Things to See and Do

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With a gushing waterfall as its centerpiece, Tumwater shines for its natural beauty, historic significance, and vibrant presence. 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 has 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.

Things to Do

For more information visit: Experience Tumwater

Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls
Rushing rapids of the Deschutes River tumble over rocks and sprint toward their final destination, placid Capitol Lake, in this scenic Tumwater park. Once deemed critical for hydroelectric power, today it exists for the enjoyment of visitors who like to take in the power of nature and the park’s accessible trails and bridges. Picnic tables, a grassy lawn, a salmon observation area, and public restrooms make Brewery Park a destination for all ages.

Tumwater Historical Park
Just beyond the falls, this 17-acre park contains play structures, trails, and wide open spaces, making it a popular location for families and
community gatherings. By the entrance is the Crosby House, Bing Crosby’s grandparent’s historic home, built around 1860 and kept intact by the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington.

Old Olympia Brewery
Tumwater plays an important role in the history of local beer. Opened in 1896 and rebuilt in 1906 with Tenino sandstone, this brewhouse is where
Olympia Brewing drew from the mineral-rich water flowing from local artesian wells —leading
to the slogan, “It’s The Water”—to produce its renowned beer. The iconic brick brewhouse is where the magic happened until Prohibition put an end to production. The building was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978
and earned a spot on the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s Endangered Properties List. Despite a fire in 2018 that further devastated the aging building, efforts to save and restore the property are strong. You can tour the brewery via video.

Schmidt House and Centennial Rose Garden
Near the original brewery is the stately Schmidt House, 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. Informal, small tours of the Schmidt House may be available with advance reservation. 330 Schmidt Pl SW, 360-786-8117. Website

Bush Prairie Farm
This tract of land once belonged to George Bush, a Black pioneer who arrived in Oregon Territory with his wife, Isabella, in 1845 via the Oregon Trail. Bush was granted permission to own land from the government after white
settlers petitioned in his favor. Today, the Clark family owns the farm, runs a CSA, and honors his memory. 8400 Old Highway 99 SE, Website

Pioneer Park
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 this popular park. 5801 Henderson Blvd SE

Olympic Flight Museum
Aviation enthusiasts won’t want to miss this museum and tribute to flight at the Olympia Regional Airport. The small collection includes vintage aircraft and artifacts, and the space is available for event rentals. 7637 Old Highway 99 SE. Website

Tumwater Artesian Brewfest
Held in August, this festival of all things brewing has an agenda: to #bringbrewingback. In addition to local beer, cider, wine, spirits, and food, the festival hosts games like stein-holding competitions and beer pong. 21-plus. Website

DEFY Olympia
Formerly BoomShaka, this trampoline park is now part of the national DEFY franchise, but
it hasn’t changed in terms of the fun it offers. Bounce on trampolines, fly through the air on a trapeze, release some adrenaline on the extreme
dodgeball court, or freefall into a foam pit. There’s something for every age here, including
a designated space for the under-6 crowd. 7960 Center St SW. Website

While in Tumwater, swing the clubs at Tumwater Valley Golf Club or Airport Golf Center. The
former offers the more traditional golfing experience, with a championship-level course complete with a pro shop and an extensive menu
at the River’s Edge sports bar.
Come to Airport Golf Center for lessons, practice on the driving range, Toptracer, batting cages, and a tap room with local beer to pair with their nachos and wings.
Tumwater Valley Golf Club:
4611 Tumwater
Valley Dr SE, 360-943-9500
Airport Golf Center:
8080 Center St SW

Craft District
Whereas the Schmidt family once saw Tumwater as an opportunity for beer, craft brewers and distillers are carving out a piece of their own history here too. The burgeoning Craft District is a partnership between the South Puget Sound Community College and Heritage Distilling Company, where the art of craft is taught and imbibed. The space will ultimately house eateries, distilleries, breweries, cafes, shopping, and more. 4200 Capitol Blvd S, Website

Distance from Tumwater:

  • Tacoma undefined 30 Miles
  • SeaTac Airport – 46 Miles
  • Seattle – 60 Miles
  • Pacific Ocean (Ocean Shores) – 74Miles
  • Mt. Rainier (Paradise) undefined 81 Miles
  • Olympic National Park undefined 95 Miles
  • Portland, Oregon undefined 113 Miles
  • Mt. St. Helens undefined 120 Miles
  • Cascase Mountains (White Pass) – 121 Miles
  • Neah Bay undefined 187 Miles
  • Vancouver, Canada undefined 201 Miles
  • Spokane undefined 320 Miles

Area Schools:


  • Tumwater School District

Elementary Schools (Grades K-6)

  • Black Lake Elementary
  • East Olympia Elementary
  • Littlerock Elementary
  • Michael T. Simmons Elementary
  • Peter G. Schmidt Elementary
  • Tumwater Hill Elementary

Middle Schools (Grades 7-8)

  • George Washington Bush Middle School
  • Tumwater Middle School

High Schools (Grades 9-12)

Other Sites

  • New Market Vocational Skills Center

Local Colleges