Girls Trip to Olympia, Washington

My daughter turned 16 and wanted nothing more than to spend a night in a swanky hotel with her friends and explore an area away from home. She's got a wanderer's heart that one, and I was happy to oblige. We didn't have to travel far to find the fun capital city of our state. It's funny because we are often traveling in the opposite direction to head to Seattle, thinking that the boring legislative town is just for suits, but I think we found more than enough to give anyone reason to head to Olympia to visit. It's not a stuffy city at all and whether you are planning a girls trip or a weekend getaway to the Seattle area, Olympia is a city not to be missed!

Girls Trip to Olympia, Washington

Where is Olympia?

Olympia is 60 miles south of Seattle, so even if you are coming in to visit the Emerald City, you can make a quick day trip to Olympia. Since it's the capital city, it's worth making the stop to see the history, but also to emerge yourself into this waterfront town that's full of good food and culture.

Where to Stay in Olympia

There are plenty of hotels that will put you close to everything you will want to explore in Olympia. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn just minutes from downtown, because it had everything we needed from beautiful modern rooms, easy freeway access, and most importantly for the girls, a pool and a hot tub! 

What to Eat and Drink in Olympia

There will never be a shortage of coffee and spirits in the greater Pacific Northwest. You can come to Olympia and start coffee tasting in the morning at Batdorf & Bronson and move to beer or wine tasting in the afternoon. 

Since I was exploring with teenagers, we did more of the coffee and stayed away from the bottled beverages, but if you head to Olympia with the over 21 crowd, you might want to check out a local brewery by bike tour or stop at Swing Wine Bar to do some tasting. 

If you want to do your own self-guided South Sound coffee trail, you can follow these recommendations to get a nice taste around town. 

We decided to do everyone's favorite and stopped to get pizza from Pizzeria La Gitana for dinner. It boasts the best pizza outside of Italy and we would have to agree! The best part was sitting under string lights while live jazz music played next to us. It made the perfect birthday dinner experience with a group of teenage girls. 

You really can find something for everyone from a good family meal to a fine dining experience on the water and everything in between!

What to do in Olympia

You can't come to Olympia and not stop at the Capitol building. You can take a free guided tour seven days a week, or explore the grounds yourself. I try to visit the Capitol building in every city I go to because they have such impressive history and beautiful architecture. The teenagers hesitated to want to go, but once we got to the Capitol, they begged to go back the next day. There were beautiful flowers blooming all around, fountains to visit and tons of Instagram worthy spots to take pictures.

The Hands on Children's Museum is a lot of fun if you have little ones in your group. I've met a friend here before and the kids have stayed busy for hours while we had time to chat.

I let my daughter do the event planning and so we parked downtown and wandered around the waterfront. The Olympia Framer's Market shouldn't be missed and you will often times stumble on live entertainment and good food and beautiful flowers while you are visiting. There are several local boutiques you can walk to.

An easy drive from downtown, you shouldn't miss Tumwater Falls Park. You'll find free parking at this 15-acre park and an easy walking path with a bridge and a beautiful waterfall on a one-half mile trail. 

What Not to Miss in Olympia


As we wandered around in Olympia, I saw a few stickers on the ground indicating "Selfie Spots". After we saw the first one, it was a fun scavenger hunt to find the 20 selfie-ready spots that had been put in place by the team at Experience Olympia. You can find the complete selfie-spot list locations here. These locations are all around town from popular locations to more hidden local favorites. Find one or find them all!

experience olympia

Mural Walls in Olympia

We happened to be driving to breakfast when I saw this mural wall and hit the brakes! I have found more and more cities embracing the mural walls and I have started seeking them out when I visit a new city. They are so fun to find and they make the perfect backdrop for a keepsake image from your visit. Some of the mural walls are listed on the selfie-spot locations above, and some of them, you will just have to hunt down yourself! That's the fun part about exploring a new city.

There is so much to see and do in Olympia that it's worth making a special trip to visit. It not only made the perfect girls trip to explore during a birthday weekend, but it lends itself to fun, food and adventure at every corner, so make the trip with the girls, or bring your loved one for a romantic weekend, there really is something for everyone in Olympia.

disclaimer: this post was made possible by Experience Olympia. Thanks for helping us plan our trip and provide several discounts and gift cards for our stay. To plan your trip, visit Experience Olympia

1 comment

Unknown said...

Thanks for this post! We don't live too far from Olympia either and with summer coming, this would make a great day trip. Love the idea of finding all of the selfie spots, especially since I have teens as well.

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