Olympia Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Olympia

  • joiwatani's Profile Photo

    The Legislative Building

    by joiwatani Updated Oct 27, 2011

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    This is where the laws of the State of Washington are presented for approval by the State Representatives.

    In the State of Washington, there are two Senators representing the state: (2011) Senator Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

    The House has 8 representatives .

    There are tours here and you can sign up for it. You can tour the State Capitol, Legislative Building, Governor's Mansion and listen to history of the building.

    Here's a glimpse from the website of the Washington Capitol website tour:

    The Legislative Building is the crowning piece of the Washington State Capitol Campus and is home to the Washington State Legislature and the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer. Completed in 1928, it boasts one of the tallest free standing masonry domes in the world and houses the largest chandelier ever made by the Tiffany Lighting Company. The tour of the Legislative Building includes the North Foyer, Rotunda, State Reception Room, and Legislative Galleries. This tour is targeted to all groups and last approximately one hour.

    Governor’s Mansion Tour

    The oldest standing building on the Capitol Campus, the red-brick Georgian style Executive Mansion has been home to Washington’s Governors since 1910. Fully restored and furnished with many antiques from the American Federal period, the mansion is open for public tours on most Wednesdays by reservation. Morning and afternoon tours are available, but group size is limited to 25. This tour is available for 4th grade and up.

    Please note: School group tours of the mansion are limited to a 15 minute walk-thru if part of a Civic Education or Legislative Process Tour.

    Civic Education Tour, available to groups of 10 or more (Available from September-June only)

    This tour will focus on the three branches of government and includes information on the Legislative Building’s function, operation, symbolism and history. Also included in this tour is a visit to the Temple of Justice where your class will participate in a mock court hearing. This tour may include visits to the offices of the elected officials, Capitol Rotunda, State Reception Room, and Legislative Galleries of the House and Senate. The Civic Education Tour is three hours (including a lunch period) and is targeted to Elementary and Middle School Students.

    Legislative Process Tour, available to groups of 10 or more (Available from September-June only)

    This tour is an in-depth look at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branch of Washington State Government. This tour can be customized in many ways, but the standard process tour includes a one hour class on the legislative process, hosted by the Legislative Information Center, and tour visits to legislative process locations. Additionally, your group may wish to participate in a mock court hearing in the Temple of Justice. This tour is three hours (includes a lunch period) and is specifically targeted to High School and Adult Groups

    Address: 416 Sid Snyder Avenue SW

    Directions: Directions
    Fr I-5- Take "Exit 105 to State Capitol", keep L for Exit 105A. Merge with traffic on the left and continue in the L hand lane of 14th Ave SW through the roundabout (Jefferson St.) and under the tunnel 0.4 mi to Capitol Blvd.

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    Priest Point Park: preserved woodlands by water

    by glabah Updated Jul 24, 2011

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    Located just north and east of downtown Olympia, Priest Point Park was set aside around 1904, and was the first land purchased for the construction of a city park. Prior to this, the park was owned by logging interests, and there are still some very old and very large tree stumps in the area that testify to the logging of the land over 100 years ago.

    Today, much of the park is preserved second growth forest, and as such is the home of a fair amount of wildlife. As the park has a fair amount of shore line, it is also possible to see wildlife out in the water as well. For example, on a visit to this park on July 21, 2011 there was a harbour seal only about 100 feet out in the water from one of the viewpoints, eating a huge fish - almost as large as he was. He was having to dive from time to time in order to protect his prize catch from the various gulls that were determined to obtain pieces of fish with little effort of their own.

    Also present in the park during that visit was an osprey nest with one young bird that appeared to be nearly ready to fledge from the nest, plus two adults hunting for fish. There was also a bald eagle attempting to hide in one of the trees, though the local crow population was not tolerating his presence at all.

    The park has a number of trails through it, many of which have short steep uphill and downhill sections. One of the trails is closed due to blow down from trees. Unfortunately, the park does not appear to have a good map of the complete trail system, but instead the maps of the trails are located at various points on the trail system, and feature only a detailed view of the trails in that local section of the park.

    There are several picnic shelters throughout the park, and these are set up similar to camp sites with a few dedicated parking places for them, but overnight camping is not allowed in the park. The shelters are really nice structures that include food preparation areas, nearby water faucets, and electrical outlets. Restrooms are close to some shelters and farther away from others.

    A huge new playground has been recently opened near an open grass area just west of East Bay Drive Northeast. There is also a small rose garden. Information about the local ecosystem and area history are scattered through the park along the various trails.

    Getting to and into the park by private automobile is fairly easy, and fairly elegant as a light weight bridge has been built over East Bay Drive. This allows those entering and exiting the park to do so only by making right turns from and to this divided road, and is a huge help during busy traffic periods as there is no way to make a left turn onto this busy road, nor is it desirable to do so. From the north or south as you approach the park there is a fairly good sized entrance sign where you turn right. If you exit going back the way you came, you drive across the bridge and turn right onto East Bay Drive. There are a number of signs pointing the way to the park once you get downtown. While East Bay Drive is not extremely pleasant to walk next to due to the high traffic volume, the speeds are not extremely high (or at least shouldn't be due to a 30 mph speed limit) and there are sidewalks beside it from downtown Olympia all the way to the park - which is slightly over 1.5 miles (2.5 km). The nearest bus service to the park is bus route 21 at Bethel Street and 26th Avenue, which is east of the park some distance.

    Priest Point was named after late 1840s Roman Catholic missions in the area, primarily aimed at ministering to local First Nations tribes. With the First Nations population being consolidated at reservations on an island northwest of Olympia in the 1850s and the establishment of urban areas by white settlers, the mission had no reason to exist at this point and the land was sold to logging interests.

    Address: 2600 East Bay Drive NE, Olympia Washington

    Directions: East Bay Drive is a primary road running north along the east side of Budd Inlet direct from the downtown area. Closest bus service to park is bus route 21 at Bethel Street & 26th Avenue.

    Website: http://olympiawa.gov/community/parks/parks-and-trails/priest-point-park.aspx

    Priest Point Park entrance on Right: note Big Sign Park Bench (left) and Much of Priest Point Park is in Deep Forest Very Good Picnic Shelters in Priest Point Park Playground under Works in Priest Point Point Park
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    • Birdwatching
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  • Johnscarroll's Profile Photo

    Washington State Capitol

    by Johnscarroll Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Capitol (legislative) building just reopened after a post-earthquake retrofit. It looks better than ever. The capitol dome is one of the largest masonary domes in the world. It's entirely constructed of stone without metal support.

    Guided tours are offered for free seven days a week between 10am and 3pm. The tour guides range from exciting and thorough to boring and droning. No matter what kind you get, the narration will be full of facts and trivia about Washington State and its government. Asking questions can help perk up a boring tour. There is symbology throughout the building, from the carpets to the crown molding.

    Park in the visitor parking lot along Capitol Way. While there, drop into the visitor's center and pick up a map of the memorials and art displays that are scattered around the capitol campus. The main fountain on campus is a replica of the Tivoli Gardens fountain in Denmark.

    You can also view the Temple of Justice building if the state supreme court is not in session. The library and courtroom are really quite beautiful. Other buildings are for public business only.

    The legislative session is brief: generally running from February to May or June depending on the year. You can view sessions of the house and senate during floor debates.

    Address: 416 14th Ave SW - Olympia, WA

    Directions: Located at Capitol Way and 14th. There is a small fee to park in some areas.

    Phone: 360-586-3460

    Washington's State Capitol
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  • BLSM's Profile Photo

    BEER,BEER and more BEER

    by BLSM Written Jul 16, 2010

    I am not a beer drinker but I do like to go see something that place is known for, and Olmpyia Brewing Co. is named after the city. We were half way across the country and we had heard of Olmpiya Beer. And I had to make a second trip after guy freind found out how close it was to us, and i was designated driver.

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  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Upper Tumwater Falls

    by GuthrieColin Written Oct 14, 2008

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    At a very early time in the regions history this waterfall was altered by the construction of a dam. That dam has continued to aid the construction of a fish ladder. The volume of the river is almost completely taken by this path but in higher water levels it may be possible that the left hand segment may become more interesting.
    The well manicured grounds around the falls are the result of the former brewery that owned the land. They created the park and trail system the leads to the other falls along the river.

    Directions: From I-5 take exit 103 and turn left. After crossing over the freeway take your first right and follow over a bridge to a 3 way stop. Turn left and continue to the park. From there hike the loop trail down the Tumwater river.

    Website: http://www.waterfallsnorthwest.com/nws/waterfall.php?st=WA&num=526

    Upper Tumwater Falls Small Fall and Bridge Downstream from Main Falls Upper Falls and Former Brewery Building.
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    Tumwater Falls

    by GuthrieColin Written Oct 14, 2008

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    Tumwater falls is probably the most interesting falls in the Tumwater Falls park. It is about 30 feet (9 meters) tall and is split by the rocks in the stream bed. The Falls are somewhat difficult to view since the viewing platforms provided do not extend far enough to provide direct views.
    One thing that this fall does well is mix the man made and natural landscape. The walking bridge above the falls frames the falls well and allows you to get a better view of the actual path the river takes through this obstacle.

    Directions: From I-5 take exit 103 and turn left. After crossing over the freeway take your first right and follow over a bridge to a 3 way stop. Turn left and continue to the park. From there hike the loop trail down the Tumwater river.

    Website: http://www.waterfallsnorthwest.com/nws/waterfall.php?st=WA&num=528

    Tumwater Falls Tumwater Falls
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  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Middle Tumwater Falls

    by GuthrieColin Written Oct 14, 2008

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    At just about 15 feet (5 meters) this waterfall may be more of a rapid than a fall. It is however very accessible and makes for a nice outing. Within the Tumwater Falls park area, this may not be the most impressive but it is certainly worth a look.
    The falls is partially depleted by the fish ladder that exists just to the side of them but in times of higher water it may be likely that the ladder becomes obscured.

    Directions: From I-5 take exit 103 and turn left. After crossing over the freeway take your first right and follow over a bridge to a 3 way stop. Turn left and continue to the park. From there hike the loop trail down the Tumwater river.

    Website: http://www.waterfallsnorthwest.com/nws/waterfall.php?st=WA&num=527

    Middle Tumwater Falls Middle Tumwater Falls
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  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Downtown Olympia

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Aug 8, 2007

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    Olympia was incorporated in 1859 and has a current population of just 42,000 people. The population of the city is about 85 percent white, with a liberal, artistic bent. The center of downtown is Fourth Avenue and Capitol Way, where you can find a small variety of restaurants, most seeming to be Asian.

    Maybe I'ved lived a sheltered life, but I have never seen as many punk-ish kids with pink and orange hair in all my life as I saw in a few hours in downtown Olympia. Makes for an odd town...

    Website: http://www.ci.olympia.wa.us

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  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Washington State Capitol

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Aug 8, 2007

    The state capitol, officially known as th Washington State Legislative Building, was completed in 1928 after six years of construction. Even today it is the fourth tallest masonry dome in the world smaller than only St. Peter’s Cathedral, in Rome, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and St. Isaac’s Cathedral, St. Petersburg.

    The Washington State Legislature, Washington State Supreme Court, and governor's mansion are all located on the capitol campus.

    Tours are available seven days a week hourly between 10 am and 3 pm, are free, and last 60 minutes.

    Address: 210 - 11th Avenue SW, Olympia Washington 98504

    Phone: (360) 586-3460

    Website: http://www.ga.wa.gov/visitor/

    Old State Capitol Building

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    Monuments at the Capitol Building

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Aug 8, 2007

    What would a state capitol be without a bunch of cool historic monuments? Some of the cool memorials at the Washington State Capitol building include:

    The Winged Victory Monument, one of the centerpieces of the capitol grounds, consists of a statue of the Greek goddess Nike alongside an American soldier, sailor, and marine from WWI. It was dedicated in 1938, on the eve of WWII.

    The WW II Memorial was dedicated in 1999 for the approximately 6,000 Washington residents who gave their lives in the war.

    The Medal of Honor Memorial commemorates the Washington residents who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroic wartime accomplishments.

    The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a smaller version of the national Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC, honoring the 1,116 Washingtonians killed or missing in the war.

    The Korean Memorial War honors the 122,000 Washingtonian who served in Korea, along with the 532 who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

    Address: 210 - 11th Avenue SW, Olympia Washington 98504

    Phone: (360) 586-3460

    Website: http://www.ga.wa.gov/visitor/self-guide.htm

    Winged Victory monument

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    Free tours of the Capitol buildings and grounds

    by Confucius Updated Jul 7, 2007

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    Free 45-minute tours of the Capitol buildings and grounds are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on the hour, seven days a week with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. The tour guides can provide plenty of insight into Washington state history.
    What you will see during the tour are architectural highlights and also hear some anecdotes about life at the state capital, including the fact that wild deer still sometimes nibble on garden flora next to the parking lot.
    The big chandelier that hangs in the rotunda of the Capitol dome was designed by Louis Tiffany himself. Another highlight is rubbing the shiny nose of George Washington's bronze bust. There are some other trivial tidbits about Italian marble and an old piano but I toured with a Chinese delegation that couldn't stop talking about the beauty of Governor Gary Locke's wife during the guide's narration. (Souvenir photos of the "first family" were given away at the beginning of the tour.*)

    * Gary Locke was the first Chinese-American governor in the United States and served two terms from 1997 until 2005.

    Address: 14th Avenue and Capitol Way

    Directions: Driving time from Seattle to Olympia is about 90 minutes

    Phone: 360-586-3460

    Website: http://www.ga.wa.gov/visitor/

    Winged Victory honors WW1 veterans from Washington
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  • mike-tango's Profile Photo

    Washington State Capitol : the dome

    by mike-tango Written Sep 18, 2005

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    Impressive !!!

    The ceiling of the interior dome rises 53 meters above the rotunda floor. Hanging from a 30- meter chain is an ornate 5-ton bronze chandelier containing over 200 light bulbs. This is the largest chandelier ever created by the artists of the Tiffan studios in New York. It traveled west by train and was assembled and installed in the rotunda during the final stages of construction.

    Interior of the dome

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  • mike-tango's Profile Photo

    Washington State Capitol : the House Chamber

    by mike-tango Written Sep 18, 2005

    Interesting to have a look on the House Chamber !
    The 98 state representatives are elected for a 2-year term. The membership selects a leader of the majority party to be the Speaker of the House who sits on the rostrum and facilitates legislative proceedings. On the wall above the rostrum is a reader board listing the daily business, and an electronic tally of votes.
    The marble lining the chamber is French Escalette and the desk are constructed of walnut. Into the carpet are large representations of the Pacific Rhododendron, the Whashington State flower. The name of the 39 state counties are on the walls surrounding the chamber.

    House Chamber
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    Washington State Capitol : the Senate Chamber

    by mike-tango Updated Sep 18, 2005

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    You can have an interesting look at the Senate Chamber.
    The 49 senators serve staggered four-year terms. Business in this chamber is conducted in a more traditional manner, without the aid of an electronic voting machine. The Lieutenant Governor, elected by the public every four years, presides over the Senate and is seated at the front of the chamber, on the rostrum.

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  • mike-tango's Profile Photo

    Washington State Capitol

    by mike-tango Written Sep 17, 2005

    The Washington State's Capitol is situated on a hill overlooking Capitol Lake in Olympia.
    It has been designed by the architects Wilder and White from New York. Its was completed in 1928. Its brick and sandstone white dome rises 84.5 meters to the top of the cupola.

    The visit is free.

    The capitol dome
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