Will be leaving London for Washington in a few days. Staying for about a month, got a place to stay in Olympia.
Generally speaking, this will be my first visit to the evergreen state. Been to California plenty of times. I've got a few ideas of things I want to do, but I'm more concerned with making the most of my stay.
It's difficult to feel like you've been to a place without a couple of local contacts, and I'd regret leaving without having a memorable experience.
Any suggestions for things to do and see? I'm interested in just about everything.
PS: I'm also a nature freak, I want to spend a couple of days exploring the temperate rainforests in Washington. But unlike my local county of Hampshire, not a lot of preparation is required. Are there any specific locations and stuff I should know before going innawoods?
A month in Olympia, did you think this through all the way? Olympia is a relatively small town, granted it's a fun little town but it's just small. It has some cool nightlife I guess, there's lots of students so you might be able to meet some cool people, it's even more liberal than Seattle though so they are mostly all the SJW type. There have a pretty cool market in the bay harbor on weekends and nice fountain thingy that kids like to run around in.
There is lots of nature around that area especially in the Olympic peninsula. You've got that to your west and the Cascade mountains to your east. Hope you have car to see it all.
If you have the time take the 101 highway up to Port Angeles, and do a loop back to Olympia through Aberdeen. If you're into forests, you'll like the Olympic peninsula. Lots of hiking there, the trails will be muddy, but if you're English it wont be anything new.
Try to ride a ferry or two. There's ferries in the San Juan Islands.
Have you been to a ski mountain? There's a cluster of them to the east of Seattle. Even if it's just snowshoeing it's not something you could normally do in London.
Might want to look into some bear safety. This time of year they aren't very active, but you wont know anything about them.
Could be going there for work.
I'll be getting a rental. I have a license out here, just not in the US. I always heard that it takes a day to pass your test and get your license in the US, or maybe that's just Hicktown states.
Whether that's the case or not, I'll be seeing a lot of the state. I'll check out Seattle a few times, and I might go up to Vancouver. That sort of thing.
As for the people, I'm very cut and dry, say it how it is Southerner. If I encounter any harsh tones, I'm confident I can smooth it all over with my generally quaint accent and banter.
Not OP but I'll be in Tacoma in a couple of weeks visiting relatives. Considering how close I'll be to OP's location, any other cool local advice on stuff to be doing? I'll be visiting from Scotland.
I've never been and they've never mentioned anything negative.
What am I in for?
You're in for nothing special whatsoever, it's literally anytown USA.
Portland, OR maybe?
Also check out Amtrak.com, there is a train that runs from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, BC. Not to be confused with their thrubus. Trains can run from $30-50 (one-way) depending on how far in advance you book and where you plan on getting on/off.
I was thinking about Portland, but that's the 'idea' of Portland. Isn't it the polar opposite of what it once was since the 00's?
Lets talk about food. Any local/state places that are a must eat? Anything and everything please!
Obviously try the fish. Although I wouldn't actually recommend visiting Pike Place to buy it. If you're visiting you're best bet is to just hit up the restaurants and buffets.
Come down to Portland! Leave your expectations in Olympia because, like every other place in the universe, Portland is always changing.
If I told you about the best places to eat you'd waste all of your time in lines, unless you want to hit up some food carts, they make some of the best foods you can find here, unfortunately.
Met a girl from Olympia once, she and her friend were upset that I thought money shots were demeaning and so they took off, left me there in a strip club around 2am. Meanwhile my buddy was puking in my car.
Please if you see a girl up there like that step on her toes for me.
OP here, been here for a few days. It's quite nice, very similar to England.
I'm in desperate need of unique/delicious/must try food spots though.
So far I've only been to Famous Dave’s, which I'm sure might be a chain rather than local hot spot. None the less, anywhere between Olympia and Tacoma would be grand.
Famous Dave's is a chain, yes, but they are still quite good. They are actually the biggest bbq-specific chain in the US and I believe is the only one to have a presence on both coasts.
Olympia is a really calm and nice place, I actually live in Olympia, in the heart of downtown. Alot of homeless people and SJW's but everyone is pretty nice, the drinking age is 21 and all bars close at 2am if your a drinker. Alot of good food to be had but you gotta look around downtown. Alot of small bar/restaurants with amazing food but are not well advertised. Capital forest is nearby which is a nice outdoor thing if you like hiking and outdoors stuff.
Also marijuana is legal here you can buy it in a store if you are 21 (if you smoke) so it is normal to see people smoking downtown.
Previous poster here, if you have any specific questions I will try to answer them the best I can. I have lived in Olympia all my life but do not know much of the surrounding area but can tell you plenty of Olympia/Lacey/Tumwater area.
Be sure to shoot some bad ass guns while you are here OP. I've taken all my euro friends out shooting when they visit ( grew up in sweden ) and they all loved it. Nothing quite more american than drinking some cheap beers and shooting a bunch of cool ass guns.
BATDORF AND BRONSON: DANCING GOAT WAS CALLED THE BEST COFFEE IN THE WORLD BY AN ISREALI MILLIONAIRE YOU SHOULD GO THERE
But honestly as a local I can only see someone going to Olympia and Tacoma from the fucking united kingdom if they threw a dart on a map. It just seems so inefficient. It doesn't even seem like you're misguided. A person from Washington who goes to Tacoma/Olympia for pleasure and no friends is truly a person who has no desire for anything good to happen.
Anyways some worthwhile things to do/see
Beth's cafe in Seattle is a 24hr diner with dank food famous among young degenerates. The bar next door is pretty good.
FX McRory's is the worlds largest whiskey bar with the worlds most 3star food. It's kind of expensive but it's a riot on game days.
Tom Douglas is a world famous restaurantuer. He opens and closes stores regularly. I think he also owns the restaurant on top of the space needle(expensive). Anywhere is good.
Belltown pub and Smith's bar have good poutine if you've never tried it.
If someone tells you to go to the Octopus bar in the University district, don't fucking go. Go to the Kangaroo&Kiwi in Ballard.
Musashi's in Wallingford is fucking dank sushi. good price. If you want to go broke eating sushi go to shiro's in belltown if you can even get a reservation on this short of notice.
Dick's drive in is the best fast food on the planet, the have a few locations.
THE QUEEN ANNE BEERHALL is the best bar. Lunch table seating. Touches me in all kind of white supremacist places. Everything on the menu is 10$ and up and none of them have english pronunciation. Pic related because it's my favorite on this list. If there's anywhere I would like you to go, it's here.
Mt. Si is Washington's most hiked trail. It's sparse this time of year. Very pretty. Take the longer trail at the fork. There's a large clearing that you won't want to miss.
Skiing is great.
I'll think more.
Born and raised in Lacey/Oly
I went to River Ridge High School and Evergreen State College
Brewery City Pizza is good pizza
Vans Burgers is good burgers
Nisqually wildlife refuge is nice if you like nature
Mt. Rainer is nice if you like mountains
Weed is extremely easy and plentiful
There used to be a black hip hop club called Barcode, then The Mint, and then Jezebels
12 hour is the standard dance club (fuck i forgot the name)
Jake's is the gay bar but I'd recommend going for the hotdogs at least once.
Amtrak is also cool if you like trains
More hiking and things to see
Rattlesnake ridge is nice. Not too long. Very pretty. All hiking requires a discover pass in the state of WA. It's like 15/30$. I'll take it when you leave. The weather is shit this week though
Poo poo point is another quick hike. There's a whole trail system on Tiger, Squak and Cougar Mountains. They're close to the city, no crazy elevation, and nice views.
The best view of Seattle on a clear day is here. 13946 SE 47th St, Bellevue WA
It's kind of removed. Don't go there just to see it otherwise you'll be mad at me. Go if you're close and just need to see it. It's just a damn neighborhood so look like you live there. It's literally in front of some poor fuckers house. They'll call the cops on you if you can't be cool and we all know you're a sperg and you can't talk to cops. Otherwise there are more than plenty of nice places to see downtown Seattle
Alki beach in west seattle is nice but it's fucking winter. It's a nice touristy spot.
the troll under the bridge is in ballard
the i90 bridge is pretty
Discovery park and carkeek park are nice. Good places to get high, don't get in trouble.
St. James is cool if you go to church on Sundays.
Niko's Gyros is great Greek food in Magnolia. Try the sauce but bring breath freshener.
George's deli is good. There's no seating. Don't pick this place over something else, just remember it if you run out of things to see.
Yoshino's teriyaki is close to George's. If he says O'Dea or Holy Names he means spicy or no-spicy respectively. O'Dea is the all boys school and HN is the all girls school. He's calling you a bitch if you don't get spicy. Get the chicken don't bother with anything else on the menu.
Cutters is a nice place on the Seattle waterfront. Kind of expensive.
El Gauchos is nice Brazilian food. They have a location in Tacoma.
Little John's is an ok diner in bellevue. Beth's is better. Probably don't go here unless you need an 'on-the-way' location.
I'll sleep on it
Vic's on the westside and Old School downtown are the best pizza in the area.
If you ever go out to breakfast, New Moon Cafe downtown is delicious but be prepared to possibly wait outside for an open table.
Go to the Farmer's Market if you can, it's down by the port and cranes.
There's all sorts of nature trails and such in the county and surrounding area, you should have no trouble finding stuff to do.
Also check out the State Capitol building obviously, walk around, rub George's nose for good luck then eat at Meconi's.
There's a theater downtown that carries non-corporate/independent movies if you're in to that.
Where in town are you staying, btw?
There's a Museum of Glass downtown, next to a state 'history' museum, might check that out.
Most US states recognize a foreign drivers license so you should be ok.
You would like the ho rainforest. I grew up about half way between Seattle and Tacoma and I personally hate Olympia but if you are moving around you'll have fun. Mt. Rainier national park is also worth checking out.
Seriously guys? Tacoma is nowhere near that bad. There are plenty of worse places in Washington. In fact, most of the entire area between Tacoma and Seattle (Federal Way, Kent, Auburn, Des Moines, Tukwilla, etc.) is all much, much worse.
Tacoma's main problem is that it's kind of bland, and there's not much to do. Other than that, it's really not any worse than most places. It's reputation is way worse than the reality. But yeah, it is kind of pointless to visit, since there's not much to see or do for tourists. It's best asset in that regard is being close to nature.
Hey OP if you like craft beers there is for sure a nice collection of brewery's in the Olympia Tacoma area. At least in Olympia try fish tale and three magnets. they actually have a craft crawl passport if you're into that kind of thing.