Tacoma, Washington is behind only Seattle and Spokane among the largest cities in the state. According to many, the fun things to do in Tacoma and the efforts recently made to improve the city make it second to none in the Evergreen State. Discover, or rediscover, a Tacoma you weren’t expecting. In the past, the smell of nearby pulp mills, the “aroma of Tacoma,” was the most memorable thing about a visit. Today, many of the pulp mills have relocated, and Tacoma seems to emit only the smell of successful urban renewal—and great coffee. After enjoying a cup at a local coffee shop and bakery, let your day in Tacoma begin.
Things to do in Tacoma start with this beautiful urban center, where a view of the gorgeous Puget Sound is never more than a few steps away. Get on the LINK, Tacoma’s free light rail system, at the Tacoma Dome Station and take a tour of downtown, discovering the things to do in Tacoma that have everyone talking.
Excellent Public Architecture
If you have an afternoon to spend, one of the more fun things to do in Tacoma Wash is to explore buildings that are open to the public. Union Station is an exquisite public space to visit. For a newer architecture experience downtown, climb the great staircase on the University of Washington Tacoma Campus. To take a walk back in time and experience church architecture, walk through First Presbyterian Church.
The Museum of Glass
See the reflections and refractions that make the International Museum of Glass the renowned museum that it is. A visit to this landmark is a must among things to do in Tacoma. Specific to works of glass, both large and small, this is a truly unique encounter with art.
The Washington State Historical Museum
Here is a great educational opportunity that will enhance your Washington vacation. Get a real taste of the incredible heritage that makes this Pacific Northwest state so unique.
Tacoma Art Museum
The Tacoma Art Museum is a quite well-presented museum of art, which includes some do-it-yourself options for the whole family to enjoy. Instead of just viewing art, space and supplies are reserved for guests to take part in the creative process, making this one of the more fun things to do in Tacoma Wash. Parks
Perhaps more than any other city in Washington, things to do in Tacoma will inevitably lead you to an experience in nature. Still in the city, visit Point Defiance Park, which offers a vast 700 acres for your enjoyment. Pack a picnic and bring the kids, because they won’t want to miss the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. This is a dual attraction that will showcase animals of both land and sea in a natural setting, making it one of the most fun things to do in Tacoma Wash.
Leave the city for a quick trip to the mountains, particularly most dominant white cap on the Pacific Northwest horizon. Mt. Rainier National Park allows you to visit this enormous dormant volcano and all the natural beauty that surrounds it. Home to breathtaking views, Mt. Rainier National Park offers backpacking and hiking, climbing, fishing, camping, biking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and much more, and all available only about 70 miles from the great city of Tacoma.
Concert & Sports Venues: Tacoma Dome
Tacoma is home to one of the major concert and sports venues in Washington, the Tacoma Dome. You’ll recognize the unmistakable structure from 1-5, and you’ll enjoy the music, sports, festivals, and even sales events that take place here. Check what’s happening at the Dome during your stay in Tacoma.
For a great day trip from Tacoma, it’s just a couple hours to the beaches of the Washington Coast. Enjoy Ocean Shores, Westport, and all the surfing, seafood and fishing available in the area—all just a short drive from Tacoma.
Since Tacoma is located south of Seattle, it is literally right around the corner from the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. Tacoma is a great central city to stay in if you want to visit both Seattle and the rain forests and coastal communities of the Olympic Peninsula.