Where to View the Chinook Salmon Run in Olympia & Tumwater
Where nature, history, and the future intersect. With a gushing waterfall as its centerpiece, Tumwater shines for its natural beauty, historic significance, and vibrant present.
The city just south of Olympia was the terminus for the Oregon Trail and became the first permanent European-American settlement in the Puget Sound region, where pioneers relied on energy from the churning Deschutes River. Originally named New Market by settlers, the Chinook jargon term Tumwater, meaning waterfall, ultimately made the cut as the city’s official brand.
The falls were instrumental to early industry—especially beer brewing—and they are now part of the 15-acre Brewery Park, arguably Tumwater’s most significant attraction. However, that reputation may soon be outpaced by Tumwater’s rising craft spirits scene. The Tumwater Craft District, once complete, will offer mixed-use spaces for restaurants, retail, produce, housing, and, of course, imbibing. The district, currently home to Heritage Distilling Company, has also partnered up with South Puget Sound Community College’s Brewing and Distilling Program, which trains students in the art of making beer, spirits, and cider, putting Tumwater in the running for yet another historical designation as a world leader in craft production.
Regional Trip Ideas
Where to Eat and Drink in Tumwater
Tumwater is home to a burgeoning craft brewery scene but you'll also find stick-to-your-ribs culinary delights here at the end of the Oregon Trail. Trust us - there are enough things to see and do in Tumwater that will require you fuel-up ahead of time!
Start the day off with some brekkie at Biscuit House, a breakfast restaurant inside the local Toyota dealership (we don't ask why, we just like to eat there), or pop into 8 Arms Community Bakery in the Tumwater Warehouse District for some home grown pastries to go with your coffee.
Sure-fire winners for lunch (or dinner) are Briggs Taphouse serving pizza and craft beer, and The Brick on Trosper with a mammoths selection of pizza, burgers, pastas, and microbrews. End a day of adventure and sightseeing with European cuisine at the award-winning Pellegrino's Italian Kitchen or Jean Pierre's Three16 Restaurant located near the historic Schmidt House and Olympia Brewery (insider's tip: get the escargot).
Libationists will want to stop at the new Tumwater Craft District, home to Heritage Distilling Company - one of the top premier craft distilleries in the United States, making a variety of whiskeys, vodkas, gins, aquavit and rums from as many local ingredients as possible. Then continue on to the Tumwater Warehouse district where you can sample exceptional, local, craft beers and ciders at Matchless Brewing, Triceretops Brewing Company, and Tart Cider. On the west side of town? No worries - Hoh River Brewing, the oldest active brewery in Tumwater, has you covered with brews that are handcrafted using grain that is grown and malted in Western Washington, hops from the Yakima Valley, and yeast from Portland, OR.
Create a Travel Plan
Make a list of must-sees in the Olympia area! To save items for your trip, explore our website for upcoming events, restaurants, hotels, attractions, and more. When you find something that suits your interests, click the "♥" button. These items will be added to your personal itinerary and can be shared with friends via email or with a link.
Things to Do in Tumwater
The falls at Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls were undeniably instrumental in Tumwater's historical brew scene, but they do more than just produce great beer. The falls also exists for the enjoyment of visitors who like to take in the power of nature and the park’s accessible trails and bridges. If you're here in September and October, the Falls are the best place to spot the annual salmon run as they make their way back from the Pacific to the Deschutes River to spawn. Close by the park is the historical Schmidt House and Centennial Rose Garden, a Colonial Revival built in 1904 for brewery owner Leopold Schmidt. Admire it from the outside, as the house is closed to the public for the time being. You can still peruse the acclaimed and lovingly maintained rose garden on the property between April and October.
If you can't get enough of the outdoors and fresh air, let the kids loose on the playscapes, spread out for a picnic, head out on a hike, explore the Deschutes River, or test your skills at the horseshoe pits or sand volleyball courts at Pioneer Park. Aviation enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Olympic Flight Museum - a tribute to flight at the Olympia Regional Airport. The small collection at this museum includes vintage aircraft and artifacts, and each year in June they host the annual Olympic Air Show.
Where to Stay in Tumwater
Best Western Tumwater-Olympia Inn
5188 Capitol Blvd SE Tumwater, Washington 98501 (360) 956-1235 Find A Room
Best Western Tumwater-Olympia Inn5188 Capitol Blvd SE
Tumwater, Washington 98501
Extended Stay America Olympia — Tumwater
1675 Mottman Rd. SW Tumwater, Washington 98501 (360) 754-6063
Extended Stay America Olympia - Tumwater1675 Mottman Rd. SW
Tumwater, Washington 98501
La Quinta Inn & Suites Tumwater
4600 Capitol Blvd SE Tumwater, Washington 98501 (360) 352-5433
La Quinta Inn & Suites Tumwater4600 Capitol Blvd SE
Tumwater, Washington 98501
Motel 6 Tumwater
400 Lee Street SW Tumwater, Washington 98501 (360) 754-7320
Oyo Hotel Olympia-Tumwater
1600 74th Ave SW Tumwater, Washington 98501 (360) 587-4810
More to Explore
Blaze Your Own Trail
We can’t wait to discover what part of us speaks to you – whether it’s tasting a new cuisine, embracing your inner artist, or one-upping your greatest outdoor adventure, there’s a trail…
Eat and Drink
Craving amazing produce and stellar ingredients? Our region provides a wide variety of culinary experiences waiting for you to enjoy.
If you’re looking for things to do in the Olympia region, our Events Calendar has you covered.
Places to Stay
With so much to do in Thurston County, you’re going to need to set-up camp to take it all in.
Ready to plan your adventure with us? All the tools are right here at your fingertips. Explore our interactive maps and guides and let us inspire your stay in Olympia and our…