Discovering Tacoma: A Guide to Things to Do in the City of Destiny

Tacoma, Washington, often referred to as the City of Destiny, offers a diverse array of attractions, activities, and experiences for residents and visitors alike. From exploring cultural landmarks to enjoying outdoor adventures, there’s no shortage of things to do in Tacoma. Here’s a guide to help you discover the best that the city has to offer.

1. Explore Point Defiance Park:

One of What to do in Tacoma crown jewels, Point Defiance Park, is a sprawling urban oasis that offers something for everyone. Explore miles of hiking and biking trails, visit the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to see a variety of exotic animals, or relax on the shores of Owen Beach with stunning views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Don’t miss the Rhododendron Garden, Japanese Garden, and Fort Nisqually Living History Museum within the park’s expansive grounds.

2. Visit the Museum District:

Tacoma’s Museum District is home to a diverse collection of cultural institutions that celebrate art, history, and innovation. Explore the Tacoma Art Museum, featuring a rich collection of Northwest art and rotating exhibitions, or marvel at the stunning glass artworks at the Museum of Glass, where you can watch artists at work in the Hot Shop Amphitheater. Discover the history of the region at the Washington State History Museum, which showcases exhibits on Washington’s past, present, and future.

3. Wander Through Downtown Tacoma:

Downtown Tacoma is a vibrant hub of activity, boasting historic architecture, trendy boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Take a stroll along Pacific Avenue to admire the city’s iconic architecture, including the historic Pantages and Rialto Theaters. Explore the Tacoma Farmers Market, held downtown on Thursdays and Sundays, to sample fresh produce, artisanal goods, and local delicacies. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the “I Am Tacoma” sign at Tollefson Plaza.

4. Experience the Waterfront:

Tacoma’s waterfront offers endless opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation. Take a leisurely stroll along Ruston Way, a scenic waterfront promenade lined with restaurants, cafes, and parks. Enjoy panoramic views of Commencement Bay and the Cascade Mountains while dining al fresco or watching the sunset. Rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the bay from a different perspective, or simply relax on the grassy lawns of Jack Hyde Park and watch the boats go by.

5. Attend Cultural Events and Festivals:

Tacoma hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating the city’s diverse heritage and creative spirit. Don’t miss the Tacoma Film Festival, showcasing independent films and documentaries from around the world, or Tacoma Pride, a vibrant celebration of LGBTQ+ culture and community. Other popular events include the Daffodil Parade, Taste of Tacoma food festival, and Tacoma Arts Month, which features art exhibits, performances, and studio tours throughout the city.

6. Explore Outdoor Adventures:

Beyond the city limits, Tacoma offers access to a wealth of outdoor adventures in the surrounding natural areas. Explore the trails of Mount Rainier National Park, where you can hike through old-growth forests, marvel at alpine meadows, and summit majestic peaks. Go whale watching in the waters of Puget Sound, where you can spot orcas, humpback whales, and other marine wildlife. Or head to nearby Chambers Bay Golf Course, host of the 2015 U.S. Open, for a round of golf with breathtaking views of the sound and mountains.


Tacoma offers a diverse range of attractions and activities that appeal to residents and visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you’re exploring cultural landmarks, enjoying outdoor adventures, or attending cultural events and festivals, there’s always something new to discover in the City of Destiny. Soak in the beauty of Point Defiance Park, wander through downtown Tacoma, experience the waterfront, attend cultural events, and explore outdoor adventures to make the most of your time in this dynamic and vibrant city.


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