OLYMPIA left: FARMER’S MARKET right: WASHINGTON STATE CAPITAL BUILDING; by dinea norrell far right: TOLMIE STATE PARK; by jennifer boutell
Compact, culturally diverse Olympia is a progressive town blending funky, local charm, indulging any traveler’s whim. Although you can see most, if not all, of Washington’s capital in a day, it offers more points of interest than some much larger cities. At the southern tip of Puget Sound, the easily walkable, shop-lined downtown is snugly seated between both Budd and Eld Inlet Bays. Made for strolling, the business district is flanked by a park at one end and the water’s edge at the other. The better part of a day can be whiled away perusing independent shops and cafes. Counter and consumer culture happily converge here, with used bookstores and local clothiers co-existing with high-end jewelry stores and galleries. Artistically-inclined visitors will love the myriad of galleries, artisan shops and local arts and crafts vendors. We recommend starting down Capital Way and heading west on Legion.
You will pass the iron gates of Adesso and Tasty Morsels, a favorite specialty scone baker. For a stunning photo opportunity, turn down Water Street and continue past Heritage Fountain to the pier at Percival Landing. Stroll by “The Kiss”, a well-known statue on the dock. From the dock, snap a few photos for your scrapbook or holiday greeting; the majestic Olympic Mountains offer themselves as a spectacular backdrop. Continuing down the pier you will encounter Budd Bay Cafe, Dockside Bistro and Anthony’s Homeport. Olympia’s foremost attraction is the Olympia Farmer’s Market, a quintessential experience which is colorful and overflowing with fresh food and community spirit. Local farms serve up the season’s freshest harvests. Lunch options abound, whether you’re craving Asian food or bakery items for a picnic on the waterfront, which is located within minutes. The market is an excellent low cost alternative; a visit to this open air market is a must.
Travel Guide 2011