The state capital is a small city just a short drive from the Seattle-Tacoma area. The main attraction is the Capitol Campus—take a guided walk through this beautifully landscaped area and sit in the Capitol gallery and observe government in action (or inaction). Tours are given daily. Phone 360-902-8880 for tour reservations or 360-704-7554 for the visitors center. http://www.visitolympia.com.

Not far from the capitol is a garden that honors Olympia's sister city of Yashiro, Japan. This traditional walled garden features authentic lanterns and a 13-tier pagoda. Olympia also boasts the state's second-largest farmers market, on Capitol Way. Open April-October Thursday-Sunday 10 am-3 pm; November and December, Saturday and Sunday. http://www.olympiafarmersmarket.com.

Olympia shares its name with a beer brand that dates to the 1890s. The Olympia Brewery (formerly owned by Miller) is actually in the adjacent town of Tumwater. Tumwater Falls Park is right next door—a perfect place to have a picnic. The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is 8 mi/13 km north of Olympia. Go there to watch migratory birds from an interpretive trail or from specially designed photo blinds. Phone 360-753-9467. http://www.fws.gov/nisqually.

For more information on the capital, contact the Olympia Thurston County Visitor & Convention Bureau. Phone 360-704-7544 or toll-free 877-704-7500. http://www.visitolympia.com. 60 mi/95 km southwest of Seattle.

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