort to keep it restored has been taken. As the house was built with a combination of styles that makes it a hybrid between eras.

    Sadly, the once large back yard that would have been the family garden has now been turned into Tumwater Drive and Interstate 5.

    See my Tumwater Historical Park tip for informaiton on how to get to the park.

    Crosby House Museum is Open on Sundays Only Crosby House has Attractive Flowers in Spring
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits

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    Odd New Sculpture under Interstate 5

    by glabah Updated Jun 26, 2015

    NOTE: As of late 2014, these sculptures have been removed and the area is currently empty.

    Several months ago (in mid 2013), efforts were made to install three new sculptures under Interstate 5 along the Olympia to Tumwater Trail. I can't tell you much about them as the efforts to install them did not leave them with any plaque indicating their title or what they are supposed to be.

    Be that as it may, the sculptures are here beneath Interstate 5, for any who would like to take a look at them.

    It is best to visit them in the late morning on a sunny day in the very darkest days of winter, as this is the only time the sun is low enough in the sky to put a little bit of light under the freeway so that these may be lit up a little bit.

    From the lower level of Tumwater Historical Park go to the far north end of the park, near the freeway and the unmarked paved parking area. Take the bike path that goes under the freeway bridge, and you will find these three sculptures towards the north end of the area where the trail goes under the freeway bridge.

    Three New Sculptures under Interstate 5 by Trail Detail View of Middle Sculpture, North in Back Detail View of Middle Sculpture From the South, Looking North at Sculptures
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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