Tacoma is an industrial city in Washington State that sits on the banks of Puget Sound to the south of Seattle.
Best known for its stunning coastline, exceptional mountain landscape, and rich history, Tacoma is one of the best places to visit in Washington.
Tacoma has so many amazing things to do, making it a popular tourist destination for families, couples, and solo travelers.
However, with so many things to see and do, finding the best attractions can actually be quite difficult. We’re simply spoiled for choice. Today, we’re here to make sure you don’t miss the best attractions.
In this post, you’ll find a list of 10 amazing things to do in Tacoma that are worth your money (see also “Amazing Things To Do In Leavenworth“). We’ve got attractions for every type of visitor so stick around if you’re looking for some much-needed vacation inspiration!
We’ll kickstart our list with Point Defiance Park. Point Defiance Park is a huge 720-acre park that can be found on the northernmost tip of Tacoma.
A hugely popular destination for locals and tourists alike, this park is a great place to visit if you’re looking for lots of different attractions in one place.
Entrance to the park is free but you will have to pay to enter some of the attractions. We can highly recommend the zoo & aquarium as it’s a fascinating place to learn about wildlife. The Tacoma living museum is also a great place to learn more about Tacoma’s history.
The Tacoma Museum of Glass is one of the city’s most popular attractions, so you have to pay it a visit.
Well worth every cent, the museum works with renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly and others to display the most amazing exhibitions to its visitors.
Quite breathtaking, you’ll be treated to incredible works of art, live glasswork demonstrations, and stunning glass sculptures.
The Museum of Glass sits in the heart of Downtown Tacoma, so you could visit both places on the same day.
Children can enter the museum for free but there is a fee for adults. One of the best pieces of art here is the Chihuly Bridge of Glass which is a 500-foot sculpture pedestrians can cross.
Mount Rainier National Park might sit outside of Tacoma city but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the main reasons people stay in the city.
Offering the perfect escape for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers, Mount Rainier National Park is one of the best national parks in America.
Despite being an hour and a half away from Tacoma, Mt. Rainier dominates the Tacoma landscape, almost like it’s trying to draw us in. You can visit Mount Rainier National Park from Tacoma easily.
Covering 369-sq miles, there are loads of things to do. There are scenic drives, epic hikes, climbing opportunities, cycling trails, fishing excursions, and more. Of course, you can also reach the top of Mt. Rainier if you wish.
If you want to learn more about Tacoma’s local maritime history you need to visit Foss Waterway Seaport.
Open from 10 am to 4 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Foss Waterway Seaport is a fantastic place to learn about the city’s maritime history and culture.
This maritime museum sits in a 100-year-old restored building that sits on a historic dock on Thea Foss Waterway.
Somewhat of a hidden gem, the museum features a wide range of interesting exhibitions and exhibits that tell the story of Tacoma’s waterfront.
While the museum is better suited to adults, there are interactive exhibits that children can enjoy too.
Next up, we have the Grand Cinema. This is the perfect tourist attraction for movie lovers that want to experience something different.
The Grand Cinema is a nonprofit movie theater run by volunteers. The cinema’s aim is to enrich the lives and cultural vitality of the Tacoma community. This is done through the art of film.
A truly unique cinema, movies are played here 365 days a year.
What’s so cool about the Grand Cinema is how it plays a wide range of films. Instead of playing the latest Hollywood blockbusters, this cinema plays foreign, indie, and locally made films.
This gives you a chance to experience something completely different.
One of the best attractions in Tacoma on a wet day is Dorky’s Arcade. An entertaining attraction for both children and adults, Dorky’s Arcade is an 80s-style arcade that features a huge range of classic video and arcade games.
Found in Downtown Tacoma, this is a great place for kids to play arcade games and for adults to relive their childhood.
Aside from the range of vintage arcade games, Dorky’s Arcade also has a collection of newer arcade games to play. You could quite easily spend most of your day here as the arcade sells beverages and pizzas to keep you fueled.
At 9 pm, Dorky’s Arcade becomes an adult-only arcade.
The next attraction on this list of amazing things to do in Tacoma worth the money is Frisko Freeze (see also “Amazing Places To Eat In Tacoma“). When it comes to finding something to eat in the city, it’s hard to beat the experience on offer at Frisko Freeze.
Frisko Freeze is a classic American diner that serves quick and delicious food. Like something straight out of the movies, Frisko Freeze serves up cheap burgers, fries, shakes, onion rings, and other classic foods.
You can order from the drive-thru or dine in the vintage diner. Frisko Freeze has been around for 60 years, so don’t miss it.
Those of you wanting to learn more about Washington and its rich history should stop by the Washington State History Museum.
This large museum will give you a tour of the region’s prehistory, settlement, Civil War, and development.
This is probably the best place to visit if you really want to get to know Washington State. Learning how the state developed into a modern-day city is incredibly interesting.
Inside the museum, you’ll find old artifacts that have been discovered across the state. This includes an original World War II spitfire plane.
There are 6 floors to explore so you will need a couple of hours to see everything the museum has to offer.
At some point during your trip to Tacoma, you will come across the Tacoma Dome. This iconic building is an imposing figure on the Tacoma skyline.
If you have the chance, you should try and leave enough time spare to visit the dome.
The Tacoma Dome is an entertainment arena that hosts a staggering variety of different events. During a vacation in Tacoma, you could find the dome hosting sporting events, concerts, and even monster truck rallies.
The best way to find an event is to check the Tacoma Dome website before booking your trip (see also “Best Hotels In Tacoma To Check Out“).
10. Bob’s Java Jive
The final Tacoma attraction we have for you is Bob’s Java Jive. Bob’s Java Jive is arguably the most quirky place to visit in Washington, never mind Tacoma.
Bob’s Java Jive has the most amazing coffee pot design. While it looks totally out of place in the city, it’s extremely popular. What makes things even more interesting is that Bob’s Java Jive isn’t actually a cafe.
Instead, this coffee pot-shaped building is a bar that serves up beer and burgers. Built in 1927, Bob’s Java Jive regularly has live music, karaoke nights, and arcade games.
As you can imagine, it’s an entertaining place to spend the night.
As you can see from our list of things to do, Tacoma is an exciting destination to visit. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, the city has something for you.
What makes Tacoma even better is that you don’t have to spend hundreds upon thousands of dollars to have a good time.
Most attractions in the city are very fairly priced or free. Now you have our list of Tacoma things to do at your fingertips, you should start planning your trip.
If you can, try to visit most if not all the places from this list because these are the best things to see and do in Tacoma.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, Tacoma, Washington is most definitely worth visiting. This historic city is jam-packed with attractions for every type of traveler. It doesn’t matter what you like to do, Tacoma has something you can enjoy.
Tacoma also has a wide range of things to do for free. This includes Wright Park, Ruston Way, and Titlow Beach.
Tacoma is definitely a city you want to spend 2 to 3 days exploring. There is far too much to do in 1 day. In 2 or 3 days, you can explore most of the best attractions and learn more about the city.
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