Pre-Planning a Year of Date Nights Centered Around Olympia



By Katie Doolittle

woodshed furnitureScrolling through ThurstonTalk’s event calendar fills me with equal parts euphoria and guilt. Euphoria, because I live in such an amazing community with so many wonderful events and opportunities to enjoy. Guilt, because I so rarely take advantage of these opportunities.

lacey outdoor concert
Date nights around Olympia don’t have to be spendy.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the everyday routine. And when the rare free evening comes our way, my spouse and I often don’t have much energy left for planning a date.

In honor of our anniversary this month I’m attempting to prioritize fun and break out of my rut. With that in mind, I pre-planned and pre-purchased a year’s worth of dates. I wanted local, budget-friendly ideas in keeping with each season.

SeptemberThe Olympia Food Co-Op is hosting a harvest party at their Westside store from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 14. As stated in their current newsletter: “This is an open community event, so bring your friends, but don’t forget we encourage participation in our potluck–bring something from your home gardens and kitchens to share!”

October – Bundle up the night of October 8. If the skies are clear, you’ll get to see a total lunar eclipse–otherwise known as a blood moon. How appropriate as we gear up for Halloween! Want to learn more about celestial events? The Tacoma Astronomical Society meets at the Pierce College campus near Fort Steilacoom. They host two free public nights a month. If you’re looking for a patch of Thurston County dark sky, Society member David Norberg recommends stargazing at the Fall Creek Campground in the Capitol State Forest.

medicine creeks winery
Pop a cork at Medicine Creek Winery.

November – This is the perfect month for something that’s indoor but active. Olyswing offers an dancing every Tuesday night at the Olympia Eagles Ballroom on 4th Avenue. The evenings begin at 7:00 p.m. with a half-hour introductory lesson. Open dancing lasts until 10:30 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. Looking for a different style of dance? Check out Salsa de Olympia, Big Whiskey Saloon, or The Evergreen Country Dancers.

December – Our break from the holiday hustle and bustle will be a stop at the Medicine Creek Winery on Old Pacific Highway. Their tasting room will be open from noon to 5:00 p.m. for the first three weekends in December. Check their calendar for details.

January – After the stress and decadence of the holidays, yoga provides a little physical and mental care. Drop-in rates are $12 per person for a class at most local studios, such as the Yoga Loft. OlyYoga also offers three sessions of community yoga each weekend for $6 per person. Check each studio’s website for updated seasonal schedules.

olympia seafood
Heart-shaped crab cakes are often featured in February at Olympia Seafood Company.

February – I’m relying on Olympia Seafood Company for my romantic dinner needs. We can get two generous chowder bowl servings for just $7 each. Alternatively, we may buy some crab cakes to fry up at home. The 6-ounce cakes cost about $7 each, though they usually run a Valentine’s Day special–$5 crab cakes shaped like hearts.

March – Usually around this time of year, I’m getting tired of grey skies and rain. Accordingly, I’m planning for a creative splurge in a welcoming, well-lit place: Painted Plate. This Olympia pottery studio offers a date night special for $40. We’ll get two pieces of pottery to paint and two beverages to enjoy. Looking to economize? There are pieces to paint for as low as $6.

April – After several months of quieter events, we’ll be ready for a rowdy crowd. I can’t wait to attend my first bout of roller derby at Skateland Olympia. The 2015 Oly Rollers season isn’t online yet, but in the past presale tickets have cost $12 each. I’ll continue to check their website and Facebook page until I can purchase tickets for a spring home match.

May – This is the perfect month for hiking; plenty of nice days, but it’s not too hot yet. And who doesn’t love a free date that also counts as aerobic exercise? We’ll probably do the Ellis Cove Trail in Priest Point Park.

ellis cove trail
We will be hiking the Ellis Cove Trail in Priest Point Park in the Spring.

June – As summer officially begins, it’s the perfect time to visit Grandpa’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Olympia. Milkshake or ice cream? I have nearly a year to decide!

July – Local concert calendars aren’t updated this far in advance, but I’m planning for some music this month. Perhaps we’ll go to a free concert in the park, sponsored by either Olympia or Lacey.  I also plan to check the calendars at Traditions Café and World Folk Art as well as Olympia Jazz Central for other affordable options.

August – Kathryn Millhorn’s recent article gave some excellent tips for enjoying Olympia after dark. We plan to patronize Tumwater’s Screen on the Green or Lacey’s Outdoor Cinema Series next summer.


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