Museums, Attractions & Local Destinations
From Chihuly's Bridge of Glass
Heavily invested in the Arts, we pride ourselves on our museums and educational resources. From glass to cars to manuscript museums, you stand to be impressed by the breadth of experience available to you here.
Also consider our beloved natural parks for a taste of our Northwest lifestyle.
For more arts in town, check out the Arts & the Cultural Experience Page.
LeMay: America's Car Museum
2702 E. D St;
Tacoma, WA 98421
Nine acres of campus with a four-story museum, Lemay is one of the world’s largest auto museums. Designed to preserve history and celebrate the world’s automotive culture, the spacious facility will house up to 500 cars, trucks and motorcycles from private owners, corporations and the LeMay collection, which amassed a Guinness Book record of more than 3,500 vehicles in the mid-‘90s.
If you are interested in the original collection, we highly encourage you to visit the LeMay Family Collection Foundation at Marymount, which will continue to be open year-round and showcases over 500 vehicles from the LeMay Family Collection.
Tacoma Art Museum
1701 Pacific Avenue; Tacoma, WA 98402
253) 272-4258 www.tacomaartmuseum.org/
Featuring a flexible exhibition space in a series of galleries that wrap around an open-air stone courtyard, TAM's galleries showcase a permanent collection of American, European, and Asian art, highlighting Northwest artists and traveling national and international exhibitions. There is an emphasis on education spaces that are designed to make art accessible to the framed views of Mt. Rainier and Tacoma’s growing core.
The (Original) LeMay Family Auto Collection
325 152nd ST E
Tacoma, WA 98445
The Original LeMay Auto collection is an auto lover's heaven showcasing hundreds of mostly American-made, vintage vehicles from cars to trucks, buses, fire engines, motorcycles and more. This is the massive original collection amassed for the LeMay family's love of cars, and was the inspiration for downtown's 'LeMay: America's Car Museum.'
Tacoma's culture is highlighted by creative artistic life. Discover it here on and off the beaten path.
Also Interact at Home
Supporting Artists 4 Life in the Sound
760 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 203-1647 website
Community & Events
Board games, card games, miniature games and role playing games abound. If you have any interest in games of the modern era, this is your place.
Discover a new family pastime, or take your current skills and knowledge to the next level in a game you already know - you win here either way.
Doug (the owner) is a Wizard-level expert at finding the right game(s) for you and your special someone, and introducing games that are appropriate to the demands of various groups of friends and temperaments is his specialty.
With 11 years of industry experience, expect to be pleasantly surprised by the attentive, knowledgeable and discerning nature of the staff, and expect to leave with a new activity to share with your child, partner, friends, family or all of the above.
We call it the 'South Sound' for a reason
Tacoma's musical roots reach deep into our lives and find expression in a wide variety of independent forms. In venues, basements, living rooms or dives
the Spirit of our Times is Live
We love nature, and hope you perceive in your experience here the essence of our ways. Her secrets, hidden in our natural reserves, preserve the character and hope of Northwest ways: Be open, mindful, still. You may well hear the whisper of her will . .
Museum of Glass
1801 Dock St Tacoma, WA 98402
Designed by acclaimed Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, Tacoma’s MOG is located on the Thea Foss Waterway near the University of WA Tacoma, right downtown. The museum is linked to downtown via the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, which consists of thousands of glass-art masterpieces created by Dale Chihuly to make up the Venetian Wall, Seaform Pavilion and Crystal Towers.
The museum exhibits a conical building, which houses the artists’ Hot Shop. The room reaches 90 feet (27 m) and has two furnaces reaching temperatures of 2,400 °F (1,320 °C). There are also several other outdoor exhibits including the Water Forest, reflecting pools and a waterfront promenade.
Internationally known artists and emerging artists from the region and around the world are invited to work with the Hot Shop resident Team to explore, invent and create with glass.
Karpele's Manuscript Museum
407 South G Street; Tacoma, WA 98405
The Karpeles Manuscript Library is the largest private collection of original manuscripts and documents in the world. Founded in 1983 with the goal of stimulating interest in learning, especially in children, all of the Karpeles Manuscript Library services are free.
To make the documents more accessible, there are ten Karpeles museums across the US. Items are rotated between museums quarterly and each of the museums present a daily general exhibit and one or more special scheduled exhibits throughout the year. In addition, Karpeles is aggressively expanding the content of its website. Each of the libraries is located in an historic building.
Tacoma’s is located adjacent to the very worthy Wright Park & Conservatory (follow link to 3rd entry down)
For more literary experiences in Tacoma go here.
Washington State History Museum
1911 Pacific Avenue Tacoma, WA 98402
Owned and operated by the Washington State Historical Society under the official approval of the Washington State Legislature, WSHM is located downtown.
The museum maintains a permanent exhibit about the history of the Pacific Northwest, and continually hosts temporary exhibits that further illuminate some portion of the history of the state of Washington. The top floor of the museum contains a "history lab" where visitors can experience and learn about history in a more hands-on fashion.
Children's Museum of Tacoma
1501 Pacific Ave
The Children's Museum of Tacoma was established in 1985 by parents, teachers, and community leaders dedicated to creating unique resources for families in Tacoma and the South Puget Sound Region. The Museum opened in 1986 as a non-profit organization and remained in its original downtown Tacoma location for 10 years, rotating single theme exhibits every 18-months.
Due to excellence in education, programming, and hands-on exhibits, the Museum earned a reputation as a cornerstone for early learning. As a result, the Museum's physical location and size could no longer accommodate the community's demand for its services. In 1996, the Museum's Board of Directors voted to relocate to the Theater District's historic Kress Building, here the Museum featured both single and multiple-theme exhibits and an array of complementary programming in its 3,800 square foot, storefront location.
The move in January 2012 to a new, larger space - combined with the support of early learning programs and Museum access - fulfills objectives of the Museum's five-year Strategic Plan. It's just one of the priorities that allows us to increase capacity, audience, and access; promote fun, learning, and the wonder of childhood; and demonstrate innovation, playfulness, and excellence. Quote from website
Weyerhaeuser’s Pacific Rim Bonzai Collection
33663 Weyerhaeuser Way South Federal Way, 98003
Located on Weyerhaeuser Company's corporate campus, this is a world class curated Bonzai collection that will transport you to a sublime world of sensible serenity.
Bonsai artists spend years, even decades developing mature branches that divide repeatedly into ever smaller and more complex patterns. Winter’s “Silhouette” season is the ideal time to enjoy bonsai’s elegant fusion of artistic vision with natural beauty because this is the time of year when, minus a concealing cover of leaves, the true architecture of each deciduous tree is revealed. Photographers: Rainy and overcast days are your friend. Hours are 10a - 4p, Tues - Sun (Mon. closed). Adopted from website
The Museum of Flight
9401 East Marginal Way So
Tukwila, WA 98101
Not technically in Tacoma, the MoF is certainly worth mentioning for scholars or those that appreciate air craft. Its mission is "To be the foremost educational air and space museum in the world."
In 1964 a small group of aviation enthusiasts realized that important artifacts representing the evolution of flight were being lost or destroyed at an incredible rate. To aid in the preservation of these artifacts, the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation was established with the twin goals of saving significant aircraft and related artifacts and educating the public in terms of their importance.
It soon became clear that a place to store and exhibit these artifacts was needed, so the MoF was born. The museum’s objectives are to acquire and authentically restore artifacts to high museum standards. Exhibits are artifact-based for credibility, professionally researched and designed according to a carefully thought-out comprehensive story line, based on the central theme of "mankind's dream of flying." This theme centers on the evolution of air and space technology and its impact on our world, augmented by highlights of the Pacific Northwest region's contribution. Exhibits communicate the rich story of flight in several levels of detail to satisfy the varying interests of the general public, as well as the scholar.
Other Cultural Elements in Tacoma
Personally crafted, small batch bean is a hallmark icon of Pacific Northwest culture - experience the difference for yourself.
Discover why bold body brew doesn't have to be be a bitter experience. We also do tea.
Tacoma has developed its cuisine in our own kitchens, for the love of the food. While here, discover the different kinds of foods around town - you won't be disappointed.