Sights of the Sound: A Colorful Guide to Tacoma’s Top Hot Spots
A fresh look at life on the Puget Sound – from tiki bars and friendly courthouses to adventuresome day trips and where to spoon into the best bowl of clam chowder.
While Tacoma is spoiled with fresh-caught seafood from the waters of the Puget Sound, the city’s food scene has flourished with inventive eateries that go well beyond your run-of-the-mill fish ‘n chip shops. For the kind of chowder you dream of when you think Tacoma, visit Duke’s Chowder House for a bowl of their heartwarming clam chowder that features a lighter consistency than most, but packs a rich flavor and has the option to be served in a delicious sourdough bread bowl, because why not?
For those who like keeping their options open, downtown Tacoma’s Court House Square is the kind of courthouse you shouldn’t avoid. This historic mixed-use building is home to Lift Bridge Coffee, killer sandwiches from The Outpost Kitchen, house-made pastas and Spanish small plates from En Rama and fresh grab-and-go soups from Infinite Soups, made daily.
Taking Tacoma visitors on a food journey exploring Southeast Asian street food, Indo Street Eatery dishes up Southeast Asian fare ranging from curry and Indo rice bowls to bahn mi’s, satays, dumplings and more. Meanwhile, the ramen-focused Japanese restaurant next door, Moshi Moshi is the first of its kind of Tacoma serving house-made ramen noodles with the restaurant’s signature tonkotsu broth alongside other favorites such as yakitori skewers, miso and shoyu. The restaurant also offers a lineup of thirst-quenching beverages ranging from craft cocktails to Japanese whisky and sake.
In keeping with colorful cocktail purveyors, Devil’s Reef is a masterful tiki bar brought to you by the owners of the former Tacoma Cabana, which won over the hearts of tiki lovers in Tacoma with exceptional cocktails and a die-hard commitment to island time. Thankfully, Devil’s Reef is no different and has more than filled the big sandals left behind by Tacoma Cabana.
Switching gears to craft beer, Tacoma has enjoyed a beer boom in recent years with the opening of numerous craft breweries and taprooms. Among our favorites are 7 Seas Brewing, which offers weekly brewery tours at their Tacoma brewing facility and taproom; and Narrows Brewing Company whose waterfront brewery offers beautiful views of the Narrows Bridge and Puget Sound from their sleek taproom and patio.
A nexus for art and adventure, Tacoma’s Museum Row puts art, history and culture on full display with the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, and LeMay Car Museum within walking distance of one another. Exploring the role that Tacoma has held in America’s glass art movement, the Museum of Glass offers an up-close look at the art form of legendary Tacoma native, Dale Chihuly, and local studios such as Tacoma Glassblowing Studio offer workshops for those interested to try their hand at the craft.
Looking beyond the city limits, Mount Rainier National Park is but a quick day trip away, roughly an hour and a half by car. Here, visitors will find plenty of trails, waterfalls and lakes to explore year-round. Meanwhile, Swan Creek Park lies just a few miles southeast of downtown Tacoma boasting 373 acres of natural playground with salmon bearing streams, paved and natural trails and the city’s first trail system for mountain biking.