Clearly the highlight of the city—and one of the most visited attractions in the state—the landscaped grounds and majestic buildings of Olympia’s Capitol Campus make it one of the country’s most beautiful state capitols.
Located between 11th and 14th Avenues off Capitol Way, the campus consists of 55 acres of greenery. These include an arboretum, a sunken rose garden, a replica of Denmark’s Tivoli fountain, a number of historical buildings dating back to the early 1900s, and memorials to veterans from World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Come here in the spring to see the Japanese cherry trees in full bloom.
The best place to start is the Public Information Center (14th and Capital Way, 360/586-3460, www.ga.wa.gov/visitor, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri. all year, and 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat.–Sun. from Memorial Day to Labor Day). Here you can get maps of the campus, brochures, postcards, and tour information, plus a metered parking space.
The Georgian-style redbrick Governor’s Mansion (360/586-8687, www.wagovmansion.org) is the oldest building on the campus, dating back to 1908. Inside is a fine collection of antique furniture, including pieces by Duncan Phyfe. Also on campus are the Legislative Building and the State Library and Supreme Court.
All of the on-street parking is leased, so either park in one of the visitor lots or follow the signs from I-5 exit 105A to the free shuttle bus.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition