Olympia, Washington’s state capitol, is an eclectic city with a small-town feel. Olympia is situated along the Puget Sound and is a short day trip to Mt. Rainier or Mt. St. Helens. Olympia offers parks, museums and plenty of dining options

Four attributes make Olympia Washington a great place to visit. It is beautiful, centrally located, historic and eclectic.

Olympia’s beauty is natural, derived from its connection with the waters of Puget Sound, fir forests and views of majestic Mount Rainier. Enjoy walking, hiking or biking in one of over forty public parks located in the Olympia area. Notable among these are Priest Point Park, Woodard Bay Conservation Area, Tolmie State Park and Tumwater Falls Park. Sailboats and yachts bob in the waters of Budd Bay near Percival Landing. Visit the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, one of the USA’s most pristine sanctuaries for migratory and resident waterfowl and marine mammals. The refuge is just a few miles northeast of Olympia WA.

Kayak to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge from the Inn at Mallard Cove. Set on the glassy waters of the Puget Sound, this BnB offers private kayak tours of the area. Enjoy hand crafted breakfasts. Relax with a view of the snow capped Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound.

Parks and Museums

Olympia’s location between Mount Rainier to the southeast and Mount Olympus to the northwest, make it an ideal home base for visiting both national parks. Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument is an easy day trip. Take convenient public transportation from Olympia to Tacoma or Seattle. Tacoma’s Museum of Glass, Washington State History Museum or the Lemay Auto Museum are popular with visitors. Day trips to Seattle’s many attractions are available using your vehicle or simple, stress-free public transportation.

The City

Visitors enjoy the city’s diversity and eclectic combination of small shops, street art, local festivals (the most popular of which is The Procession of the Species) and literally hundreds of places to dine and drink. Sample artisan craft beer, local wine, and fresh-squeezed apple cider from a local cider mill. Although Olympia is the state capital, it has a quaint small-town atmosphere.

Discover Olympia’s neighborhoods and relax and refresh at Swantown Inn & Spa. This restored Victorian gem has modern amenities and spa services on site.

History of Olympia Washington

Olympia Washington is a great spot for history buffs. Near today’s trendy waterfront promenades, native Coastal Salish tribes once gathered shellfish. Along the water they shared ceremonial meals 500 years or more before white explorers arrived. Tread on the same ground as Lieutenant Peter Puget and his crew, the first Royal Navy explorers to visit here. Walk the same waterfront seen in 1841 by American explorer Midshipman Thomas Budd.  Olympia’s Budd Bay is named after him. One of the first two American settlers, Edmund Sylvester, laid out the town with a New England-style tree-lined town square. The square still exists today as Sylvester Park. Historic buildings are plentiful in Olympia. They include current and former state capitol structures, old courthouse. Tour Bigelow House, the162-year-old home of one of Olympia’s first residents, Daniel Bigelow. Tours of the State Capitol, Governor’s Residence are also popular with visitors.

Weather in Olympia Washington and Getting There

Olympia Washington’s weather is mild. Olympia’s temperatures are moderate, with mild winters and warm summers.

Olympia is located along Interstate 5, 48 miles south of Seattle. Olympia can be reached by AMTRAK using the historic, 1930s-style station. From there, city buses or taxis will take you to your destination. The closest major airport to Olympia is SEATAC, just a short 1-hour drive. Visitors with private aircraft are welcome at the Olympia Airport a few miles south of town.

To Do in Olympia

Hikes and Walks

  • Percival Landing Boardwalk
  • Tumwater Falls Park
  • Priest Point Park
  • Woodard Bay Conservation Area

Things to See

  • State Capitol Tour
  • Wolf Haven
  • Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
  • Olympia’s Farmers Market