What to do in Olympia, Washington

January 19, 2022


Travel Guides, USA, Washington

Right before the holidays, we spent a few days exploring Olympia, Washington! It was such a charming small town, and we absolutely fell in love with the Pacific North West vibes! Before we had even left, we were trying to plan a trip back! Olympia is such a family-friendly city with so many fun cultural and artsy things to do!

how to get there:

Olympia is about a one hour drive outside of Seattle, Washington, so the best way to get there is to fly into the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and then rent a car, so you can head over to Olympia and explore the area! We flew from Los Angeles to Seattle on Alaska Airlines, and it was such a seamless and easy flight experience! It’s about a three-hour non-stop flight, and Alaska Airlines made the entire experience so comfortable and relaxing, which is absolutely ideal, especially since we were flying with an infant!

Once you get to downtown Olympia, there are so many cute shops, restaurants, and places to explore! ! We loved just walking around the city and in and out of the charming stores the as soon as we got there! Here are some of our favorite things to do in Olympia:

what to do in Olympia, washington:

Rainbow Rails:

We love finding a good photo op while traveling and the Rainbow Rails are arguably one of the most Instagrammable spots in Olympia, Washington! The old railroad tracks go over the water and were painted the colors of the rainbow, so they’re a fun spot to go and take some pictures!

Captain Littles Toy Store:

Whether you’re a parent or you just have a little one in your life that you love, you have to go to Captain Littles Toy Store! It is absolutely adorable! It has such fun toys for kids of all ages — stuffed animals, doll houses, puzzles, board games, etc. We were there right before Christmas and I wanted to buy the whole store for Luna for Christmas morning, haha. We went three times while we were there, because that’s how much we loved it! Be sure to walk around and check out the other shops downtown too! We also loved going in Rainy Day Records, which is a fun records store and Danger Room Comics, which is a comic book shop! They both gave me very small town One Tree Hill vibes, which I obviously loved. 

Hands On Children’s Museum:

We absolutely loved visiting the Hands on Children’s Museum here! It’s so cute and interactive and has 10 dedicated rooms for different age groups of children. There are over 150 hands-on exhibits, so kids can learn about science, technology, engineering, math and art. Even though our little one is still under one, there were still so many age appropriate activities for her there and we all absolutely loved it! If we lived in Olympia, I would 100% get an annual pass there, that’s how much we loved it! There’s even an outdoor playground area! 

Percival Landing Boardwalk:

Walking along the Percival Landing Boardwalk is an absolute must during your time in Olympia! We loved walking along the water, seeing all the boats docked, and watching the sunset change the colors of the sky over the water. It’s a beautiful walk, easy to get to, and so picturesque. We definitely recommend going at sunset!

Tour the Capitol Building:

While you’re in Olympia, be sure to tour the Legislative Building of the Washington State Capitol Building. Tours are available on the hour from 10 am to 3 pm during the weekdays and on the half hour from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm on the weekends. You can also do a self-guided tour and then wander the gardens and rest of the grounds. The building is absolutely beautiful with marble covered floors, stunning columns, and a beautiful detailed pink ceiling. There’s also a chandelier in the center that was made by Tiffany’s!


Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Reserve:

This is a great way to get outdoors and explore the Puget Sound area! The Nisqually National Wildlife Reserve is considered the last unspoiled major estuary in the Puget Sound. It’s a National Natural Landmark and home to a variety of different habitats and is an incredible place to visit if you love bird watching. There are a few different walking trails, making it a great place for families to get outside and explore nature!


where to eat:

Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar: 

If you love oysters, you have to go to Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar. The owners are second generation sustainable shellfish farmers and are carrying on the legacy and dream of their parents. It’s the perfect spot for a date night or a girls dinner.

McMenamins Spar Café:

McMenamins Spar Café used to be a local hang out for dockworkers and loggers, and it’s now a popular spot in the city for students and politicians. It’s a staple of the community and known for it’s history in the city. It’s a great spot to get a delicious burger or go for a yummy brunch! Ryan absolutely loved the Elk Burger!

Food Trucks:

We loved grabbing lunch from the food trucks on 4th Ave and Plum Street SE. There are trucks that sells latin food, Mexican food, and middle-eastern food. We loved the Arepas from the Arepa Latin Street Food truck. It’s a great place to go to support local and get delicious food quickly!

Pizzeria La Gitana:

If you’re looking to enjoy a warm, fresh pizza, Pizzeria La Gitana is the place to go! They use organic flour and produce, so it’s a high-quality pizza with fresh ingredients made on an Authentic Italian thin crust. The atmosphere is perfect for a romantic dinner for two or just a nice family dinner where you can all sit down, relax, and enjoy yourselves with some delicious pizza.

Where to stay:

Double Tree by Hilton Olympia:

We stayed at Double Tree by Hilton Olympia, and it was the perfect spot right in the heart of downtown Olympia. It’s in such an ideal location to be able to easy walk around to the Percival Landing Boardwalk and lots of the restaurants and shops downtown. The rooms were very comfortable and spacious and there’s an indoor swimming pool, which is perfect for when you’re traveling during the colder winter months.

We loved experiencing Olympia and it’s one-of-a-kind experiences! The capital city of Washington is such a unique, family-friendly destination that makes it the perfect getaway for anyone wanting to explore one of the most charming cities in the Pacific Northwest!

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Thank you so much to Experience Olympia & Beyond for sponsoring our trip! As always, all opinions are our own.

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