Tag Archives: tourism

Week 1 of the 31 Days of Everyday Adventure challenge


There’s so much satisfaction when a big project is going well. That’s how I feel about this 31 Days of Everyday Adventure challenge. So far, I’ve loved the experience. It’s been a crazy week for me but one of the bright spots of each day has been the daily challenge activities. I’m having fun doing the activities, I’m being challenged, I’m doing some things I wouldn’t normally do, and other people who are participating seem to be having good experiences too!

The challenge went live on Nov 1, and is meant to help us stretch out of our comfort zones and appreciate that adventures don’t have to be giant to be special. We’re doing something a little adventurous every day for 31 days! (The challenge is now on-demand: 31 Days of Everyday Adventure email challenge.)

Here’s how Days 1-7 went for me. I’m also including some links to the partners’ posts about their experiences so far. If you’ve been participating and want to share how it’s going for you, feel free to add to the comments on this post. 🙂

Read about our experiences

7 Ways to spend the day in Olympia, WA

A visit to Washington State’s capital city makes a great day trip. Full of history, it is the home of many “firsts” for Washington State, including the first post office, first public school, and the first fire department (all in the 1800s). Typically a 1-2 hour drive from Seattle (depending on traffic), it is also accessible by public transportation, Greyhound, and Amtrak.

Here’s just a few of the many things you can do in this city.

Take a tour of the Washington State Capitol buildings and grounds

The main building (Washington State Legislative Building) took 6 years to build. Since then, it’s been renovated to include 144 solar panels on roof (the largest amount of solar panels on a US state capitol!). It’s fifth-tallest masonry dome in the world and the tallest in North America. There are free, hour-long guided tours of the Legislative Building and free 45-60 minute guided tours of the Governor’s Mansion. There’s also a free shuttle that runs between the Capitol and downtown Olympia.

Watch a movie at the historic Capitol Theater
This Olympia landmark was built in 1924 and has been in continual use as a theater since then. They feature independent, international, and under-represented films, music, and art shows, and also host the Annual Olympia Film Festival which just finished its 32nd year. You can also take a look at the colorful art on the side of the building where they have a free wall for graffiti artists.

Hang out at Percival Landing Park and vote on your favorite sculpture
This waterfront park features a boardwalk and large grassy area that is good for picnics, sports, and hanging out with friends. There’s also a sculpture display featuring local and regional artists. The display changes yearly, and you can vote for your favorite piece. The sculpture with the most votes gets purchased by the city to put on permanent display somewhere else in Olympia after the year is over.


Washington State Capitol Museum and Outreach Center at the Lord Mansion – Photo credit: Mark Goebel via Flickr – Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

Visit the State Capitol Museum
This museum is located in the Lord Mansion, one of the few true mansions in the city. Although it’s currently closed for renovations, this museum still offers public events and programs like walking tours and lectures.

Take a self-guided walking tour
If you want to learn more about the history of Olympia, you can download guides for self-guided walking tours around the city.

Explore the Olympia Farmers Market
This year-round farmers market has been open for 40 years and features local food and plants, live music, hand-made craft items, and seven restaurants. Due to the growing seasons, the number of days the market is open varies throughout the year (Thursday through Sunday in April through October, Saturday and Sunday in November and December, and Saturday only in January through March).

Eat at McMenamins Spar Café
Many of the McMenamins locations are in historic buildings, and this Olympia location is no different. Throughout its existence, the building housed several different businesses, including saloons, smoking rooms, a variety theater, a billiard room, a store, and a restaurant with a bar that served famous people like Joan Crawford, Marlon Brando, and Joe Lewis.

Have you been to Olympia? How did you spend your time there?

This post was inspired by Wanderu, who asked me to write a post on my ideas for a day trip from Seattle. You can read about other bloggers’ trips on the Wanderu blog.

10 free things to do in Seattle

Seattle can be expensive! Looking for something interesting to do in the city, without spending too much money?

Here’s a list of 10 of the many things this city has to offer.

Gas Works Park


Photo Credit: Scooter Lowrimore via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

Gas Works Park is a park converted from an old industrial plant that was used to convert coal to gas. It has many interesting indoor and outdoor structures, picnic areas, and a great view of Lake Union. This is an especially popular spot during fireworks shows.

Fremont Troll

The Fremont Troll, Seattle

Photo Credit: Sue via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

Clutching a real Volkswagen Beetle, the Troll monitors the activity under the bridge with his never-blinking metal hubcap eye. It’s acceptable to climb on and around the sculpture.

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (aka Ballard Locks)

Boats in the lock

Photo Credit: jc.winkler via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

This is a great place to watch boats come and go from the higher elevation fresh water lake to the lower elevation salt water of the Puget Sound. There is also a fish ladder with a viewing area to watch fish like salmon go upstream, visitor center, and the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden to wander through.

Burke-Gilman Trail

Burke Gilman Trail

Photo Credit: Gene Bisbee via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

This 18.8 mile trail from Seattle to Bothell takes you through several Seattle neighborhoods and close to many parks and waterfronts, the University of Washington, and other connecting trails. It is used by many cyclists, runners, and walkers for exercise, commuting, and fun.

University of Washington campus

White pink Cherry Tree and Collegiate Gothic Art Tower, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Photo Credit: Wonderlane via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

The UW (say it like a local: “U-Dub”) is known for picturesque cherry blossom trees at least 80 years old. They usually bloom in mid- to late March, but that is dependent on the weather, as is the amount of time the petals stay on the trees. Even if you miss these blooming beauties, there are other landmarks to see on campus (like the Drumheller Fountain), or you can take a free walking tour led by students.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Photo Credit: Travis Wise via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

A classic tourist destination featured on movies, but still popular with locals, the Market has attractions from the weird to the historic. The gum wall in Post Alley is a favorite, as is visiting the original Starbucks, watching fish being thrown, and watching buskers perform. You can also take self-guided tours or explore your own path. (Say it like a local: “The Market” or “Pike Place,” after the name of the street it’s on, never “Pike’s”)

Frye Art Museum

Frye Museum Entry Pool

Photo Credit: Joe Wolf via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY-ND 2.0 license

Other Seattle museums have free days but this one is always free – admission, parking, and hour-long tour included. The Frye Founding Collection alone has 232 paintings, which are joined by additional artwork in the Museum Collection and a variety of changing exhibitions.

Seattle Center


Photo Credit: Hourann Bosci via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The Seattle Center is home to many festivals, events, and landmarks like the Experience Music Project (EMP) and the Space Needle. Neither of these are free, but there are plenty of free activities and opportunities year-round, like running (or dancing) through the water of the International Fountain (be sure to watch one of its five water programs synchronized to music), watching outdoor movies, or taking a self-guided tour of the many things the Center has to offer.

Klondike Gold Rush – Seattle Unit, National Historic Park

Klondike Gold Rush NHP

Photo Credit: Bart E via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

This completely indoor park is free, consisting essentially of only a visitor center/museum, but is well worth a visit. The self-guided exhibits are highly interactive, and engage visitors of any age. The park also offers showings of educational videos, walking tours of the Pioneer Square Historical District, and demonstrations of mining techniques used during the gold rush (program schedule and offerings may vary throughout the year).

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Mummy II

Photo Credit: Michael Scheltgen via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

In existence for more than 100 years, this shop (which is more like a museum) contains collections of shrunken heads, fleas in dresses (plugas vestidas), two mummies, taxidermy specimens of creatures with extra limbs or heads, dollar bill origami, and many more oddities.

Have you been to any of these places? Do you have other free or must-see attractions in Seattle?

Additional reading:
Read about Taylor’s experience (and see her amazing pictures) from her Seattle visit when we went to Gas Works Park, the UW campus, the Fremont Troll, and Woodland Park Zoo.

Want more posts like this? Leave a comment and let me know which places you would like to see featured, and be sure to sign up to stay updated on all the latest posts!