Day Trips

A Full Day in Olympia

Just an hour's drive south, spend a day in the capital city tasting moonshine, touring government buildings, and shooting guns—not necessarily in that order.

By Allison Williams September 19, 2016 Published in the October 2016 issue of Seattle Met

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Image: Michael Byers


Start the day at your state’s capital city with some civic pride, or at least peek at what all those tax dollars are doing. The free capitol campus tour swings by the office of the most powerful elected officials (governor, state treasurer) and under the world’s biggest Tiffany chandelier. On Wednesdays, skip the legislative part and lurk inside the gilded rooms of the governor’s mansion. 

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Civics lesson out of the way, it’s time to embrace the funky side of Olympia. The Artesian Commons holds a burbling artesian well decorated with tile—but it used to just be a pipe in the middle of a parking lot. People still show up with water jugs to fill up on the pristine, public water. 


Seattle’s not the only walkable city in the state. Ditch the car and wander over to the new 222 Market Place, a kind of urban food lovers market in a historic building; think Melrose Market with more parking options. The brand new Broth Bar, an outpost of the Portland restaurant, trades on a culinary craze: bone broth, a rich soup born to tame the autumn chill. 


If it’s afternoon, it’s time for moonshine. Blind Pig Spirits, also in the 222 Market, offers plain, peach-pie, and tropical-flavored “shine” (that isn’t illegal moonshine; it’s single malt whiskey). 


Some things shouldn’t go together, like chocolate and pâté or strawberries and strychnine. But Olympia’s liquor store–slash–shooting range actually works. Ask the clerk at T Brothers Liquor Lodge to buzz you through a door in the shop to enter Glacier Gun Club, a luxe lounge lined with leather chairs and a cigar room in back. Only members are allowed at the ultra-swank range, with a notable exception: three-hour gun-safety classes twice a week. Only after the shooting can you enjoy cocktails in the seating area. Can’t argue with that policy. 

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