Olympia Tourist Information and Tourism

(Olympia, Washington - WA, USA)

Washington's small and powerful capital city really does make the most of its waterfront setting and tourism appeal, sitting alongside the Puget Sound's Budd Inlet and the Olympic Mountains. Nearby Tumwater and Lacey combine with the city of Olympia to make up a region referred to as the South Sound.

Olympia has become known as being an exciting place to holiday, with its live indie-music scene, plentiful artists, street entertainers (often found along 4th Avenue), independent downtown stores, atmospheric bars and youthful vibe provided by the Evergreen State College. Of interest, it was here where Matt Groening of 'Bart Simpson' fame once studied in the 1970s.

The majestic Washington State Capitol (Legislative Building) is an enormous structure and dominates the skyline of Olympia, being clearly visible for miles and looking as if it has arrived here from an ancient city in Greece. The complex is set within an expansive parkland and enjoys views across the adjacent Capitol Lake. Free guided tours are recommended and commence on an hourly basis.

For the latest in the way of local tourist information, pay a visit to the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor Information Center on Sid Snyder Avenue Southwest, which resides just down the road from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Olympia Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

Warm summers and fairly mild winters ensure that the tourism offerings and outdoor activities truly are year-round in this city. Many visitors planning a holiday in Washington's state capital arrive and head straight to the Swantown Marina, to join a cruise on the Puget Sound. Small boats, canoes and kayaks can all be hired at the Boston Harbor Marina, where the freshly caught seafood, Dofflemyer Point Lighthouse and views of the Olympic Mountains in the distance are all highlights. Located on the eastern outskirts is the rather large Nisqually Red Wind Casino, with its slot machines numbering almost 1,000 in total. Evening entertainment comes in the form of the Capital Playhouse, the Capitol Theater, the Olympia Little Theater, the State Theater and the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, all of which regularly stage shows and concerts, including performances by the acclaimed Olympia Symphony Orchestra.

When the weather is good, taking a walk around one of the city's numerous parks, waterfronts and trails is often a tempting option. The Tumwater Historical Park sits at the bottom of Capitol Lake, while on the eastern side of the city is the Watershed Park and its popular looping G. Eldon Marshall Trail. Nearby, both the Capitol State Forest and the Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area enjoy plenty of visitors, as does the trail along the disused Chehalis Western Railroad, which is suitable for walking, jogging and cycling, and joins with the Yelm-Tenino Trail. More information about Olympia Tourist Attractions.

Accompanying the Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia are a number of further important landmarks that may be of interest to tourists keen to explore this capital city. Sitting on the easterly side of the city is the Bigelow Historic District, where some very handsome 19th-century houses reside, including the former home of much-loved local politician Daniel Bigelow. The early 20th-century Washington Governor's Mansion on Capitol Way is certainly worth looking out for and offers tours on Wednesdays, where visitors are able to admire not only the grand interior and antiquities, but the superb views of the waterfront and mountainous backdrop. There are also some very interesting and stylish buildings sited on the spacious grounds of the Evergreen State College, including the modernist Daniel J. Evans Library and an equally impressive contemporary clock tower. More information about Olympia Landmarks and Monuments.

A reasonable selection of museums greets visitors with an interest in finding out more information about this city. Your first port of call should be the Washington State Capital Museum, with its Coach House and Outreach Center. Within walking distance of the Capitol complex, this official state museum is housed within an attractive villa, with exhibits spread around more than 30 different rooms and including relics relating to early pioneers and also the Native America Indian tribes. At the Olympia Regional Airport, the Olympic Flight Museum is called home by more than 20 vintage aircraft, and at the WET Science Center on Adams Street, you can be educated about the very precious resource of water. Close to the East Bay Public Plaza, the Hands On Children's Museum is divided into categorized zones, with art, construction, harbor and nature themes. Art lovers should consider visiting the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery on Mottman Road Southwest, where exhibitions concentrate on topics such as Native American heritage. More information about Olympia Museums and Olympia Art Galleries.

Many of the possible days out from Olympia tend to involve boat trips along the state's attractive North Pacific Ocean shoreline, to the west. At the Swantown Marina, next to the Budd Inlet, boats regularly depart for both Harstine Island and Hope Island State Park. Other options include an excursion to Mount St. Helens, and a drive to one of the numerous outlying parks and wildlife reserves, which can be easily reached by taking either Interstate I-5 or the US-101. The small city of Lacey is at its most popular in the summer, and towards the end of June, the Greater Olympia Dixieland Jazz Society hosts the Annual America's Classic Jazz Festival, which was first held in 1990 and is still going strong. With a more than reasonable tourism infrastructure, 'nearby' Tacoma, to the northeast, is a bustling port city and the third-biggest in Washington, with museums a plenty. And of course, with Seattle being a mere 60 miles / 97 km away, this giant metropolis with its famous Space Needle tower often beckons. More information about Olympia Attractions Nearby.

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