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Tacoma, Washington

Natural wonders and outdoor escapes

Tacoma, Washington at a Glance

Located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Tacoma stands as a city that seamlessly blends natural beauty with urban vibrancy. As a visitor, you’re in for a real treat, as Tacoma unfolds its unique charm through a tapestry of attractions, culture, and a rich history that captivates every wandering soul.

A Stroll Through History

Tacoma’s history is as diverse as its landscape. Begin your journey by exploring the Washington State History Museum, where exhibits vividly narrate the story of the region, from its indigenous roots to its pivotal role in the railway boom. The city’s historic neighborhoods, such as Old Town and Stadium District, showcase architectural gems that transport you back in time, providing a glimpse into Tacoma’s evolution.

Museum District: Where Art Meets Innovation

Art enthusiasts will find solace in Tacoma’s Museum District, home to the Museum of Glass, where masterpieces come to life under the skilled hands of resident artists. Marvel at the iconic Chihuly Bridge of Glass, a stunning testament to the city’s commitment to the arts. The LeMay – America’s Car Museum is a must-visit for automobile enthusiasts, showcasing a vast collection of vintage cars that tell the tale of America’s love affair with the open road.

Tacoma, Washington | I-5 Exit Guide
Museum of Glass | Tacoma, Washington | Photo by Chuck Lysen

Natural Wonders and Outdoor Escapes

For those seeking communion with nature, Tacoma offers a range of outdoor escapes. Point Defiance Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country, invites you to explore its extensive trails, lush gardens, and the serene Owen Beach. The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, located within the park, introduces visitors to an array of wildlife, creating an immersive experience for both young and old.

A short drive from the city takes you to Mount Rainier National Park, a haven for hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts. The majestic Mount Rainier stands as a sentinel, watching over the surrounding landscapes and providing a picturesque backdrop to your Tacoma adventure.

Culinary Delights

Tacoma’s culinary scene is a testament to its diverse culture and appreciation for locally sourced ingredients. The city’s Proctor District is a food lover’s paradise, offering a variety of eateries ranging from cozy cafes to fine dining establishments. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the Pacific Northwest’s famed seafood, fresh from the waters of the nearby Puget Sound.

Waterfront Wonders

Tacoma’s waterfront is a bustling hub of activity, with attractions like the Foss Waterway Seaport and the historic Murray Morgan Bridge. Take a stroll along Ruston Way, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Puget Sound while indulging in waterfront dining. The Museum of Glass, perched on the edge of the Thea Foss Waterway, not only boasts captivating exhibits but also provides a stunning vista of the surrounding waterfront.

Festivals and Events

Plan your visit to coincide with one of Tacoma’s lively festivals or events. The Daffodil Festival, celebrating the arrival of spring, paints the city in vibrant hues, while the Tacoma Film Festival showcases the creativity of local and international filmmakers. From music festivals to food events, there’s always something happening in Tacoma that adds an extra layer of excitement to your stay.

Tacoma invites you to explore its every nook and cranny, promising a journey filled with history, art, nature, and culinary delights. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or an outdoor adventurer, Tacoma welcomes you with open arms, promising an experience that will linger in your memory long after you’ve bid farewell to this charming Pacific Northwest gem.

Places to Stay in Tacoma

Tacoma welcomes visitors with open arms and a range of accommodations that cater to diverse tastes and preferences. Whether you seek luxury, historic charm, or a cozy retreat, Tacoma has a place to suit every traveler. Here is our list of 7 delightful places to stay, each offering a unique experience:

Tacoma, Washington | I-5 Exit Guide
Silver Cloud Hotel – Tacoma, Washington | I-5 Exit Guide

Hotel Murano
1320 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402
Immerse yourself in art and luxury at Hotel Murano. Located in the heart of downtown Tacoma, this boutique hotel boasts rooms adorned with glass art, reflecting the city’s rich artistic culture. With its central location, you’ll be within walking distance of museums, theaters, and the stunning waterfront.

Silver Cloud Inn – Tacoma Waterfront
2317 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402
For those craving waterfront views, Silver Cloud Inn Tacoma is an excellent choice. Overlooking Commencement Bay, this hotel offers spacious rooms and convenient access to Ruston Way’s scenic waterfront, renowned for its dining options and walking paths.

Tacoma, Washington | I-5 Exit Guide
Silver Cloud Inn – Tacoma, Washington | I-5 Exit Guide

McMenamins Elks Temple
565 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402
Imbued with history, McMenamins Elk Temple is a vibrant hotel set in a former Masonic lodge. Each room is uniquely decorated, and the hotel features multiple restaurants, a brewery, and a movie theater. Experience Tacoma’s revitalized downtown while enjoying the distinctive charm of this eclectic establishment.

Geiger Victorian Bed & Breakfast
912 N I St, Tacoma, WA 98403
Another gem in Tacoma’s historic district, the Geiger Victorian Bed & Breakfast, offers a cozy and intimate retreat. The beautifully restored Victorian home provides a peaceful escape, and its proximity to downtown makes it a convenient base for exploring the city.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tacoma Downtown
2102 S C St, Tacoma, WA 98402
Travelers seeking modern comforts and convenience will appreciate the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tacoma Downtown. Situated close to the University of Washington Tacoma campus, this hotel provides easy access to the city’s attractions and business districts.

Silver Cloud Hotel Tacoma at Point Ruston Waterfront
5125 Grand Loop, Tacoma, WA 98407
Overlooking the picturesque Point Ruston Waterfront, this Silver Cloud Hotel combines elegance with a prime location. The rooms feature contemporary design, and guests can enjoy panoramic views of the Puget Sound. Explore Point Ruston’s shops, restaurants, and waterfront activities just steps away.

Tacoma, Washington | I-5 Exit Guide
Courtyard by Marriott Tacoma Downtown | I-5 Exit Guide

Courtyard by Marriott Tacoma Downtown
1515 Commerce St, Tacoma, WA 98402
Located in the heart of downtown, the Courtyard by Marriott offers a blend of comfort and functionality. With spacious rooms and modern amenities, it’s an excellent choice for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel’s proximity to the Convention Center adds to its appeal.

In Tacoma, each accommodation tells a part of the city’s story, ensuring that your stay is not just about a place to sleep but an integral part of your overall experience in this vibrant Pacific Northwest city.

Places to Eat in Tacoma

Tacoma, Washington, is a culinary haven that delights visitors with a diverse array of dining options. From waterfront seafood establishments to cozy cafes tucked in historic districts, Tacoma’s food scene reflects the city’s creativity and commitment to fresh, local ingredients. Here are our must-try restaurants that promise a delectable culinary experience:

Tacoma, Washington | I-5 Exit Guide
Lobster Shop, Tacoma, Washington | Photo by Lobster Shop

Dirty Oscar’s Annex
2309 6th Ave, Tacoma, WA 98403
For a laid-back yet flavorful experience, head to Dirty Oscar’s Annex. This gastropub is renowned for its inventive comfort food, craft cocktails, and an inviting ambiance. From gourmet burgers to creative small plates, this local favorite promises a satisfying meal in the heart of Tacoma’s historic 6th Ave district.

The Lobster Shop
4015 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402
With a stunning waterfront location on Ruston Way, The Lobster Shop is a seafood lover’s paradise. Enjoy panoramic views of Commencement Bay while savoring fresh seafood dishes prepared with a culinary finesse that has made this restaurant a Tacoma institution.

En Rama
1102 A St #220, Tacoma, WA 98402
Whiskey enthusiasts and food connoisseurs unite at En Rama, a contemporary eatery in the historic Brewery District. This restaurant features a carefully curated menu of small plates designed to complement their extensive whiskey selection. The chic yet cozy atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for a night out.

Indochine Asian Dining Lounge
1924 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
Indochine Asian Dining Lounge offers a culinary journey through Southeast Asia in the heart of downtown Tacoma. The eclectic menu features dishes inspired by Thai, Vietnamese, and Cambodian cuisines. The restaurant’s stylish decor and warm ambiance create a memorable dining experience.

Over the Moon Café
709 Opera Alley, Tacoma, WA 98402
Tucked away in charming Opera Alley, Over the Moon Café is a cozy spot known for its intimate setting and delectable European-inspired dishes. The menu, featuring locally sourced ingredients, changes seasonally, ensuring a fresh and delightful dining experience with every visit.

Southern Kitchen
1716 6th Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405
Indulge in the flavors of the South at Southern Kitchen, a soulful eatery in Tacoma’s historic 6th Ave district. Known for its hearty portions and comfort food classics like fried chicken and gumbo, this restaurant captures the essence of Southern hospitality in the Pacific Northwest.

The Red Hot
2914 6th Ave, Tacoma, WA 98406
Spice up your Tacoma dining experience at Red Hot, a hot dog joint on 6th Ave known for its creative toppings and craft beer selection. The eclectic menu features a variety of sausages, each with its own unique twist. The laid-back vibe and friendly staff make it a popular choice for a casual and flavorful meal.

Tacoma’s culinary landscape is as diverse as its cityscape, offering a delightful mix of flavors and atmospheres that cater to every palate. Whether you’re craving fresh seafood with a view, a cozy cafe in a historic alley, or inventive global cuisine, Tacoma’s restaurants invite you to savor the local culinary scene.

Places to Go in Tacoma

Tacoma unfolds its charm through a myriad of attractions that cater to every interest. As a visitor, you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice with a diverse range of experiences, from cultural gems to scenic wonders. Here is our list of must-visit places that promise to make your Tacoma sojourn memorable:

Tacoma, Washington | I-5 Exit Guide
Point Ruston – Tacoma, Washington | Photo by Point Ruston

Point Defiance Park
5400 N Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 98407
Begin your Tacoma adventure at Point Defiance Park, one of the largest urban parks in the nation. This expansive park offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and recreational activities. Explore the serene Japanese Garden, stroll along Owen Beach with views of Puget Sound, or embark on the scenic Five Mile Drive to witness the park’s diverse landscapes.

Museum of Glass
1801 Dock St, Tacoma, WA 98402
Immerse yourself in the artistry of glass at the Museum of Glass, a Tacoma landmark located along the Thea Foss Waterway. Watch skilled artists create stunning glass sculptures in the Hot Shop Amphitheater, and explore the museum’s exhibits that showcase the versatility and beauty of this captivating medium.

Tacoma Art Museum
1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
Experience the rich tapestry of artistic expression at the Tacoma Art Museum. Located in downtown Tacoma, this museum features a diverse collection of art, including works by regional and international artists. From contemporary pieces to historical artifacts, the Tacoma Art Museum is a cultural haven for art enthusiasts.

Point Ruston
5005 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98407
A bustling waterfront destination, Point Ruston offers a vibrant mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade, indulge in delectable cuisine at waterfront restaurants, and explore the boutiques and shops that dot this scenic area.

LeMay – America’s Car Museum
2702 E D St, Tacoma, WA 98421
Car enthusiasts will find paradise at LeMay – America’s Car Museum. This expansive facility showcases a stunning collection of vintage and contemporary automobiles, telling the story of America’s love affair with cars. Explore exhibits, marvel at iconic vehicles, and immerse yourself in automotive history.

Tacoma, Washington | I-5 Exit Guide
LeMay – America’s Car Museum, Tacoma, Washington | Photo by LeMay – America’s Car Museum

Wright Park
501 South I St, Tacoma, WA 98405
Discover tranquility in the heart of Tacoma at Wright Park. This historic park features a beautiful arboretum, walking paths, and a picturesque pond. Take a moment to relax amidst lush greenery, or explore the Seymour Botanical Conservatory, home to a diverse collection of exotic plants.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Multiple viewpoints along WA-16
Catch breathtaking views of the iconic Tacoma Narrows Bridge from various viewpoints along WA-16. Whether you’re capturing photos of the bridge’s elegant architecture or marveling at the surrounding landscapes, these viewpoints offer a unique perspective of Tacoma’s engineering marvel.

Chihuly Bridge of Glass
Bridge connects the Museum of Glass to downtown Tacoma
A seamless blend of art and architecture, the Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a captivating installation that spans the Thea Foss Waterway. Created by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, this bridge features stunning glass sculptures that come to life as natural light interacts with the vibrant colors of the glass.

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
5400 N Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 98407
Step back in time at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, a reconstructed 19th-century trading post. Engage with costumed interpreters as they bring history to life, showcasing the daily activities of Hudson’s Bay Company employees. The fort’s rustic charm and educational programs offer a unique glimpse into the region’s past.

Ruston Way Waterfront
Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402
Conclude your Tacoma exploration with a visit to Ruston Way Waterfront. This scenic stretch along Commencement Bay offers a picturesque setting for a leisurely walk or bike ride. Enjoy panoramic views of the water, and savor fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants while watching the boats sail by.

Tacoma’s blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and historical significance makes it a destination with something for everyone. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or a history buff, these destinations provide a captivating glimpse into the heart and soul of this Pacific Northwest gem.

Getting Around Tacoma

As a visitor to the picturesque city of Tacoma, Washington, having the freedom to explore at your own pace is a key ingredient for a memorable experience. Navigating Tacoma by car offers you the flexibility to uncover the city’s hidden gems, from waterfront attractions to historic districts. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to get around Tacoma efficiently and make the most of your journey.

Understanding Tacoma’s Road Layout

Before you hit the road, familiarize yourself with Tacoma’s road layout to ensure a smoother navigation experience. The city is well-connected by a network of highways and roads, with Interstate 5 (I-5) serving as a major north-south route. State Route 16 (SR-16) is another crucial highway, connecting Tacoma to the nearby Kitsap Peninsula.

Parking in Tacoma

Tacoma offers a mix of street parking, public lots, and garages to cater to your parking needs. When exploring downtown or popular attractions, it’s advisable to use public parking facilities for convenience. Some areas may have metered parking, while others may offer free parking for a limited duration.

Utilizing Online Resources

Make the most of technology by using GPS navigation and online resources to guide you through Stockton. The I-5 Exit Guide offers real-time traffic updatesexit servicesroad newstravel weather and lots of other helpful information that will help you navigate the city efficiently.

Tacoma’s Traffic Considerations

While Tacoma is generally known for manageable traffic compared to larger metropolitan areas, it’s wise to be aware of peak travel times. Rush hours typically occur during weekdays from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Planning your travels outside these hours can help you avoid potential congestion. For real-time traffic information visit:

Getting around Tacoma by car offers you the freedom to customize your itinerary, explore hidden gems, and navigate the city at your own pace. You have all the information you need for a seamless and enjoyable driving experience in this vibrant Pacific Northwest city. So, buckle up and get ready to embark on a Tacoma adventure filled with discovery and scenic drives.

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I-5 Exit Guide
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One of the most complete road travel resources of its kind on the Internet! The Interstate 5 Exit Information Guide features exit service listings for the entire length of I-5 from Washington to California! Food, gas, lodging, rest areas, attractions and more…

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