Washington State Capitol

Olympic Peninsula & Washington Coast

Olympia's capitol complex is set in a 30-acre park overlooking Capitol Lake with the Olympic Mountains glistening in the background. The campus' crowning glory is the magnificent Legislative Building. Completed in 1927, it's a dazzling display of craning columns and polished marble, topped by a 287ft dome that is only slightly smaller than its namesake in Washington, DC. Free, 50-minute tours are available on the hour 10am to 3pm weekdays, 11am Saturday and Sunday, starting just inside the main doors.

Visitors are welcome to peek inside both the Supreme Court (aka Temple of Justice), flanked by sandstone colonnades and lined inside by yet more marble, and the Capitol Conservatory, which hosts a large collection of tropical and subtropical plants.

The oldest building on the campus is the Governor's Mansion, built in 1908. The home of the governor is open for tours most Wednesdays; you have to reserve them online or by phone at least 24 hours in advance. Outdoor attractions include the Vietnam War Memorial, a sunken rose garden, a replica of the Roman-style fountain found in Copenhagen's Tivoli Park, and a Story Pole carved by Chief William Shelton of the local Snohomish tribe in 1938. The manicured grounds are an attraction in themselves, and a well-marked path zigzags down to Capitol Lake, where it connects with more trails.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Olympic Peninsula & Washington Coast attractions

1. Percival Landing Park

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4. Tumwater Falls Park

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5. Priest Point Park

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6. Point Defiance

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7. Federal Courthouse

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8. Tacoma Art Museum

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