|Tacoma in Washington, is the state's third-largest city, with just under 200,000 residents. Located south of Seattle, it is the "Tac" part of Sea-Tac airport, which serves Seattle, Tacoma, and the greater Seattle area. |
In addition to Sea-Tac airport (and taxi/limo or rental car), there are:
• Commuter rail service from Tacoma to Seattle (mornings) and back (afternoon/evenings).
• A ferry to and from Vashon Island . (Don't plan on walking anywhere when you get to Vashon Island; you'll need a car to get anywhere worth seeing.)
• Amtrak Cascades trains running between Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) and Eugene, Oregon, stopping in Tacoma. (Amtrak also has trains that go to California and to points east, from Tacoma.)
Tacoma is the home of three good museums, all within an easy walk of each other:
• Washington State History Museum
• Tacoma Art Museum
• Museum of Glass - you can cross to or from this museum on the Chihuly Bridge of Glass - and no, the bridge is not made of glass - it's 500 feet long, over Interstate 705, with glasswork exhibits.
• LeMay Car Museum
• The Seymour Botanical Conservatory, within Wright Park .
• Union Pacific Station and its Dale Chihuly glass exhibits . Next to the Washington State History Museum.
• University of Washington, Tacoma - located in an old business district near downtown. A suggested walking tour is available. (UW Tacoma is across the street from the Washington State History Museum.)
• The Brown & Haley's Outlet Store near the factory (most famous for Almond Roca, candy).
• A new convention center opened in late 2004.
• Freighthouse Square is a building three city blocks long, with shops and eating places inside, near the Tacoma Dome. Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
• The Tacoma Mall, near Interstate 5 (at the 38th Street exit) is a major shopping center in Tacoma. A wide variety of stores extending well to the north and south of the mall, as well.
• Sheraton Tacoma, downtown.
• Silver Cloud, on a two-mile long scenic waterfront, Ruston Way .
• A Courtyard by Mariott, which opened in June 2005, downtown near the Convention Center.
• Comfort Inn Tacoma is a 90 room hotel located 5 miles south from the downtown corridor.
• The Villa is a highly rated, luxury six-room bed and breakfast hotel in the Stadium district.
Near Tacoma are some other things worth visiting, listed roughly north to south:
• To the northwest, the waterfront town of Gig Harbor .
• To the northeast, Rhododendron Species Foundation and Garden, and the adjacent Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection in Federal Way, just off Interstate 5.
• Six Flags Wild Waves Enchanted Village, a water-themed amusement park, also in Federal Way, just off Interstate 5.
• To the south, Lakewold Gardens Estate, in Lakewood.
• Also to the south, Northwest Trek, a 615-acre park that is home to more than 200 North American animals.
• To the southeast, Mount Rainier National Park, and the nearby Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad .
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• A free trolley (light rail) between Freighthouse Square (near the Tacoma Dome) and downtown, with a stop near the Washington State History Museum.
The Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitor Bureau has its Visitor Information Center at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in downtown Tacoma (1515 Commerce Street). Visitor guides, maps and brochures on area attractions are available, and the center includes a new computer station where visitors can research travel information on the Internet.
• Tacoma Regional Visitor and Convention Bureau
• City of Tacoma official web site
• Pierce County government official web site - Tacoma is located in Pierce County, and the County seat is Tacoma.
• Metro Parks Tacoma
• The News Tribune - the major daily paper for Tacoma and the surrounding area; often referred to as "TNT".
• Tacoma Pierce County Chamber (of Commerce)
• Port of Tacoma - the sixth busiest container port in the United States, and one of the 25 busiest in the world.