Day Trips

A Full Day in Tacoma

Parasailing, classic cars, historic boats, and a bevy of eclectic bars and restaurants dot our neighbor city to the south.

By Allison Williams September 19, 2016 Published in the October 2016 issue of Seattle Met

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Image: Michael Byers


Of course you didn’t arrive till noon, you suffered through traffic. Once safely out of gridlock, relax on the placid waterfront at the Foss Waterway Seaport, a kind of greenhouse for boats on Tacoma’s industrial waterway. Exhibits celebrate the local maritime tradition and ragtag mosquito fleet that predated the official ferries.


Just up the waterfront, try an extreme sport that’s secretly not extreme at all. Rides with Pacific Parasail are just a gentle flight 1,000 feet above a speedboat while attached to a parachute, and taking off is so easy the captain guarantees that if you get wet, it’s free.


You’ve embraced boats and flight; it’s time for speed. LeMay–America’s Car Museum, next to the Tacoma Dome, looks like the shell of a giant space cockroach, but it holds up to 300 classic and rare automobiles at a time, plus full-motion CXC racing simulators to get out all that pent-up I-5 traffic anger.


Tacoma’s train station may not be as pretty as Seattle’s, but it boasts Freighthouse Square next door, a buffet of food shops for the rail commuter. La Waffletz stand is inconspicuous, but the man behind it isn’t: Chef Roger Martinho served was a French military commando before dishing up crisp Belgian waffles and airy macarons.


Growing Sixth Avenue wants to be Tacoma’s Capitol Hill, and to be fair eclectic restaurants and bars are gathering in the district, including meat temple Marrow and social-seating restaurant the Table. The avenue also has wine bars, cocktail bars, and, at Dirty Oscar’s Annex, a collection of local beers and moonshine cocktails. 

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