One of our recent family adventures led us to Olympia – the capitol of Washington State! We packed the car, the kiddos and even George (our new little pup), and headed south for a weekend of exploring an eclectic city of shopping, dining, art and waterfalls.
We started the trip off with a stop at Tumwater Falls Park, just outside of Olympia. It has a tree-lined path that follows along the Deschutes River, with cascading waterfalls, bouldering rapids, and plenty of room for the kids (& George) to roam and explore. It was actually a bit rainy that day, but thankfully we’re from the Pacific Northwest and always have umbrellas in the car!
We then headed to the hotel, the Marriott Towneplace Suites, to warm up and relax (because you need to factor in downtime when traveling with kiddos…and a puppy!).
After a quick rest, I browsed the visitor’s guide and discovered a family-friendly art studio, the Painted Plate, just a few blocks from the hotel. The studio offered hundreds of pottery pieces to design and decorate, plus – they have a yummy selection of espresso, ice cream, savory plates, wine and beer to enjoy.
For dinner we headed to Fish Tale Brew Pub, an award-winning brewery that also offers a full menu for both kids and adults. I recommend the Fish Tale Tacos!
On the way to visit the capitol the next morning, we couldn’t help but stop and appreciate the dozens of murals lining the city streets. When you think of Olympia, legislation immediately comes to mind, but the creative side to the city is something not to be missed.
The Legislative Building is comprised of more than 173 million pounds of stone, brick, concrete and steel. It is the fifth-tallest masonry dome in the world and the tallest in North America, rising 287 feet high.
Guided public tours of the Washington State Legislative Building are offered seven days a week hourly–between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m on weekdays, and between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends. Tours are free and begin every hour on the hour and last 60 minutes.
That afternoon we explored the Hands On Children’s Museum which is an absolute MUST if you have kids! It has 28,000 square feet of indoor space with 8 themed galleries ranging from science, technology, art, engineering and math through 150+ hands-on exhibits. The museum also has a half-acre Outdoor Discovery Center. It was the highlight of my girl’s trip! Give yourself at least 2 hours to explore, but you could easily be there all day!
Before we headed home, we made sure to squeeze in a walk along the marina. If you’re in the area on a Saturday, stop by the Olympia Farmers Market which is right on the waterfront!
Olympia is a uniquely beautiful city that has so much to offer for a quick family adventure. I encourage you to take a weekend and explore!
Here’s a roundup of my top picks for a family-friendly trip to Olympia:
Hotel: Marriott Towneplace Suites (Pet-Friendly)
Breakfast: 222 Market
Lunch: 5th Avenue Sandwich Shop
Dinner: Fish Tale BrewPub
Activities: Tumwater Falls Park, Hands On Children’s Museum, WET Science Center, Capitol Tour, Painted Plate, Tolmie State Park, Olympic Flight Museum, Olympic Family Theater, Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
If you’re feeling inspired to adventure – check out Visit Olympia for additional tips and resources!
Cheers to family (& pet) fun!
Disclosure: Visit Olympia, Marriott Towneplace Suites and the Hands On Children’s Museum graciously hosted our family. The opinions expressed here represent my own, which I take great pride in providing pure honesty…because I’m OBSESSED with sharing the Good!