Welcome to Olympia
Small in size but big in clout, Washington state capital Olympia is a political, musical and outdoor powerhouse that punches well above its 49,000-strong population. Look no further than the street-side buskers on 4th Ave, the smartly attired bureaucrats marching across the lawns of the resplendent state legislature or the Gore-Tex–clad outdoor fiends overnighting before rugged sorties into the Olympic Mountains. Truth is, despite its Classical Greek–sounding name, creative, out-of-the-box Olympia is anything but ordinary. Progressive Evergreen college has long lent the place an artsy turn (creator of The Simpsons Matt Groening studied here), while the dive bars and secondhand-guitar shops of downtown provided an original pulpit for riot-grrrl music and grunge.