If you just see Tacoma from I-5, you’ll think it’s just a decaying industrial seaport. That was me for many years until my brother Jim moved there and I began to explore it. I took the photo of Mount Rainier from his balcony. You have to get off the Interstate to realize Tacoma’s quiet charms.
Its best and biggest attraction is America’s Car Museum, also called LeMay. The United States largest auto museum, it honors the memory of local entrepreneur Harold LeMay who made it into the Guinness Book of World Records by collecting 3,500 vehicles. His best are on display along with many others in a great museum that actually can be seen from I-5. It’s that modern-looking building with the full parking lot next to the Tacoma Dome. I’ve done several blogs about it.
Other downtown attractions include the Museum of Glass co-founded by Dale Chihuly. Visitors will see many examples of his work including a Bridge of Glass. The Tacoma Art Museum now has a permanent exhibit featuring Chihuly too. The Benaroya family recently donated more than 200 glass pieces to it. Also downtown is the Washington State History Museum. Washington is one of only 2 states with state museums not in their capital cities near their capitols.
Another Tacoma attraction that Ruth & I like is Point Defiance Park. If you travel to it, you will see that Tacoma is mostly a blue-collar town of modest homes in working class neighborhoods. You will also see the more scenic parts of town that parallel first Commencement Bay and then the south end of Puget Sound. Point Defiance Park has more than half a dozen attractions including formal gardens, a zoo, an aquarium, and a 5-mile driving loop through a typical Northwest forest with views of Puget Sound and Vashon Island. A ferry leaves for Vashon from the Point Defiance Terminal several times each day.
Coming soon: a blog about Tacoma’s quieter, lesser known attractions.