Tacoma in Washington, is the state's third largest city, with just over 200,000 residents.
Tacoma often gets a negative description that is similar to the one given to Oakland, California but, in the same way, this comes from those who have never lived in nor visited the city. While it has neither the tourist amenities of its neighbor Seattle to the north nor the suburban safety of Olympia to the south, one can certainly spend a few pleasant days in Tacoma and see the city's dynamic art scene (theater, galleries, museums, etc.) as well as its great ballet.
The skyline of Tacoma, with the Tacoma Dome
in the foreground.
The nearest airport is at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (IATA: SEA) , which is 26 mi (41.6km) north of Tacoma.
- By Taxi the fare is about $76 depending on where in Tacoma you want to go to.
- Sound Transit Rt #574 is the most economical way into town at approximately $3.50 from the airport to Tacoma downtown. It goes from the airport to Lakewood via S Kent-Des Moines Hwy, S 272nd, Federal Way & Tacoma Dome. The bus picks up at 'Bay 1' outside Door 02 at the south end of main terminal building, past the Ground Transportation Center. Once at the Tacoma Dome Station you can get a taxi or a Pierce Transit bus to get where you're going. You may want to get a taxi at night as the area can be dicey at night.
- Capital Aeroporter Tel: +1 206 244-0011 and Kitsap Airporter ☎ +1 360 876-1737 run shared ride shuttles between Sea-Tac and your hotel or door in Tacoma. Kitsap Airporter also provide shared ride transport to the military base(s) too. They will require advance notice, at least 24 hours, for going to the airport.
Tacoma is located along Interstate 5 (I-5), approximately 35 mi south of Seattle (35 min), 293 mi (5 hr) southwest of Spokane, and 143 mi (2.5 hr) north of Portland.
- From Interstate 5 (I-5) Tacoma is accessed from exits #136 ("Port of Tacoma") through #127 ("S Tacoma Way/WA-512 to Puyallup") along I-5. To get to downtown, exit off at the Interstate 705 off ramp at Exit 133, just beyond the Tacoma dome if going south from I-5, or continue along I-705 past downtown to Schuster Pkwy to get to old town, north Tacoma and the Ruston Way waterfront. Continue to the next exit along I-5 to 132B to get to WA-16 going west towards Gig Harbor, Bremerton and for additional access to other parts of town. To get to Joint Base Lewis McChord (Wikipedia article) continue south past WA-512 to exits #125 ("Bridgeport Way/McChord Field"), #123 ("Thorne Ln"), 122 ("Berkely Ave nearest access to Madigan Hospital and Camp Murray"), 120 ("Joint Base Lewis-McChord") main gate & visitors center into the base, or 119 (Dupont-Steilacoom Rd). Access to the military base is controlled and a valid DoD (Dept. of Defense) ID and vehicle decal are required to be allowed through. Otherwise see the visitors center off of exit 120. Exits 119-125 will come first before getting into Tacoma if going north on I-5 from Olympia.
- From Spokane take I-90 West to exit 25. Go south on WA-18 through Tiger Mountain, Convington and Auburn to Federal Way where WA-18 merges into I-5. Follow signs to I-5 south to Tacoma.
- From Bremerton go south on WA-3 to Gorst just south of Bremerton to WA-16 junction and go left, following signs to "WA-16 EAST to Port Orchard - Tacoma" Continue south along WA-16 through Gig Harbor and across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge into Tacoma. There's a toll to cross the Narrows Bridge into Tacoma but no toll coming the other way into Gig Harbor. There are 5 exits into town from along WA-16 between the bridge and where the highway ends at I-5. Follows signs for I-5 "To Seattle" and exit at the next exit to I-705 to get downtown otherwise follow signs for I-5 south "To Portland" to get to the south or east part of town.
- Amtrak Cascades trains run four times daily between Seattle and Portland and twice daily continuing from Portland to Eugene and from Seattle to Vancouver. Amtrak trains stop in Tacoma at 1001 Puyallup Ave (north side of the road by the big railroad yard) just east of the bus stations. Trains stop in Lacey, (downtown) Centralia, Kelso, and Portland going south and only in Tukwila going north to Seattle. The Amtrak Coast Starlight also has a once daily train stopping in Tacoma on its way to Los Angeles or to Seattle. The Coast Starlight share the same stops as the Cascades between Seattle and Eugene, except Tukwila and Oregon City.
- Sound Transit Sounder goes between Lakewood and Seattle King Street Station through S.Tacoma (S 58th & S Washington St), Tacoma Dome (at Freight House Square), Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent & Tukwila with the majority of trains running to Seattle in the mornings and to Lakewood in the evenings. Additional trains are put into service during Seahawks and Seattle Mariners (home) games going into Seattle before the first kick off or first pitch and returning to Tacoma after the game.
The bus stations are along Puyallup Ave at the two parking structures (Park & Ride). between East 'E' St & East 'G' St., facing Puyallup Ave at the north, next to the Freighthouse Square. The Greyhound bus station is in front of west parking building (towards 'E' St) while the Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and Intercity buses are in front of the east parking building (towards 'G' St). The Link Light Rail (see 'Get Around' below) is located between the parking structures and Freighthouse Square at E 25th St & 'E' St. 
- Greyhound, 510 E Puyallup Ave, ☎ 253-383-4621 (toll free: 1-800-231-2222), . Travels along Interstate 5 between Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Centralia, Kelso and Portland. Some buses continue south from Portland to Sacramento contiguously. Passengers transfer buses in Olympia (to get to Grays Harbor & Shelton), Portland, Sacramento or Seattle
- Northwestern Trailways, 510 E Puyallup Ave (same stop as Greyhound), (toll free: +1 800 366-3830), . goes up to Seattle & Everett along I-5. Continues east to Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Ephrata, Ritzville and Spokane on US Hwy 2 and I-90. They also operate the state's "Travel Washington Apple Line Bus" between Omak, Wenatchee and Ellensburg. In Tacoma they pick up at the Greyhound and Amtrak Stations (1001 E Puyallup Ave).
- Sound Transit
- Tacoma Link Light Rail runs frequently between the Tacoma Dome (bus) Station and the 'Theater District' stop along Commerce St just north of S 9th St. Trains pass by UW Tacoma, Union Station (NOT an Amtrak train station), and the Convention Center through downtown. The 'Tacoma Dome' stop is on E 25th & E St between the parking garages and the Freighthouse Square building.
- #574 Goes up to the aiport via Federal Way, S 272nd, & Kent Des Moines Rd off the freeway. Goes south to Lakewood in the other direction.
- #586 is a direct express bus to University of Washington in Seattle's University District neighborhood in the mornings and coming back in the afternoons. No stops in downtown Seattle.
- #590 & 594 goes to/from downtown Seattle. The 594 bus runs both directions all day during the week till late at night, all day weekends and holidays. Route 590 supplements the 594 going to Seattle from 5:00AM to 8:30AM in the mornings and to Tacoma from 3:30PM to 6:30PM in the evenings. The 594 bus continues south to Lakewood via downtown Tacoma in the other direction with limited stops.
- Intercity Transit operates express buses between Tacoma, Lakewood, Lacey and Olympia (Rt 603,605,612 during the week & #620 during weekends) and locally within Olympia, Lacey & Tumwater.
- Grays Harbor Transit Rt #40 continues west from the Olympia Greyhound Station (street side) and the downtown (Olympia) bus transit station to Hoquiam via McCleary, Elma, Montessano and Aberdeen along US Hwy 101 & WA-Hwy 8. From Tacoma take Greyhound or Intercity Transit to Olympia and transfer to this bus.
- Pierce Transit operates buses locally within and between Tacoma, Lakewood, Ft Lewis, Puyallup, Spanaway, Steilacoom and Federal Way. The following are Pierce Transit bus routes serving the Tacoma Dome bus station:
- #13 goes up to N 26th & Proctor (Proctor District neighborhood) via downtown, Stadium District Neighborhood and Old Town Tacoma/Ruston Way waterfront.
- #14 goes up to N 26th & Proctor via downtown, Stadium District Neighborhood, Wright Park, UPS (University Puget Sound) thorugh some of the local neighborhoods in between.
- #41 goes down to S 72nd Transit Center via EQC (Emerald Queen Casino) along E Roosevelt & Portland Ave. Same bus going the other direction into downtown continues from downtown to the Point Defiance Park Ferry terminal as Rt #11.
- #42 goes down to the S 72nd St Transit Center along East 'D' St and McKinley. Bus passes by along East 'D' St next to the Freighthouse Square building and does NOT stop at the Tacoma Dome Station.
- #102 is an express bus going to Purdy Park & Ride in Gig Harbor during the late afternoon/early evening hours and to Tacoma General Hospital via downtown in the mornings only. Weekdays only no weekend/holiday service.
- #400 Goes down to South Hill Mall in Puyallup via Puyallup Sounder Station in downtown Puyallup from downtown Tacoma. Weekdays only, no weekend/holiday service.
- #500 goes up to Federal Way along Pacific Hwy (WA Hwy 99).
- #501 goes up to Federal Way through Fife, Eldgewood and Milton along 20th Ave E, Milton Way & E Meridian.
- All the above bus routes go into downtown Tacoma and UW Tacoma in the other direction. From the Greyhound station (next to the Pierce/Sound Transit Station) there are also taxis available.
- Washington State Ferries, 5810 N Pearl St (Point Defiance Park), ☎ (206) 464-6400, . Connects Point Defiance Park in North Tacoma to Tahlequah in the south tip of Vashon Island
- Pierce County Ferries, 56 Union Ave, Steilacoom 98388, ☎ (253) 588-1950, . Ferry service to Ketron Island and Anderson Island from the town of Steilacoom south of Tacoma. McNeil Island (another offshore island from Steilacoom) was a state prison island that had recently closed due to budget cuts. Access to the island is now restricted to state employees needing access to perform their duties.
- Tacoma LINK A light rail/streetcar line that runs between Freighthouse Square (near to the Tacoma Dome and the train station) and downtown, with a stop that serves the Washington State History Museum / University of Washington, Tacoma convention Center. Trains runs every 10-20 min and the fares are free.
- Pierce Transit operates local bus routes in & around Tacoma(#1-57,300), Lakewood (#2,3,51, the 200s), Steilacoom (Rt #212), University Place (Rt#2 & 53), Federal Way (Rt#62,500,501), Gig Harbor (Rt #100 & 102), Sumner, Parkland, Puyallup (#400s) & Joint Base Lewis McCord (Rt #206, 300) on natural gas buses. The system is typical of a North American public transit system: not all that nice.
- Locally Division Ave (through downtown & the Stadium Disrict neighborhood between Stadium Way & Sprague) & 6th Ave(west of downtown between Sprague and Titlow Park south of the Narrows Bridge) divides the addresses & streets from "North" & "South" while A Street (One block east of Pacific Hwy (WA-Hwy 7) going north & south) in downtown and south of downtown divides the addresses & streets from "South" & "East". Commencement Bay, separates "Northeast (NE)" from the "North" part of Tacoma. To get to the NE part of town by road go on WA-509 from S 21st St & Pacific Ave in downtown, across the industrial areas to the other side. The road becomes Marine View Dr once over at the other side.
- The areas south of S 19th & west of S Orchard are outside the Tacoma city limits and are, technically, in Fircrest & University Place (which are separate municipalities or 'cities' in their own right) have "west" addresses and street names.
- South Tacoma Way divides "South" from "Southwest" south of the 7400 block in Lakewood (another municipality outside of Tacoma).
Point Defiance Park
Point Defiance is the second largest city park in the United States (after Central Park). Over 100 years old, Point Defiance Park features old growth forests, gardens, the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Owen Beach, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, as well as a playground and countless hiking trails. It is the north end of Tacoma accessible from I-5 follow I-705 past downtown to Schuster Pkwy which goes along the Ruston Way waterfront to N 51st & Pearl . Go north on Pearl into the main entrance of the park. From Hwy 16 along Pearl (WA-163) into the park. . By bus the #11  goes from downtown (10th & Commerce) to the park. From the Tacoma Dome station take the #41 bus  going into downtown which becomes the #11 bus so no transferring of buses needed. Same bus continues on as #11 .
Tacoma is home to a variety of museums:
- The Seymour Botanical Conservatory , within Wright Park .
- Union Station  and its Dale Chihuly glass exhibits . Next to the Washington State History Museum.
- University of Washington Tacoma  - located in an historic business district near downtown. A suggested walking tour  is available. (UW Tacoma is across the street from the Washington State History Museum.)
- Brown & Haley's Outlet Store The  near the factory (most famous for Almond Roca® candy).
- A new convention center  opened in late 2004.
- Tacoma Dome  the big dome, on 2727 'D' St, seen from the freeway and three blocks up the hill from the Greyhound/Sound Transit/Pierce Transit transportation center. There could be an exhibition, concert, or convention going on that may be of an interest.
- The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the gateway to Gig Harbor, Poulsbo, Hood Canal, Port Townsend, and the Olympic Peninsula, was recently remodeled to include a second span (which now requires a $4 toll for those returning to Tacoma). (The original bridge, built in 1940, and known as "Galloping Gertie", is well known because of its collapse.)
- The Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitor Bureau  has its Visitor Information Center at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center (1500 Broadway) they are located on the 1st floor and you can park in the loading zone off of Commerce St. for free for 30 mins. Visitor guides, maps and brochures on area attractions are available, and they even have a phone charging station and comfy chairs to relax.
- Tacoma Musical Playhouse  runs musical plays throughout the year, using local talent. This group has grown to become one of the South Sound's biggest draws, so buy your tickets early for the popular shows.
- Scooter Adventure, 5428 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA, ☎ +1 253 565-1117, . A complete scooter adventure including orientation, 3 hour rental, DOT approved helmet rental, rider insurance, Scenic Excursion Map and commemorative photo.
- Freighthouse Square is a building three city blocks long at 2501 E. D St, with shops and eating places inside, near the Tacoma Dome. It is also the Sounder  train station to Seattle in one direction and Lakewood in the other. Open M-Sa 10:00-19:00 and Su 12:00-17:00 (Bus/Train: #11, 13, 14, 41, 42, 401, 574, 594, Link Light Rail, Sounder Train)
- The Tacoma Mall, at 4502 S Steele St, 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 such as Sears, JC Penny, Nordstroms, Macy's (formerly Bon Marche), Forever 21, Gap, Victoria Secrets, Krispy Kream, Best Buy, etc, etc. (Bus #3, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 300 & 620.  is located across the S 47th from the south side of the mall)
- Star-Lite Swap Meet is at a former drive-in theater at 8327 S Tacoma Way, at the NE corner of S Tacoma Way and S 84th St. Busiest during spring and summer weekends with all sorts of people selling vegetables, fruits, cell phones & components, CD's, fishing gear, tools and a variety of other items. There's an entrance admission of $1.00 during the weekends (Sa-Su 09:00-16:30). It is also open during the work week (Tu-F 10:30-15:00) and during the winter months too, just a much smaller turn out. (Bus #3, 300)
- B&I Shopping' on 8012 S Tacoma Way. Almost anyone who grew up in the Tacoma area has fond memories of the B&I Circus Store, a landmark on South Tacoma Way for more than 60 years, where once you could wrap your face in cotton candy while exchanging stares with a live gorilla named Ivan. Ivan is gone now, living happily at the Atlanta Zoo, and B&I has morphed into a new kind of wonder — an international marketplace where you can find fancy boots from Mexico, jewelry from India, exotic foods from Africa, rare coins from all over the world and bargains from just about everywhere
- Tacoma Farmers Markets happens weekly somewhere during the summer months. Sundays Jun-Sep 11:00-15:00 at the Star Center at 3873 S 66th St (South Tacoma); Tuesdays May to Oct. 15:00-19:00 at 6th Ave & N Pine St; Thursdays May-Oct 10:00-15:00 at S 9th St & Broadway (downtown); Saturdays April-Dec 9:00-14:00 and every second Saturday from Jan-Mar (once monthly) at the Proctor Farmers Market on N 27th St & N Proctor. The Proctor Farmers Market is the only one in season during the winter. The markets are comprised of nursery growers, farmers, and ranchers - both conventional and organic. Artisan food producers offer prepared products, ranging from fruit jams to farmstead cheeses, breads and pastries, pickles, pasta, chocolate, and more.
6th Avenue has some affordable restaurants.
- Primo Grill, 2701 6th Ave (6th Av & N Oakes St), ☎ +1 253 383-7000, . Moderately Priced, Italian/Mediterranean, Lunch & Dinner. Recently moved to 6th & Oakes.
- Asado, 2810 6th Ave (6th & South Pine), ☎ +1 253 272-7770, . Pricey, Argentinian, Dinner.
- Gateway to India, 2603 6th Ave (6th Ave & S Fife St), ☎ +1 253 552-5022, . Inexpensive, Indian, Lunch & Dinner. Serves a flat rate buffet from 11:30A to 2PM for $10
- Farrellis Pizza, 3518 6th Ave (6th Ave between S Puget Sound Ave & S Union by fire station), ☎ +1 253 759-1999, . Mid priced, Lunch & Dinner, Pizzas & sports bar. A popular hang out place for University of Puget Sound students.
- Southern Kitchen, 1714-1746 6th Ave (6th Ave & S Sprague by Bucky's Auto Repair), ☎ 253-627-4282, . Inexpensive, Southern/Soul, Lunch & Dinner.
- Wild Orchid, 3023 6th Ave (6th Ave & S Cedar), ☎ +1 253 627-5889. Inexpensive, Pan-Asian, Lunch & Dinner.
- Silk Thai, 3401 6th Ave, Suite F (6th Ave between N Puget Sound Ave & N Warner St), ☎ 253-756-1737. Mid priced, Lunch & Dinner, Delicious Thai Dishes.
Downtown Tacoma has a wide range of restaurants, from fine dining to casual.
- El Gaucho, 2119 Pacific Ave (in Downtown Tacoma near 21st Street and Pacific Avenue), ☎ +1 253 272-1510, . Pricey, Steaks & Chops, Dinner.
- Melting Pot, (in Downtown Tacoma near 21st Street and Pacific Avenue). Pricey, Fondue, Dinner.
- Pacific Grill, 1502 Pacific Ave. Tacoma, WA 98402 (near the hotels and Convention Center in Downtown Tacoma on 15th Street and Pacific Avenue), ☎ +1 253 627-3535, . New American. Steaks & Seafood, Lunch & Dinner. Known for Tacoma's Best Happy Hour. Celebrity Chef Gordon Naccarato ( Gordon's - Aspen,CO , Monkey Bar - Los Angeles, CA , Michael's - Santa Monica, CA)
- Indochine, 1924 Pacific Ave (on 19th & Pacific near UW Tacoma), ☎ 253-272-8200, . Not pricey (and rather enjoyable), Pan-Asian, Lunch & Dinner.
- Maxwell's, 454 St Helens Ave (6th Ave & St. Helens), ☎ 253-683-4115. Moderately Priced, Dinner & Cocktails, Northwest small plates.
- Johnny's Dock Restaurant & Marina, 1900 E D St (right across Thea Foss Waterway from Pacific Avenue on D street), ☎ 253-627-3186, . Steak and Seafood, Great Views of Downtown and the Museum of Glass.
- The Rock, (in downtown Tacoma near S 19th and Jefferson Ave). offers a great lunch or dinner, inexpensive pizza and pasta
Hilltop just up the hill from Downtown Tacoma has many choices for dining.
- LeLe, 1012 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, ☎ (253)-572-9491, . offers a Vietnamese cuisine with a mix of Thai. The spacious dining room allows for large groups. LeLe is popular spot for lunch with downtown workers.
- Pho Boc Cafe, 1115 South 11th Street (near 11th & MLK), ☎ 253-272-7270. is a popular spot for Pho in Tacoma. Cash Only
- Pho King, 1020 Martin Luther King Jr Way (near 11th & MLK), ☎ 253-272-6287. Popular Pho & Vietnamese food. Very affordable. Has vegetarian pho. inexpensive.
- Thai Garden, 1202 South 11th Street (Near Key Bank off 11th & MLK), ☎ 253-627-2590. a bit of a hole in the wall but a great place for affordable Thai food in Tacoma. Service is fast and pleasant.
- Quickie Too: A Vegan Cafe, 1324 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (Corner of 14th & MLK), ☎ 253-572-45-49, . Tacoma's only all Vegan restaurant adds a Jamaican flare to all of their food. Service can be slow but is worth the wait. Meat eaters will love the flavors and won't know the meat is missing.
- The Fish House, 1814 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (near 19th and MLK), ☎ 253-383-7144. offers Southern cooking at affordable prices. Small place so you can always get orders to go.
- Bob's Bar-B-Que Pit, 911 South 11th Street (1 block east of MLK), ☎ 253-627-4899. A popular BBQ joint in Tacoma
- Smoke + Cedar, 2013 S Cedar St (located at the Allenmore Public Golf Course), ☎ 253-343-6090, . Open 7 days a week.
South Tacoma has wonderful Asian restaurants.
- Wendy's II, 5015 Tacoma Mall Blvd, #A103 (at the Evergreen Shopping Center (strip mall) along Tacoma Mall Blvd between S 47th & S 56th south of the mall), ☎ 253-471-0228. Inexpensive Vietnamese cuisine, Lunch and Dinner.
- Ho Soon Yi, 8501 S Tacoma Way (Blue roof building on the SE corner of S 84th & S Tacoma Way next to Taco Bell), ☎ 253-584-4572. Authentic Korean food but spendy. Better to go there for lunch on Mon-Fri 10:30AM to 2:00PM as their lunch specials offer bigger portions for the price. Better value. Lunch & Dinner.
- The Palace Korean Bar & Grill, 8718 S Tacoma Way, A-1 (Corner of South Tacoma Way and Steilacoom Blvd), ☎ 253-581-0880. Informal Korean restaurant. Cook at the table or order ready to eat. Lunch, Dinner, Drinks. Open late.
- Pho Hoa, 9312 S Tacoma Way (Along S Tacoma Way & 94th St SW in the Eden Plaza strip mall), ☎ 253-582-2211, . Informal and inexpensive Vietnamese restaurant and pho as well bubble tea.
- Three Sisters Tacoma Szechuan, 9601 S Tacoma Way (In the Paldo World stripmall, corner of 96th and South Tacoma Way), ☎ 253-581-0102. More authentic Chinese food at moderate prices. Lunch, Dinner, Bubble Tea.
- Stonegate Pizza, 5421 S Tacoma Way (In the old S Tacoma business District between S 54th & S 56th), ☎ 253-473-2255, . Non-Asian and more popular with the locals as an entertainment venue and pizzaria
Lincoln District has international flavor.
- Vien Dong, 3801 Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA, 98418 (corner or 38th & Yakima west of Pacific), ☎ (253) 472-6668. Excellent & authentic Vietnamese restaurant. Low to moderate prices. Well known locally & busy at lunch. Excellent Pho soup.
N Ruston Way along the waterfront & Old Town (N 30th & McCarver St) has some fine dining for a premium as well as more affordable places.
- 1022 South, 1022 S 'J' St (Along J Street between S 10th & 11th), ☎ +1 253 627-8588, . Right around the corner from where the Tempest used to be is the equally fabulous 1022 South. Featuring a huge list of traditional - and some very non-traditional - cocktails, they turn out some astonishing flavors.
- 21 Cellars Winery, 2625 N 21st St (Just west of 21st St bridge, between Oakes and Fife Streets), ☎ +1 253 220-7752, . Saturdays from 2-4. Right next to the barber shop with all the neon. Boutique Washington winery producing mostly Bordeaux style reds with bold flavors.
- Johnny's Dock, 1900 E D St (right across Thea Foss Waterway from Pacific Avenue on D street), ☎ +1 253 627-3186, . For old-school, straight-out-of-the-'70s flavor, the bar at Johnny's Dock is a must (especially for the nice days on the deck). From the Naugahyde swivel chairs to the odd touches of brass, this place hasn't had its mousse ruffled in a while. They serve workmanlike drinks, but they've got a great deck and happy hour prices apply during any televised sporting event.
- Engine House 9 or E9, 611 N Pine St (At 6th & Pine behind the Masa), ☎ +1 253 272-3435, . Engine House is in an old (converted) fire house built in 1907 when fire engines were still on carriages pulled by horses. Still in the same location at the trendy 6th avenue area. A great beer list and karaoke on Thursdays make this bar very popular with college students from the local University of Puget Sound. Metrosexual atmosphere welcome & encouraged.
- Farrellis, 3518 6th Ave (6th Ave between S Puget Sound Ave & S Union by fire station), ☎ +1 253 759-1999, . is another one located up 6th Ave (at Union Ave) from E9, popular place for college students.
- The Mix, 635 St Helens Ave, ☎ 253-383-4327, . in Downtown's St. Helens Neighborhood caters to a mostly gay crowd but all are welcome with open arms. On weekend evenings (F-Sa) the Mix is packed with 20 and 30 somethings having a good time.
- Club Silverstone, 739 1/2 St. Helens Ave., ☎ +1 253 404-0273, . Club Silverstone is Tacoma's largest gay nightclub. It is in the Theater District in Downtown Tacoma. During the week the club is lowkey but on the weekends the club gets busy with dancing all night long.
- The Hub, 203 St Helens Ave (On S 2nd St & St Helens Ave), ☎ +1 253 683-4606, . Excellent Mediterranean themed faire. One of the hot spots in the popular Stadium district.
- Enoteca Wine Bar, 21 N. Tacoma Ave., ☎ +1 253 779-8258. Located in the Stadium District, this cozy, European-style wine bar offers over thirty wines by the glass. Cheese plates, panini, soups and salads available as well. One of the best bargains in town!
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
|| Under $75
|| Over $150
Centrally located near the convention center, UW Tacoma, Glass Museum, Historic Museum at the Union Station and the hospitals. Or hop on the Link Lightrail to get to the Tacoma Dome.
- Hotel Murano, 1320 Broadway Plaza, ☎ +1 253 238-8000, .
- Courtyard Marriot - Tacoma Downtown, 1515 Commerce Street (Across from the Great Tacoma Convention Center), ☎ +1 253 591-9100, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. The Courtyard Marriott in Downtown Tacoma is a newer hotel in the heart of the city. It is across the street from the Convention Center and the free LINK light rail. The hotel is connected to the historic Waddell building. The Waddell building's ground floor features the award winning restaurant, Pacific Grill, run by famed Chef, Gordon Naccarato. Above Pacific Grill are 2 luxury suites that are one of a kind for a Courtyard property. The hotel also features Club Biella Spa & Salon, a 10,000 sq ft space with an Italian villa theme. The spa includes a pool and workout room that can be used by hotel guests. A small hidden gem in the hotel is Joe's Barber Shop which can be found just down the stairs from the main lobby. This barber shop features hair cuts, shaves and more in a masculine setting. On the lower level of the hotel is the new "Pacific Grill Events Center that host many events year round. Pacific Grill's catering operation is also ran out of the Events Center.
is a safe & quiet upscale neighborhood. Except the Silver Cloud the others are private residences permitted and converted for lodging guests and are located in quiet residential neighborhoods. The homes that these B&B are in are in the pre 1950s homes with a lot of architectural virtues. Some of the B&B's are also located nearby Tacoma General Hospital and downtown. Most of these are in the "splurge" category.
- Branch Colonial House, 2420 N 21st (Along N 21st & Fife), ☎ +1 253 752-3565, . $169-209.
- Green Cape Cod, 2711 N Warner St (Along N Warner St between N 27th & N 28th), ☎ +1 253 752-1977, . A cape cod style house in a quiet residential neighborhood with three rooms to let. $135-165.
- Plum Duff, 619 N 'K' St (N 7th & 'K' St in a residential neighborhood), ☎ +1 253 627-6916, . A comfortable, charming Bed & Breakfast in a converted home that invites you to relax and enjoy genuine hospitality in a casual, leisurely atmosphere. $110-180.
- The Villa Bed & Breakfast, 705 N 5th St (A historic mansion with red tile roof on N 5th & 'G' St), ([email protected]), . is a highly rated, luxury six-room bed and breakfast hotel in the Stadium district. Their website also has restaurant recommendations $150-250.
- Silver Cloud, 2317 N Ruston Way (on the south end of the two-mile long scenic waterfront along Ruston Way), ☎ +1 253 272-1300, .
South Tacoma at I-5 & S 84th
There are several hotels & motels clustered around S 84th & Hosmer. They're right off the freeway (I-5) at Exit 128 if traveling northbound. From the southbound Lanes exit off #129 (S 72nd/74th) and follow signs to "S 84th". Turn left (south) at Tacoma Mall Blvd and left on S 84th to Hosmer which is the next road over the freeway. They're fine and can be a place to take a break from a long car trip or a place to stay (longer) while staying in Tacoma. The area can be sketchy especially at night too. The ones off the freeway, are "budget" to "mid range" categories.
Budget to Mid-Range
- Comfort Inn, 8620 S. Hosmer Street, ☎ +1 253 538-7998, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. Offers guests free wireless high-speed Internet access and a fitness center with an indoor heated pool. $80.
- Crossland Studios by Extended Stay Hotels, 8801 S. Hosmer Street, ☎ +1 253 538-9448 ([email protected]), . $48+.
- Hampton Inn & Suites, 8203 S. Hosmer Street, ☎ +1 253 539-2288. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Free hot breakfast, in room internet use and central gym/fitness facilities.
- King Oscars, 8820 S. Hosmer Street, ☎ +1 253 539-1153. $58+.
- Holiday Inn Express, 8601 S. Hosmer Street, ☎ +1 253 539-2020, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM. $90.
- Red Lion Inn, 8402 S. Hosmer Street, ☎ +1 253 548-1212, .
- Rodeway Inn, 8702 S. Hosmer Street, ☎ +1 253 535-3100, . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 11:00.
- Rothem Inn, 8602 S. Hosmer Street, ☎ +1 253 535-0123.
South Tacoma at I-5 & S 72nd
There are a couple more off of 72nd & Hosmer at Exit #129. From I-5 northbound turn right and Hosmer & first right (south) at S Hosmer. From the southbound Lanes exit off #129 (S 72nd/74th) and follow signs to "S 72nd East". Turn right (north) at Tacoma Mall Blvd and right on S 74th/72nd to Hosmer which is the next road over the freeway. They're fine and can be a place to take a break from a long car trip or a place to stay (longer) while staying in Tacoma. The area can be sketchy especially at night too.
- Motel 6, 1811 S. 76th Street (At the 7600 block along S Hosmer), ☎ +1 253 473-7100, .
- Shilo Inn, 7414 S. Hosmer Street, (toll free: +1 800 222 2244), .
While Tacoma's crime problem has improved over the past decade, the city still has a high crime rate relative to other Northwest cities. Much of the crime is concentrated on the Hilltop and Eastside neighborhoods. The Stadium District area has the lowest crime rate in the city and Downtown has a low crime rate compared to downtown areas of other cities (including Seattle), however visitors should be cautious as in any urban area. Visitors should also be careful when entering the surrounding suburbs of Lakewood, Spanaway and Parkland. Crime problems in Lakewood sometimes run over into near by Parkland. As always when traveling alone or at night, avoid poorly-lit areas with little foot traffic.
- Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Center, 1501 Pacific Ave S, Suite #301 (United Way Building along Pacific Ave between S 15th & 16th St in downtown), ☎ +1 360 754-7787 ([email protected]), . Offers relaxation meditations and meditation classes to increase inner peace.
- Tacoma News Tribune ($1.00 daily, $2.00 Sundays) is the major daily newspaper for the Tacoma area covering local, national and international news.
- Tacoma Weekly (Free Weekly on every Friday) is more of a community weekly that reports on local, sports & entertainment news. They even have the 'Pothole Pig' where the put a small pig statue into a pothole somewhere in the city to report on pot holes too! Basically telling the city to deal with the potholes.
- Worksource Washington-Tacoma, 1305 S Tacoma Ave (btwn. S 13th & 15th Ave, a couple blocks south of the public library in downtown), ☎ 1 253 593-7310, . is also another online and state governmental resource for employment throughout the state as well as referral services to local employers. They have computers, phones & fax machines for people to use for the purpose of searching for work as well as classes on basic use of computers, resume writing and other topics related to job searching.
- Worksource Washington-Lakewood, 5712 Main St SW, Suite #200 (next to Lakewood City Hall at southside of the Lakewood Towncenter. Second Floor of building), ☎ 253-984-5400. Their other office in Lakewood south of Tacoma
- Allenmore, 1901 S Union Ave (Along S 19th between S Union & Cedar), ☎ (253) 459-6633, . 24 hour ER.
- St Josephs, 1717 S 'J' St (Hospital campus is at the NW corner of S 19th & Yakima Ave. Main building faces S 'J' St between S 16th St & S 19th St. ER entrance faces south at S 19th), ☎ (253) 426-4101, . 24 hour ER.
- Tacoma General & Mary Bridge, 315 Martin Luther King Jr Way (big 11 square block campus SW of Division St & 'I' St. Main hospital building fronts Martin Luther King Way between S 3rd St & 5th St. ER entrance is facing south at 5th & MLK), ☎ (253) 403-1000, . 24 hour ER.
In the event of a medical emergency anywhere in the U.S., dial 9-1-1 for free from any phone, including payphones at no cost.
Near Tacoma are some other things worth visiting, listed roughly north to south:
- To the northwest, the waterfront town of Gig Harbor. I-5 to exit 132 (WA Hwy 16)  You can visit the park below and slightly adjacent to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge without paying any toll. Take the first exit (24th St NW) and follow the signs (several left turns). Don't miss it, or you will be charged after turning around at the second exit. On a very clear day, Mount Rainier will be in the background to the east, beyond the waterway.
- Seattle, north of Tacoma, has a lot to do for visitors.
- To the northeast, Rhododendron Species Foundation and Garden , and the adjacent Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection  in Federal Way, just off Interstate 5.
- Wild Waves , 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 southwest is Washington's easygoing capital city, Olympia.
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