• olympia

Explore Olympia, Washington

Olympia Washington has been the Capitol of the Territory and State of Washington since 1853. The Capitol Campus is situated on 12 acres of grounds designed by the famous Olmsted Brothers and with a sweeping view of the city and Puget Sound and it remains one the loveliest capitol settings in the United States. The grand centerpiece of the campus is the soaring Legislative Building (1928), a monumental landmark of columns and hand-carved friezes. Six cast-bronze doors weighing five tons apiece, each one bearing a different scene from Washington's past, open into a sumptuous world of polished marble and plaster ceilings.

Majestically looming over Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia is the Romanesque style "Old Capitol" building. Built in 1892, as the county courthouse, it was originally topped by eight turrets and a central clock tower; unfortunately natural disasters destroyed these architectural features. It remains an impressive landmark for the city and visitors can step inside during public business hours. This building is part of the 12-square block area of downtown which was designated as a National Register Historic District in 2004.

Take a virtual tour of the State of Washington Capitol Building

Visit the Olympia Visitor & Convention Bureau

For More Information...

Please see our Location Page for more detailed examples of what to do while you're in the area.

Calendar of Events

There are so many exciting events that take place annually in downtown Olympia; they can easily fill up a Washington State events calendar. Our area has something to offer everyone, whether you're an artist, athlete, or a person who just loves to have fun.

Visiting art lovers will enjoy both our Sand in the City and Artswalk events. The former is a uniquely delightful display of numerous sand sculptures by locals and visitors alike. Each year, over 240 tons of sand invades the downtown area! We guarantee it will be one of the most unusual art displays you will ever witness. The Artswalk is a biannual event that takes place in April and October, and features the work of local artists displayed throughout downtown Olympia shops, boutiques and restaurants. The October Artwalk is followed quickly by the Olympia Film Festival in November. They feature an eclectic mix of fine small features and larger budget films over the years.

The athletes in the family will appreciate our Kick in the Grass soccer tournament and our Capital City long distance running events. Kick in the Grass is a three-day tournament held in the second half of July in Tumwater. Grab some picnic fodder and watch local teams battle it out for the top spot - the quality of soccer is well worth earmarking a day of your visit to head out to the fields. The Capital City Marathon takes place in May and is a popular event for area runners, all of whom look forward to custom, designed shirts, awards, and medals each year. For those of you whose spirit is willing but body is less sure - the website also "relays" information regarding their half-marathon, five-miler, and kids run. Click here for more details.

Families are sure to enjoy the Olympic Flight Museum and their annual Olympic Airshow. See aerobatic demonstrations and static displays. You will also have the opportunity to see the US Army Special Operations Parachute team and more. Click here for more information. Afterward, make time to visit Wolf Haven International, just a few miles away. See wolves and coyotes while learning about conservation efforts to save these animals. Afterward, visit their gift shop then explore the mounds. Kids are sure to love this and so will you. For more information click here.

If you are visiting Olympia and just want to kick up your heels and have a good time, our area is home to a few festivals and carnivals throughout the year. Olympia Harbor Days is in its 33rd year and is one of the most locally beloved events, celebrating our area's maritime heritage and featuring over 30 tugboats and 120 arts and crafts booths. The Dixieland Jazz Festival has been swinging since 1991 and is dedicated to the continuing tradition of American music. The event has attracted some of the best jazz musicians in our country. The Capitol Lakefair Festival was founded in 1957 to promote the construction of Capitol Lake Park. Every few years new aspects were added to the event, including floats, water skiing, sailboat races, street dances, a car show, and much more. Today, the festival has a budget just shy of a quarter of a million dollars and is one of the biggest entertainment draws to Olympia.

If you are visiting Olympia and just want to kick up your heels and have a good time, our area is home to a few festivals and carnivals throughout the year. Olympia Harbor Days is in its 33rd year and is one of the most locally beloved events, celebrating our area's maritime heritage and featuring over 30 tugboats and 120 arts and crafts booths. The Dixieland Jazz Festival has been swinging since 1991 and is dedicated to the continuing tradition of American music. The event has attracted some of the best jazz musicians in our country. The Capitol Lakefair Festival was founded in 1957 to promote the construction of Capitol Lake Park. Every few years new aspects were added to the event, including floats, water skiing, sailboat races, street dances, a car show, and much more. Today, the festival has a budget just shy of a quarter of a million dollars and is one of the biggest entertainment draws to Olympia.

For more information about our local events, please click on the link below. The Governor Hotel is ideally located for you and your family to enjoy them.

For a more detailed listing of events please click here.