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Top Tourist Attractions in Tacoma, WA

By Edited May 30, 2015 0 0

Discover Tacoma, the "City of Destiny"

Tacoma, a city located on the Puget Sound in Washington State, is often overshadowed by its better-known neighbor to the North, Seattle. Yet Tacoma is an interesting and worthwhile destination city in its own right. Labeled “the City of Destiny” in 1887, Tacoma is undergoing another major surge of immigration into the city. Tacoma is host to some unusual and even unique attractions that celebrate many aspects of human existence on earth. In addition, there are several seasonal activities that rank as truly special.

 The Washington State History Museum

One of the finest regional history museums in the country, you will find enough to keep you entertained and educated at the same time, all day long. Numerous interactive exhibits, theatrical storytelling, high-tech displays and dramatic artifacts are used to great effect to describe the unique people and places of the Northwest, as well as their impact on the country and the world. The building itself is a 106,000 square foot architectural masterpiece, with soaring spaces and dramatic archways. In addition, you can always count on excellent temporary exhibits to enhance your experience and keep the museum fresh and exciting all the time!

Washington State History Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Museum of Glass

World famous glass artist, Dale Chihuly (of Tacoma) created this inspiring and incredible museum to showcase this beautiful and unusual art form in all its glory. This museum is a destination in itself! You can experience contemporary glass art in a beautiful museum on the Tacoma waterfront. Get up close and personal in the world’s largest Hot Shop, where you can watch (and feel the heat) as artists create masterpieces from molten glass before your eyes. The building features striking architecture, a 90-foot stainless steel cone, majestic outdoor art installations, the famous Chihuly Bridge of Glass, and of the beset museum stores anywhere! The Museum of Glass is truly a Tacoma cultural landmark!

Tacoma Glass Museum

Northwest Trek

Speaking of getting “up close and personal”, there’s no better way to learn about the native wildlife of the Northwest than at Northwest Trek. Take a tram ride through 435 acres of meadows, woods and around lakes where you will see any number of native wildlife including moose, elk, bison, deer, mountain goats and others. These animals live and roam free throughout the area, and you will usually get to see at least a couple gigantic bison within a few feet of the tram.

Northwest Trek - Tram

There are also several self-guided and interpretive walking paths where you will see exhibits of many other native animals of a more dangerous sort, such as cougars and other wild cats, bears, wolves, foxes, and a number of other birds, animals, and even insects. For an even more intimate adventure, you can sign up for one of the Keeper Tours, where you will accompany trained naturalists as they make their rounds to feed the animals. Reservations are required.

America’s Car Museum

LeMay Car Museum

Although not yet open, the LeMay Auto Museum is worth a mention because, when it opens it will be truly spectacular. The ACM, with its four-story museum on a nine-acre campus, will be one of the largest auto museums and attractions in the world when it opens in June 2012. The LeMay collection, which set the Guinness Book record of more than 3,500 vehicles in the mid-1990’s, will feature a number of its cars at the museum, along with many other cars, trucks and motorcycles from private owners, with a total display of up to 500 vehicles at any one time. For more information about this exciting new museum visit their website.

The Puyallup Fair

 

Puyallup Fair
The Puyallup Fair was the sixth-largest state fair in the country last year, and the largest single attraction in the state, with over 1 million visitors annually. “The Fair”, as it is called, takes place over 17 days in September, beginning the Friday after Labor Day. There are lots of great rides, numerous exhibits, animals, a highly-ranked rodeo, and first rate grandstand shows (Chicago, Weird Al, Selena Gomez, Sammy Hagar, and Larry the Cable Guy, to name a few from the 2011 lineup), as well as numerous other entertainment attractions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other worthwhile attractions

Tacoma features a number of other excellent attractions that are enjoyable for the whole family. The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium houses a great variety of animals and aquatic life. Kids and adults alike will love this zoo!

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
Additionally, the Tacoma Convention Center features picturesque windows with extraordinary views of Mount Rainier and the waterfront. The Tacoma Dome hosts a number of top-tier entertainment and festivals throughout the year. The Union Station is a beautifully remodeled train station/convention center. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge(s) are magnificent examples of suspension bridges. The first, built in 1950, and the 2nd, in 2007, are the fifth-longest suspension bridge spans in the United States.

Just outside of Tacoma, you can:

  • Drive over the Narrows Bridge and enter Gig Harbor, the “Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula”. This quaint town is a great place to spend the day if you want to slow down and enjoy the environs of a waterfront community.
  • Or take a ferry from Point Defiance Terminal to nearby Vashon Island, a great day trip.
  • From Vashon Island you can take another ferry to explore the San Juan Islands, a natural paradise ripe for exploration.
  • Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano and a vast wilderness area and national park. At 14,411 feet tall, Mount Rainier ranks as the 2nd highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states. Additionally, it is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, due in large part to the fact that it contains a massive amount of glacial ice. Mount Rainier is also particularly noteworthy for its high topographical prominence (13,211 feet), causing it to dominate the landscape in the Tacoma/Seattle area. This is why it is usually referred to my locals as, simply, “The Mountain”. Mount Rainier’s glacier coverage is the largest in the “lower-48” states, and its network of volcanic glacial caves is the largest in the world.
  • And, of course, Seattle sits just 30 miles to the North, packed with nightlife, city life, world famous attractions and delights of every kind.

Mount Rainier

Tacoma truly earns its title as “City of Destiny”, a destination city the whole family can enjoy together! Come and enjoy what we have to offer!

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