Olympia – Washington

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Olympia is in the South Sound region of Washington ( U.S.A. ) . Olympia is the capital of Washington State, and the Thurston County seat.

The city reflects a diverse economic base and culture. It has a population of 46,478 (2010 Census) and is also home to The Evergreen State College, one of six public four-year schools in Washington. Olympia’s art and music scene is unusually large and active for a town of its size, and its identity as a city remains distinct despite strong influences from Seattle, Tacoma and Everett to the north and from Portland/Vancouver to the south. Olympia is somewhat of a breeding ground for Pacific Northwest alternative culture having spawned or influenced many of the region’s better-known personalities.

The city’s downtown core has been designated as a National Historic District. The natural beauty of Olympia is of particular note. From downtown, one can see the Olympic Mountains to the northwest set behind Puget Sound’s Budd Bay – and towering Mt. Rainier to the southeast set next to the state capitol building and Capitol Lake.

Access : Coordinates:47.0425, -122.893056 / By plane :  Fly in through SeaTac Airport.
Olympia Regional Airport (private, charter)
By car :  Olympia is located along Interstate 5 (I-5), approximately 65 mi south of Seattle (65 min), 100 mi (2 hr) north of Portland and 60mi east from Grays Harbor.

From Interstate 5 (I-5) Olympia is accessed from exits #99 (“93rd Ave SW”) through #109 (“Martin Way E”) along I-5. Downtown can be accessed from Exit #105 (“State Capitol City Center/Port of Olympia”) from both directions. The off ramp comes into town as 14th Ave SE towards the state capitol. From the northbound lanes the off ramp from Exit #105 further splits to #105A which goes into 14th Ave SE or #105B which goes into Plum Ave SE on the east side of the downtown core. Or exit off at Pacific Ave at Exit #107 which comes into downtown as State Ave NE.
US Hwy 101/SR-8 From I-5 US-Hwy 101 is at Exit #103. If going west, the same highway becomes SR-8 after going past the US-Hwy 101 turnoff towards Shelton and Port Angeles.
From Kitsap Peninsula Go south on Hwy 3 and follow signs for “Hwy 3 South Belfair” Continue south along WA-3 through Belfair and Shelton where it ends into US-Hwy 101 south of Shelton. Merges into a freeway continuing east into Olympia as US-Hwy 101 or west to Aberdeen as SR 8.

By bus
1 Greyhound, (depot) 107 7th Ave SE (7th Ave SE & Capitol Way S, south of Sylvester Park). Travels primarily on Interstate 5 (Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Centralia, Kelso/Longview and Portland.)
2 Grays Harbor Transit Rt #40, Greyhound station at 107 7th Ave SE. Olympia Greyhound depot, downtown Olympia Transit Center, Elma, McCleary, Montesano & Aberdeen/Hoquiam in Grays Harbor County.
3 Mason Transit Rt #6, Intercity Transit Olympia Transit Center @ 222 State Ave NE (stop at NW corner of the transit center at Washington St NE & Olympia Ave.). Olympia to/from Shelton.
4 Intercity Transit, (downtown transit center) 222 State Ave NE (An entire city block along State Avenue between Franklin and Washington Streets in downtown Olympia.). Operates local buses in and around Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater as well as express buses from downtown Olympia & Lacey to Lakewood and Tacoma. The following are bus routes connecting downtown Olympia to Lakewood, and/or Tacoma
64 local route from Bay ‘G’ to the Amtrak Station in Lacey via College St. Makes multiple stops to pick up and drop off people on request.
603, 605, 612 Express buses from Bay ‘M’ (NE corner @ Olympia Ave & Franklin) to downtown Tacoma & Tacoma Dome via Lacey & Lakewood. Look at schedules closely as they do not make all the same stops between Olympia and downtown Tacoma and not all routes continue from 10th & Commerce in downtown Tacoma to the Tacoma Dome Station either. Transfer to Pierce Transit Buses in downtown Tacoma, Tacoma Mall or Lakewood and Sound Transit buses in downtown Tacoma or the Lakewood Park & Ride.
609 Express buses from Tumwater to downtown Tacoma via downtown Olympia, Lacey and Lakewood. Bus does NOT serve the downtown transit center but a limited number of stops on 11th with the nearest at Capitol & 11th.
620 Weekend express bus from downtown Olympia to Tacoma Mall via Lacey & Lakewood. No service to downtown Tacoma or Tacoma Dome.
Sound Transit. ST no longer serves Olympia however you can transfer from a Intercity Express Bus (603,612, 620) in Lakewood to:
#574 Lakewood, Tacoma Dome Station, Federal Way, 272nd-I-5, Kent Des Moines Highway (SR-516), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
#594 Lakewood, Downtown Tacoma/UW Tacoma, Tacoma Dome Station, Downtown Seattle
South Sounder Tacoma, Puyallup, Kent and Seattle transfer at Lakewood Station or Tacoma Dome Station
By train
Unlike the other cities where the Amtrak stations are in a downtown location, Amtrak is located in a separate location 7.5mi/12km SE of downtown Olympia. The #64 bus goes from the train station up into downtown Olympia

5 Amtrak, Olympia-Lacey Centennial Station @ 6600 Yelm Hwy Se (Along Yelm Highway SE, past Compton Blvd Se.). The following are the Amtrak routes serving Lacey/Olympia:
Amtrak Cascades… runs between between Seattle and Portland 4x daily serving Tukwila, Tacoma, Lacey (Olympia), Centralia and Kelso in Washington state. They run from Seattle to Vancouver via Everett, Mt Vernon & Bellingham 2x daily and from Portland to Eugene via Oregon City, Salem & Albany 2x daily. Additional service from Seattle to Vancouver and from Portland to Eugene are provided on the Amtrak Thruway Bus.
Amtrak Coast Starlight makes an once daily trip in each direction between Seattle and Los Angeles along the same route with the same stops as the Amtrak Cascades (except Tukwila & Oregon City) between Seattle and Eugene, OR.

Get around
Olympia’s numbered streets run East-West, and the city is broken into four quadrants with the center point in downtown. Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast. These indicators come after any address.
Capitol Way is the main north – south street in the downtown area. Fourth Avenue is the main connector that runs through downtown east – west.
The city’s downtown district lies in the middle of what residents refer to as the Westside and the Eastside. Most residents of the city will claim these two areas are distinctively different.
Intercity Transit operates the bus system. $1.25 per trip or $2.50 for a day pass.

Highlights :

  •  Budd Bay Charters, 525 Columbia St NW (Columbia St NW & ‘B’ Ave NW). Olympia Harbor. Budd Bay Charters provides boat tours of the Olympia harbor and beyond. Has 21′ electric boats that tour the harbor or you can rent them. Also have tours on 38′ Sailboat and 18′ Runabout speed boat.
  • Chehalis Western Trail (The 2 North end of the trail is in the Woodward Bay Conservation Area while the 3 South end of the trail is at 7300 Rainier Ave Se). Always open. Great rail trail for bicycling. The Trail is paved and close to 20 miles long. Goes along lakes, farms, orchards, suburban developments and a river.
  •  Hands On Children’s Museum, 414 Jefferson St NE. The Hands On Children’s Museum stimulates curiosity, creativity and learning through fun, interactive exhibits and programs for children.
  •  Washington Center For The Performing Arts, 512 Washington Street SE (Along Washington St between 5th Ave & Legion Way Se). South Puget Sound’s largest performing arts facility provides a wide variety of entertainment and cultural activities.
  •  Wolf Haven International, 3111 Offut Lake Rd SE, Tenino WA 98589 (13 mi southeast of Olympia, on Offut Lake Rd SE, just east of Old Hwy 99). Is a wolf sanctuary located about a half an hour from Olympia. Forty-seven wolves reside at the refuge and it can be toured by visitors. It has been listed several times in reputable wildlife journals as being one of the top wolf sanctuaries in the United States.
  • South Sound Wine Trail. The South Sound Wine Trail extends from Lacey through Olympia to Shelton and includes 7 wineries. Includes stops at Medicine Creek Winery, Madsen Family Cellars, Northwest Mountain Winery, Stottle Winery, Olympia Wine Tasting Bar (McCrea Cellars & Vina Salida), and Walter Dacon. During your tour you will often have the chance to speak with the winemakers and owners to receive unique insight into their wines.

Go next :  Seattle / Tacoma / Olympic National Park The diverse heart of the Olympic Peninsula offers jagged mountains, rugged coast and lush rainforests.
Mount Rainier National Park Beautiful Mt. Rainer is crowned with waterfalls, meadows and glaciers.
Mt. St. Helens This volcano, famous for its 1980 eruption lies just an hour from Olympia.

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