Top-Rated Things to Do in Tacoma, WA

Tacoma, Washington, is a vibrant city located in the Pacific Northwest. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, diverse cultural scene, and unique attractions. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or an outdoor adventurer, Tacoma offers something for everyone. From world-class museums to picturesque parks, here are the top-rated things to do in Tacoma.

If you’re a fan of art, a visit to the Museum of Glass is a must. Located on the waterfront, this contemporary art museum showcases breathtaking glass artworks from renowned artists around the world. Watch skilled glassblowers create masterpieces in the hot shop and explore the museum’s extensive collection. The museum also offers hands-on workshops where you can try your hand at glassblowing.

For history lovers, a trip to the Washington State History Museum is highly recommended. With interactive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations, this museum provides a fascinating look into the history and culture of Washington State. Learn about the indigenous peoples, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the region’s role in the development of the United States.

Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by Point Defiance Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country. This 760-acre park offers miles of scenic trails, beautiful gardens, and stunning views of Puget Sound. Visit the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, home to a wide array of animals, including polar bears, sharks, and elephants. Relax on the sandy beaches, go for a paddle in the bay, or have a picnic in one of the park’s many open spaces.

Adventurous souls can head to Mount Rainier National Park, which is just a short drive from Tacoma. This iconic national park is home to the majestic Mount Rainier, an active volcano and the highest peak in the state. Explore the park’s numerous hiking trails, marvel at the breathtaking glaciers, and be awed by the wildflower meadows. Don’t forget to snap a photo of the iconic reflection of Mount Rainier in Mirror Lake.

These are just a few of the top-rated things to do in Tacoma, WA. Whether you’re seeking art, history, nature, or adventure, this Pacific Northwest gem has something to offer. Plan your visit to Tacoma and uncover the many wonders of this vibrant city.

Explore the Stunning Views from Point Defiance Park

One of the top-rated things to do in Tacoma, WA is to visit Point Defiance Park and soak in the breathtaking views. Situated on a picturesque peninsula, this park offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Start your adventure by exploring the 5-mile scenic drive that winds through the park. As you drive, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Puget Sound and the surrounding islands. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning natural beauty of the area.

If you’re up for some exercise, lace up your hiking boots and explore one of the many trails that crisscross through the park. From easy strolls to more challenging hikes, there’s a trail for every level of adventurer. As you hike, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls the park home, including deer, foxes, and even the occasional bald eagle.

Another must-see attraction in Point Defiance Park is the Rose Garden. Take a stroll through this fragrant oasis and admire the colorful blooms. With over 1,500 rose bushes, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

If you’re visiting with kids, be sure to stop by the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. This world-class facility is home to a wide variety of animals, including sharks, polar bears, and elephants. Kids will love getting up-close and personal with these incredible creatures.

After a day of exploring, take a moment to unwind and enjoy a picnic in one of the park’s many picnic areas. Grab a blanket, pack a delicious meal, and savor the serenity of your surroundings.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply in need of some tranquility, a visit to Point Defiance Park is a must when in Tacoma, WA. The stunning views and myriad of activities make it a top-rated destination for locals and visitors alike.

Visit the Fascinating Museum of Glass

If you’re looking for a unique and captivating experience in Tacoma, make sure to visit the Museum of Glass. This world-renowned museum is dedicated to the art, history, and science of glassmaking, and offers visitors a chance to see incredible glass artwork up close.

One of the highlights of the Museum of Glass is its iconic Hot Shop, where you can watch skilled glassblowers create beautiful pieces right before your eyes. The exhibit also includes interactive displays that explain the glassmaking process and give you a deeper understanding of this ancient art form.

Inside the museum, you’ll find a stunning collection of contemporary glass art, showcasing the talent and creativity of artists from around the world. From delicate sculptures to vibrant installations, the artworks on display are sure to leave you in awe.

In addition to its permanent collection, the Museum of Glass also hosts rotating special exhibitions that feature renowned artists and explore different themes in glass art. These exhibitions ensure that there’s always something new and exciting to discover during your visit.

After exploring the galleries, make sure to visit the Museum of Glass’ outdoor plaza, adorned with impressive glass sculptures. The plaza offers beautiful views of the city and allows you to admire stunning works of art against the backdrop of Tacoma’s skyline.

Before you leave, don’t forget to stop by the museum’s gift shop, where you can find a wide assortment of unique glassware and souvenirs to remember your visit.

Opening Hours Admission Location
Wednesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm Adults: $17 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA 98402
Sunday: 12pm – 5pm Seniors/Students/Military: $14
Monday – Tuesday: Closed Youth (6-12): $5
Children (5 and under): Free

Whether you’re a fan of art, history, or simply appreciate the beauty of glass, a visit to the Museum of Glass is a must-do when in Tacoma. Prepare to be amazed by the incredible works of art and gain a newfound appreciation for this ancient craft.

Take a Stroll along the Charming Ruston Way Waterfront

Located in Tacoma, Washington, the Ruston Way Waterfront offers a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll. With stunning views of Puget Sound, this charming waterfront promenade is a top-rated attraction for locals and visitors alike.

As you take a stroll along Ruston Way, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the water, the city skyline, and the nearby mountains. The paved pathway is perfect for walking, jogging, or biking, and there are plenty of benches and picnic areas where you can stop and take in the scenery.

One of the main highlights of Ruston Way Waterfront is the abundance of public art installations scattered along the pathway. From sculptures to murals, these art pieces add a touch of creativity and color to the surroundings. Be sure to keep an eye out for the famous “Galloping Gertie” statue, which pays homage to the legendary Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

If you’re feeling hungry or thirsty during your stroll, there are several restaurants and cafes along Ruston Way that offer outdoor seating with stunning water views. Whether you’re craving seafood, international cuisine, or a simple coffee, you’ll find a variety of dining options to satisfy your taste buds.

In addition to leisurely walks, Ruston Way Waterfront is also a popular spot for various recreational activities. You can rent a kayak or paddleboard from one of the rental shops located nearby and explore the calm waters of the Sound. Fishing and crabbing are allowed in designated areas, so if you’re an angler, don’t forget to bring your fishing gear.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a peaceful stroll, appreciate art, or indulge in delicious food, a visit to the Ruston Way Waterfront is a must when in Tacoma. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the beauty and charm of this waterfront gem.

Discover the Rich History at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum

Located in the beautiful city of Tacoma, the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts. Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the Pacific Northwest by exploring the well-preserved fort and its exhibits.

Originally established in 1833 as a fur trading outpost, Fort Nisqually played a crucial role in the early history of the region. Today, the museum showcases the life and activities of the Hudson’s Bay Company employees who lived and worked at the fort during the 19th century.

As you wander through the museum, you can experience history come to life with costumed interpreters who reenact daily activities from the era. Learn about the challenges and triumphs of early settlers, witness blacksmithing demonstrations, and even try your hand at historical crafts.

The museum features a variety of exhibits that highlight different aspects of life at the fort. Explore the trade store, where you can see the goods that were traded between the Hudson’s Bay Company and the local indigenous people. Visit the carpenter’s shop and see firsthand how furniture and tools were made in the 1800s. Discover the kitchen garden and learn about the types of crops that were grown to sustain the fort’s inhabitants.

In addition to the indoor exhibits, Fort Nisqually also offers outdoor activities and events throughout the year. Take a leisurely stroll along the fort’s grounds and enjoy the scenic views of the Puget Sound. Attend one of the living history events, such as the annual Brigade Encampment, where reenactors from around the country gather to recreate the fur trade era.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the past, a visit to Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a fascinating journey through time. Discover the stories of the people who shaped the Pacific Northwest and gain a deeper appreciation for the region’s rich history.

Check out the Unique Art Installations at the Tacoma Art Museum

The Tacoma Art Museum is home to a diverse collection of art, showcasing the creativity and talent of local artists. One of the highlights of the museum is its unique art installations, which are sure to captivate visitors of all ages.

As you explore the museum, you’ll come across various installations that challenge traditional notions of art and push the boundaries of creativity. From large-scale sculptures to immersive audiovisual experiences, each installation offers a unique and thought-provoking perspective.

One of the most striking installations at the Tacoma Art Museum is “Reflections and Cells” by artist Paul Stout. This interactive piece consists of a series of suspended glass panels that reflect and distort light, creating an ever-changing visual experience. Visitors are encouraged to walk around and interact with the installation, altering their perception of space and light.

Another noteworthy installation is “Temporal Paradox” by artist Jessica Spring. This intricate piece combines typography, book arts, and printmaking to explore the concept of time. The installation features a series of suspended scrolls that visitors can unravel, revealing hidden messages and intricate designs. It’s a truly immersive and engaging experience.

The Tacoma Art Museum regularly updates its installations, ensuring that there’s always something new and exciting to discover. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or simply appreciate the creativity of others, a visit to the Tacoma Art Museum is a must when exploring Tacoma, WA.

Enjoy a Concert or Performance at the Historic Pantages Theater

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience in Tacoma, Washington, look no further than the Historic Pantages Theater. This stunning theater, located in the heart of downtown Tacoma, has a rich history and offers a wide range of concerts and performances for all tastes.

The Pantages Theater was originally built in 1918 and has since been beautifully restored to its original grandeur. The architecture and design of the theater are truly breathtaking, with ornate details and stunning artwork throughout. When you step inside, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time to the golden age of theater.

One of the highlights of the Pantages Theater is its impressive lineup of performances. From Broadway shows to live music concerts, there’s something for everyone here. The theater often hosts touring productions of popular Broadway shows, allowing Tacoma residents and visitors to experience the magic of musical theater right in their own backyard.

In addition to Broadway shows, the Pantages Theater also plays host to a variety of other performances, including live music concerts, ballet performances, comedy shows, and more. The theater’s schedule is packed with events throughout the year, ensuring that there’s always something exciting happening.

Attending a concert or performance at the Pantages Theater is more than just a show – it’s an experience. The theater’s intimate setting and incredible acoustics make every performance feel special. Whether you’re a theater enthusiast or simply looking for a memorable night out, you won’t be disappointed by the quality of entertainment at the Pantages Theater.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Tacoma, make sure to check out the schedule at the Historic Pantages Theater. Whether you’re in the mood for a dramatic musical or a lively concert, this historic venue is sure to provide a truly unforgettable experience.

Experience the Thrill of High-Flying Fun at TreeHouse Point

Looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure? Look no further than TreeHouse Point in the beautiful city of Tacoma, Washington. Nestled among the lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest, TreeHouse Point offers the ultimate high-flying experience for thrill-seekers of all ages.

At TreeHouse Point, you’ll find a variety of exhilarating activities to satisfy your craving for adventure. Strap in and fly through the treetops on their zipline course, soaring above the forest floor with breathtaking views of the surrounding nature. Feel the wind in your hair as you zip from platform to platform, testing your courage and enjoying an unmatched adrenaline rush.

But that’s not all – TreeHouse Point offers even more high-flying fun with their canopy tours. Take a guided tour through the towering trees as you navigate challenging obstacles and aerial pathways, all while enjoying the stunning beauty of the surroundings. This thrilling experience will push your limits and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

For those seeking a more laid-back adventure, TreeHouse Point also offers treehouse rentals. Spend the night in one of their cozy and unique treehouses, suspended high above the ground. Fall asleep to the sounds of nature and wake up to breathtaking views of the forest – a truly magical experience that will transport you back to your childhood dreams.

Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast or just looking for a unique experience, TreeHouse Point in Tacoma, WA is a must-visit destination. Get ready to embrace the thrill of high-flying fun and create memories that will leave you wanting more.

Strong,emAll activities at TreeHouse Point are led by experienced and trained guides, ensuring your safety and providing you with the knowledge and skills to make the most of your adventure. So what are you waiting for? Book your high-flying experience today and get ready for an unforgettable journey among the treetops!

Learn about Marine Life at the Foss Waterway Seaport

One of the top-rated things to do in Tacoma is to visit the Foss Waterway Seaport, where you can learn all about marine life and the maritime history of the area. Located on the historic Thea Foss Waterway, the Seaport is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Tacoma’s maritime heritage.

At the Foss Waterway Seaport, you can explore exhibits that showcase the local marine life and the importance of the waterway to the community. Discover the fascinating underwater world through interactive displays, educational videos, and live demonstrations. Learn about the diverse ecosystems that thrive in the waters surrounding Tacoma and the conservation efforts being made to protect them.

In addition to marine life, the Seaport also offers exhibits on the region’s rich maritime history. Explore the history of shipping, fishing, and boatbuilding in the area through artifacts, photographs, and stories from local residents. Marvel at the beautifully restored boats on display and gain insight into the historical significance of the Thea Foss Waterway.

For a more hands-on experience, the Foss Waterway Seaport offers boat rentals and guided tours. Hop on a boat and venture out onto the water, where you can witness the beauty of the waterway firsthand. Learn about the different types of boats that have navigated these waters over the years and get a taste of what it’s like to be a sailor.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun and educational experience, a visit to the Foss Waterway Seaport is a must during your time in Tacoma. Immerse yourself in the world of marine life and discover the rich maritime heritage of this vibrant city.

Admire the Beautiful Chihuly Bridge of Glass

The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a stunning art installation that spans the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. Designed by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly, this bridge is a must-see attraction for art lovers and visitors alike.

The bridge is adorned with a vibrant display of Chihuly’s glass artwork, creating a breathtaking visual experience. As you walk across the bridge, you will be surrounded by dazzling glass sculptures that capture the light and create a mesmerizing effect. Each piece is unique and showcases the incredible talent and creativity of Chihuly.

One of the highlights of the Chihuly Bridge of Glass is the Seaform Pavilion, a glass structure that houses an intricate collection of sea-inspired sculptures. This pavilion is a perfect spot to immerse yourself in the beauty of Chihuly’s art while enjoying a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

In addition to the Seaform Pavilion, the bridge features other stunning installations, such as the Crystal Towers and the Venetian Wall. The Crystal Towers rise high above the bridge, reflecting light and creating a striking visual statement. The Venetian Wall showcases a collection of Chihuly’s glass works inspired by his time in Italy and adds a touch of European elegance to the bridge.

Visiting the Chihuly Bridge of Glass is both a cultural and artistic experience. Whether you’re a fan of glass art or simply appreciate beauty, this bridge is a must-visit attraction in Tacoma. Take a leisurely stroll across the bridge, admire the exquisite glass sculptures, and let yourself be captivated by the magic of Chihuly’s creations.

Immerse Yourself in Nature at the beautiful Swan Creek Park

Swan Creek Park offers a captivating natural escape right in the heart of Tacoma. This stunning park encompasses over 300 acres of scenic woodlands, meadows, and wetlands, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful walk, a challenging hike, or a spot to have a picnic, Swan Creek Park has something for everyone. The well-maintained trails meander through lush forests, providing a serene setting for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating run.

One of the highlights of Swan Creek Park is the picturesque Swan Creek itself. The creek runs through the park, creating a soothing soundtrack as it gently flows over rocks and through wooded areas. With its crystal-clear waters and tranquil ambiance, Swan Creek is a perfect place to sit back and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, Swan Creek Park offers mountain biking trails that range in difficulty, catering to both beginners and experienced riders. The challenging terrain and breathtaking views make mountain biking here an exciting and unforgettable experience.

If you’re a birdwatcher or a wildlife enthusiast, Swan Creek Park is an absolute must-visit. The park is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species, including migratory birds, deer, and even the occasional beaver. So don’t forget to bring your camera and binoculars to capture the fascinating wildlife that resides within the park.

Swan Creek Park also offers several picnic areas scattered throughout the park, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy a meal amidst the natural beauty. So bring along a blanket and a picnic basket filled with delicious treats, and savor a quiet afternoon surrounded by the sounds of nature.

Immerse yourself in the tranquility and beauty of nature at Swan Creek Park – a hidden gem in Tacoma. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, this park has it all. Visit Swan Creek Park and discover the magic of nature right in the heart of Tacoma.

Indulge in Delicious Food and Drinks at the Tacoma Dome District

The Tacoma Dome District is not only known for its iconic event venue, but also for its diverse and delicious food and drink scene. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant district.

Start your culinary journey in the Tacoma Dome District with a visit to one of the many trendy cafes and coffee shops. Grab a cup of expertly crafted coffee or indulge in a sweet treat as you explore the area.

If you’re looking for a more substantial meal, the district offers a wide range of dining options. From casual eateries to upscale restaurants, you’ll find cuisine from all corners of the world. Satisfy your cravings with dishes from Mexican, Italian, Asian, and American cuisines.

Seafood lovers will be delighted by the fresh catches available at the district’s seafood restaurants. Enjoy succulent oysters, mouthwatering crab, and perfectly grilled salmon, all sourced locally.

Beer enthusiasts will also find plenty to cheer about in the Tacoma Dome District. The area is home to several breweries and taprooms, where you can sample a variety of craft beers made with passion and expertise.

After a satisfying meal, why not treat yourself to some delectable desserts? The district boasts a number of bakeries and dessert shops that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Indulge in decadent cakes, gourmet pastries, and artisan chocolates.

As you explore the Tacoma Dome District, make sure to also check out the district’s bars and lounges. Relax with a craft cocktail or enjoy live music as you soak in the vibrant atmosphere.

Overall, the Tacoma Dome District is a food lover’s paradise. With its diverse culinary offerings and vibrant atmosphere, it’s a must-visit destination for anyone looking to indulge in delicious food and drinks.

FAQs

What are some top-rated attractions in Tacoma?

Some top-rated attractions in Tacoma include the Museum of Glass, Point Defiance Park, Tacoma Art Museum, Chihuly Bridge of Glass, and America’s Car Museum.

What can I do at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma?

At the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, you can watch live glassblowing demonstrations, explore the exhibitions featuring contemporary glass art, and even try your hand at glassblowing in the Hot Shop.

What is Point Defiance Park known for?

Point Defiance Park in Tacoma is known for its beautiful gardens, hiking trails, a zoo and aquarium, and stunning views of Puget Sound. It’s a great place to enjoy nature and outdoor activities.

What can I see at the Chihuly Bridge of Glass in Tacoma?

The Chihuly Bridge of Glass in Tacoma features several large glass art installations created by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Visitors can admire the colorful glass sculptures and enjoy the beautiful views of the city and waterfront.

What is there to do at America’s Car Museum in Tacoma?

At America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, car enthusiasts can explore a vast collection of vintage and classic cars, learn about the history of automobiles, and even take part in educational programs and events related to automotive culture.

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Erica Silverstein

Erica, a seasoned travel writer with 20+ years of experience, started her career as a Let's Go guidebook editor in college. As the head of Cruise Critic's features team for a decade, she gained extensive knowledge. Her adventurous nature has taken her to Edinburgh, Australia, the Serengeti, and on luxury cruises in Europe and the Caribbean. During her journeys, she enjoys savoring local chocolates and conquering various summits.

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