Tacoma Travel Guide

  • Tacoma Dome and old Union Station (now courthouse)
    Tacoma Dome and old Union Station (now...
    by glabah
  • huge driftwood along Puget Sound at Chambers Bay
    huge driftwood along Puget Sound at...
    by glabah
  • center of attention?
    center of attention?
    by yooperprof

Tacoma Things to Do

  • Museum of Glass

    No visit to Tacoma, WA is complete without a visit to the Museum of Glass. The displays of internationally famed artists as well as the real time exhibitions in the "HOT room" are incredible. Watching molten glass become art objects is breath taking. One interesting note, at least from my visit, was that the "art" created during the exhibition of...

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  • America's (LeMay) Car Museum

    Originally called the LeMay Car Museum, with the growth well beyond the original collection the museum is now calling itself America's Car Museum, with both the old LeMay Car Museum web site address and the new America's Car Museum web address in use. There are approximately three floors of cars here on display, all of them in absolutely prime...

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  • Washington State History Museum

    The big history museum in the area is the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle. However, there is also this museum, which has collected a fairly significant number of artifacts and displays from the history of the entire State of Washington (not just focusing mostly on Seattle as MOHAI does).

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  • Tacoma Art Museum

    [This tip is still undergoing development. Please check back again later.] There are two art museums in Tacoma. The most well known is the Museum of Glass as it is certainly the most unique. However Tacoma also has an general art museum. This museum is located directly in downtown Tacoma, just north of the Union Station Courthouse on...

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  • Museum of Glass

    No visit to Tacoma, WA is complete without a visit to the Museum of Glass. The displays of internationally famed artists as well as the real time exhibitions in the "HOT room" are incredible. Watching molten glass become art objects is breath taking. One interesting note, at least from my visit, was that the "art" created during the exhibition of...

    more
  • Washington State History Museum

    The big history museum in the area is the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle. However, there is also this museum, which has collected a fairly significant number of artifacts and displays from the history of the entire State of Washington (not just focusing mostly on Seattle as MOHAI does).

    more

Tacoma Hotels

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Tacoma Restaurants

  • A View Overlooking the Autos

    A block away from the LeMay / America's Car Museum you will see a sandwhichboard sign pointing you towards the Classics Café which is located in the museum, on a platform just above the ticket booth. Staircases to the left and right of the ticket booth, or an elevator in the center, lead to the café.The sign on the street advertises "City and Water...

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  • Great views on the water

    Johnny's Dock sits right on the water giving patrons great views of the city and the "eye candy" yachts that frequent the area. Besides having pretty good "burgers 'n beer" cuisine, you get to enjoy just watching the world go by on the water. The burgers were made as ordered and the calamari was crisp and tastey.

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  • Geat View of the Sunsets

    They have a deck that overlooks Puget Sound in spectacular fashion, and one day maybe I will get a chance to eat here. As you might expect for a place that is part of a golf course and a view like this, the meals are a bit expensive, and pretty much the most expensive you can ask for in the area.The only obstacle between the desk and the...

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Tacoma Nightlife

  • Lots of laughs

    This is a brand new comedy club, that has hardwood floors, a beautiful backdrop, and really cool pictures of famous dead comedians all around the room. The ambience has the style of an old Vegas style club, maybe the coolest I have seen in the country. No dress code from what I could tell. Casual.

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  • Best Nightspot in Tacoma

    Well, I have to say I am a little biased about this place. I did spend a lot of time here because I helped build it. I happened to be in downtown Tacoma one day fresh off the plane from Hawaii. A previous job offer fell through and I was walking down the street when I saw a jobsite just starting. I talked to the big guys Brian and Shane, not...

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  • Shake your groove thang!

    While Tacoma may not have as many nightclubs as Seattle, we make our's count. The Hotel is one of the newest additions to Tacoma's downtown nightlife and it is by far the best as far as I'm concerned. Friday and Saturday nights are hopping down at the Hotel with Josh and Dave behind the bar keeping the crowd liquified as a great diverse group of...

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Tacoma Transportation

  • Tacoma Amtrak Station

    NOTE: This tip will be outdated in a few years. There is an effort to move Amtrak from its current station into the Tacoma Dome station, which is served by all of the other transit services in the region.When Interstate 705 was built through Tacoma, it sliced the old Tacoma train station as well as the rest of downtown Tacoma off from the main...

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  • Walkway from Thea's Park to Old Tacoma

    Currently, the end of the Thea Foss Esplanade happens at Thea's Park. From Old Tacoma going north almost to Point Defiance, there is the Ruston Way Walkway that also runs along the waterfront, only in a different part of town - one that has had most of its waterfront industry completely eliminated and replaced by waterfront restaurants, stores, one...

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  • Eleventh Avenue Bridge has been Saved!!

    In 2010, the old Eleventh Avenue Bridge (Murray Morgan Bridge) was still wavering between being demolished and preserved. As noted in %L[http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1f7a3b/ ]my old tip about this bridge, there were a lot of reasons for demolishing it, and a few for keeping it in place.2010 actually marked the beginning of a turn around...

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Tacoma Shopping

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  • Thursday is Farmer's Market Day in...

    There are actually Three (3!) Farmer's Markets in Tacoma. This tip relates to the one on Broadway, right in the core of the Theatre and Museum districts and close to the convention center. This market is open on Thursdays from 10 am to 3 pm from May to October.While it is a fairly small farmer's market by South Puget Sound standards (take a look at...

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  • Art and Collectibles

    The Connoisseur Shop is a 50 plus year old Tacoma institution (est 1949) and has wonderful collectibles and gifts. The most unique feature is that they have a working artist working the front window four days a week (Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat) with a great collections of their sculpture and watercolors available to purchase. Just about anything...

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  • A Few Local Guides, Items and Lots of...

    Located inside the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory, which in turn is located inside Wright Park, the gift shop features an assortment of items. Some of these are aimed at local visitors (for example, those who come to the conservatory may be interested in picking up various gardening books that are aimed at the local climate).After going into...

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Tacoma Local Customs

  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Railroad Terminal of Puget Sound

    by glabah Updated Sep 28, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    While it didn't wind up being the grand city its original boosters envisioned, Tacoma did wind up being an important termination point for the Northern Pacific Railway and Chicago Milwaukee Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad.

    Evidence still abounds of this tradition, including Tacoma Union Station (now a courthouse - the railroad lines that once served it disappeared when Interstate 705 was built), Freighthouse Square (a shopping center built from a railroad freight house) and the large, busy railroad yards on the north side of the city.

    Perhaps the best way to get an impression of this long tradition is to go inside Freighthouse Square and take a look at the historic photos on the walls of the shopping center. You will see evidence of what Tacoma once was in terms of being the "City of Destiny" in the nickname of the city.

    However, other remains of this long tradition remain scattered about the Tacoma area - sometimes built right into the modern decorations.

    Just east of Freighthouse Square is a bridge on the old Milwaukee Road line that connected Tacoma to the south. Despite that railroad having left town in 1980 the bridge still has the remains of the Milwaukee Road emblem on it (see photo 3).

    Railroad related decorations may be found in a number of other locations, such as the one seen in Photo 4.

    The street tree planters around the Tacoma Dome and Freighthouse Square are unique to this area, and feature locomotive decorations (see photo 5).

    Tacoma railroad history on walls of Freighthouse Washington railroad history on Freighthouse walls Milwaukee Road Bridge near Freighthouse Square Locomotive Decoration on Freighthouse Square Locomotive Front on Street Tree Planter
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Trains

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Tacoma Warnings and Dangers

  • Poisoned Ground in Places

    Unfortunately, after over 100 years of industrial use, parts of Tacoma have been poisoned by industrial chemicals, heavy metals, and various other toxic substances.Cleaning things up has happened in places, but in other places the industrial fallout has happened over such a wide range that a complete cleanup is simply not possible. The American...

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  • Danger spots

    After living in the tacoma area all my life, (I live in Lakewood, south of tacoma) I should share some of the "danger zones"-South Tacoma Way- This street stretches from the Downtown waterfront all the way to the Lakewood Industrial area. The worst parts of it are from the underpass on the way to the mall to around where the majority of the auto...

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  • Tacoma Hotels

    36 Hotels in Tacoma

    1 Reviews

Tacoma Tourist Traps

  • Chihuli's Bridge

    I was disappointed with the glass bridge! I was expecting to see glass used in the structure, or shaped to combine with structural elements - it is not. The bridge seems a sort of glass warehouse only wit two interesting vertical elements.

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  • Bing Crosby Historical Society is No...

    "Bing" Crosby, one of the leading music recording artists in the mid-20th century, was born in Tacoma in 1903. In 1906 his family moved to Spokane, and so the city of Tacoma really can not lay claim to much of Bing Crosby, other than the house in which he was born.Soon after "Bing" Crosby died in 1977, the Bing Crosby Historical Society was formed...

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  • Downtown Tacoma is Nowhere Near the...

    You will find two very distinct types of comments about Tacoma:1. Downtown Tacoma is a horrible place and no one should ever go there.2. Downtown Tacoma is a lively and interesting place with some interesting attractions.The problem is that many people get off Interstate 5 and go into the area around the Tacoma Dome, and think that is downtown...

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Tacoma What to Pack

  • Dress warmly!

    by takkun Written May 18, 2004

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Shoes- Unless you are going to be hiking at Pt Defiance, I suggest comfortable, closed shoes.
    I also suggest a sweatshirt. I wear an Adidas zipup basketball sweatshirt. It is light, and I can put a thin rainjacket over it. I never go out in tacoma without my sweatshirt. Then again, I never go out in Victoria, Matsumoto, Tokyo, or Kuroiso without it either...

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Tacoma Off The Beaten Path

  • Mt. Rainer

    14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands overlooking Tacoma and Puget Sound. It is considered an active volcano, but remains inactive that it has become the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., with six major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the summit while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife...

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  • Chambers Bay: Trail, Beach, Park and...

    Temporarily Closed: Please note that due to the US Open golf tournament, the entire Chambers Bay facility has been closed to the public as of 26 May 2015, and will reopen in stages as the huge tent city and other structures and temporary infrastructure are removed.For safety reasons there are several things I must mention about this park first off:...

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  • Visiting Friends in Tacoma

    as my relatives live near Tacoma, at Federal Way, which is just s short 10 minute drive from Federal way, if i'm on the seattle area, we usually go to church in Tacoma area as it has the nearest Roman Catholic Church in the southern suburbs of Seattle and then off to seattle.

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Tacoma Favorites

  • Chihuli

    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......

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  • Historic Photo Database Search

    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...

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  • University of Washington - Tacoma

    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.

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Explore Deeper into Tacoma
Tacoma Art Museum
Things to Do
LeMay Car Museum / America's Car Museum
Things to Do
Pacific Bonsai Museum
Things to Do
Tacoma's Federal Courthouse
Things to Do
Glass Museum and Bridge
Things to Do
Fascinating auto museum in Tacoma
Things to Do
Seafood and More over the Water
Restaurants
Point Defiance Park: The Basics
Things to Do
Ruston Way Walkway
Things to Do
Ruston Way Walkway: Waterwalk Point Ruston
Off The Beaten Path
Thea Foss Esplanade: 11th Avenue Bridge & South
Off The Beaten Path
Point Defiance Park: Camp 6 Logging Museum
Off The Beaten Path
Broadway Fountain and Plaza
Off The Beaten Path
Tacoma Chinese Garden and Reconciliation Park
Things to Do
Middle Eastern in Middle of Everything
Restaurants
Chambers Bay: Golf Course
Off The Beaten Path
SeaTac Airport
Transportation
Another good waterfront resturant
Restaurants
Pizza and Pasta
Restaurants
Seafoam Pavilion (art: part of Bridge of Glass)
Off The Beaten Path
Tacoma Union Station: Glass Artwork Compliments
Off The Beaten Path
Chihuly Bridge of Glass
Things to Do
Point Defiance Park
Things to Do
Fort Nisqually: Living in the 1850s in Pt Defiance
Things to Do
War Memorial Park
Off The Beaten Path
Chambers Bay: The Newly Accessible Beach
Off The Beaten Path
Chambers Bay: Central Meadow
Off The Beaten Path
Chambers Bay: North Dock Overpass
Off The Beaten Path
Chambers Bay: Grandview Trail
Off The Beaten Path
Chambers Bay: Sound View Loop Trail
Off The Beaten Path
Rainwater Preservatory Mechanical Sculpture
Off The Beaten Path
Titlow Park: developed picnic and pool areas
Off The Beaten Path
Titlow Park: Forested Park with Beach Access
Off The Beaten Path
Third Thursdays Art Walk
Things to Do
Museum of Glass
Things to Do
Puget Park: Natural Area and Small Playground
Off The Beaten Path
Downtown Tacoma Brewpub is Popular
Restaurants
Theatre Square
Off The Beaten Path
Marvin Alan Klegman Memorial
Off The Beaten Path
Neighborhood Bar in "Old Town" district
Restaurants
Map of Tacoma

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