Olympia Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing
(Olympia, Washington - WA, USA)
There are many different attractions spread around Olympia, and a number of different ways to sightsee are available. Tourists will find that many of the places of interest are within walking distance of hotels, while other sights will require a short drive or trip on a public bus. And of course, cruising around the Puget Sound is the preferred option for some.
Connecting the neighboring Pacific Ocean, the Puget Sound shapes the coastline of this region and provides its adjacent towns and cities with a profusion of quality tourist attractions. Many of the principal sights around Olympia line the shore and its various inlets and coves, such as the Budd Inlet, Chapman Bay, Ellis Cove, Gull Harbor and the Henderson Inlet, not to mention Little Fishtrap and Big Fishtrap
Washington's capital is something of a center for arts and culture. Along with a healthy assortment of museums and galleries, the city boasts several theaters, such as the Capital Playhouse, the Olympia Family Theater and the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, where the Olympia Symphony Orchestra is one of the principal draw cards.
Chehalis Western Trail
Address: Olympia, Washington (WA), USA
Tel: +1 360 867 2300
Making use of an old disused railway line of the Chehalis Western Railroad, this route has been transformed into a lengthy trail suitable for both walking and cycling. The trail is a little under 20 miles / 32 km long and is intersected by the slightly shorter Yelm-Tenino Trail. As you stroll along, you will pass numerous attractions, such as farms, lakes and riverside scenery.
Open hours: daily
Puget Sound / Cruises
Address: Olympia, Washington (WA), USA
The best way to explore the attractive waterfront is from the water itself, with boat hire and cruises being worthy of consideration when formulating your sightseeing itinerary. A choice of popular cruises depart from the Swantown Marina on Marine Drive Northeast, alongside East Bay, with different packages available. These include two-hour 'Open Sail' options, trips to Budd Bay and Boston Harbor, a six-hour cruise to Hope Island Discovery, or an overnight trip to Jarrell's Cove, on the northerly coast of Harstine Island.
Open hours: daily
Admission: charge for boat hire and cruises
Boston Harbor Marina
Address: 312 73rd Avenue Northeast, Olympia, Washington (WA), 98506, USA
Tel: +1 360 357 5670
There is always something to do and see at the lively Boston Harbor Marina on 73rd Avenue, on the far northern side of Washington's capital city. Shaped by the South Sound, this quaint marina is a great spot for a stroll and some tasty fresh seafood (including Coho salmon, Dungeness crabs, Manila clams and Pacific oysters). There are plenty of opportunities for a picnic along the dockside, with views of the distant Olympic Mountains, or the chance to hire a canoe, kayak, rowing boat or small sailboat and explore the coastline. Tourists may also like to check out the Dofflemyer Point Lighthouse, tuck into a bowl of freshly made soup at the deli, or sunbathe on the beachfront.
Open hours: June to September, daily - 09:00 to 19:00; October to May, daily - 09:00 to 18:00
Wolf Haven International
Address: 3111 Offut Lake Road Southeast, Tenino, Washington (WA), 98589, USA
Tel: +1 360 264 4695
Best suited to nature lovers, Wolf Haven International is to be found a little way outside of Olympia and is approximately 25 minutes to the south of the city centre, in the suburb of Tenino and close to Offut Lake. Formed in the early 1980s, this not-for-profit organization is known for its conservation efforts and rehabilitation work. In the region of 50 wolves live at the refuge (including red and Mexican gray wolves), the majority of which have been rescued from private collections and zoological gardens. This attraction covers an area of more than 30 hectares / 74 acres and welcomes up to 30,000 visitors per annum.
Open hours: April to September, Monday, Wednesday to Saturday - 10:00 to 16:00, Sunday - 12:00 to 16:00; October to January, March, Saturday - 10:00 to 16:00, Sunday - 12:00 to 16:00; tours every hour on the hour
Admission: charge, discounts available for seniors and children, children three years old and under are free
Nisqually Red Wind Casino
Address: 12819 Yelm Highway, Olympia, Washington (WA), 98513, USA
Tel: +1 360 412 5000
The Nisqually Red Wind Casino is roughly a 20-minute drive to the east of downtown Olympia, via Interstate I-5 and Highway US-510 (the Marvin Road Southeast / Pacific Avenue Southeast / St. Clair Cuttoff Road / Yelm Highway Southeast). This is a major attraction for gamblers of all kinds and comes with close to 1,000 slot machines, together with gaming tables where you can chance your luck at blackjack, craps, keno, Pai Gow (Chinese dominoes) and poker, amongst other games. There is also regular live entertainment at the onsite Coho Cabaret, where sporting events are often shown on an enormous television screen. Several eateries are also located at the casino, such as the Blue Camas Buffet and the Squalli-Absch Grille. The hours are long and most days, the Red Wind is open 24-hours, all day and night.
Open hours: Thursday (08:00) to Monday (05:00), Monday (08:00) to Wednesday (05:00)
Theaters and Entertainment
For a cultured evening out, it is hard to beat a night at the theater, and fortunately, this capital city boasts a rather extensive selection. The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is the biggest facility of its kind in the South Puget Sound area and regularly hosts concerts performed by the Olympia Symphony Orchestra.
Standing on East 5th Avenue and close to Sylvester Park, the Capitol Theater has been around since 1924 and has recently enjoyed something of a revamp, being able to comfortably accommodate audiences of up to 2,500 people.
Alternatively, consider the Capital Playhouse or the State Theater, where familiar musical productions in the past have included the likes of the Buddy Holly Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, Legally Blonde and Oliver. Shakespeare plays and other shows are also often staged at these venues.
- Capital Playhouse
Address: 612 East 4th Avenue, Olympia, Washington (WA), 98501, USA
Tel: +1 360 943 2744
Open hours: box office, Tuesday to Friday - 11:00 18:00
- Capitol Theater
Address: 206 East 5th Avenue Southeast, Olympia, Washington (WA), 98501, USA
Tel: +1 360 754 6670
Open hours: performances vary
- Olympia Little Theater
Address: 1925 Miller Avenue Northeast, Olympia, Washington (WA), 98506, USA
Tel: +1 360 786 9484
Open hours: box office, Thursday to Saturday - 16:00 to 20:00, Sunday - 11:00 to 14:00; performances, Thursday to Saturday - 19:55, Sunday - 13:55
- The State Theater
Address: 202 4th Avenue East, Olympia, Washington (WA), 98501, USA
Tel: +1 360 786 0151
Open hours: box office, Tuesday to Saturday - 12:00 18:00
- Washington Center for the Performing Arts
Address: 512 Washington Street Southeast, Olympia, Washington (WA), 98501, USA
Tel: +1 360 753 8585
Open hours: box office, September to June, Tuesday to Friday - 12:00 to 17:30, Saturday - 14:00 to 17:30; July to August, Tuesday to Friday - 12:00 to 17:30
Charlie's Safari, The Family Fun Center
Address: 5400 Martin Way East, Suite J, Lacey, Washington (WA), 98516, USA
Tel: +1 360 292 1600
Whatever the weather, tourists with children will be able to enjoy the indoor attractions at Charlie's Safari. These include play structures, inflatables, current arcade games and a laser-tag arena over two floors. Toddlers have their very own soft play area at the Big Five Tykes Village, while the Watering Hole Restaurant is also to hand for when visitors have worked up an appetite. Families from all over come here, including those from the nearby towns and cities of Bremerton, Lakewood, Puyallup, Shelton and Tacoma.
Open hours: Monday to Thursday - 11:00 to 20:00, Friday - 11:00 to 21:00, Saturday - 10:00 to 21:00, Sunday - 12:00 to 20:00