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Top Places to Visit after Moving to Tacoma, WA

by Ryan Cox on Apr 10, 2017

The city of Tacoma, Washington, is an urban port on the Puget Sound. The city is known for its terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad and for its view of Mount Rainier, which is located about 58 miles away. The city is also close to Mount Rainier National Park, affording many exciting outdoor recreational activities and sports. In addition to all of the exciting natural areas, Tacoma is known for some of its man-made structures. The community became famous for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which was quickly replaced with a stationary structure. As one of the most walkable cities in the country, Tacoma is also recognized for its restored urban waterfront and many art galleries and cultural museums. After your belongings are delivered to your new home, condo or apartment, you may feel ready to get out and see some of these wonderful places in your new community. Use this list of top spots to begin your exploration of Tacoma, WA.

America's Car Museum

Tacoma-CarIf you like history or are a big fan of the automobile, you can explore America's Car Museum. This museum features traveling exhibits that cover BMW's innovations in fuel efficiency and safety. The museum also has many permanent exhibits, including Legends of Motorsports, which features the collections of some of the fanciest cars you might ever see. The car museum hosts special events, such as a day when families can come in and build a balloon-powered car. There are regular workshops for educators and talks by auto designers, manufacturers, racecar drivers and more. Explore the Tools of the Trade and see how cars are fixed. You can also check out the big exhibit on Route 66, one of the premier highways during the automobile's glory days. America's Car Museum is also known for its exhibits that feature older vehicles, such as the Lucky's Garage exhibit. (Photo Credit: LeMay America’s Car Museum Flickr)

Tacoma Art Museum

At the Tacoma Art Museum, you will be able to see many types of art from artists originating in the northwestern and western portions of the United States and Canada. Some of the Tacoma Art Museum's permanent exhibits include American portraits, Dale Chihuly's blown glass and pieces of pottery from a variety of artists. The museum also houses collections such as Japanese wood block prints, an expansive collection of European art and many outdoor sculptures. While at the museum, you can use their research rooms and libraries to look up the collections of art at other museums and to learn more about the artists themselves. The museum also hosts special events that include galas, demonstrations and classes.

Children's Museum of Tacoma

If you have youngsters in your household, a visit to the Children's Museum of Tacoma is a great way to spend a day. This museum features a variety of "playscapes" for children of all ages. Your kids can check out the woods, water, space and invention areas. There are hundreds of interactive stations where kids can see what things float and which ones sink or how to build a structure and then knock it down. In addition, an art studio offers up different types of art projects every day. Try out the shape art one day, then come back again to make some animal footprints. The Children's Museum of Tacoma features a pay-as-you-will program, which allows you to pay the amount for your admission that is right for your particular visit.

Foss Waterway Seaport

Located on the waterfront, the Foss Waterway Seaport features beautiful views of the city of Tacoma. While visiting the Seaport, you will be able to learn about the rich maritime history of the Puget Sound and Tacoma itself. The Foss Waterway Seaport is home to maritime heritage exhibits such as centuries-old canoes and replicas of some of the earliest types of boats that were used to navigate the local waterways. You can also check out the steering wheels, anchors and other artifacts from different types of ships. Several interactive exhibits encourage hands-on learning for people of all ages. The Seaport also regularly hosts educational programs for schoolchildren, educators and families. If you're planning a special event, the Foss Waterway Seaport offers rentals as well. You can even look into mooring your boat there!

Tacoma Glassblowing Studio

Tacoma-glassblowingAt the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio, you can tour the place where beautiful and colorful works of blown glass are handcrafted by local artisans. The studio is staffed by experts in glassblowing. You can see how the mixtures are created, watch them work on a piece and learn more about the science behind the art. The Tacoma Glassblowing Studio features a large gallery of different pieces, each of which is made using a variety of techniques and styles. You can also visit during one of the special shows or events, such as the autumn pumpkin gallery. There are pieces of art for sale at the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio, and you can take one home to decorate your garden, living room or any other part of your home. The Tacoma Glassblowing Studio also offers classes so that you can learn how to do glassblowing yourself. You will be able to take home your own unique creation at the conclusion of the class. (Photo Credit: http://www.tacomaglassblowing.com/blown-glass-art-tacoma-wa)

Duke's Chowder House

When you are hungry for a hearty and tasty meal, stop into Duke's Chowder House. At Duke's Chowder House, you can try a bowl of traditional clam chowder. The chefs also offer a wider selection of chowders, soups and stews such as fish stew. There are dozens of appetizers, including fried shrimp and lemongrass and coconut mussels. The eatery serves lunch and dinner, and you can order a specialty cocktail to accompany your meal. Duke's Chowder House also offers some specialty menus, including a gluten-free menu and a kids' menu. You can make reservations for your table, which is recommended if you're planning to dine with a party of six or more. There is a special VIP room where you can arrange to have a special event, such as a rehearsal dinner party.

El Gaucho

When your belly says it wants a hearty meal but your spirit wants refined elegance, visit El Gaucho. This restaurant places personalized service at the top of its priority list. Second only to the impeccable service is the delectable food, which features steaks, seafood and hearty sides. If you are unsure of what to choose, your server can offer up several recommendations for appetizers, specials of the day and main courses. Your server can also recommend a wine pairing to complement your meal. El Gaucho's dining experience includes live jazz, which is ideal for a cozy dinner for two. Just be sure to make reservations in advance to secure a table.

WildFin American Grill

Enjoy contemporary American fare when you dine at the WildFin American Grill. This restaurant has brunch, lunch, dinner, appetizer, cocktail and wine menus. If you are dining with younger members of your household or someone with a small appetite, try the kids' menu or junior's menu. Some of the most popular items on the menu at WildFin American Grill include wild fin chowder and short rib pie. The restaurant also hosts a daily happy hour, but you don't have to wait for that to have a quick beverage at the bar. WildFin American Grill sources its meat, seafood and produce locally when possible.

Dirty Oscar's Annex

If you’re looking to grab a meal in a relaxed atmosphere, look no further than Dirty Oscar's Annex. It features gourmet American food and adult beverages in a casual bar setting. Some of the menu options at Dirty Oscar's Annex include cauliflower wings, Baja tacos and the "big beast" elk burger. Dirty Oscar's Annex also serves breakfast until 2PM every day. Be sure to save some room for one of the Annex’s desserts, which include options such as macaroons, bourbon vanilla ice cream and cake pops.

Katie Downs Tavern and Eatery

tacoma-beerFor a fire-roasted pizza, colossal hamburger or seafood, check out Katie Downs Tavern and Eatery. There, you can get a veggie burger, beef burger or chicken breast burger. The pizza toppings include tasty choices such as smoked bacon, black olives, red onions, fresh mushrooms and sliced pepperoni. To put together a great foundation for your pizza, you can choose from several different sauces, cheeses and crust types. Situated on the waterfront, Katie Downs Tavern and Eatery offers both indoor and outdoor dining. Adults ages 21 and older are welcome, and you can choose from many ales on tap. (Photo Credit: http://www.katiedowns.com)

A move to Tacoma, Washington, will be a big change in your life. As you settle into your new home, unpack and get situated, you may feel ready to explore your new surroundings. With this list of top places to visit in Tacoma, you will be able to get your bearings and explore some things you have never seen, done or tasted before. Bring along a new friend, neighbor or coworker and enjoy the best of what Tacoma has to offer!
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