Olympia Defines A True and Trendy Pacific Northwest

Weekend in Washington


Want to get that original crisp coastal Pacific Northwest feel without the traffic and crowds of Seattle or Portland? Escape to Washington State’s capital city Olympia for plenty of parking, friendly restaurants, funky shopping and crisp, clean air.


Located 60 miles southwest of Seattle and about 113 miles north of Portland Oregon, Olympia is the cultural center of the southern Puget Sound region and the perfect weekend getaway.

Fly in on a Friday afternoon on Alaska Airlines to Seattle, which has hourly flights from major western states that all clock in at about two hours. For more leisurely travel, Amtrak has rail service to Olympia-Lacey at Centennial Station, and the the southbound Coast Starlight departs Olympia with service to Centralia, Portland, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Emeryville, California with a bus connection to San Francisco the Amtrak train 14 takes the Coast Starlight northbound to Tacoma and Seattle. The Amtrak Cascades trains operate as far north as Vancouver, Canada and Eugene Oregon.

Once you get to the port town of Olympia, check into one of its many hotels from the waterfront to capitol hill, at a fraction of the cost of Portland or Seattle.

The lodge-style, pet-friendly Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lake sits on 10 acres overlooking Capitol Lake and is near historic downtown and the city’s many surrounding parks (perfect for a picnic,) the Washington State Capitol Campus, the Puget Sound Estuarium, Marathon Park, and the Olympic Flight Museum.

Washington State is ground zero for some of the best oysters in the world and no trip to Olympia is complete without dinner at one of its oldests restaurants, The Olympia Oyster House.

A historic home for seafood, the restaurant is situated on the pier in the same building where the Olympia Oyster company culled the native oysters back in 1859. In one seating, you can have a taste of at least six different oyster types sourced a stone’s throw from your table. Even the Bloody Marys come topped with an oyster on the half shell. But fear not land lovers, there are plenty of carnivorous options as well, like a prime rib dinner with all the fixins for a reasonable $34.99. Or try their three-course early bird special for $29.99.

Brunch on the pier with a view of the snow capped Cascade Mountains at Row. Located at the edge of the historic Percival Landing park and boardwalk in what was once an old tire shop, Row celebrates local ingredients for a true taste of Washington State in its restaurant and waterfront patio. There’s smoked salmon hash with fennel, leeks, arugula, caper berries topped with an egg, a hangtown fry omelet with local oysters and a Croque Madame with smoked salmon. Wash it down with an apple raspberry mimosa or an Olympian Whitewood Cider. Meticulous care and respect go into the in-house pickled vegetables that adorn the Bloody Marys.

Walk off those French toast calories with a stroll down 5th Avenue to Columbia Street. If you want to shop local for something quirky and unique that will always remind you of Olympia, squeeze into The Wiggle Room. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the vintage store houses a revolving selection of jewelry, crystals and other items one may have found in old curio shops of piers past.




Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lakes







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By Michele Stueven

Images Courtesy of Michele Stueven


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