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Photograph by Griots Garage

BLESSED WITH a naturally deep harbor in Commencement Bay, Tacoma has long been defined by its bustling, working waterfront. But, with its unique museums, scenic park settings, and convenient transportation, the dynamic city is also a great place to play.

Sense anticipation in the air? It’s probably the call of the classic American road trip, as translated by LeMay— America’s Car Museum (lemaymuseum.org). Scheduled to open in June, the 165,000-square-foot showroom will feature more than 200 classic automobiles, including a 1930 Duesenberg Model J and a 1983 DeLorean DMC 12.

Ironically, you don’t need to drive to get to the LeMay, which is situated along the Tacoma Link (soundtransit.org), a light-rail line that connects the Tacoma Dome with the city’s cultural corridor. Highlights here include the historic Rialto Theatre, part of the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts (broadwaycenter.org); the Tacoma Art Museum (tacomaartmuseum.org), which specializes in Northwest art; and the Museum of Glass (museumofglass.org), with artglass exhibits, kids’ activities, and a working hot shop. Tacoma native Dale Chihuly’s fantastical artwork features in this distinctive museum, and in the neighboring Bridge of Glass and Union Station (unionstationrotunda.org).

For all-natural beauty, seek out the miles of shoreline and acres of old growth at Point Defiance Park (metroparkstacoma.org). You’ll want to stretch your legs on a variety of paths and trails—possibly on the beach, through an array of botanical gardens, or at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (pdza.org). Time your visit right, and you’ll be treated to a fabulous sunset over Puget Sound, a fitting end for an inspirationfilled Tacoma day. —BILL HUTFILZ

Read More About Metro Seattle

Seafood of the Sound

It's natural to seek out seafood when visiting the Puget Sound area. How could you not with oysters, clams, crab, and salmon galore? From the fish flying through the air at Pike Place Market (pikeplacemarket.org), here's where to dive into a spectacular catch.

6 Side Trips

Don't Miss

Iconic Experiences

A visit to the Seattle area means diving right into quintessential sights and attractions found only in the Puget Sound area.

Take Off!

In the Puget Sound, we take flight seriously—no surprise, since aviation giant Boeing has long called this area home. The region's high-flying experiences promise a good time, so fasten your seat belts for top ways to explore the industry.

City of Art

Halfway between Seattle and Olympia, Tacoma has long been a hub for art, with a Museum District in the downtown core.

Only in Olympia

Although its claim to fame is being the capital of Washington, Olympia boasts plenty else to see and do.

Snohomish Splendor

Snohomish County—flanked by Puget Sound to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east—embodies all that the Northwest has to offer.

Sports Rule

Join other fans in the epicenter of the state's sporting world, just south of downtown Seattle.

From our Archives

Top Draw

FROM PUGET SOUND to the Space Needle, Seattle teems with vistas, festivals,and hot spots. Start with a morning at Gas Works Park, the site of a former gas plant on a Lake Union promontory ...

Sound Bet

THE RURAL ROADS ON THE WEST SIDE OF PUGET SOUND unwind city stress like a good masseuse. The tree-lined routes lead car and driver between harborside hamlets...

Park Place

SEATTLES CLEAN AND GREEN APPEARANCE doesnt come by accident. Seattle Parks and Recreation owns 11 percent of the citys total acreage, and more than 500 parks infuse the Puget Sound region with places to play.

On Display

MUSEUM GEEKS, REJOICE. The Seattle-Tacoma area is stocked with more than 20 intellectual institutions with interactive appeal. Museums focused on history, art, music, glass, and science fictionamong othersdot the region.

Big East

THE COMMUNITIES ON THE EASTERN SHORE OF LAKE WASHINGTON—known to locals as the Eastside—are where you’ll find some of metro Seattle’s most buzzed-about destinations.

Destined for a Good Time

IN 1873, the Northern Pacific Railway declared its western terminus would be Tacoma, not Seattle, its confident neighbor 32 miles north. Flush with optimism, the town adopted the nickname The City of Destiny.&rdquo...

Pike's Peak

SURE, THE FLYING FISH AT THE PIKE PLACE FISH MARKET ARE FUN. But the fishmongers famous daily game of catch barely scratches the scales of what this century-old Seattle institution offers. For example, locals in the know have frequented the kitchen-size Market Spice...

Sagas of the Cities

ONE VORACIOUS TREE on Vashon Island has an old bike embedded in its trunk (near 20312 Vashon Hwy SW). Zekesville, near Stevens Pass off Highway 2, claims to be the states smallest incorporated town, with five residents...

On The Town

Traveling exhibits, grand openings, andcommemorative events mark 2012.

Sound Check

BLESSED WITH a naturally deep harborin Commencement Bay, Tacomahas long been defined by its bustling,working waterfront.

Artsy Olympia

Pull off the freeway at the Capitol dome fora host of dont-miss attractions

Ferried Away

FERRIES ON PUGET SOUND are so common that several are designated as stretches of state highways. They are also a great way to explore the region.

Go to Market

VISITING PIKE PLACE MARKET? Everyonewill say to visit Rachel the Pig. Theyll saynot to miss the lively salmon-throwingcrew at the nearby Pike Place Fish Market,and to stop by the original Starbucks...

Get Festive

LIVE MUSIC? Weve got that. Fruit festivalsand shortcake-eating contests?Those, too. Heck, we even have nakedbicyclists.

Ironic Icons

LOOKING FOR SEATTLES quirky side?Here are a few sights not to miss.

Hands-On History

ONE OF THE FIRST Europeans to explorethe state was Greek navigator Juan deFuca. The Whidbey Island town of Freelandwas founded in 1902 as a socialistutopian community. For more history,study up at these attractions...

That’s Hot (Shop)

ITALY MAY HAVE ELEVATED GLASS to high art centuries ago, but Washington is the place keeping it there these days. Not only does Puget Sound have more hot shops than all of MuranoVenices glass-making epicenterbut its also chock-full of rave-worthy glass attractions.

Urban Fare

In the Pacific Northwest, food is served strikingly fresh. Its also where many great foodie ideas got a start.

Flying High

THE ROAR OF THE PASSING PLANE, the hum of a propeller overheadits all just part of the buzz in aviation-obsessed Snohomish County, where there are several ways to earn your wings.

Show Me Seattle

With a unique blend of cool sophisticationand quirky charm, of naturalsurroundings and impressive city views,Seattle boasts plenty of attractions thatmake it one of a kind. Here are somesights you just cant missWith a unique blend of cool sophisticationand quirky charm, of naturalsurroundings and impressive city views,Seattle boasts plenty of attractions thatmake it one of a kind. Here are somesights you just cant miss:

Perfect Payoff

Tranquil lakes, snowcapped peaks,and sweeping shorelines are the visualrewards for hikers here. From sneakercladstrolls to crampons-required climbs,theres a trailand a viewfor everyone.

Living History

Nestled on the southern tip of Puget Sound, state capital Olympia beckons to history buffs with its lovingly preserved buildings and charming museums.

Art Uncovered

Tacomas art scene goes far deeper than itsrevamped waterfront, with the Museumof Glass and Tacoma ArtMuseum .

On Exhibit

From world-class works to revved-up galleries,art and culture are free to flourishin the regions many museums.

Art Meets Nature

WASHINGTONIANS LOVE TO LIVE and play outdoors, so its no surprisethat our cities are studded with dazzling sculptures and alfresco art.

Museum Day

Along with works from glass-art pioneer and Tacoma hometown hero Dale Chihuly, expect sculpted silica from as far as the Czech Republic and Ireland.

Iconic Sights

Our famous spots go from sky-high aviation exhibits to historic streets.

Ferried Away

After nearly an hour coasting through shimmering blue water, the ferry makes a final turn, revealing Seattles spectacular skyline.

Find Out More

Please visit our Tourism Partners

Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce/Auburn Tourism


City of Bothell


City of Edmonds

425-775-2525, 425-776-6711 (Chamber of Commerce)

City of Everett


City of Gig Harbor Visitor Services


City of Kirkland


Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau

800-416-5615, 360-297-8200

City of Lynnwood


Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau


City of Redmond


Seattle Southside


Visit Seattle

866-732-2695, 206-461-5888

Snohomish County Tourism Bureau


Travel Tacoma


Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour

City of Woodinville