Washington

Olympia, Washington - So Much More Than Just A Capital City

One of the things we love about road trips is that it forces us to explore new cities. 

Driving from state to state, it’s inevitable that you’ll stumble upon towns and regions you never knew existed. Some spots we simply HAVE to stop and walk around, others we drive right through, and every once in a while we find one that’s really a fun surprise. Olympia surprised us in the best way possible… and while we’ve grown up learning about our state capitals, we’ve never known very much about Olympia (besides maybe the fact that it’s in Washington)! 

When the opportunity presented itself to stay a couple days in Washington’s capital city, we both got really excited. Experiencing unfamiliar cities is our jam - especially when we have no idea what to expect. And here’s the deal, Olympia is cool. It’s up-and-coming, it’s quaint, it’s loaded with amazing restaurants and bars, and it boasts some epic scenery! Yes to ALL the above!!!

Here are some of the highlights from our time in Olympia (most of which are dog friendly, too)!

 

BREAKFAST

  • Lacey Forza: (Dog-friendly patio) Quick, efficient, and totally delicious. Lacey Forza is the perfect place to stop when you’re on the go. But whatever you do, make sure you have enough time to stop and enjoy the bacon cinnamon roll. You’re welcome in advance.

  • Our Table: This cozy, retro diner serves up some of the best breakfasts in town - at affordable prices too! From the Micheal Jackson beats to the perfect breakfast potatoes and bacon that may have made Bobby’s whole trip - it’s definitely a must-do!! (But leave your pup at home, there’s no outdoor seating.)

LUNCH

  • Well80: (Dog-friendly patio) Delicious beer and an extensive menu featuring pizzas, burgers, brussels sprouts, and more… Are we in heaven? Well80 is a modern, spacious, and energetic restaurant that quickly became one of our favorite Olympia institutions. We loved the outdoor patio, and the servers are all really friendly. We can’t wait to be back!

  • Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar: (located in 222 Market, has a dog-friendly patio) Serving up so much more than just oysters, Chelsea Farms is another favorite of ours for lunch! They have great salads, fresh fish, and delicious wines. Sally loved sitting outside and playing with other dogs that were there - win/win for everyone!

DINNER

  • Three Magnets Brewing: (Dog-friendly patio) Our favorite kind of a place. Great drinks, awesome happy hour, delicious “comfort food” that’s prepared with love, and has a healthy twist. Alli had the veggie burger of her dreams, and we split avocado fries that were TDF (To Die For) - definitely recommend!

  • Ricardo’s Kitchen and Bar: (Dog-friendly patio) Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, looking for a fun date night spot, or simply craving a steak, Ricardo’s is your ticket! It’s one of the best steakhouses in Olympia, and for good reason. Everything we had was flavorful, perfectly prepared, and beautifully presented. If the weather is good, sit outside!

COFFEE

  • Batdorf and Bronson: Have you ever been to a coffee shop where you’ve instantly felt at home? The baristas quickly become your BFF’s, the atmosphere is peaceful and inviting, and the coffee is what we like to call, “The Real Deal”? Batdorf and Bronson is just that. We were lucky enough to sit in on an employee “Coffee Cupping” (They do ones every Wednesday (?) that are open to the public!), and getting a behind-the-scenes look at their passion and excitement for coffee was thrilling for us. We love nothing more than getting a front-row look at talented people doing what they love… and the people at Batdorf and Bronson are the real deal. Go. Drink their coffee. Go to a coffee cupping class. And bring some bags home for all of your friends.

  • Olympia Coffee Roasting Company: Another great local coffee shop! There are multiple locations in town, with our favorite being the one on 4th Avenue (you can do Coffee Cupping there too!). OCR has yummy coffee and is a perfect spot to open up your laptop and work for a few hours. And they have epic branding! We'll definitely be back!

ACTIVITIES

  • Kayaking Long Lake with Northwest Paddle Surfers: Long Lake is STUNNING, and a perfect place to explore by Kayak… and you know what else? You can bring your dog aboard!!! While we’ve taken kayaks out numerous times together, this was our first time ever taking Sally - and it was an adventure we’ll never forget!! The team at Northwest Paddle Surfers are incredibly friendly and helpful, we couldn’t have asked for a better experience!

  • Tolmie State Park: You could easily spend all day in Tolmie. It has beautiful hikes, beaches, picnic spots, and is brimming with wildlife. We took Sally for a walk along the beach (dogs are allowed if they’re on leash) and the surroundings were breathtaking.

  • Explore Tumwater Falls Park: Waterfalls in the middle of the city?! What?? It’s true - we couldn’t believe it either! We loved walking around this quaint little park, and watching Sally’s reaction to a waterfall was priceless!

We could go on and on with more recommendations for Olympia - but then this blogpost would take days to read! So, we’ll leave it at that. Any favorite spots that we’ve missed? Leave a comment and let us know! We’ll definitely be back. ;)

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A Glassy Weekend at the Hotel Murano

When we think of Washington, Seattle is our go to spot. We had never really ventured out beyond the touristy comfort of Pike’s Market, Gas Works Park, and the Space Needle. But recently we had the opportunity to spend some time in Tacoma, a short 30-minute drive from Seattle. Little did we know that Tacoma is a city known for its world-renowned glass art that has a walkable downtown with a mix of historic architecture, urban design, and yummy restaurants! 

We stumbled upon a gem in Hotel Murano, a boutique downtown Tacoma hotel that boasts incredible service and beautiful, modern style. They take great pride in Tacoma being the epicenter of the American glass art movement, as you can see by the INCREDIBLE glass art throughout the hotel. We we absolutely blown away by some of the pieces. We were especially fond of how the hotel featured artists on each floor. When you stepped out of the elevator, you would see photographs of each glass artist, possibly photographs or elements from the process, and the finished product. Fascinating!

Our room was amazing. It was spacious and had awesome views of the city with windows wrapping all around the room. The bathroom had everything we needed, including a great shower (Bobby’s favorite). Living in Southern California, we haven’t experienced much Fall weather, so really it was just so nice to have cold temperatures and a cozy bed.

Each morning we ate at Bite, their restaurant where Hotel Murano continues to showcase art, both on the walls and with the food. When you go for breakfast, indulge in the Breakfast Club or the Brioche French Toast, and maybe a Bacon Bloody Mary!

When not eating at Bite or relaxing in bed, we spent our time exploring Tacoma. Here are some of our favorites that we think you should check out:

  • Museum of Glass (or just check out every floor in Hotel Murano)
  • Original House of Donuts
  • Point Definace Park
  • Union Station
  • Bridge of Glass
  • Anthem Coffee

After our days exploring Tacoma, we’d perch up at the Lobby Bar and enjoy more glass art. We’re confident that you have never seen this much glass art in your life (unless you’re a glass artist). It’s crazy how many different styles there are, and how intricate some of it can be. 

One of our biggest regrets about our time at Hotel Murano… not taking our dog, Sally. They are pet friendly! It would have been the paw-fect place for her to relax (hehe).  

Overall, this is a great hotel in a really awesome city that most people haven’t explored. On your next trip to Seattle, carve out some time for Tacoma and stay a few nights at Hotel Murano!