15 Best Things to Do in Tacoma

15 Best Things to Do in Tacoma

Welcome to Tacoma- another one of the American beauties where our words will fall short if we are asked to describe it. However, if you are planning to make this your next vacation, then there are some things you should know before you embark on the journey. A place filled with nature’s gorgeousness, amazing arts, vast green outdoors, splendid wildlife, and delicious restaurants- Tacoma will steal your heart for sure. Here are 15 of the top things you must do in Tacoma:

Learn about the marine heritage at Foss Waterway Seaport

Foss Waterway Seaport
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Welcome to the first lovely spot of Tacoma- Foss Waterway Seaport. We might as well call this the best tourist attraction while we are at it. Want to know how culturally rich Tacoma was in the old days? Why was this one of the famous American cities? Head over to Foss Waterway Seaport to know in detail.

The marine heritage of the city which is now almost in ruins is still preserved by the Foss Waterway Seaport. Ships, boats, and waterway transportation are used to contribute the most to Tacoma’s economy, and this museum exactly shows us all the details. You can even find the old models of the boats and the ships inside and there are a lot of documents on the past business ventures. All these will give you a clear idea of how Tacoma used to rule among other cities.

Hike at Five Mile Drive

Five Mile Drive
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Are you feeling a bit adventurous? Ready to take on some tough hiking trails? Okay, then we might as well take you to Five Mile Drive and the trail associated with it. The place is located inside Point Defiance Park which we will discuss later. But, first, let us explain why Five Mile Drive is one of the most popular spots in Tacoma.

The park has two loops- inner and outer. The inner loop is completely dedicated to the hikers, walkers, and runners. It is pedestrian-friendly. You can go cycling in the outer loop though. But, the hiking trails are diverse. If you are a pro, you are free to choose a trail that runs through some dense forests or high cliffs. And, mind you, the views are splendid when you go hiking.

Catch the sunset at American Lake

While the next destination is breath-taking, we have to get out of Tacoma to experience its beauty. American Lake is situated in Lakewood. It is not very far away from Tacoma but offers one of the best opportunities for fishing and other water activities.

The special fishes that can be found in plenty in this lake are largemouth bass, rainbow trout, yellow perch, kokanee, rock bass, and bullhead catfish.
The lake is mainly managed by the Department of Fishery and they have done an excellent job of keeping the area clean as well as beautiful. Fishing enthusiasts love this place while you can have a picnic too if you want. Other activities include swimming and sun-bathing.

Check out the works in Tacoma Art Museum

Tacoma Art Museum
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Let us go and appreciate some art now. Are you an ardent art lover? Thinking Tacoma probably won’t have anything to blow your minds? Well, think again while we take you to the next location- Tacoma Art Museum. So, let us clarify first that the art museum was not always located in this spot. As its collection increased. It required a bigger space to portray the delicate art more gracefully for which the location was shifted to where it is now.

Love European and Japanese works? Tacoma Art Museum’s permanent collection hosts examples of all. The main attraction however remains the works of the infamous Dale Chihuly.

Take a walk at Tacoma Nature Center

Tacoma Nature Center
Noel Kirkpatrick, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, we have seen some gorgeous art to our heart’s content now. Are your eyes longing for some shades of green once again? We hear from you! Let us head over to the Tacoma Nature Center for some greenery now.

This huge park is built on a land of 71 acres and is skilled with beautiful plants and flowers. But, there is something more interesting than its paved walking trails and tiny forested lands. Yes, we are talking about the cute animals that are found in plenty around here. You can catch deers, foxes, and even raccoons.
The main animals of focus are mallard, turtles, and wood ducks and these can be found roaming around the scenic lake that is inside the nature center.

Appreciate the Dale Chihuly Bridge of Glass

Dale Chihuly Bridge of Glass
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

We have talked about the greatness of Dale Chihuly before and how you can see his amazing artworks in the Tacoma Art Museum. But, wait till you have seen his best work so far. It is something that will leave your jaw hanging in the air. This work deserves all the appreciation in the world. Let us introduce you to the phenomenal Dale Chihuly Bridge of Glass.

A bridge that has been made of glass connecting Interstate 705 to the Foss Waterway- Dale Chihuly Bridge of Glass is indeed a work of wonder. It is said that the length of this bridge is almost 500 meters. When you look at the bridge from below, you will get the feeling that you are looking at a coral reef!

Explore Point Defiance Park

Point Defiance Park
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We have talked about Point Defiance Park before while we mentioned the Five Mile Drive, and now, we will tell you all about it in detail.
If you think that Point Defiance Park is just another one of those huge parks located in the city, then let us correct you. This park has an entire zoo, forested land, hiking trails, aquarium, boathouses, beach, dog-walking park, and many more things inside it. Yes, you heard us right! It takes you an entire day just to look at all the things that this park has to offer.

You can even find flower gardens inside this park. Ever seen a Japanese traditional garden? Take a peek at the one inside Point Defiance Park!

Catch a show at Broadway Center for the Performing Arts

Rialto Theater
Joe Mabel, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commonsx

Has it been a while since you got to see a nice performance inside a theater? Head over to Broadway Center for the Performing Arts if the urge is too strong. But, warning: the center contains not one, but three theaters just for you to pick out one.

The initial two- Rialto Theater and Pantages Theater are quite old and have been here since 1918. But, there is another one that was built much later in 1993. All three of these are situated in the Theater District and see people crowding every day. They have seen some of the best performances of the era and are still standing strong.

Be a part of history at Fort Nisqually

Fort Nisqually
Steven Pavlov, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The next spot we are going to take you to is the infamous Fort Nisqually. You might have heard the name of Fort Nisqually from history books, but it is time to see the real deal. If you don’t know much, let us fill you in. Fort Nisqually once served as one of the main centers for fur trading by the Hudson’s Bay Company. But, it saw a lot of uprisings. The locals were not happy and there were continuous turmoils around it. The trade stopped in 1869.

Visiting Fort Nisqually means mingling with history as you get to see a lot of the original stuff still intact. We urge you to pay a visit to this local historic symbol.

Enjoy a day at Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park
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The next spot we are going to carry you to is the one and only Mount Rainier National Park itself. Before going into detail about this park, we just want to make sure that you understand how massive it actually is. Not only does it have a vast area, but it is also of huge historic significance. Having an area of 236,000 acres, the Mount Rainier National Park also happens to be one of the oldest national parks to be ever built. The mountain also holds the title of being the fifth highest in the States.

The park is immensely beautiful. Not only it has mountains, but it also comprises f waterfalls, valleys, gorges, glaciers, and many more ecosystems. You can find a wide variety of wild animals like black bears, elks, cougars, deers, and even golden eagles. There are also endless activities you can pursue here.

Meet the animals at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Jelly fish in sphere tank in Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
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The next two points are going to be all about Point Defiance Park. As we stated earlier, it is an enormous park with a lot of amenities inside. It is now time to go and take a look at some of the things Point Defiance Park has got to offer to us.
The initial one that we are going to talk about is the Point Defiance Zoo along with its aquarium.

The zoo owns more than 9000 animals. It also serves as a sanctuary of red wolves that are almost becoming extinct now and allows them to breed too. You can also see the endangered Sumatran Tiger here in this zoo. Other endangered species like walruses and polar bears can also be seen here. The aquarium owns a shark tank along with corals. There are endless species of aquatic life here in this aquarium.

Lead a beach-life at Owen Beach

Owen Beach
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This attraction is also situated in Point Defiance Park. We mentioned earlier that there is even a beach inside the park. Now, we are planning to take you to the gorgeous beach. Owen Beach is one of the best beaches in Tacoma. There is no shortage of activities that you can partake in here. Swimmers pay attention to the ocean water for it is quite pleasant here. You can even go surfing here.

The views that this beach has to offer are panoramic. You can see the entire Pudget Sound from this beach. Also, you might be visited by a few aquatic species like dolphins and sea lions when you are sitting on the beach. Do try to arrange a picnic here basking in the glory of the sun.

Run through the trails of Swan Creek Park

If you ever feel like you need to run free in nature, do visit Swan Creek Park. This amazing space filled with greenery is quite lovely to spend an afternoon in. The Puyallup River passes through the forest offering some majestic views. Also, the river happens to be one of the largest sources of salmon. Also, there is a park inside where you can go mountain biking. The trails are quite new and tourists seem to enjoy them very much. Both amateurs and pros can take part in this mountain biking.

Get amazed by the collection in LeMay America’s Car Museum

LeMay America’s Car Museum
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The couple- Harold and Nancy LeMay were some of the richest businessmen of Washington State. They were quite successful in their own businesses. But, the most attractive part about this couple was their huge car collection.

Mind you, no other private car collection is as massive as this one in the entire world. Though most of the collection was given away to Marymount, you can still find a huge number of private cars here too. 500 variants can be found here. You can even find military vehicles among cars and buses. So, do visit this amazing place to get a taste of some nice cars.

Gawk at the works of Museum of Glass

Tacoma Glass Museum
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Museum of Glass also happens to be one of the iconic locations in Tacoma. Blessed with some of the most gorgeous art-works, this museum will blow your brains away. The mastermind behind this was Arthur Erickson who also happens to be an infamous architect. Everything here is made of glass. The best part happens to be an amphitheater that is made of glass as well. If you are someone who is into glass art and glass paintings, this is the best spot for you.

Unfortunately for you, it is time to bid you farewell, but the journey continues as Tacoma is indeed a charming spot for your next vacation.