Tacoma, WA is approximately 35 miles outh of Seattle. I took the express bus from Sound Transit to and from Tacoma from downtown Seattle. You can take the train, also from Sound Transit, but the schedule is geared towards commuters going to Seattle so the schedule really doesn’t work well for people just wanting to visit Tacoma for the day, leaving in the morning and returning in the afternoon. You get off the bus at the Tacoma Dome station from where you can walk, take the bus or the streetcar to the downtown area. For the local streetcar, make sure to walk up to the upper level of the station behind the parking structure.
I was impressed that the older area along the waterfront has been totally transformed. The old warehouse buildings have been converted to residential, restaurants, galleries and shops. In addition there are new residential buildings and a boat marina. The “Museum Row” is the highlight of the downtown area.
When I think of Tacoma, I think of glass. It is the home of famed glass artist Dale Chihuly. Not to be missed is the Museum of Glass with its exhibitions and hot shop where you can watch the artists work and walk along the Chihuly Bridge of Glass which I had seen reports of since it opened. It is a 500 ft. pedestrian bridge that connects Pacific Avenue to the Glass Museum and contains a large number of his Seaform pieces in the ceiling and many of his Venetian pieces along the walls.
I also visited the Tacoma Art Museum which has the largest permanent collection of Chihuly’s work. In addition they were showing a special exhibition of his Pendleton Indian Blankets and his Native American Baskets which showed how these influences came to be in his glass pieces. I capped the day off seeing his massive Monarch Window at Union Station, nearby, along with several of his other works. I ended up eating at the café at the Museum of Glass.
Where I had lunch is no longer open. Chicago friends have recently relocated there and recommend that you try Primo for its farm-to-table Mediterranean cuisine at 2701 6th Ave and Over the Moon Cafe downtown at 709 Opera Alley for Northwest cuisine. They also like Le Sel Bistro at 229 St. Helens Ave. which is known for it lunch and brunch menu.
Dirty Oscar’s Annex is recommended by other friends who love this neighborhood bar and casual restaurant. They are now for their craft beer selection and creative burgers. They also suggest that you try Northern Fish a counter service restaurant for seafood, on the Puget Sound at 2201 Ruston Way. Dirty. Shakabrah Java has-great breakfasts at 2618 6th Ave. Brewers Row has excellent Mexican food, tacos and burritos plus beer while Parkway Tavern, from 1935, has local craft beer and bar food.
If you want to spend the night, the Hotel Murano, which features glass art from around the world, comes highly recommended. Their restaurant, Bite, gets excellent reviews for its Pacific Northwest cuisine. 1320 Broadway Plaza.
I am anxious to get back to explore more of the city and to see my friends!!