Things to do & places to visit in Olympia, Washington, United States
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.
Olympia city in Washington, United States. Timezone: America/Los_Angeles, current date and time: Saturday, December 09, 2023, 6:17.
Top things to do (21)
- Wineries & Vineyards
- Children's Museums
- Points of Interest & Landmarks
- Speciality Museums
- Hiking Trails
- Monuments & Statues
- Bodies of Water
- Flea & Street Markets
- Nature & Wildlife Areas
- History Museums
- Science Museums
- State Parks
- Educational sites
- Public Transportation Systems
Top places to visit (30 attractions) view more »
- 5.0 Hands On Children's Museum (484 reviews)
A Exceptionally Good Children's Museum
Saturday: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM Children's Museums
Come Play with Us! The award-winning Hands On Children's Museum is the largest and most visited children's museum in the Pacific Northwest. We celebrate play and believe in its importance in early learning. With over 150 exciting exhibits in 10 beautiful galleries and a fabulous art studio, we encourage children and their parents to play and learn all about science, nature, and art in settings inspired by our beautiful Northwest. Our Outdoor Discovery Center, a half-acre of unique outdoor exhibits, expands opportunities for play and learning with a trike and hike loop, lighthouse lookout, Puget Sound beach replica, children's garden, and Megan D schooner where kids can climb a six-foot rope ladder to the top deck of a real 56-foot vintage schooner, cross the rickety bridge, explore the crow's nest, and captain the ship. Online Reservations Required See more..
- 5.0 Nisqually Reach Nature Center (55 reviews)
Beautiful place to see sunrise!
Saturday: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM Nature & Wildlife Areas • Educational sites
Stayed at the Inn at Mallard Cove about a mile away, and our host Don recommended we take in the sunrise at the beach here. It was fabulous! Changed in the blink of an eye. Lots of various birds. Enjoyed watching the kayakers and fisherman come and go. Truly a beautiful place to see and hang out as the sun comes up. See more..
- 5.0 Washington Center for the Performing Arts (19 reviews)
Lots of stuff going on here
There are lots of different things going on here and I have enjoyed lots of them. My favorite is Masterworks Choral Ensemble. See more..
- 5.0 Medicine Creek Winery (3 reviews)
Wineries & Vineyards
Medicine Creek Winery is nestled in the middle of the beautiful Nisqually Valley. The specialty is award winning red wines with a very nice Dry Reisling and a port style red also. See more..
- 4.5 Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (618 reviews)
Peaceful Spot for wildlife and bird viewing
Saturday: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Nature & Wildlife Areas
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. See more..
- 4.5 Washington State Capitol (531 reviews)
Prettier on the inside
Saturday: 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monuments & Statues
Our jaws just dropped as soon as we entered. Just stunning. We went on a Sunday, free parking, beautiful flower garden, incredible art, marble, chandeliers. The only negative was that you can only go in the chambers if you’re with a group. See more..
- 4.5 Farmers Market (405 reviews)
Terrific farmers market
Saturday: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM Flea & Street Markets
Open 10AM-3PM Year Round! January-March: Saturday Only April-October: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday November-December: Saturday & Sunday See more..
- 4.5 Percival Landing (238 reviews)
Walk the best waterfront dock anywhere.
Start at the 4th Avenue Bridge and wind your way to the viewing tower at the Port of Olympia stopping along the way to view art and have a cool drink and food in many lovely places along the way. The best walk in town. See more..
- 4.5 Squaxin Park (202 reviews)
Outdoor Picnic? Try Priest Point Park!
This 314-acre park offers hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities only minutes from downtown Olympia. See more..
- 4.5 Tolmie State Park (54 reviews)
Tolmie at low tide is amazing!
Spent 2-3 hours State Parks • Bodies of Water
I never miss a chance to visit and explore the wonders of tidal sea life!! Be sure to bring your camera, oyster shucking gear and clam digging gear, along with water shoes! See more..
- 4.5 Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area (44 reviews)
Tranquil historic park
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Small parking area and then a paved walkway of about a mile through the woods to the end. Some uphill and downhill. This area is where rail lines used to end and logging trains drive out on the trussell where the logs were dumped in the sound to float 69 miles north to the mill. It is a pleasant walk with opportunity to see various birds, seals and other animals. See more..
- 4.5 East Bay Public Plaza (27 reviews)
Nice Strolling Plaza With Water Feature
The East Bay Public Plaza is the newest addition to Olympia's waterfront. It is directly in front of the new Hands On Children's Museum and the WET Science Center. It's a nice landscaped sidewalk path with places to sit and with restrooms. The concrete path is beautifully decorated with tile. There is an artificial stream where children are encouraged to dip their feet in and play. This plaza is a welcome addition to Olympia's downtown and waterfront. See more..
- 4.5 WET Science Center (26 reviews)
Wonderfully informative science center
Saturday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Science Museums
The WET Science Center is a fun, hands-on place to learn all about water – one of our most precious resources. Exhibits and games for all ages focus on water conservation, wastewater treatment, reclaimed water use, clean water careers, and protecting Puget Sound. The science center is owned and operated by the LOTT Clean Water Alliance, a nonprofit corporation providing wastewater management services for the urban areas of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater. See more..
- 4.5 Puget Sound Estuarium (14 reviews)
One-on-one with a marine biologist
Spent 1-2 hours Aquariums
Drove by on State Street and saw the sign out on the sidewalk. So glad we stopped in for a visit! Our 3 1/2 year old son was able to ask the marine biologist questions and got lots of attention. My husband and I read the postings around the displays, enjoyed the sea life in the tanks, and relaxed. Well worth the $5 family fee! Good way to spend about 45 minutes. See more..
- 4.5 Boston Harbor Marina (13 reviews)
$2 soft serve!
Saturday: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM Marinas
Came here for 4th of July, make sure you get there early, the docks runs out fast! Beautiful marina, clean, super friendly and helpful staff all around. Make your own soft serve! Heaven! See more..
- 4.5 West Bay Park (13 reviews)
Great Place to See Wildlife Boats & More
I take my boy to this park every few months. This time did not disappoint. It is on the water, the south end of the Puget Sound, across from the Port of Olympia. It smelled like the sea and a massive ship was at the port loading logs. A crane was standing in the water nearby looking wise and calm per usual. People were playing with their dogs and just enjoying the day. This park is basically a local hidden gem. No toys for kids, but the sights are great and at low tide they can go down on the shore. You can usual see sailboats going out and people launch their kayaks from the park. A few places to sit, but lots of bird poo on sidewalks due to location. Worth a stop, even if for 15 minutes. Bring a camera. A trail into the forest is really close by. You see it when you drive up to the park. See more..
- 4.5 Bigelow House Museum (8 reviews)
Slice of history
Saturday: Spent 1-2 hours History Museums
3-13-2020. TEMPORARILY CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY. The Bigelow House Museum is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the early history of Olympia and Washington Territory. It is the oldest residence in Olympia, Washington, and one of the earliest still standing in the Pacific Northwest.The house is a rare surviving example of the Carpenter Gothic style architecture popular in rural America during the mid-1800s. See more..
- 4.0 Lattin's Country Cider Mill & Farm (121 reviews)
Fun stop through WA
Saturday: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM Farms
Wonderful experience for kids..the store had wonderful pastries and sweets. The petting zoo was nice as the animals were fun and their containment areas were nicely kept. Definitely worth a stop to get the kids out of the car to run through the maze. The bathrooms were clean and stocked. See more..
- 4.0 Millersylvania State Park (99 reviews)
An Oasis in the Forest During High and Off Season
One of the highlights of this state park is Deep Lake, a summertime favorite among local residents. See more..
- 4.0 Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve (62 reviews)
Go at the right time.
Nature & Wildlife Areas
My wife and I arrived around 8 a.m. on a Monday morning. We never heard the gun shots. Maybe those are more of a weekend or later in the day phenomenon. We walked the full 2 1/2 mile and only met one woman. It was all ours. Sadly, we were already too late for the Camas (May 9) but there were lots of other great wildflowers. We took a lot of time since we were taking pictures and are getting rather elderly. Just as we came back to the parking lot we heard this real noisy group. I assumed it was a bunch of kids or a family. Nope, it was a group of elderly ladies talking very loud. See more..
- 4.0 Monarch Sculpture Park (55 reviews)
A dream experience
Saturday: 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM Spent 1-2 hours Points of Interest & Landmarks • Parks • Monuments & Statues
Monarch Sculpture Park is a contemporary outdoor sculpture park and center for the arts. The grounds are open to the public daily from dawn to dusk. Located in the heart of the Thurston County prairie lands just a few miles south of Olympia, near Tenino, Washington, the park is designated as a primitive park with walk in, bike in, access from the Chehalis Western Trail. The park will continue its legacy of fine art and sculpture in nature. Monarch is a part of the Thurston County Bountiful Byways project. Its neighbors include the internationally renowned Wolf Haven and the new Great Wolf Lodge. Pets are welcome but must be leashed at and cleaned up after. See more..
- 4.0 Olympic Flight Museum (43 reviews)
An excellent place to visit aviation heritage!
Saturday: 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM Speciality Museums
My kids and I thoroughly enjoyed this museum. There were planes and helicopters for the kids to get in and sit in the pilots seat. They have a flying P-51 Mustang which is kick --!!! And only $5 to get in. This was a great stop. See more..
- 4.0 5th Avenue Bridge (29 reviews)
Great place to view salmon and wildlife
This is a great place to see the salmon run (there are hundreds of large salmon!) and the associated seals diving for salmon, blue heron and other critters. It is a great view of the area. See more..
- 4.0 Marathon Park (28 reviews)
great little park with beautiful view and interesting history
lit at night to give a great spot to view the water and relax on the many benches looking over the waterfront. See more..
- 4.0 Heritage Park (23 reviews)
Nice Views of Washington State Capitol
Saturday: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM Spent < 1 hour Parks
After having lunch at a nearby restaurant, I took a stroll at this park. There is a fountain that shoots up streams of water for kids to cool off and play in and then across the street is Capitol Lake with benches to sit on or paths to walk as you look at the view of the Washington State capitol building and the serene lake. See more..
- 4.0 Mclane Creek Nature Trail (20 reviews)
Just follow the arrows around the trail.We started our normal route and ran into some arrows pointing straight at us so we turned around and went to a different entrance. Labeling what direction to hike at the entrance of the park would be beneficial. Lots of nice flat hiking area great for kids beautiful area. See more..
- 4.0 LBA Park (17 reviews)
Playground with a zip line, so fun!
This park is off the main roads and a hidden gem mainly where the locals go. It is worth a stop. The playground area has a section for younger kids and older kids. There is not exactly a huge variety of toys, but what they do have is not found anywhere else in the area - a kids zip line. All ages can do it! There is also an interesting climber setup for older kids, swings and plenty of places to sit. This park is home to many kids baseball games and has a tennis court. There are two ways in, take Amhurst St (side street off Morse-Merryman) to get to the parking lot right next to the playground. The park is really big with paths and space to play frisbee etc. Driving to this somewhat backroad park can be interesting in itself as you might see deer, raccoons or a random goat or chicken along the way. See more..
- 4.0 Olympia Weekend Flea Market (12 reviews)
Flea & Street Markets
I found this option for an activity cruising on trip advisor. My friend and I spent several hours there . The parking was free and plentiful and the location was easy to find and convenient for us. There is no entry fee. Hours are, I believe, 10-5 Saturdays/Sundays. It is set up similar to an antique mall with multiple vendors. We found so many fun items and just browsed and browsed. We found the vendors pleasant and easy to talk with and work with. My friend scored an antique ice box in excellent condition for a reasonable price. We have already set our next trip to this place! See more..
- 3.5 Nisqually Red Wind Casino (304 reviews)
Saturday: 8:00 AM - 3:00 AM Spent 2-3 hours Casinos
Red Wind Casino is the greater Olympia area’s go-to spot for gaming, dining and entertainment. We feature more than 1,500 slot machines, a complete array of table games, four restaurants, a new sports bar, a 600-space parking garage, and the largest smoke-free gaming area in the region. Our award-winning dining options include a range of cuisines from unpretentious staples to fine dining at our Blue Camas Buffet, Medicine Creek Deli, The Squalli-Absch Grille, The Seafood Restaurant, and our new sports bar, the Coho Sports Pub. Our 46,000 sq. ft. gaming floor features the latest slot releases along with all your old favorites in both our smoke-free area and our main casino floor. We also offer table games including craps, roulette, blackjack, Pai Gow, and three-card poker along with Keno and Speed Keno. Nisqually Red Wind Casino opened its doors on May 1997. It is located 15 minutes east of Olympia and is owned by the Nisqually Indian Tribe of southern Washington. See more..
- 3.5 Amtrak Cascades (64 reviews)
A long day but worth it
Public Transportation Systems
This was a very comfortable train trip in the business class section of the train. We were hoping for more views of the cost but obviously we didn’t do our homework in understanding this is not possible. Carriage clean and comfortable and service very good. At the time of our trip we had to transfer to the bus at Seattle to complete the journey to Vancouver. This made it a long day but the drive was very good at keeping us entertained from time to time. Driver was very helpful in explaining the border crossing procedures. Believe the train now travels all the way to Vancouver. See more..
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