Located 32 miles south of Seattle and 31 miles north of the capital city of Olympia, Tacoma is a mid-size city that has something to offer everyone. Despite the urban setting, there's plenty of green space available, with over 75 parks located throughout the city. There's a variety of museums, theaters and historic landmarks located in Tacoma, making the metropolis rich in culture and traditions.
Must see in Tacoma
The Museum of Glass, with its colorful displays of glassworks made by artist Dale Chihuly, should be on visitors' list of things to do in Tacoma. Also not to be missed is The Tacoma Art Museum, which houses a large collection of artwork from artists from around the Northwest region. The turn of the century architectural details found inside and outside of Union Station make it a popular destination as well.
Where to stay in Tacoma
Families will like staying in hotels located downtown as there are many dining options within walking distance such as Steel Creek—where kids eat free—and 21st Street Park offers a place for kids to stretch their legs while parents can enjoy the view of Thea Foss Waterway. Those looking for a more romantic or unique experience should check into staying at one of the many bed and breakfasts located in the North End of the city. Some of the most affordable hotels can be found in south Tacoma, near the mall and also along Hosmer St. in the South End.
Best and worst time to go to Tacoma
The best time to visit Tacoma is July through August when sunny skies and warm temperatures prevail. The worst time to visit Tacoma is January to February when grey skies are an everyday occurrence and the winter drizzle is in full effect.
Where to get lost in Tacoma
Visitors should take a stroll down Tacoma's Sixth Avenue. There are eateries, distinct shops and coffeehouses littered along the thoroughfare. At night many of the restaurants and pubs on this busy street turn into happening night spots.
The best deal in Tacoma
While it costs to get into The Museum of Glass, it's free to walk the glass bridge leading up to the museum. The 500-foot covered pedestrian bridge is a colorful work of art in itself that also offers a beautiful view of the waterfront from the bridge's vantage point.
Transportation in Tacoma
Public transit is fairly cheap and reliable in Tacoma. Bus routes run throughout the city and Tacoma Link—a light-rail system in downtown Tacoma—runs just over one mile through the heart of downtown. Passengers can ride Tacoma Link completely free of charge until September of 2016 when fare will be introduced.
Getting In from Sea-Tac
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is easily accessible to Tacoma via public transportation. Several bus routes run from the airport into various parts of Tacoma. Many major car rental companies are at the airport, but travelers have to take a free shuttle ride from the airport main terminal to reach the terminal with car rental counters.
Local tip for visitors to Tacoma
Year-round moderate temperatures means no matter when visitors come to Tacoma, it's almost always a good time to be outdoors. Tacoma has two big, historic parks that offer dynamic views, green space and playgrounds. Point Defiance, located in the North End of the city, boasts a beach, five miles of walking trails and several different types of gardens. Wright Park, in the city's Central Neighborhood, is a 27-acre arboretum with a conservatory and playground, and the park also features a walking trail and pond.
Author's bio: Amanda Bretz is an author and freelance journalist living in the Pacific Northwest. She loves writing, cooking and exploring the great outdoors.