After a year for the history books, we welcome 2017 with open arms and hopeful spirit. Instead of making a list of resolutions, I’ve decided to tally 17 must-do activities to experience all Thurston County has to offer in the new year.
- Take a hike. Thurston County hosts 47.5 miles of trail systems that connect the urban areas to the rural. The trails are great for walking, jogging, biking, or even horse riding. Take the scenic route and enjoy the views along the way.
- Head out on the South Sound Craft Crawl. With so many breweries breaking ground in our area, there are plenty of options to quench any thirst. The crawl includes a passport you can pick up from the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau or print online and receive stamps as you go. If you have a sip from every tap on the crawl, you will receive a commemorative pint glass and bragging rights.
- If beer isn’t your taste, don’t miss out on the South Sound Wine Trail. Six wineries from Tenino to Shelton make their mark with their best red and white varieties uncorked for your enjoyment.
- Kayak and paddleboard the local waterways. With lakes, rivers, and Puget Sound at our fingertips, grabbing an oar and heading out to the water is as refreshing as it is invigorating. If you haven’t purchased your own vessel, don’t fret. There are rentals available throughout our county so you can enjoy paddling anywhere on the map.
- Sail into the new year with sailing lessons or a relaxing cruise across Budd Bay from Mystic Journeys. Participants can learn the basics of sailing aboard one of their many vessels or just sit back, relax, and take in the scenic views.
- Go bird watching at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. This is easily one of the most beautiful areas in our county to take a walk and observe nature. The views of the river and delta are absolutely stunning and the animals that call this area home are commonly displayed. Expert birders walk the paths here and even provide guided bird watching on Wednesday mornings all year long.
- Dive into history. Ever wonder where the name Tumwater comes from or why the capital building ended up here instead of Seattle? Our area is full of incredible stories of the past that can be seen at one of our many museums. Whether it’s the State Capital Museum or the Hands On Children’s Museum, discovery and exploration of our area is easy to find.
- Treasure awaits those willing to explore the many antiques stores in our area. They are packed with history of the South Sound and bargains galore.
- Dig up dinner! Head out to one of the many public shellfishing beaches in our county to harvest fresh seafood for the whole family’s enjoyment. Make sure to check the tide tables before heading out to the beach and bring your boots and bucket.
- Tempt your taste buds through exploration of a local farmer’s market or farm stand. Thurston County is home to six markets and eight farm stands that provide a taste of what our county has to offer. Olympia Farmers Market is open year round.
- Looking for something sweet? Bite into one of delicious treats created by one of the many local bakeries in our backyard. From pastries to cupcakes, these chefs have sugary delights available for any palate.
- Save a few bucks and have a meal to remember through the experience of a sunset dinner at one of the many fine dining establishments in Thurston County.
- Hit the streets of downtown Olympia through one of many walking tours. These tours will stop at some of the best specialty shops and architectural creations in our gorgeous city.
- Enjoy an open mic night. From upcoming comedians to folk guitar duos, an open mic night in Thurston County is entertainment that cannot be missed.
- If you’re looking for a more professional ensemble performance, be sure to join the audience at one of the many live theater productions by Harlequin Productions and Olympia Family Theater. With a variety of acts, plays, and musicals all year long, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is the perfect opportunity to take in a live show without leaving our backyard.
- Don’t miss the annual Thurston County Fair and Lakefair. These two events are the pinnacle of summertime in Thurston County. Pack up the sunscreen and take in the sights and sounds of all these events have to offer.
- Attend the two Arts Walk events this year. Spring and Fall bring artists to the forefront of Olympia displaying their work across town for the community to enjoy. Vendors, displays, and performances make this one of our county’s most unique and enjoyable events of the year.
That’s 17 experiences we can all enjoy as we ring in the New Year. For even more to look forward to this year, be sure to check out the ThurstonTalk events calendar.