Halfway between Seattle and the state capital, Olympia, is an historic Washington masterpiece which should not be overlooked. Back in the 1990s, Tacoma was a fading flower. But the second blooming began, powered by the energy of visionaries, artists, writers, musicians and entrepreneurs. Businesses large, such as Key Bank, State Farm Insurance, Columbia Bank and BNY Mellon, and small, lining streets in Downtown, began to invest in Tacoma.
World-acclaimed glass artist Dale Chihuly was born here, and reinvigorates the artist and artisan community with his hot shop in the Tacoma Museum of Glass, a gem in the downtown museum district, which boasts the highest density of any museum district in the state. University of Washington, Tacoma, Evergreen State College Tacoma campus, The University of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran University, as well as some community trade and technical colleges, infuse the city with a pulsating, youthful vibe. And with the hilly terrain, it’s a draw for bikers and hikers.
This “City of Destiny,” once known for being the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, was named for the gigantic mountain that looms to the east, Mt. Rainier – Mount Takhoma to the first residents over ten thousand years ago. With the development of Commencement Bay, the nearby deep-water harbor, Tacoma’s next slogan was “When rails meet sails.” And the Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridges connect the city to Gig Harbor and the Olympic Peninsula to the West. Nowadays The Port of Tacoma is Washington State’s largest and a beacon for international trade. Boasting the first modern electric light rail system in the state, a restored and revitalized urban waterfront, and with busy SeaTac Airport just a few miles away, Tacoma continues its history of being a vital hub on the West Coast.
Hungry? Don’t miss out on the foodie scene here! It has garnered national acclaim, and deservedly so. From the little local hole-in-the-wall dives to the upscale restaurants near convention and meeting venues and concert and theater districts, cutting-edge cuisine has been honed by both chefs and connoisseurs.
Pierce County, Tacoma’s home, has been named one of the most livable areas in the county, with Tacoma having been called the nineteenth most walkable area in the nation. One of the reasons for these honored designations is the number and quality of parks peppering the city. Point Defiance Park is, at over 700 acres, one of the largest parks in the U.S. A five-mile scenic drive leads visitors to the many attractions there, including the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Owen Beach, and numerous historic areas such as the former streetcar waiting room called The Pagoda. Another picturesque park on the south end of the city is Wapato Park, with walking trails encircling the lake of the same name. Or if scuba diving is your passion, Titlow Beach is where you should be headed. If an historic English garden designed in the 1800s suits your fancy, Wright Park near Downtown will fit the bill. With its arboretum and botanical conservatory, it is home to several annual concerts and festivals. Another argument for Tacoma’s national recognition is the fact that it contains over a thousand historic properties and 165 historic landmarks. In an age where older things are discarded and torn down, Tacoma has been on the cutting edge of Green construction and preservation of its history.
Charming neighborhoods in a big city, a passion for honoring and preserving the past and diving into the future, awe-inspiring views at prices that don’t take your breath away – it’s Tacoma, “The City of Destiny.”