21 Fun Things To Do In Tacoma (WA)

Although Tacoma doesn’t have the same metropolitan feel as Seattle, it offers visitors plenty.

So whether you’re looking for art galleries or something outdoors, there are always exciting things to do in Tacoma, Washington.

The vibrant urban core of this city is its world-renowned glass art. It is surrounded by creativity and is known for its friendly demeanor.

The combination of old and new in Tacoma has left many people impressed.

Tacoma is overlooked as one of the trendiest cities in the country due to its location, although it’s also a great place to live and raise a family.

It offers a variety of affordable options and a beautiful year-round climate. The article covers all the memorable Things To Do In Tacoma (WA).

Where Is Tacoma, Washington?

Tacoma is the third largest city in the state and the county seat of Pierce County. According to the census conducted in 2020, the city’s population was 219,346.

It’s regarded as one of the largest cities in the region, known as the South Sound. This area has a population of around 1 million.

The name is derived from Mount Rainer, which is located nearby. It’s also known as the “City of Destiny” due to its role in the Northern Pacific Railroad’s decision to end its western section in Tacoma.

The railroad’s decision was influenced by the town’s nearby harbor, which is called Commencement Bay.

According to the US Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 62.34 square miles. Of this, 49.72 square miles are land, while the remaining 12.26 square miles are water.

Things To Do In Tacoma (WA)

It’s home to over 200,000 residents. It also boasts a vibrant waterfront district full of restaurants and attractions.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the area is the Tacoma Museum District. In addition, there are countless fun things to do in Tacoma, Washington.

The various museums in the area are known for showcasing the region’s history and culture. Another popular place within the site is the Museum of Glass.

This facility features a collection of international glassworks. These are 21 things to do in Tacoma, Washington;

1. Tacoma Nature Center

Photo by Gexydaf via Flickr

One of the most popular attractions in the region is the Tacoma Nature Center, which features Snake Lake and its wetlands. This facility is also known for its wildlife sightings.

It features various animals such as wood ducks, mallards, and western-painted turtles.

In addition, the interpretive center inside the nature preserve features a variety of exhibits about animal life in the preserve.

The center’s most prominent feature is the Discovery Pond, a children’s play area featuring a treehouse, a waterfall, and various other attractions.

This facility is free to visit and offers multiple programs and activities. In addition, its naturalists are available to answer questions during regular business hours.

Address: This Nature Center is at 1919 S. Tyler Street, Tacoma, WA 98405.

2. American Lake

American Lake is located south of Tacoma and is known for its various natural populations of fish. Some of these include largemouth bass, rock bass, and yellow perch.

The local Department of Fish and Wildlife has a boat launch facility available for rent. There are also two parks on the lakeshore, which are famous for their beaches and fishing.

The lake’s clean water provides various activities, such as swimming and fishing. Bald eagles also dive into the lake to look for kokanee.

Address: This Beautiful Lake is at 9222 Veterans Drive SW, Lakewood, WA 98439.

3. Broadway Center for the Performing Arts

The Broadway Center is a multi-awarded facility that features the Pantages Theater, the Rialto Theater, and the Theater on the Square.

It’s also home to various professional organizations and groups. These include the Tacoma Opera, the Tacoma Symphony, and the Northwest Sinfonietta.

Throughout its history, the Broadway Center has hosted various prominent performances. These include the Marx Brothers, Harry Houdini, Jack Benny, and Bob Newhart.

The three theaters of the Broadway Center are equipped with excellent acoustics.

Address: This Attraction is at 901 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402.

4. Tacoma Art Museum

Photo by Rob Bixby via Flickr

The Tacoma Art Museum was established in 1935 and moved to its current location in 2003. It showcases and collects art pieces from the Northwestern region.

The museum has over 4,500 items, and some of these include the most extensive collection of glass art by Dale Chihuly.

The museum contains a collection of 19th-century European art pieces, including works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissaro, and Degas.

It also has a collection of Western art pieces from the Haub Family, which includes paintings by Georgia O’Keefe and Frederic Remington.

In addition to displaying art pieces, the museum also offers various programs for teachers.

Address: This Attractive Museum is at 1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402.

5. Children’s Museum of Tacoma

The Children’s Museum of Tacoma provides children with an opportunity to develop their skills while they’re playing. It has various play areas that encourage them to explore.

These include a fort-building area and a water feature that features a waterfall.

Another play area is the Voyager, which features a ship used to climb and slide. In addition, it has multiple pieces of equipment for various art projects.

The museum also has a snack bar and a locker room with a no-stroller policy.

Address: This Beautiful Attraction is at 1501 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402.

6. Tacoma Glassblowing Studio

A husband-and-wife team established the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio in 2006. It offers various classes and exhibitions.

People can purchase art pieces from the gallery, watch demonstrations, or enroll in classes. Usually, classes at the studio fill up months in advance.

One-day workshops are available at the studio, and participants can create glass ornaments or pumpkins.

It also offers six-week and four-week classes and private lessons that can last up to four hours.

The studio is known for its large glass pumpkin patches containing up to 2,000 each.

Address: This Beautiful Studio is at 114 S. 23rd Street, Tacoma, WA 98402.

7. Job Carr House Museum

Photo by Gexydaf via Flickr

Born in New Jersey in 1813, Job Carr served in the Union Army for three years. After being seriously wounded during the Civil War, he moved to Iowa, Indiana, and then to the Pacific Northwest.

When the government authorized the construction of a railroad in the region, Carr decided to become the first European settler in the area in 1864.

He and his cat, Tom, lived under a cedar bark shelter while he built his cabin.

The recreated cabin is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about Carr and the settlers who moved to the region.

Docents can discuss the region’s history and provide information about the immigrants.

There’s also a variety of toys and costumes for children to wear.

Address: This Museum is at 2350 North 30th Street, Tacoma, WA 98403.

8. Foss Waterway Seaport

Photo by The Lamb Family via Flickr

The Foss Waterway Seaport showcases the various facets of Tacoma’s marine heritage. The museum is inside a century-old wheat warehouse that used to be supplied by train.

The museum exhibits educate and entertain visitors.

The museum also has models of commercial vessels made in the area and canoes made by the Willits Brothers.

In addition, it has various types of marine debris and equipment, such as fishing lures and vintage fishing equipment.

Volunteers work in the museum’s wood boat shop, and visitors can ask questions and watch as volunteers run the facility.

Address: This Thrilling Seaport is at 705 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA 98402.

9. Five Mile Drive and Trails

The Five Mile Drive and its various trails are in Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, Washington.

The inner loop is only accessible by vehicles, while cyclists and pedestrians only use the outer circle.

The trails go through old-growth forests featuring various cliffs and a garden of flowers.

The park provides hikers with incredible views of Vashon Island, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and the Pacific Ocean.

It also has bald eagles, squirrels, and various deer and wild animals. People who feed these animals could be fined. In addition, there are sea lions and humpback whales on the shore.

Address: This Attraction is at  5400 N Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 98407, USA

10. LeMay – America’s Car Museum

Photo by Jim Culp via Flickr

A car collector named Harold LeMay owned over 3,500 vehicles, the most extensive private collection in the world.

The LeMay America’s Car Museum features hundreds of his cars, including race cars made by Ferrari and Lotus and various other models from different eras and manufacturers.

The museum is one of the best places to visit in Tacoma, Washington.

Address: This Beautiful Attraction is at 2702 E D Street, Tacoma, WA 98421.

11. Chihuly Bridge of Glass

Photo by Chris Blakeley via Flick

One of the most famous glass artists in the world is Dale Chihuly, from Tacoma.

The Foss Bridge spans Interstate 705 and connects the city of Tacoma with the Museum of Glass.

It also has a covered section with a ceiling installation of over 2,000 glass objects.

Address: This Beautiful Attraction is at Bridge of Glass, Tacoma, WA 98402, USA

12. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum

Photo by Steven Pavlov via Wikimedia

Fort Nisqually was established as a fort to serve Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur trading operations.

The area’s economy declined during the next few decades, and the fort closed in 1869. In the 1930s, the fort was reconstructed as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Two of its original buildings, the granary and the keeper’s house, remain standing.

Address: The Fort Nisqually Living History Museumis at 5400 North Pearl Street, Tacoma, WA 98407

13. LeMay Family Collection

Photo by Eric Friedebach via Flickr

Nancy and Harold LeMay were both natives of Washington. They started a successful garbage-hauling business, eventually expanding into car collection.

Most of the LeMay collection is currently at the Marymount, but a part is in Tacoma.

Address: This Attraction is at 325 152nd St E, Tacoma, WA 98445, USA

14. Museum of Glass

Photo by Jason Coleman via Flickr

The Museum of Glass, designed by Arthur Erickson, has been a prominent tourist spot in Tacoma since being constructed in 2002.

It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in glass art.

The museum also has various demonstrations related to the subject.

Address: This Beautiful Attraction is at 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA 98402.

15. Point Defiance Park

Photo by Jennifer B via Flickr

Point Defiance Park is an urban park in Tacoma, Washington. It features various facilities, such as an aquarium, a dog park, and a walking trail system.

It also has a stand of Douglas firs that’s 450 years old.

This area is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys going to the ocean.

Address: This Park is at 5400 North Pearl Street, Tacoma, WA 98407.

16. Swan Creek Mountain Bike Park

Situated between Pierce County and East Tacoma, Swan Creek Park is a greenspace with various attractions.

It has a community garden and a mountain bike park. The park also has a wooded canyon and paved trails.

It’s a must-visit for anyone who enjoys going to the ocean.

Address: The Swan Creek Mountain Bike Park is at 3997 E Roosevelt Ave, Tacoma, WA 98404.

17. Washington State History Museum

The Washington State History Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about the state’s rich history.

This museum, operated by a non-profit organization, has five permanent exhibits and several revolving exhibits.

One is the Great Hall of Washington History, which features artifacts from the state’s early history.

Address: This  Beautiful Museum is at 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, Washington 98402.

18. Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum

Photo by cmh2315fl via Flickr

The collection of manuscripts owned by real estate developers David and Marsha Karpeles is currently on display in various museums across the country.

Their goal is to stimulate cultural literacy and make the pieces of art and literature widely accessible.

Address: TheKarpeles Manuscript Library Museum is at 407 SG Street, Tacoma, WA 98405.

19. Mount Rainier National Park

Established in 1899 by President William McKinley, Mount Rainer National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the country.

It spans over 236,000 acres and features various ecosystems.

These include old-growth forests, glaciers, alpine meadows, deep valleys, and numerous waterfalls.

Address: This Beautiful Park is at 39000 State Route 706 E, Ashford, WA 98304

20. Owen Beach

Photo by Gexydaf via Flickr

One of the parks in Point Defiance Park is Owen Beach. During the summer, this area is a popular spot for people who enjoy going to the ocean.

It has various facilities, including a picnic shelter and a children’s play area.

Other facilities, such as restrooms and concession stands, are available at the beach.

Address: This Refreshing Beach is at 5605 N. Owen Beach Road

21. Point Defiance Zoo

The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium has over 9,000 animals from 360 species. It was established in 1905 and has been instrumental in conserving various animals, such as the red wolf.

It also has a sanctuary for Malayan tigers, Sumatran tigers, and porcupines.

Address: The  Point Defiance Zoois at 5400 North Pearl Street, Tacoma, WA 98407.

Best Time To Visit Tacoma, Washington

The best time to visit this area is during the summer. Residents of this city can expect pleasant weather throughout June, July, August, and September.

The average temperature during this period is around 26 degrees Celsius.

Cost Of A Trip To Tacoma, Washington

On average, a week trip to Tacoma costs about $1,466 for a solo traveler. It costs about $2,813 for a couple and $5,273 for a family of four.

There are various types of accommodations in the city, such as hotels and vacation rentals, with an average cost of $96 per night.