10 Best Things To Do In Olympia, Washington

things to do in olympia

Being the capital of Washington, Olympia is a small but bustling city full of majestic architecture — from the stately government buildings to the first-class museums. Olympia is a must-see for locals and tourists who enjoy beautiful hidden attractions and amazing sites. Some famous places you can visit here include the Capitol Theater, the Olympic National Park, and more. It is the perfect place for a reprieve from the bustling metropolis. With the endless outdoor activities available, you will never run out of things to do here. You can have a quiet stroll, catch some entertainment, learn more about the local wildlife or sight-see. Check out our list of the best things to do in Olympia, Washington.

1. Walk around the Olympia Downtown Historic District

Historic District (Olympia, Washington)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Visitor7 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Olympia Downtown Historic District covers 17 blocks with 51 properties. The district is a huge place where you can see many historic buildings. Most of the buildings here were built from 1911 to 1930, but some of them were damaged due to earthquakes.

In this district, you won’t see just one historic building — you’ll see seven. All seven are majestic structures in their own right, with each listed in the National Register, just like the district itself. If you find your way here, make sure to see visit Old Capitol Building, Elk’s Building, The Town Square (aka Sylvester Park) and Olympia National Bank. You must also try to visit Mottman Building, Jeffers Studio, and the Olympia Public Library

Olympia Downtown Historic District

Address: Olympia, WA 98501, USA

Website: Olympia Downtown Historic District

2. Interact with nature's best at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Nisqually NWR 28077
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Walter Siegmund used under CC BY 2.5

Founded in 1974 to help protect Washington’s best, this is where you go to get close to nature. This wildlife refuge is famous among nature lovers who are genuinely concerned about the future of the state’s natural environment. Visiting this area at any time of the year will prove to be both enjoyable and rewarding. Surrounding areas serve as perfect backdrops for people who like photography. Because of its rich woodland area and natural habitats, here you’ll have the opportunity to see many different species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, migratory, and more.

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Address: 100 Brown Farm Road Olympia

Website: Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

3. Appreciate works of art at Gallery Boom

Posted by Gallery Boom on Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Gallery Boom is an ideal location for tourists who are looking to have a productive tour in Olympia, Washington. This hub has a lot to offer in terms of artworks. This 5,000 sq ft (464.5 sq m) gallery was established back in October 2016, and since then, it has provided entertainment for locals and tourists alike. Some of the activities the place hosts include art shows and events. For some events, visitors of the gallery are even given the chance to interact with some of the 130 local artists whose works get featured here.

Gallery Boom

Address: 520 Adams St SE, Olympia, WA 98501, United States

Website: Gallery Boom

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11am - 7pm (closed on Mon)

4. Check out Percival Landing Park

Olympia, WA - Percival Landing and Budd Inlet 02
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joe Mabel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A visit in Olympia is never complete without going to this renowned maritime landmark. The park’s name was derived from the local steamship wharf. The park has a rich extensive history since its inception in 1860. It was constructed in three phases before the city of Olympia acquired it in 1996. Visitors who make their way to the park get to enjoy the playground, as well as the picnic and arts area. Additionally, visitors can choose to take a walk on the park’s 1.4 km (0.87 mi) boardwalk.

Percival Landing Park

Address: 217 Thurston Ave NW, Olympia, WA 98501, United States

Website: Percival Landing Park

5. Aviation history at the Olympic Flight Museum

FG-1D Corsair at Olympic Flight Museum right view
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Articseahorse used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re one of those people that enjoy aviation, then a visit to the Olympic Flight Museum will prove to be worthwhile. The museum has a range of helicopters and vintage planes on display. The best time to visit the museum would be during the Olympic Air Show, which typically happens in June. During this show, the audience gets an opportunity to view military drills from the past and present.

Olympic Flight Museum

Address:7637 Old Hwy 99 SE, Tumwater, WA 98501, United States

Website: Olympic Flight Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11am - 5pm (closed on Mon)

6. Shop at the Olympia Farmers Market

SHOP FOR A SAINT PATRICK'S DAY FEAST AT THE MARKET! Visit our farmers, artisan food vendors and bakers to help you...

Posted by The Olympia Farmers Market on Saturday, 14 March 2020

If you’re thinking of visiting Olympia, Washington, then you need to go shopping at Olympia Farmers Market. This iconic market was launched back in 1975. Some of the things you can expect to find here include cut flowers, local produce, dairy products, artisanal food, plant seedlings, cured meats, wine, local art, seafood, and more.

Olympia Farmers Market

Address: 700 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501, United States

Website: Olympia Farmers Market

7. Take part in activities hosted by the Washington Center for the Performing Arts

Posted by The Washington Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, 8 December 2017

Spice up your visit to Olympia by enjoying cultural and entertainment activities at the Washington Center for Performing Arts. The live performances in this arts facility are mind-blowing. There are also local performances that are conducted by various local groups, all of which have different styles and genres.

Washington Center for the Performing Arts

Address: 512 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA 98501, United States

Website: Washington Center for the Performing Arts

8. Have a pint of beer at Fish Brewing Company

Posted by Fish Brewing on Tuesday, 14 January 2020

If you’re one of those beer lovers that enjoy Northwestern portions, then you need to visit the Fish Brewing Company. The company already has garnered a lot of experience and recognition since its inception back in 1993. So, be sure to visit this facility, which has won various awards for craft brewing. The company is located in Olympia’s Jefferson Street Se.

Fish Brewing Company

Address:514 Jefferson St SE, Olympia, WA 98501, United States

Website: Fish Brewing Company

9. Take your family to Hands On Children's Museum?

Posted by Hands On Children's Museum on Thursday, 2 January 2020

When you’re in Olympia with your family, why not visit Hands On Children’s Museum. This museum is ideal for family entertainment due to the many interesting learning programs and exhibits that are both interactive and fun. As such, you don’t have to worry about keeping your children engaged in this family-friendly destination.

Hands On Children's Museum

Address: 414 Jefferson St NE, Olympia, WA 98501, United States

Website: Hands On Children’s Museum

10. Learn about marine life at South Sound Estuarium

Carrie Zielger, artist and muralist, along with many creative and dedicated volunteers work the summer of 2015 to create...

Posted by Puget Sound Estuarium on Sunday, 22 November 2015

Most of us enjoy interacting with plants and animals; if that’s the case, you need to visit South Sound Estuarium. Here, you’ll get an opportunity to explore nature’s ecosystem. The facility also does a great job of sensitizing visitors to take great care of nature’s resources. So, show some support to this non-profit organization that is doing a great job of protecting natural resources.

South Sound Estuarium

Address:309 State Ave NE, Olympia, WA 98501, United States

Website: South Sound Estuarium

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 11am - 4pm (closed Mon - Fri)

Enjoy your visit at Olympia

Above are some enjoyable activities that one can do while at Olympia, Washington. The activities range from fun and interactive visits to museums, parks, and art galleries. There are also recreational spots such as brewing companies for beer lovers, proving that there’s something for everyone here.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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An award-winning travel writer with a rich extensive mix of passion and expertise. Studied and lived in three continents.

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