16 Things To Do During Olympia’s Rainy Days


By Kate Scriven

VCB logoDespite our unusually mild and dry winter, rainy days will abound this spring as Mother Nature replenishes the soil and fills the watersheds that keep the Thurston County ecosystems healthy. With the rainy days come a host of activity options that may not make your “to do” list when the weather is fair and the beaches and trails beckon, but are perfect for the drizzly days ahead.

Rainy days are for learning, or honing, a new craft through area classes and workshops. Local theaters present a new season of quality live shows to enrich and entertain. Area history is ready to be revealed at historical homes and museums. Lattes beg to be sipped and artisan eats tempt our palates throughout the region’s unique cafes.

things to do olympia
Craft and create at Arbutus Folk School or one of the many other area craft class options to get the creative juices flowing on a rainy day.

If you look outside and the forecast is decidedly soggy, don’t despair. Look to our list of cozy, rainy day ideas, grab your slicker, and head out to enjoy Thurston County, no matter the weather.

  • Craft and create at a local area arts class. From quilting and knitting to beadwork and welding, there are local classes to satisfy nearly every creative urge. Details can be found here.
  • Brush up on local history (and legend) by visiting the numerous historic homes in the area. Most are open for tours on the weekends and host special events throughout the year.
  • Shop downtown in the rain. What? Not the nice, warm, indoor mall? Dashing between raindrops into the unique, local shops in downtown Olympia has an appeal all its own. And, with many businesses sporting wide awnings over the sidewalk, the chances of getting drenched are pretty slim.
  • Sip and savor the comfort of a cozy, hand-crafted beverage. Whether you seek gourmet hot chocolate, locally roasted coffee, or winter warming cocktails, find a new Thurston County spot to stay warm and quench your thirst on a rainy day.
  • Brave the rain and head outside. You won’t melt and you might even like it. Tips for rainy day adventure spots with the kids found here.
  • Channel your inner chef (or foodie) at Bayview School of Cooking’s many culinary classes. With hands-on or demonstration classes available, you can choose your level of participation. All classes satisfy your stomach with a meal and drink pairing as part of the deal.
  • Expend your kid’s pent-up energy with a trip to the Hands On Children’s Museum. With thousands of square feet of kid-specific fun, your little ones will tire long before the museum closes at 5:00 p.m.  Every few months, the Museum hosts an adults-only party.
  • Attend local, live theater shows on a rainy evening or drizzly afternoon. Olympia Family Theater’s kid-friendly shows entertain the whole family while Harlequin Productions and Olympia Little Theater cater to an adult crowd.
  • Expand your entertainment options beyond the movie theater with the myriad of live performances at the Washington Center for Performing Arts. From comedy to Broadway and a Queen cover band to symphony orchestras, there is something for every taste at Thurston County’s premier venue.
  • Go old school and take a spin at Skateland. Your spouse might even couple skate with you.
  • Go beyond story time at the Timberland Regional Library. Browse their event listings to find author talks, lectures, technology classes, and hands-on craft events in all area branches. Details found here.
  • things to do olympia
    Warm up with a decadent hot chocolate at an area café. This extravagant offering can be found at Darby’s Café in downtown Olympia.

    Learn about the unique marine ecosystem that wraps all around us here in Thurston County at the South Sound Estuarium. Open weekends, the cozy downtown marine education center includes live animals and interactive displays.

  • Drink your way through downtown. Yes, you’ll have to dodge the drops between watering holes, but a pub crawl is a perfect way to pass the time with friends or family. Tips on a pub crawl with your mom or dad (yes, really!) are found here.
  • Revel in the rainforest vibe on a hike at Staircase. Rain or shine, this family-friendly hike embodies the temperate forest climate of our area and can be even more interesting (and involve many more salamander) on a rainy day.
  • Educate and enjoy at the same time at Thurston County’s many museums. Click here for all the details.
  • Take advantage of being in the state capital and tour the legislative buildings and galleries with hourly guided tours starting at 10:00 a.m. weekdays and 11:00 a.m. weekends. Check off these 10 fun things to do on the campus while you are there.

Don’t let the rainy days of spring in the Pacific Northest get you down. Not only do those showers bring on the flowers, but there is so much to do, so many adventures to be had, that you might even be sorry when the sun peeks out again. And when the sun does make its inevitable return, switch gears and enjoy the great outdoors in Thurston County with ThurstonTalk’s list of outdoor fun found here.


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