Why Is Olympia The Capital Of Washington?

Olympia, Washington, USA state capitol building at dusk.





Washington is a name loaded with history and meaning for the American people. However, even if you remember the name of the first U.S. president, you may find yourself wondering: what is the capital of Washington?

The capital of the state of Washington is the city of Olympia. It was established as the territory’s capital in 1853 and continued as its capital when Washington became a state in 1889. It is home to industries like fruit canning and sawmilling, as well as a useful economical port. Olympia has many educational centers and celebrates the art and culture of America.

In this article, we’ll cover where the capital of Washington is located, Olympia’s history in brief, and the reason behind its establishment as the state’s capital, as well as going over the best places to visit in Olympia!

Where Is The Capital of Washington Located?

Where Is The Capital of Washington Located
Where Is The Capital of Washington Located

Olympia is located in the state of Washington, which is a West Coast state in the U.S.A on the continent of the Americas.

Olympia is settled on the southern end of the Puget Sound, which rests on the Budd Inlet. It is home to deep harbors and bays, and is a part of Thurston County. It shares a border with the town of Tumwater and the city of Lacey.

Brief History of Olympia

Olympia Waterfront
Olympia Waterfront

Olympia was first inhabited by the Salish Indians living along the coast. They are estimated to have lived there for centuries, according to the Thurston County website, until they were replaced by American settlers Levi Smith and Edmund Sylvester in 1846. It was claimed in the Treaty of Medicine Creek that year, and then reclaimed in the Treaty of Olympia in 1856.

The town was named after the Olympic Mountains and established in 1850.

It was a place of significance by the next year thanks to being situated at a Port of Entry. Washington was a separate territory, distinguished from Oregon in the year 1853. Before Washington was even established as a state, Olympia was settled as the territory’s capital.

Olympia was once a state known for commerce and logging, but in modern times it houses canning and sawmill industries. Despite being rocked by an earthquake in 1949, Olympia has remained the profitable and noteworthy capital of the nation’s most prominent states, boasting over 55,000 residents in the year 2020.

When Did Olympia Become The Capital Of Washington?

Olympia became the official capital of Washington in 1889. However, before Washington was even an official state, Olympia was already declared to be the capital of the Washington territory by its governor, Isaac I. Stevens, in 1853.

Why Is Olympia The Capital Of Washington?

Aerial Perspective Over Spring Cherry Blossoms at the Washington State Capital building in Olympia
Aerial Perspective Over Spring Cherry Blossoms at the Washington State Capital building in Olympia

Olympia is the capital of Washington for several reasons, including its advantageous location near a profitable port. However, the most prominent reason for Olympia being the Capital of Washington lies in the story of its settlement.

Thanks to its location, it was a profitable place to do business and had a booming economy before ever being made a capital. It was established before competing cities like Seattle, and held far more people than any of its neighboring cities.

Best Places To Visit In Olympia

If you’re going to head to this capital, it won’t hurt to be informed about all the greatest offerings the city can make to visitors! Below is a list of the best places to visit in Olympia:

  1. Washington State Capitol – The Washington State Capitol can boast the highest free-standing dome made of masonry in the United States. Not only is the building impressive, but it is near a Sunken Garden, which is landscaped to perfection. You can also visit seven memorials to veteran fighters for freedom.
  2. Hands On Children’s Museum – The Hands On Children’s Museum is a place where kids can engage in several fun, educational activities. Notable games include a duck race, an area where you can pan through sand for buried treasure, explore police cars and fire trucks, and fun water features.
  3. Percival Landing – One of three waterfront parks on Puget Sound, Percival Landing Park is home to a beautiful boardwalk and several great picnic locations. It is pet friendly and offers a great view of the water!
  4. Nisqually Red Wind Casino – The Red Wind Casino is one of the most popular places to go for entertainment in Olympia. It offers a huge parking garage for guests so that they can access over a thousand slot machines, the Blue Camas Buffet or the Coho Sports Pub, and a large selection of table games. It is owned by the Nisqually Indian Tribe.
  5. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – This lovely park is on the Nisqually River Delta along the Southern Puget Sound. It is home to more than 2,500 acres of marshes, both salt and freshwater. This provides a habitat for all sorts of birds and mammals, along with a boardwalk for visitors to observe the wildlife. It is a popular bird watching destination!
  6. WET Science Center – This science center offers kids an entertaining educational experience. Kids will learn about how to conserve and test water, as well as preserving habitats like the ones found along Puget Sound.
  7. Lattin’s Country Cider Mill ; Farm – This quaint cider mill offers tasty treats like apple doughnuts, cider, cookies, pretzels, and cinnamon rolls! It also holds a petting zoo with small farm animals like goats and pigs, as well as a field maze to run through.
  8. Monarch Sculpture Park – This sculpture park nestled in the prairies of Olympia are open all day, every day. It is biker and stroller-friendly and features several fine art sculptures, and pets are allowed!

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the capital of the state of Washington is the city of Olympia. Olympia was the capital of Washington territory even before it became a state in 1889. It is home to not only a beautiful capitol building, but museums, bike trails, and art collections. It is also a great place to learn more about the first settlers in the state or take kids for educational activities!

See Also

Capital Cities 

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!