Washington State Capital

The Washington State Capital, also known as the Legislative Building, is the seat of the state’s government in Olympia. It is part of a complex that includes many buildings and contains chambers for the Washington State Legislature as well as offices for the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and treasurer. The capitol campus houses the Washington Judicial Review, executive offices, and the Washington Governor’s Mansion.

Washington State Capital

Olympia Facts

:small_blue_diamond: This satellite picture shows Olympia, a port city and the capital of the state of Washington, the US mainland’s most northern state. The settlement is situated at the confluence of the Deschutes River and Budd Inlet, a branch of Puget Sound. Olympia is about 60 miles (98 kilometres) southwest of Seattle, Washington’s largest city.

:small_blue_diamond: The British Vancouver Expedition mapped the region for the first time in 1792. It took 50 years for the first American settlers to arrive. They founded “New Market,” which is now known as Tumwater. Olympia, a neighbouring town, was founded in the mid-nineteenth century. Olympia became a customs port of entry in 1851. Two years later, in 1853, Olympia became the capital of the Washington Territory.

:small_blue_diamond: The city’s population has grown to almost 52,000 people today (in 2018). Thurston County, which includes the cities of Lacey, Olympia (the county seat), and Tumwater, has a population of 280,000 people.

:small_blue_diamond: The city’s economy used to be focused on jobs in the port, oyster farming, and lumber-related businesses; today, it is mostly dependent on state, municipal, federal, and tribal governments, as well as healthcare.

:small_blue_diamond: Saint Martin’s University, a Catholic liberal arts university in Lacey, is located in the city.


The region was initially charted in 1792 by the British Vancouver Expedition. At the junction of the Deschutes River and Puget Sound, the town is located. In 1851, Olympia was designated as a customs port of entry, and in 1853, it was designated as the capital of the Washington Territory.

A few Olympic highlights

The Washington State Capitol (info) was built in 1928 and houses the state government, the Washington State Legislature, and the governor’s offices.

Fine arts:

The Monarch Contemporary Art Center and Sculpture Park is a contemporary art centre and sculpture park. This park serves as an outdoor art gallery along the Chehalis Western Trail.


:arrow_right: The Washington State History Museum

The Washington State Historical Society operates a museum. Characters from Washington’s history speak about their lives at the museum.

:arrow_right: The Museum of Olympic Flight

At the airport, there is a small aviation museum. More than 20 historic planes and helicopters are on show, with the majority of them still flying.

:arrow_right: The WET Science Center

It’s all about WET (water), education, and technology at this science facility. The center’s main goal is to teach children about the water cycle and the importance of water to life on Earth.

Museum for Children:

The Hands-on Children’s Museum, located near the Washington State Capitol, offers both indoor and outdoor activities; it is a popular destination for families with children.


Olympia Farmers Market is a year-round farmers market that sells organic fruits and vegetables, dairy and cheese, meat and seafood, and baked goods, among other things.

National Parks:

:arrow_right: Park at Priest Point

It’s a beachfront park with a formal rose garden that’s open to the public. Steep ravines, cliffs, and shorelines along Budd Inlet can all be found in the park.

:arrow_right: Yashiro Japanese Garden

It’s a Japanese garden designed to represent Olympia’s ties with its Japanese sister city, Yashiro.


:arrow_right: Preserve of Mima Mounds Natural Area

It’s a bubble-wrapped landscape in a state-protected natural area. A half-mile paved interpretive route, an informative shelter with displays, and a two-mile circle trail are among the visitor amenities.

:arrow_right: Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

At the southern end of Puget Sound, where the Nisqually River empties into the sound, there is a humid biotope. The estuary and its diverse fish and wildlife habitats were protected when the refuge was established in 1974.


Mount Rainier, sometimes known as Mount Tacoma, is the highest active stratovolcano in the United States, rising 4,392 metres above sea level (14,410 ft). Mount Rainier National Park, which surrounds the volcano, is located about 80 miles (130 km) east of Olympia.


Capitol Lake is a man-made lake in the city centre, located near the mouth of the Deschutes River. The lake is encircled by lush vegetation. The Capitol Lake Trails are popular for running, walking, and hiking all year, but swimming is prohibited.

Simply zoom in to see the Washington State Capitol, which houses the state’s administration.

The page displays an Olympia city map with expressways, major thoroughfares, and streets. Zoom out to see Olympia Regional Airport (IATA code: OLM), which is about four miles (7 kilometres) south of Olympia’s central business district. The next international airport is Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is 53 miles (85 kilometres) away by car.


The Washington State Capitol (info) is one of America’s most popular tourist destinations. The state government, the Washington State Legislature, and the governor’s offices are all located there.

Western Washington

:small_blue_diamond: Western Washington has a mainly Mediterranean climate from the Cascade Mountains westward, with warm temperatures and moist winters, autumns and springs, and comparatively dry summers.

:small_blue_diamond: Several volcanoes in the Cascade Range reach altitudes substantially higher than the rest of the mountains. From north to south, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams are the major volcanoes. All of the volcanoes are still active.

:small_blue_diamond: Mount Rainier, the state’s tallest mountain, is located 50 miles (80 kilometres) south of Seattle, from where it can be seen clearly. According to the Decade Volcanoes list, Mount Rainier, which is 14,411 feet (4,392 metres) tall and is the most dangerous volcano in the Cascade Range because of its proximity to the Seattle metropolitan area, is also the most dangerous volcano in the continental United States, according to the Decade Volcanoes list. It also has more glacial ice on it than any other summit in the lower 48 states.

:small_blue_diamond: The Olympic Mountains, located far west on the Olympic Peninsula, are home to dense coniferous forests and sections of temperate rainforest in western Washington. The Hoh Rainforest, for example, is one of the only rainforests in the continental United States.

:small_blue_diamond: While Western Washington may not always experience a lot of rain compared to other parts of the country in terms of total inches of rain each year, it does have more rainy days than the rest of the country.


From the Cascade Mountains westward, Western Washington has a predominantly Mediterranean climate. The major volcanoes are Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams. Dense coniferous forests and temperate rainforest can be found in the Olympic Mountains.

Eastern Washington

:small_blue_diamond: In contrast to the western portion of the state, eastern Washington has a comparatively dry climate east of the Cascades. In the rain shadow of the Cascades, it comprises huge sections of semiarid steppe and a few completely arid deserts; the Hanford reservation receives an average annual precipitation of 6 to 7 inches (150 to 180 mm).

:small_blue_diamond: Agriculture is a very major business throughout much of Eastern Washington, despite the minimal quantity of rainfall, because the soil is highly fertile and irrigation, supported by dams along the Columbia River, is rather extensive.

:small_blue_diamond: Access to water, particularly rivers, has a significant impact on population distribution in Eastern Washington. The major cities are all situated across rivers or lakes, and the majority of them bear the name of the river or lake to which they are adjacent.

:small_blue_diamond: The environment gets less arid as one travels east, with annual rainfall reaching 21.2 inches (540 mm) in Pullman, near the Washington–Idaho border. Much of the state’s northeastern quarter is covered by the Okanogan Highlands, as well as the rocky Kettle River Range and Selkirk Mountains. The Palouse region in southeast Washington was once grassland that has mostly been converted to cropland and stretches all the way to the Blue Mountains.


The average annual precipitation on the Hanford reservation is 6 to 7 inches (150 to 180 mm). Agriculture is a huge part of the economy in much of Eastern Washington. The land is rich in nutrients, and irrigation is widespread thanks to dams along the Columbia River. Water availability has a big impact on population dispersal.

Climate of Washington

:small_blue_diamond: The Olympic and Cascade mountains, as well as huge semi-permanent high- and low-pressure systems in the north Pacific Ocean, continental air masses in North America, and the Olympic and Cascade mountains, all play a role in shaping Washington’s climate.

:small_blue_diamond: A high-pressure anticyclone system dominates the north Pacific Ocean in the spring and summer, causing air to spiral out in a clockwise direction. For Washington, this means generally cool air and a predictable dry season thanks to prevailing northwesterly winds.

:small_blue_diamond: In the northern Pacific Ocean, a low-pressure cyclone system takes hold in the autumn and winter. The prevailing winds in Washington come from the southwest, bringing rather warm and moist air masses and a predictable wet season, thanks to the air whirling inward in a counter-clockwise direction.

:small_blue_diamond: The name “Pineapple Express” refers to atmospheric river events in which a persistent cyclone directs many storm systems from tropical and near-tropical Pacific regions into the Pacific Northwest.

:small_blue_diamond: Despite the fact that Western Washington’s marine climate is similar to that of many European coastal cities, there have been exceptions, such as the “Big Snow” events of 1880, 1881, 1893, and 1916, as well as the “deep freeze” winters of 1883–1884, 1915–1916, 1949–1950, and 1955–1956, to name a few.

:small_blue_diamond: During these events, Western Washington received up to 6 feet (1.8 m) of snow, sub-zero (18 °C) temperatures, three months of snow, and lakes and rivers that were frozen over for weeks.

:small_blue_diamond: The lowest officially recorded temperature in Seattle was 0 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) on January 31, 1950. Low-altitude locations three hours away from Seattle have experienced lows as low as 48 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius).

:small_blue_diamond: During the cold season, the Southern Oscillation has a significant impact on the weather. Because the jet stream reaches the United States farther south through California during the El Nio phase, late fall and winter are drier than average, with less snowfall. The La Nia phase strengthens the jet stream in the Pacific Northwest, resulting in more rain and snow in Washington than usual.

:small_blue_diamond: The Impacts of Climate Change on Washington’s Economy, a preliminary assessment of the dangers and opportunities posed by the prospect of a rise in global temperatures and their effects on Washington state, was published in 2006 by the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington.

Shadows cast by rain

:small_blue_diamond: The amount of rain that falls in Washington varies drastically from east to west. The western portion of the Olympic Peninsula receives up to 160 inches (4,100 mm) of rain every year, making it the wettest location of the 48 contiguous states and a temperate rainforest. It’s possible that weeks will go by without a clear day.

:small_blue_diamond: The Cascade Range’s western slopes receive some of the country’s heaviest yearly snowfall (more than 200 inches, or 5,100 millimetres of water equivalent in certain locations).

:small_blue_diamond: The yearly precipitation in the rain shadow area east of the Cascades is only 6 inches (150 mm). Then, when you get closer to the Rocky Mountains (approximately 120 miles (190 km) east of the Idaho border), the precipitation picks up again.

:small_blue_diamond: The Olympic and Cascade mountains exacerbate this climatic pattern by creating orographic lift of air masses driven inland from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in excessive precipitation on the windward side of the mountains and low precipitation on the leeward side. The Olympic Mountains and the Cascade Range are the most stunning examples of this.

:small_blue_diamond: Windward slopes facing southwest receive high precipitation and moderate, chilly temperatures in both circumstances. While clouds and rain are common in the Puget Sound lowlands throughout the winter, the western slopes of the Cascades receive more precipitation, which often falls as snow at higher elevations.

:small_blue_diamond: Mount Baker, located near the state’s northern border, is one of the world’s snowiest places. It established the world record for the most snowfall in a single season in 1999, with 1,140 inches (95 ft; 29 m).

:small_blue_diamond: A huge area east of the Cascades is subjected to heavy rain shadow effects. Much of Eastern Washington is semi-arid, with the biggest rain shadow effects occurring at the central Columbia Plateau’s relatively low elevations, particularly the region just east of the Columbia River from around the Snake River to the Okanagan Highlands.

As a result, much of Eastern Washington is covered in dry grassland, shrub-steppe, and sand dunes, rather than rain forests.


:small_blue_diamond: The average yearly temperature varies from 51 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius) on the Pacific coast to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) in the northeast.

:small_blue_diamond: The state’s lowest temperature was 48 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius) at Winthrop and Mazama. On August 5, 1961, the state’s highest recorded temperature was 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius) at Ice Harbor Dam.

:small_blue_diamond: East of the Cascades, both records were set. Western Washington is known for its mild climate, frequent fog, cloud cover, and long-lasting drizzles in the winter, as well as warm, temperate summers.

:small_blue_diamond: The eastern region, which does not benefit from the Pacific Ocean’s typical cooling impact, gets extreme weather on occasion. In the winter, Arctic cold fronts are common, as are summer heat waves. Temperatures in the western area reached as high as 118°F (48°C) in Maple Valley [92] and as low as 6°F (21°C) in Longview during the June 2021 heat wave.


The maritime climate in Washington is comparable to that of many European coastal cities. There have been outliers, such in the 1880, 1881, 1893, and 1916 “Big Snow” storms. In the spring and summer, the north Pacific Ocean is dominated by a high-pressure anticyclone system.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some frequently asked questions about the Washington state capital.

1. Is Washington, DC a state or a city?

Washington, DC is a district, not a state. The District of Columbia is abbreviated as DC. The district’s formation is based on the US Constitution, which states that it will “become the Seat of the Government of the United States” if it is “not exceeding 10 miles square.”

2. What is the significance of Washington, D.C. as the nation’s capital?

The Residence Act of July 16, 1790, established Washington as the nation’s capital as part of a strategy to assuage pro-slavery states concerned that a northern city would be too friendly to abolitionists.

3. Is Washington, D.C., a part of Maryland?

(AP) — Washington, D.C.The District of Columbia is not one of the 50 states. However, it is an essential part of the United States. Our nation’s capital is the District of Columbia. In 1790, Congress created the federal district from property owned by the states of Maryland and Virginia.

4. Do the states of the United States have capitals?

Every state in the United States, as well as several of its outlying districts, has its own capital city. The capital cities of most states have not changed since they became states, but the capital cities of their predecessor colonies, territories, kingdoms, and republics have frequently changed.

5. Is New York the capital of the United States?

From 1785 until 1790, New York City served as the United States’ capital, and since 1790, it has been the country’s largest city. The Statue of Liberty, a symbol of the United States and its ideals of liberty and peace, greeted millions of immigrants arriving by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

6. What is the name of Italy’s capital?

The Italian city of Rome Roma is the historic capital of the Roma provincia (province), the Lazio region, and the Italian country. Rome sits on the Tiber River, about 15 miles (24 kilometres) inland from the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the middle part of the Italian peninsula.

7. Why do we have two Washingtons?

It’s preferable to having two Columbias. The immigrants were granted independence from Oregon by Congress, but their new state was named Washington in honour of the first president.

8. Who is the owner of Washington, D.C.?

The US government owns around half of the land in Washington and pays no taxes on it. The federal government employs hundreds of thousands of people in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

9. What is the closest state to Washington?

The state of Washington is a part of the United States of America. It is bordered on the north by the Canadian province of British Columbia, on the east by the states of Idaho and Oregon, on the south by the Pacific Ocean, and on the west by the Canadian province of British Columbia.

10. Is the White House in Maryland or Virginia?

The White House may be found at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., the US capital. Washington, D.C. is also home to the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, the Jefferson Memorial, the Pentagon, and the Lincoln Memorial.


Much of Eastern Washington is semi-arid, with the greatest rain shadow effects occurring at the lower elevations of the central Columbia Plateau. On the Pacific coast, the average annual temperature is 51 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius), while in the northeast, it is 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Olympia, Washington’s capital and seat of Thurston County (1852), is located near the mouth of the Deschutes River, 29 miles (47 kilometres) southwest of Tacoma, on Budd Inlet and Capitol Lake (at the south end of Puget Sound).

Built as Smithfield in 1851, it later became the site of a United States customs house and was renamed after the adjacent Olympic Mountains. Olympia, which was named the territorial capital in 1853, developed port facilities and a lumber-based economy, which were supplemented by oyster farming, dairying, brewing, and other businesses.

The Monarch Contemporary Art Center and Sculpture Park is a sculpture park and a contemporary art centre. Mount Rainier, the United States’ highest active stratovolcano, and a man-made lake are both located in Olympia. Mima Mounds Natural Environment is a state-protected natural area with a bubble-wrapped terrain. In 1974, the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge was created.

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