As someone who has lived in Tacoma, WA her entire life, I'd like to consider myself well-versed in all things Tacoma. I've done all of these things at some point and I've seen them on nearly everyone's Snapchat story at some point too. It doesn't matter if its your first time or your thousandth, these Tacoma staples never get old.
1. Do the 5 Mile Drive.
If you're lucky you might see some of these little guys!
Ah, the famous 5 Mile located inside the beautiful Point Defiance Park. Arguably one of the most popular destinations for trails, biking, deep talks, and high schoolers who just got their licenses.
The drive is well, five miles, and features multiple scenic view points where drivers can feel free to stop and stare. Every stop offers a killer Instagram shot. My favorite is towards the end where you can see the Narrows bridge in all its glory. The very last leg of the trip leads to Fort Nisqually which is a great stop if you want to learn more about Tacoma's history and take some cool photos.
The 5 Mile is also home to packs of raccoons! Don't be surprised if you see some critters scurrying by on the side of the road or if you have to drive around a car that's stopped feeding them.
2. Walk the Chihuly glass bridge.
Close up of glass ceiling from Dale Chihuly, famous artist and Tacoma native.
The Museum of Glass located in downtown Tacoma is enough of a destination on its own, but if you wanna get a taste of Chihuly for free, I recommend the bridge of glass.
The bridge features famous glass sculptures displayed along the wall and a breathtaking ceiling of glass. No one will find it odd at all if you just stand underneath the ceiling and look up for an hour--there's so much intricate detail!
If you walk down the grand staircase, you can also enjoy the unique shape of the museum building and some other sculptures along the water. You can't do Tacoma without experiencing some Chihuly!
3. Get an iconic burger and shake.
There are two paths you can take here and both choices are right: Shake Shake Shake or Frisko Freeze. It's like Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" but with milkshakes.
Frisko Freeze has been a staple in Tacoma since the 1950's and there were even talks about making the burger joint a historical landmark. The prices are good, the food is delicious, and that bright neon sign embodies Tacoma's energy and history.
Shake Shake Shake is another option for iconic landmarks (if you don't have a photo of/with the EAT sign are you really from Tacoma?), delectable shakes, and prices you can't beat. There are a diverse variety of shakes for whatever mood you're in.
And if you're like me and can't decide which one you like better, there's nothing wrong with going to both!
4. Wander around Ruston Way.
A luxury movie theater, cute shops, food, water, seasonal concerts and ice rinks? What doesn't Ruston Way have?
Ruston Way allows you to dine, shop, and walk or bike (check out the Wheel Fun stand for some unique options) along the water, giving you some of the best views in Tacoma. It's perfect for all ages and occasions. Whether you're going out with friends at Ice Cream Social or partaking in some retail therapy at Purpose, you're guaranteed to have a good time.
Feel free to venture out into the surrounding waterfront area which offers even views, dining options, and historic parks such as the Chinese Reconciliation Park.
5. Catch a Rainiers game.
With the recent announcement of the Tacoma Defiance re-branding and arrival of the women's soccer club, Reign FC, there is no bigger sports hub in Tacoma than Cheney Stadium. Home to baseball and soccer fans alike, Cheney is the perfect place for a spring or summer day in Tacoma.
It's a dream for sports lovers, but even if you're not a fan there's plenty to enjoy. With two dollar beer nights, fun merch promotions, kid's playground, and an outdoor lounge there's something for everyone. Cheney is an epicenter for the community to bond and enjoy a game together.
We R Tacoma indeed.