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Tacoma Time

Hiking, Beaches, Gardens, and more at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma

Idyllically located on the shorelines of Puget Sound, Tacoma bustles with abundant outdoors, a lively urban center, and the beautiful Ruston Way Waterfront, where you can enjoy 2 miles of paved waterfront trail with postcard scenery. Luminescent Mount Rainier casts its ethereal beauty across the Salish Sea here, with the Olympic and Cascade Mountains adding to the impressive skyline.

Ruston Way connects downtown to one of America’s preeminent urban parks: Point Defiance Park. It’s hard to overstate the wonders that sprawl in this 760-acre oasis surrounded by Puget Sound and filled with hiking trails, beaches, and wildlife like bald eagles and harbor seals.

There’s a zoo and aquarium (with polar bears!), and seven botanical gardens, including the tranquil Japanese Garden colored pink in spring with seasonal cherry blossoms and fragrant with rhododendrons. (Tip: The Point Defiance Flower & Garden Festival happens June 1–2, 2024.)

Feel like you’re in a remote national forest as you meander quiet roads dappled in sunbeams filtering through the trees…it’s hard to believe this is an urban park! Or park you vehicle (all parking is free) and go on a hike amid a combination of lush green ferns, hulking Douglas firs, and western red cedars.

Owen Beach is a prime spot to spend an afternoon relaxing and strolling the waterside in search of seals. Ferries, kayaks, and boats cruise the mountain-mirroring waters.

Point Defiance Park Directions

Eat + Drink: Tacoma’s got lots of tasty eats. One of the best places for fresh and delicious seafood is the Fish Peddler restaurant on the Foss Waterway. If their outdoor patio is open, take a table there for beautiful views. The lobster roll sandwich, fish and chips, and clam chowder are some of the most flavorful you’ll ever eat.

Quench your craft beer thirst at 7 Seas Brewery and Taproom. As the first craft brewery in Washington to can their beer (yes, that was once a novel idea!) today 7 Seas is like the “Cheers” of Tacoma.

Located in the historic Heidelberg Brewery facility (where 7 Seas brews Heidelberg Premium Lager), this popular place has everything from vintage ales to sours and hazy IPAs. You’re likely to find your new favorite beer here. And if not, they’ve got great hard cider too (and some genuinely cool swag).

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