Getting Around, Olympia Travel, Transport and Car Rental
(Olympia, Washington - WA, USA)
Washington's capital is well-supported by Intercity Transit bus transport, although many visitors opt to rent a car and travel around following their own personal timetable.
Olympia is roughly divided by Interstate I-5, Highway US-101 and the Budd Inlet of the Puget Sound. The city's streets officially radiate outwards from the heart of the downtown district, and the location of roads is indicated by directional suffixes - NE, NW, SE and SW, which generally appear on postal addresses. The Eastside and Westside districts stand either side of downtown Olympia and form very different parts of the city.
When it comes to parking in the city, it is sensible to make sure that your chosen hotel will either have room for your car, or access to a nearby parking lot. Street parking is usually easy to come by, with pay stations being close to hand, particularly around 4th Avenue, Capitol Way, Franklin Street and Washington Street. Parking is free at the weekend, with three-hour and nine-hour meters also offering the first 15 minutes of parking free during weekdays.
If sheer convenience is at the top of your list of travel requirements, then Olympia's taxi cab companies will likely meet your needs, although you will need to phone ahead to organize your pick-up.
Olympia Regional Airport (OLM) / Arriving by Air
Address: 7643 Old Highway 99 Southeast, Olympia, Washington (WA), 98501, USA
Tel: +1 360 528 8079
The small but perfectly formed Olympia Regional Airport is located just over 5 miles / 8 km to the south of the city center, being situated in Tumwater. It is simple to reach by taking Interstate I-5 until exit 102, and then following the Capitol Boulevard Southeast. However, this airport is only used for general aviation purposes, such as pleasure flights and helicopters. If you are planning to travel into Olympia as a passenger onboard a commercial plane, then it is likely that you will make use of one of the following:
Bellingham International Airport (BLI)
Address: 4255 Mitchell Way, Bellingham, Washington (WA), 98226, USA
Tel: +1 360 676 2500
Distance / direction: 154 miles / 248 km north
King County International Airport (BFI)
Address: 7277 Perimeter Road, Seattle, Washington (WA), 98108, USA
Tel: +1 206 296 7380
Distance / direction: 56 miles / 90 km northeast
Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
Address: 17801 International Boulevard (Pacific Highway South), Seattle, Washington (WA), 98158, USA
Tel: +1 206 433 5388
Distance / direction: 48 miles / 77 km northeast
Seattle Airports Guide
Those intending to leave the boundaries of Olympia and travel around the western coast of Washington will find that arranging a hire car makes for a very sensible mode of transport. Highway US-101 heads westwards and connects with Highway US-8, while Interstate I-5 heads northeastwards to Lakewood, Tacoma and Seattle
, and southwards to Longview. Endless day trip opportunities present themselves to those in Olympia with a rental car, such as the beaches to the north, around the Budd Inlet and Burfoot Park.
Tel: +1 800 287 6348
The award-winning Intercity Transit offers a comprehensive network of bus transport around this part of Washington and Thurston County. Buses regularly travel from Olympia to nearby Lacey, Lakewood and Tumwater, where further onward transit connections are available, such as Sound Transit buses to Seattle. There is also a free shuttle service named the Dash, which runs between the Washington State Capitol Building and the Farmer's Market.
A central Greyhound bus station is to be found on 7th Avenue Southeast and provides affordable long-distance travel to destinations further afield, such as Centralia, Everett, Kelso and Leavenworth. There is also further bus transport in the form of the Grays Harbor Transit to Aberdeen, with this journey following Highway US-40 and lasting just under one hour and 20 minutes.
Nearby Amtrak rail transport is situated roughly 6 miles / 10 km away and to the east, within the suburb town of Lacey. Buses regularly travel between downtown Olympia and Lacey's Centennial Station and this journey should take no more than 20 minutes. From here, you can choose between trains such as the southbound Coast Starlight, which heads southwards to Centralia, crossing the border into Oregon
and stopping at Portland
, before continuing all the way to Sacramento
and Emeryville in California
- just a short bus ride away from nearby San Francisco
. Alternatively, consider the northbound Coast Starlight train, which travels northwards each day to Tacoma and Seattle, passing Mount Vernon and Bellingham before leaving the United States and finally reaching the Canadian city of Vancouver
Traveling around Olympia is never easier than by taxi, and if you get a particularly nice driver, then you may even be lucky enough to enjoy a history lesson en-route. Taxis are perfect if you wish to travel short distances or outside the hours of public bus transport. For longer journeys in a cab, consider sharing the cost with other passengers to make the trip more affordable. Notable taxi companies operating in Washington's state capital include:
- Ace Taxi - +1 360 705 8294
- Dollar Cab - +1 360 556 9248
- RediCab Olympia Taxi - tel: +1 360 400 8294