Olympia Travel Guide

Despite being the capital city of the state of Washington, Olympia has remained somewhat of a backwater. Sitting at the tip of the Deschutes River estuary, which has been dammed to form Lake Capitol, it is nevertheless a hub for fine arts in the Puget Sound region and offers free public art tours. Olympia is home to several museums, theaters and a number of lovely parks, and is also host to various festivals and events throughout the year.

Outdoor enthusiasts will be captivated by the wide range of hiking and biking options this region has to offer, particularly in the deep Capitol Forest or the Chehalis Western trail. There are also many parks, gardens and nature preserves around Thurston County. Here, you can also attain some of the most pleasurable kayaking in Washington or watch thousands of salmon make their way upriver.

History buffs might be interested in going to see the Washington State Capitol Building, one of the last grand domed capitols built in America. Further points of interest are the charming Hands On Children’s Museum and the Bigelow House Museum, Olympia’s most ancient wood framed residence. This region offers both its residents and visitors a great variety of art, festivals, music, dining and nature combined with the warm hospitality of the local people.


Washington State Capitol Building: this 28-story high landmark is set on a cliff overlooking Puget Sound. It took a team of 30 artisans five years to carve the building’s details.

Hands On Children’s Museum: for nine consecutive years, this wonderful museum has been selected the ‘Best Place to Take Kids’ and features four main exhibit galleries comprising hundreds of interactive exhibits.

Bigelow House Museum: built in 1860, the Bigelow House displays genuine family furnishings, Victorian-era artifacts and replicated wallpaper patterns and carpeting.

Percival Landing: enjoy scenic vistas of the Olympic Mountains and go shopping or dining at the facilities that line the walkway along Olympia’s waterfront.

Watershed Park: the 153 acre park features a 1.5 mile mixed surface trail loop that winds through temperate rain forest and springs. It is home to deer, owls and salmon.

Olympia Farmers Market: pick up handicrafts at this well-established shopping mecca or pig out on the fresh produce.