Will it be possible to identify a city with one person?
At least it worked for us: we visited Tacoma searching for Dale Chihuli's works, and found them where we expected them, in the museum and the glass bridge, but alse where we couldn't expect - in local court.
We had not much time to go further, and, until next visit, Tacoma, for us, is... Chihuli's city.
It is possible to see how Tacoma changed over the years, and some of the historic events, by using the on-line photo archives the Tacoma Public Library maintains. The web based entry page features a random image from the collection. In some cases, those who wrote the photo description on the web site also added remarks about their own personal insights into the scene, special items to take note of, and in some cases remarks about material learned since the date of the photograph.
While not exactly a tourist tip, it may be useful for those seeking information about the history of the community and what the city looked like in the past.
The University of Washington has an important branch campus in downtown Tacoma. It's close to the art museum, the Union Station, the Glass Museum - and a convenient rapid transit station.
I was impressed with the way that the planners of the campus have integrated old and new buildings in a sensitive manner.
Favorite thing: Tacoma has a shiny new convention center which is the second largest in Washington State. Designed by the Bellevue firm of Mulvanny G2, the center is a bit boxy perhaps, but it is certainly very sleek and dramatic. I like the way that it uses glass for dramatic effect!
Favorite thing: Between 6th and 7th on Pacific, the One Pacific Building represents another interesting structure from the "glory days" of Tacoma's past. Well-preserved and maintained, it is also a link to Tacoma's burgeoning future.
Favorite thing: Orignally designed in 1893, according to the principles of the City Beautiful movement, and inspired by the great Italian palazzi of the Renaissance, the Tacoma City Hall is a respected architectural landmark. Designed by E.A. Hatherton of San Francisco, the City Hall is now used as a private office structure. 7th and Central, at the northern edge of the central city.
This was the location of my professional conference - the modern well-equipped campus of a small private university in Tacoma. UPS has a good regional reputation as an undergraduate institution, and some very good professional programs as well.
Looking around the campus I couldn't help but feel a little envious. Places like this cost real money to build - and maintain.
See the University of Washington and the museums around Tacoma. Washington State History, Art, Glass, it's all there.
Fondest memory: Seeing Mount Tacoma on a clear morning, with the sun backlighting it, or seeing it on a evening. Oh, by the way, the 'Rainier' name is a Seattle thing, real Tacoma people call it Mt. Tacoma like the native Americans. Of course, it's in Pierce County, not King Co where Seattle is. (Seattle is Californicated)