The 10 Best Things to Do in Olympia, United States

September 17, 2017 Tambra Mccollister

Birthplace of riot grrl music and home to an energetic independent art and music scene, Olympia is a hub of innovative cultural movements. The nontraditional Evergreen State College draws young pioneers and artists while the surrounding landscape of Puget Sound beckons the environmentally aware to its embrace. With 40 city parks incorporating 963 acres as well as a vast, municipally-funded public art collection, the city is a study in inventive and ecological civil design.
Restaurants in Olympia

1. Hands On Children's Museum

414 Jefferson St NE, Olympia, WA 98501-1124 +1 360-956-0818
Excellent
81%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 400 reviews

Hands On Children's Museum

Interactive exhibits teach children through activities.

Reviewed By RhendTsai - Los Angeles, California

My kids love it. They dont want to go home. We got there exactly at 11 am when they open the door. You can leave the property and come back again in the same day. There all so many things to do. The place its not huge huge but its a lot. The food was great at the cafe. It is small but pretty good and price reasonable.

2. Hurricane Ridge

Olympic National Park, WA
Excellent
84%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Hurricane Ridge

A 17-mile stretch of winding road through dense forests and alpine ice-covered peaks.

Reviewed By SweetGum - Seattle

The first time I visited Hurricane Ridge was the day after I moved to Seattle, many years ago. It was August but cool and rainy at the visitors center in Port Angeles. Yet the weather station at the summit reported clear skies. Thus we starting climbing the mile-high, 17-mile road up to the top. Through clouds and rain. Then more clouds and rain. On and on. Suddenly, without warning, at the last big bend of the road approaching the summit, the clouds parted and I was struck dumb. I don't think I had ever seen anything so awesome or stunning--a complete semi-circle of glorious snow-capped peaks separated from the ridge by deep, green valleys far below. I have returned many times since, most recently this summer, and it is always a thrill. But I will never forget that first, magical time.

3. Tumwater Falls Park

110 Deschutes Way SW, Tumwater, WA 98501-4072 +1 360-943-2550
Excellent
62%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 197 reviews

Tumwater Falls Park

Reviewed By Cavydad - Camarillo, California

Nice road trip rest stop. Not far from the highway and well worth the stop. Get out and walk along the waterfall that was made famous by Olympia beer. May the brewery Rest In Peace.

4. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

100 Brown Farm Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98516-2302 +1 360-753-9467
Excellent
69%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 488 reviews

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Located on the Nisqually River Delta in Southern Puget Sound, this refuge consists of three thousand acres of salt and freshwater marshes, grasslands and mixed forest habitats that provide a resting and nesting area for a wide variety of migratory birds.

Reviewed By KendianaJones - Burien, WA

The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge has an interesting history. For decades, a hand-dug dike kept the salt water out, allowing for large-scale farming on this land. Only recently was the dike removed and an elevated boardwalk installed. Read about the history at the Visitor’s Center.

There is a loop path from the Visitor’s Center that traverses wetlands and riparian forest. Including a couple of side trails to short viewpoints, the loop is about 1.5 miles. Near the far end of the loop are two historical barns from the farming era, and just beyond that is an elevated walkway that looks like a dike. You can follow it a half mile to the beginning of the elevated boardwalk, which extends another 1.1 miles over tidal flats to its end at Nisqually Reach. (A “reach” is where a river widens; in this case it is where the Nisqually River, originating from the Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier, empties into Puget Sound.) The entire area is fantastic for birding. You can do the loop and the entire boardwalk in less than five miles.

Tip: Check the tides for Nisqually Reach before you go. The area of the walkway can be underwater, or mostly dry, depending on the tide.

5. Washington State Capitol

416 Sid Snyder Ave SW, Olympia, WA 98501-1347 +1 360-725-3000
Excellent
69%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 395 reviews

Washington State Capitol

Reviewed By Joyce D - Olympia, Washington

There are free guided tours daily from 10AM until 5PM which are very informative and answer questions regarding Washington history and the construction of this great building. The Governors Mansion is next door and they also offer free tours every Wednesday but reservations are required for the Mansion tours.

6. Farmers Market

700 Capitol Way S, Olympia, WA 98501-1208 +1 360-352-9096
Excellent
64%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 274 reviews

Farmers Market

Reviewed By 98501linda - Olympia, Washington

Always great baked goods, fresh veggies and good choices. Love the flowers and plantings available in the spring! There is local music too. There are several restaurants close and a couple coffee places.

7. Percival Landing

217 Thurston Ave NE, Olympia, WA 98501-1171
Excellent
56%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 198 reviews

Percival Landing

Reviewed By Andrew B - Olympia, Washington

Walk to the park after getting breakfast at the bread Peddler. A nice easy walk. My daughter love the play area she enjoyed seeing the boats and the water and the birds and running around with other little kids. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, no rain Blue Skies.

The boardwalk is fun for adults and dogs. The play area is great for the Younglings. Definitely a part of Olympia you don't want to miss.

8. Priest Point Park

2600 East Bay Drive Northeast, Olympia, WA +1 360-753-8380
Excellent
57%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 177 reviews

Priest Point Park

This 314-acre park offers hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities only minutes from downtown Olympia.

Reviewed By Squawbrook - Branford, Connecticut

Very nice park. This is a very hilly park. A walk to the beach is a worthwhile hike. The hike back is rather difficult for anyone not a person in shape. The water view is very nice and relaxing. Beautiful forest area.

9. Nisqually Reach Nature Center

4949 D Milluhr Dr NE, Olympia, WA 98516-2311 +1 360-459-0387
Excellent
80%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 44 reviews

Nisqually Reach Nature Center

Reviewed By Steve B

Plenty of birdlife to see starting from swampy stream to river estuary. Seals abound and the board walk is one of the best we've come across

10. Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive

Olympic National Park, WA +1 360-565-3130
Excellent
69%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 239 reviews

Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive

A 454-mile drive through Olympic National Park.

Reviewed By DP49 - Edmonds, WA

We did a daytrip from Port Angeles to Forks and back. Unbeknownst to us since we didn’t think to check the Department of Transportation website, major roadwork is currently underway along two sections in the Lake Crescent area. We had around a 15-minute stop at each section in addition to the inherent slow down as the long line of cars took turns on the one lane traffic. Later that evening I did check the DOT website and learned that the work is projected to last another two years and that during working hours there are flaggers and escort vehicles while after hours and on weekends, there will be temporary traffic signals in place. Word of warning, if you are going to the coast and want to adhere to a schedule, then it will behoove you to check the DOT website for road condition delays and updates.

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