60 miles S of Seattle, 100 miles N of Portland
At the southernmost end of Puget Sound, Olympia is the capital of Washington and a pleasant little city, though aside from the state capitol building and a few parks, it has little of interest to attract visitors. The city clings to the shores of Budd Inlet's twin bays and is further divided by Capitol Lake, above which, on a high bluff, stands the capitol building. Olympia boasts a fairly lively downtown and an attractive waterfront, but, despite the political importance of being the state capital, still has the air of a small town. The downtown is compact and low-rise, and when the legislature isn't in session, the city can be downright ghostly. Keeping things alive, however, are the students of Evergreen State College, a very progressive liberal arts college.
The Olympia area has a long history, and near here, in what is now the city of Tumwater, the first pioneers settled in 1844. A historic district and historical park along the Deschutes River in Tumwater preserve a bit of this history.