street musicians play in downtown Olympia.
Street musicians play in downtown Olympia. Photo courtesy of City of Olympia.
Street musicians play in downtown Olympia. Photo courtesy of City of Olympia.

Olympia Creative District

Monday through Friday every week of the year, the workday ends at 5pm with the sound of the steam whistle blowing at Fishtale Brewery, and downtown Olympia is reminded of its industrial roots.

For Olympia, Creative District designation carries this past into the future by supporting and encouraging the evolution and diversification of the city’s creative economy, and defining Olympia as a regional hub for local arts, cultures and heritage.

The Capital of the State of Washington and a historic port city, Olympia is located 90 minutes south of Seattle at the head of Puget Sound.

Olympia offers the South Sound Region high quality arts experiences without the hassle and expense of travel to Portland or Seattle.

For travelers to destinations on the Olympic Peninsula or needing a break from the 1-5 corridor, Olympia is a charming stop for a day or overnight that offers a decidedly different flavor.

What you will find

With the downtown entertainment and theater area at its core, the Olympia Creative District embraces the community’s traditional industrial district, well-suited to creatives and makers of all kinds. Evolving with an eclectic mix of traditional arts, light-industry, local artisan foods, and high-tech entrepreneurial start-ups, the district currently hosts an organic wool bedding workshop, welding and fabrication shops, a maker of digital hand and wrist prosthetics, a letterpress print cooperative, local brew pubs, a coffee roaster, a theatrical costume shop, specialty automotive restoration services, and a creator of fine wool yarn and fiber, as ready examples. Many are housed in former warehouses and older industrial structures.

Anchor attractions include the nationally-acclaimed Hands on Children’s Museum, a WET Science Center (public education center for regional water treatment plant) and the downtown entertainment district, including the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Harlequin Productions, and the Capitol Theater, home to the Olympia Film Society.

At the immediate edges of the district and sharing the “glow” are the Olympia Farmers Market, Pettit Marine and Swantown Boatyard & Marina, and the boathouse/launch for Olympia Area Rowing (shells and sculling); together these marine enterprises constitute an active area of small boat restoration, repair, and recreation, linked by beautiful waterfront walkways and great views.

Link to map of the Olympia Creative District