dash–oly’s best free ride

One should never underestimate the simple events that can yield significant excitement with kids. An activity that comes to mind is riding the Dash — Olympia’s free downtown bus shuttle.

Even though my kids have been on the Dash numerous times, they still get giddy as we wait for it to come. We play the guessing game, Which color bus do you think will come today? (Thankfully, each bus is painted a fun color). When the doors open, the kids march to the back, always excited to climb the stairs and sit on the elevated bench seats. They get the best view in the bus towering over the passengers below. And, of course, there’s always a good debate to determine just who will pull the buzzer cord when we’re ready to depart.

A lot of people, for good reason, think of the Dash as a convenient transportation mechanism between the Farmer’s Market and the Capitol building, or anywhere in between. That interpretation can be a little narrow minded! In fact, simply riding the Dash could be considered a recreation activity by any number of kids. I like to walk to one of our favorite downtown spots, then pickup the Dash for the return trip.

Here are a few recommended activities easily accessed along the Dash route:

Partaking in ice cream at Traditions Cafe
Swinging or spinning at the Percival Landing playground
Skipping along the Percival Landing board walk
Marching around the Capitol grounds
Running up (or down) the switchbacks near Capitol Lake
Splashing in Heritage Park Fountain
Ringing the bell at the Oly Farmer’s Market


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