Top 15 Best Things to Do in Tacoma, WA

What are the top tourist attractions in Tacoma?

Mount Rainier National Park photo via Depositphotos

Tacoma Bucket List: Amazing Places to Visit in Tacoma, Washington

Exceptional outdoor activities, top-notch coastline, and barely discovered glaciers—the charm of Washington is undeniable from a traveler’s standpoint.

In this state is the supercharged city-port that is Seattle. Apart from Seattle’s ability to deliver according to expectations, it also has well-distinguished movies bearing its name. But if you’re growing more tired of well-explored cities, you need not move an inch from Washington. Just southwest of Seattle is the port city of Tacoma, and it’s nothing short of oozing with ‘come hither appeal.

Being part of the Puget Sound, Tacoma is home to many crèmes de la crème under-the-sun amusements. If you think you’re ready for this adventure, the waves on the barely traversed Tacoma will take you to at least fifteen different places.

Strut to the impressive Chihuly Bridge of Glass

Chihuly Bridge of Glass by Visitor7 via Wikipedia CC
Chihuly Bridge of Glass By Visitor7 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

The city’s view is made more impeccable as you stand on a glass-clad bridge spanning 150 m in length and 21 m in height. This bridge-landmark showcases art installations by the celebrated American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.

Apart from strutting the isle that makes up this bridge, you can conveniently get to Tacoma’s iconic Museum of Glass at one end and go on to the Thea Foss Waterway on the other.

Witness the byproduct of artisan glassmaking

The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington by Maccoinnich via Wikipedia CC
The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

It’s incredible what one skilled artist can do to glass. If you wake up craving something visually enchanting one day, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma features superb creativity and workmanship.

Some permanent and transient exhibitions are happening here, one of the most notable being the Robert M. Minkoff Collection. Plans are in the works to grow this collection by 2022.

Nonetheless, there are numerous exemplar pieces to see within and outside the Minkoff collection as of current.

Walk your way to the 1850s

The Granary in the Fort Nisqually by Steven Pavlov via Wikipedia CC
The Granary in the Fort Nisqually By Steven Pavlov, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

Did you know that you can demystify your impressions of the 1800s interactively? The Fort Nisqually Living History Museum has you covered.

Its premises are comprised of seven buildings, all historically furnished and ready to transport you back in time. You can put your questions about quantum mechanics and theoretical physics to rest because what this museum does is more historical and artistic than futuristic.

For an even more exciting trip, you can dress the era. Not only is this culturally immersive, but it’s also delightful for snap-happy tourists.

Witness the evolution of cars

LeMay America's Car Museum by ZhengZhou via Wikipedia CC
LeMay America’s Car Museum By Zhengzhou – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

One notable Washington dweller named Harold E. LeMay owned at least 3,000 cars. His collection grew with the automobile industry, making his car collection a valuable piece of American history.

He collected all vehicles, some of which are still on the LeMay property. At the same time, a healthy few have been donated to the LeMay America’s Car Museum. If you are interested in seeing American cars’ evolution, this collection, a national treasure, awaits you.

Hike to Mount Rainier for an almost aerial view

Mount Rainier from Tacoma Marina photo via Depositphotos
Mount Rainier from Tacoma Marina photo via Depositphotos

Much of Tacoma is of vast nature. Although it holds many stunning sights, nothing beats an almost aerial view of this beautiful seaport city. If you’re willing to hike for a scene-stealer view, Mount Rainer and its 4,392 meter-glory will take your breath away—and it’s worth every step.

The journey itself will show you an almost untouched part of Washington, and many travelers yearn for the indescribable feeling of seeing the road less traveled. It’s practically a conquest, and that’s energizing.

If you want to see the highest mountain in Washington and conquer a different view, this hike is for you.

Spend less time online and more time with nature.

Mount Rainier National Park photo via Depositphotos
Mount Rainier National Park photo via Depositphotos

Life nowadays seems to go on a continuous loop, with minimal opportunity to disconnect and remain centered. If you need a break, you’ll be surprised at what a 236,381-acre national park can do to your well-being. Mount Rainier National Park contains more than 25 glaciers, which will amaze you enough to make the present moment count.

Seeing the enormous Carbon Glacier, the U.S.’s largest glacier, will produce more serotonin than social media likes. If you deem it essential to keep away the chaos that depletes you, perhaps it is time to spend your days around nature.

Glide through Puget Sound

Port of Tacoma photo via Depositphotos
Port of Tacoma photo via Depositphotos

Tacoma is surrounded by an estuary where the Pacific saltwater mixes with the nearby freshwater. This estuary’s name is hailed from Peter Puget’s notable contributions during the Vancouver Expedition.

If you wish to navigate your way through Puget Sound, the Point Defiance–Tahlequah ferry is a popular and trustworthy option. This helps you reach Tahlequah from Tacoma and vice versa.

Get up-close with creatures from the land and sea.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium by Takinzinnia via Wikipedia CC
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium By Takinzinnia – Own work, CC0, CC

The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma gives you fantastic access to animal life on land and underwater. You will enjoy going to the Asian Forest Sanctuary, Arctic Tundra, Rocky Shores, Red World Woods, and South Pacific Aquarium.

The number of educational nuggets visitors get here is commendable. Many times, the learnings about wildlife stir positive change. This is why this aquarium-zoo is somewhat a one-stop shop. They also have avenues for you to speak up against wildlife trafficking and promote environmental causes.

Watch eagles catch their prey.

Point Defiance Park photo via Depositphotos
Point Defiance Park photo via Depositphotos

There is an abundance of wildlife in the lush forests of Point Defiance Park. This park serves as a healthy home to some of the most exciting animals, like sea lions and sea eagles. You can see sea eagles hunt salmon through the tidal currents, which is a unique sight to witness

This park has differing trails, pockets of gardens, and Owen Beach. In this park alone, your eyes can feast on all the wondrous sights worth seeing.

Shop local

Farmers Market
Farmers Market

The marketplace in Tacoma is hefty on the cultural experience. As you wine and dine, you can dance to the music from the local bands playing live. The Point Ruston Marketplace at 5005 Ruston Way is one of the most organized and most scenic.

Standing from this marketplace, you can see Puget Sound and Mount Rainier. Locals especially love shopping during weekends. Make sure you allot time to discover new fave dishes because the dining scene here is exquisite.

Get to know Winter in the West.

Tacoma Art Museum by Jim Belford via Flickr CC
Tacoma Art Museum by Jim Belford via Flickr CC

Winter in the West is an art exhibition showcasing fine American paintings from the Haub Family collection. Erivan and Helga Haub are among the most prominent German businessmen who would later live in the United States while building their empire, the Tengelmann Group.

In 2012, their family donated around 295 artworks to the Tacoma Art Museum. These brilliant pieces are among the must-see works from this prestigious museum. Many other legacy collections here, making TAM one of the best museums to visit while in Washington state.

Indulge in water activities by the waterway

Thea Foss Waterway by David Saddler via Flickr CC
Thea Foss Waterway by David Saddler via Flickr CC

Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma is a well-developed waterway and an accessible seaport. There are several maritime displays to indulge in and water activities to get involved in. There are kayak lessons to explore and waterfront yoga to practice.

Thea Foss, the founder of the Foss Maritime company, has inspired the fictional character in 1933, known as ‘Tugboat Annie.’

Doze on Vitamin D at Titlow Beach

Titlow Beach by Jeff Hanway via Flickr CC
Titlow Beach by Jeff Hanway via Flickr CC

If the sea, sand, and sun vibe energize you, you’ve got every reason to visit Titlow Beach. It lies beautifully along the Puget Sound, making for a stunning view.

This beach has a park and play area, making it comfortable to lounge in. This is also a popular diving site, even for newbies. After a long day, you can recharge through the neighboring tavern and restaurant.

Understand Washington’s past

Washington State History Museum by Joe Mabel via Wikipedia CC.jpg
Washington State History Museum by Joe Mabel via Wikipedia CC.jpg

The history that shadows the successful state of Washington is exciting and exciting. If you want to understand how they overcame women’s suffrage, how they sailed through industrialization, and many more, the Washington State History Museum will prove to be a memorable trip.

Pay less without sacrificing flavor.

Like Seattle, the food scene in Tacoma’s neighboring cities is not less flavorful. Despite this, knowledgeable locals and tourists flock to Tacoma because of the tasty meals, impeccable dishes, and more affordable pricing. Tacoma restaurants will serve you right if you can do without crazy expensive meals that you will have to book months in advance.

Tibbitts Fernhill photo via Facebook Page
Tibbitts Fernhill photo via Facebook Page

The Apple Strudel French Toast in Tibbitts @ Fernhill will leave you wanting more. Even if you aren’t the breakfast type of eater, your palette will absolutely surrender to the flavors of this fruity and milky-filling toast.

Dirty Oscar’s Annex is also a must-try restaurant if you’re after delicious American meals. The Classic Burger is perfect, while the alcohol-infused Salted Caramel Ice Cream is out-of-this-world creamy. Try this, and don’t leave without trying this.

Tacoma Travel and Tour Packages

To help you plan out your vacation to Tacoma, we listed places to visit and other amazing things to do in Tacoma, WA. We also listed links to some of the best travel deals, tour packages, excellent flight deals, and accommodation options.

Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of cheap Tacoma hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new package tours and tourist spots in Tacoma, Washington? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Bloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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