Everyone is always looking for the best vacation destination. The Pacific Northwest is full of great destinations with incredible things to do, and one of those destination cities is Tacoma, Washington.
Known largely as Seattle’s little sister to the south, Tacoma is packed with a good deal of attractions and worthwhile places to visit itself. From cultural and historical attractions like art galleries and museums to popular tourist attractions like a zoo and aquarium, Tacoma offers a number of things that appeal to a wide variety of travelers.
Here are five incredible places to discover the next time you head to Tacoma, Washington.
1. Point Defiance Park
With more than 700 acres to explore in this urban park, it is no surprise that Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park is a favorite of both locals and visitors to the city alike. This is one of the largest urban parks in the entire country and includes a number of attractions that are favorite repeat stops for local travelers.
Visitors to the park can experience an old-growth forest stand, a boardwalk, a boathouse, as well as both a rose and rhododendron garden. There is also a Washington State Ferries ferry terminal there that is accessible from the park.
Historic Fort Nisqually is also located within the borders of Point Defiance Park and is a great example of what life was like inside a 19th-century fur trading post. The absolute number one attraction within Point Defiance Park though is the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.
With its concentration on animals that are natural to lands that border the Pacific Ocean, the zoo is a great place to view a wide variety of species including the Beluga whale, Sumatran tigers, aardvarks, Asian elephants, Malayan tapirs, polar bears, reindeer, puffins, and arctic foxes among many others.
2. Museum of Glass
Tacoma’s incomparable Museum of Glass offers a unique experience for anyone who visits, whether they already have an appreciation for art and art history or not. This is a great specialty museum which features a strong focus on glass artwork as well as exhibits consisting of glasswork displays.
The uniqueness of this museum lends itself to being a great attraction as the items that can be viewed there and the experiences that can be had there cannot be duplicated in any other museum.
3. Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
Another great specialty museum, the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, can also be found in Tacoma. The Karpeles museum has several branches across the United States and is focused on preserving and displaying some of the most important original manuscripts in history.
Exhibits rotate regularly from branch to branch, but some of the famous documents that can be viewed include sheet music by Beethoven and Mozart, scientific documents like Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, political documents like the Confederate Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation, along with many others.
4. Emerald Queen Casino
For those traveling without children, or those that have a built-in babysitter, the adults on the vacation in the Tacoma area may enjoy a visit to the Puyallup Indian Tribe’s riverboat casino, the Emerald Queen Casino. With Vegas-style gaming, live entertainment, and even some big name events, the Emerald Queen is a favorite of both locals and those from outside the area.
5. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
There is no better chance to see what life was like inside a 19th-century frontier fort than to visit the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park. The museum features the opportunity for those that are interested in walking through the grounds and buildings and seeing exhibits detailing everyday life within the fort.
There are also a number of reenactments of historical events or demonstrations of daily life scheduled from time to time using real people playing the roles of pioneers, soldiers and more as they act out scenes for visitors to the museum to enjoy.
The restored buildings themselves act as great exhibits that visitors to the site can enjoy and there is also a well-equipped museum with a number of interesting artifacts dating back to the original time the fort was in use.
The city of Tacoma may not be the first place to visit on a traveler’s list, but regardless of that, it is an amazing place to spend an extended weekend or whole vacation anyway. The city is just a little over thirty miles south of Seattle.
Not only does it serve as a great destination itself, but also as a wonderful place to headquarter where a traveler can experience a number of different sites and areas around the entire Pacific Northwest region.
With the Cascade Mountains and Mount Rainier to the east, the city of Portland to the south, the Pacific Ocean and the Olympic National Forest to the west, it is easy to see why Tacoma is the perfect selection for visitors to travel to.
Tacoma has the unique ability to not only entertain the travelers that come its way, but also those that are in the area to enjoy the entire state of Washington.