10 Best Things to Do in Tacoma 2024 – Must-See Attractions

Tacoma, Washington, may surprise you with its blend of industrial vibes and a rich artistic scene. It’s a city where museums meet magnificent outdoor activities, all wrapped up in a harmonious atmosphere.

If you’re craving art, history, nature, or fun activities, Tacoma has something special for everyone.

Today, I will walk you through the 10 best things to do in this Tacoma in 2024. As a big thank you for faithfully reading our posts, we prepared a FREE 3-DAY TRIP PLAN to Tacoma: A free 3-day trip plan to Tacoma. Enjoy!

Attractions in Tacoma

1. Point Defiance Park

Point Defiance Park

Imagine a place where you can see animals, smell beautiful flowers, walk through the forest, and play on the beach all in one day. Point Defiance Park is that magical place.

Point Defiance Park spans 640 acres, serving as a lush urban retreat within Tacoma. Covered in ancient forests and framed by the salty waters of Puget Sound on two sides, this park stands out as one of the city’s most precious assets.

It encompasses a variety of attractions including gardens, historical structures, a pond, diverse wildlife, inviting beaches, and beautiful trails.

Ticket Type Online Price Front Gate Price Military Price Zoo Member Price
Adult (age 13-64) $22 $25 $22 FREE
Senior (65+) $20 $23 $20 FREE
Youth (age 3-12) $16 $18 $16 FREE
Infant (age 2 & under) FREE FREE FREE FREE

For discounts and additional information, you can check their official website.

  • Park Hours: Opens ½ hour before sunrise. Closes ½ hour after sunset

2. Scenic Views at Ruston Way Waterfront

Ruston Way Waterfront

Ruston Way Waterfront is where the sea meets the sky in Tacoma City.

An interesting fact about Ruston Way is that it’s situated in what used to be a bustling industrial area. Over the years, it has transformed into a beautiful waterfront promenade.

Today, people use this beautiful area for walking, riding a bike, having a picnic, fishing, or eating seafood while enjoying the view. It has great views of the mountains and the sea, and there are different restaurants where you can eat. People also enjoy water sports like kayaking.  It’s a nice place in the city to enjoy nature and have fun outdoors.

  • Operating hours: Opens ½ hour before sunrise. Closes ½ hour after sunset

3. Visit the Museum of Glass

The Museum of Glass in Tacoma

The Museum of Glass is like a wizard’s castle, but instead of magic spells, it’s filled with stunning glass sculptures.

Watch artists breathe life into the glass right in front of you, creating beautiful glowy art. Besides live glassblowing demonstration, you can choose different activities such as a guided tour or making the glass yourself.

The Museum of Glass in Tacoma is renowned for its striking architecture and live glassblowing demonstrations, but one of its most captivating features is the Chihuly Bridge of Glass. This 500-foot-long pedestrian bridge links the museum to downtown Tacoma and serves as an outdoor gallery showcasing the works of Dale Chihuly, a world-famous glass artist native to Tacoma.

Visitors walking across the bridge have a mesmerizing display of glass art, including the Seaform Pavilion, a ceiling installation of glass forms that seem to float above, and the Crystal Towers on the bridge’s center, glowing brilliantly under the sun

  • Operating hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10 am–5 pm

4. Discover History at Washington State History Museum

The Washington State History Museum serves as a summary of the rich Washington’s past. This museum offers a presentation through the state’s history, from the early days of Native American cultures to the present.

Exhibits range from interactive displays, artifacts, and personal stories that bring to life the diverse events and people that have shaped Washington. One of the highlights is the Great Hall of Washington History, where visitors can explore the state’s journey through times of conflict, innovation, and growth.

Follow their official website for upcoming exhibitions and events.

  • Tickets: Adult tickets are $14, and for students and seniors is $11.
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Free admission from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM on the third Thursday of each month.

5. Explore Art at the Tacoma Art Museum

The Tacoma Art Museum (TAM)

The Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) is a center of beautiful art that promotes the rich creative culture of the Pacific Northwest. Located in the heart of Tacoma, this museum is known for its engaging exhibits that range from historical collections to contemporary works, with a special focus on art by Northwest artists.

Besides impressive collections, TAM offers a variety of educational programs and community events designed to inspire and educate visitors of all ages. The museum’s architecture itself is a work of art, featuring inviting spaces and a striking design that complements its dynamic exhibitions.

  • Tickets: $18.00: Adults, Free for Children aged 0-5.
  • Operating hours: Fridays through Sundays, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

6. Catch a Show at the Tacoma Dome

The Tacoma Dome

The Tacoma Dome is like a giant bubble where musicians, athletes, and entertainers come to share their talents. Whether it’s a concert, a sports game, or a rally, it feels like a big party with all of Tacoma invited.

The Tacoma Dome stands as an iconic structure of Tacoma City, recognized by its unique dome-shaped roof. As one of the largest wood-domed structures in the world, this multipurpose arena hosts a diverse range of events, including concerts, sports competitions, trade shows, and community gatherings.

Its unique engineering not only provides an expansive interior space without the need for internal support pillars but also contributes to the acoustics and atmosphere that make each event memorable.

With a seating capacity that can be adjusted to accommodate up to 23,000 guests, the dome is designed to offer an intimate experience despite its size.

7. Nostalgic Fun at Dorky’s Arcade

Dorky’s Arcade is a playground filled with games from the past and present. You can play pinball, try to beat the high score on Pac-Man or challenge your friends to Mario Kart. It’s all about having fun and feeling like a kid again. They have a vast collection of classic video games and pinball machines.

Here, there are around 125 games that cost just one quarter.

Besides the impressive gaming collection, Dorky’s Arcade offers a casual dining experience, making it a perfect spot for families and friends to gather for an evening of fun and games. The menu features a variety of comfort foods, snacks, and beverages, catering to tastes and preferences across the board.

  • Operating hours: Tuesday to Thursday: 3 pm – Midnight, Friday and Saturday: 12 pm – 2 am, Sunday: Open 12 pm to Midnight, Monday: closed
  • Entrance is free.

8. Bob’s Java Jive

Bob’s Java Jive

Imagine a giant coffee pot, but instead of coffee, it’s filled with music, burgers, and fun. Bob’s Java Jive is that place, where you can eat, drink, and listen to music in one of Tacoma’s most unique buildings.

Originally opened in the 1920s, it has evolved into an iconic dive bar and music venue attracting tourists and local people.

The venue is covered with memorabilia and signs from decades past, offering a glimpse into its storied past. Patrons can enjoy a variety of beverages, from classic beers to themed cocktails, in a setting that feels like a step back in time, yet still vibrates with the energy of contemporary live performances.

Bob’s Java Jive has the status of a cultural icon in Tacoma. It’s not just a place to grab a drink or catch a live show. It’s a piece of local history and a gathering spot for community members.

  • Operating hours: Thursday to Tuesday: 11 AM – 2 AM, Saturday and Sunday: Open 4 PM – 2 AM
  • Entrance is free.

9. Stroll Through Antique Row

Antique Row in Tacoma

Take a treasure hunt on Antique Row, where shops are filled with hidden gems from the past. You might find a vintage dress, an old toy, or a piece of furniture with a story to tell.

It is a live district, well-known for its rich collection of antique shops and vintage boutiques. Situated in the heart of Tacoma, this charming area offers unique finds, ranging from rare collectibles to retro furniture, vintage clothing, and timeless memorabilia. As you stroll down the street, you will face dozens of welcoming storefronts each offering something unique.

Besides shopping, Antique Row is a hub of local culture and history. The architecture of the area reflects the rich past of Tacoma, with beautifully preserved buildings that add to the nostalgic atmosphere.

  • Shop operating hours are usually between 10 or 11 AM to around 5 or 6 PM, though individual stores may differ, particularly on weekends.

10. Blueberry Picking at Charlotte’s Blueberry Park

Blueberry Picking at Charlotte’s Blueberry Park

Imagine a park where you can pick and eat blueberries right off the bush. Charlotte’s Blueberry Park is a place with paths to wander and berries to taste. It’s a very delicious adventure.

Charlotte’s Blueberry Park spans over 20 acres, offering visitors the chance to harvest fresh, juicy blueberries during the summer and early fall months.

The park is maintained by a community of dedicated volunteers who ensure the bushes are healthy and the grounds are welcoming for all who visit.

Beyond blueberry picking, the park offers walking trails and open spaces perfect for picnics, making it an ideal spot for families. There are different types of blueberries so visitors can enjoy a variety of flavors.

  • Operating hours: Opens ½ hour before sunrise. Closes ½ hour after sunset.
  • Free entrance.


Can I Visit the Museums in Tacoma for Free?
Yes, some museums offer free admission days. Check their official websites for specific dates and times.
Is Tacoma Kid-Friendly?
Absolutely! Tacoma has many parks, a zoo, and interactive museums that are perfect for children.
How Do I Get Around Tacoma without A Car?
Tacoma has a public transit system with buses and a light rail, making it easy to explore the city.
Are There Any Pet-Friendly Activities in Tacoma?
Yes, many parks and outdoor areas welcome pets. Just be sure to keep them on a leash and clean up after them.
What's the Best Time of Year to Visit Tacoma?
Summer is great for outdoor activities, but spring and fall also offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds.
Can I Take a Ferry Ride to Tacoma?
Yes, Tacoma is near several ferry routes that offer scenic views of Puget Sound and the surrounding islands.

Final Words

Tacoma offers a mix of natural beauty, rich history, creative art, and fun experiences. From the quiet beauty of its parks to the lively streets and unique museums, there is something for everyone’s taste.

Whether you’re a visitor or a local rediscovering the city, Tacoma offers much to explore, enjoy, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

For those with kids and teens, nearby Oregon provides an array of exciting adventures and family-friendly attractions to discover together.