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Why I Go Downtown
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Why I Go Downtown

We Asked Kati Sagawa, Director of Strategic Communications at South Puget Sound Community College, Why She Goes Downtown

We've been asking local residents about their favorite spots and things to experience in our wonderful and diverse downtown. We talked with Kati Sagawa, Director of Strategic Communications at South Puget Sound Community College. Enjoy our conversation below!

"It’s been a beautiful summer to spend time in downtown Olympia. From elevated outdoor dining spaces, like Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar, to coffee dates at Ember Goods to the LoveOly Summer Fest, I’ve spent time with friends and family at a lot of different downtown spots. My favorite downtown experience this summer, though, was back in June when my daughter got to dance on stage again at her dance recital.

For the past four years, my daughter has danced at Johansen Olympia Dance Center— the purple and brick building on Jefferson St. Not only do I admire the directors and staff, I love their downtown location and easy nearby parking. And at least once a week, I have a reason to come downtown and enjoy something new that downtown Oly has to offer.
After missing last year’s recital, I was excited to hear that the studio would be able to go back to the beautiful Washington Center for the Performing Arts. While my daughter was practicing and practicing, I was getting ready to celebrate her special day.

My first stop? My favorite downtown shops for a few small gifts to celebrate her.
I picked up a sweet ballerina book at Captain Little before heading over to The Popinjay where I found the softest ballerina bunny in history. And just as I was about to make my purchase, a paper flower bouquet caught my eye. I immediately changed my plan from buying a live flower bouquet because I knew my daughter would love it (she still has it on display in our dining room). Mission accomplished!

Fast forward to the next day: recital day. My husband and I dropped off our daughter in full dress and makeup and were welcomed into The Washington Center. The ushers smiled behind their masked faces and promptly helped us find our seats. We had plenty of space around our seats; it was the first time I’d felt safe inside a public building in over a year. The recital went off without a hitch, and our girl shined on center stage. We were so proud! We picked her up after the recital and headed over to her favorite food spot, by request: Well 80.

We’ve loved Well 80 from the first week they opened, and it’s become a staple in our family. Good service, big garage doors, and yummy food and drinks. No, we didn’t need to look at the menu (obviously we already know what we want), but we were quickly seated and asked to start with two bowls of the chili-lime pubcorn.

The kids ordered their favorites: kids chicken bites with fries and salad and a bottle of the English Lavender Lemonade KombuchaLuv. My husband ordered the steak frites and salad, and I ordered the BLT with fries. Add to that a white whiskey margarita (with white whiskey from Sandstone Distillery) and a Paul’s 40 Strong Lager, and we had another great meal at Well 80.

Too full for dessert, as usual, we took a short walk in the downtown sunshine, then headed home for naps (and to scroll through the photos we took throughout the day).
It’s amazing to see how much our downtown businesses and organizations do to keep us coming back. They make an impression on us and reflect the values of our community. It’s clear that they all work to make downtown as special as it should be.

Everyone had a smile for us that June day, and it was just as special as I would have hoped."
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