Activities Olympia

An Insider’s Guide to the Best Things to Do in Olympia, WA

things to do in olympia

With 200 million forfeited vacation days left on the table every year by American workers, it’s clear that no matter where you live, we’re bad at taking time off. Rather than wait for the perfect time to take a trip, you could check out for the day and take a trip out to Olympia for a day-long excursion. With so many fun things to do in Olympia, there’s no good excuse for not taking advantage of all of your potential time off this year.

Here are seven things you’ve got to check out next time you’re in Olympia.

1. The WET Science Center

If you like to see what kind of wildlife, nature, and scientific attractions a region has to offer, you’re going to love Olympia’s WET Science Center. This “Water Education and Technology” center gives you a view of some water-centric facts and experiences.

You’ll experience interactive exhibits that are focused on the planet’s natural resources. You’ll learn important water facts, all about life underwater, and what we can do to protect this vital resource.

This downtown center is located at 500 Adams St. NE, hosts school groups, and gives tours to visitor groups of any size.

2. The Olympia Farmer’s Market

If you take the time to walk along the Percival Landing boardwalk in Olympia, you might end up running into the farmer’s market. You’ll find all kinds of great local treats here, depending on when you visit.

Whether you like fresh fruits and vegetables or prefer baked goods and coffee, you’ll find lots of sweet and delicious food from purveyors across the region. There are several sellers specializing in handcrafted cheeses restocked on a regular basis.

Depending on the season, you’ll find clams, oysters, and other fresh seafood. Take a stroll and taste the variety of flavors.

3. Hands On Children’s Museum

If you’re visiting Olympia with kids or looking for something new to do with the family, try the Hands On Children’s Museum. They have interactive exhibits that span across eight massive galleries.

Kids are encouraged to explore creatively and learn through play. The numerous stimulating activities and engaging displays will ensure that you and while away the hours here. It’s the perfect place for a rainy day.

While some children’s museums are focused heavily on entertaining kids while ignoring their chaperones, this one is different. Kids and adults of all ages will find something to inspire their childlike wonder at this museum.

4. Washington State Capital Museum

At the Washington State Capital Museum, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the city. Situated in the opulent Lord Mansion, this museum and its Outreach Center has permanent exhibits celebrating the city and its Native American history.

There are even rotating temporary exhibitions that explore current developments in the city through Olympia’s rich and storied history. The building also hosts many heritage and historical societies that meet in different rooms through the mansion.

5. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

If you’re a bird lover and interested in exploring refuges for migratory birds, the Nisqually refuge is a must see. Birds use the area as a nesting site and a habitat. This is especially useful for the number of endangered and rare birds that either pass through or live in the Pacific Northwest.

The refuge offers freshwater and saltwater marshes, forest areas, and even grasslands. You’ll find many common species along with the hundreds that make their way through every year. Blue herons, American bitterns, and peregrine falcons all number among the variety of migratory birds you’ll see.

Give yourself a couple hours around the time that high tide hits and you’ll see lots of incredible birds you might never spot otherwise.

6. Mount Rainier National Park

If you’re looking for a gorgeous national park in the Olympia area, head 60 miles southeast of the city where you’ll find Mount Rainier. Mount Rainier National Park offers you a gorgeous mountain to climb and to hike, being a lush volcano situated in the Cascades chain.

If you want to see some incredible old growth, come to visit the Grove of the Patriarchs. Drive along the mountaintop, taking the Road to Paradice, and you’ll end up at the lovely mountaintop where you’ll find the lodge named “The Paradise”.

If you’re willing to get up early enough, you can make it up there for one of the most epic sunrises you’ll ever see.

For sightseeing, don’t forget about the amazing waterfalls or expansive lookouts. Keep your eyes peeled for historic buildings along the route as well.

7. Mima Mounds

If you’re a lover of amazing unexplained natural phenomena, you’ve got to check out the Mima Mounds. They’re a fantastic place to take a day trip out to and capture a few photos or just take a relaxing picnic.

No one knows exactly what created these mounds southwest of the city and people have been speculating for decades. While some have tried to claim that it was the work of giant gophers, others have claimed they’re the result of earthquakes or glaciers.

Regardless of what brought them to the area, they make the perfect location for a hike. When the wildflowers are in bloom in the spring, you’ll find this to be a deeply relaxing environment to stroll in.

Bring the kids for a day in nature or just go with your sweetie to spend some alone tie chatting amidst the mystery and impressiveness of these mounds.

There are Even More Things To Do in Olympia

With so much great nature surrounding the area, there’s no shortage of things to do in Olympia. If you have enough time and the will to plan it out, you’ll be able to explore everything that the area has to offer.

If you want to check out Tacoma next, follow our guide for all of the exciting things you could see there.

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