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Why Tacoma Is A Low-Key Alternative To Visiting Seattle

TheTravel logo TheTravel 6/27/2022 Dominic Horner
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  • Tacoma's Spectacular Outdoors
  • Tacoma’s Thriving Culture Scene
  • Affordable Cost of Living
  • Where To Stay In Tacoma

Tucked near Puget Sound's shoreline, Tacoma is a vibrant port city that features a colorful waterfront, cultural hubs, and sweeping views of The Olympic Mountains. The city's unparalleled glass art theme is captivating to history buffs, culture lovers, scholars, or families on vacation.

Tacoma and Seattle are not only the two of the largest cities along Puget Sound but also share a common airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Tacoma's similarity to Seattle and the assortment of breathtaking destinations make the city even more attractive to tourists. Here's why most visitors opt for Tacoma.

Tacoma's Spectacular Outdoors

A balance of natural beauty, traditional delicacies, and adventurous activities are Tacoma's ultimate ingredients to a remarkable outdoor living space. The heart of Tacoma lies in Point Defiance Park, which attracts over three million visitors annually. Nestled near Tacoma's spectacular waterfront, there is plenty to do, as the park is home to natural forests with hiking trails, a beach, and manicured gardens. What's more, visitors can also feed their curiosity at Park Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, an award-winning conservation center for endangered species.

Trying out Tacoma's eateries is an excellent alternative if one is not a jungle enthusiast. The Pacific Coast restaurants offer fresh seafood, with Duke's Chowder House being the most iconic. Craving for a quick snack? Foodies will love the retro vibes at Shake Shake Shake, a paradise for thick and creamy milkshakes alongside yummy snacks.

Related: Tacoma To Seattle: Take The Train In, It's Cheap!

Tacoma's hidden gem is its teeming waterfront resorts and parks. Although not popular as a waterfront community, Tacoma boasts beachfront properties with breathtaking views of Mountain Rainier and The Olympic Mountains. Ruston Way Waterfront is a must-see for visitors who enjoy kayaking, fishing, and parasailing.

Tacoma’s Thriving Culture Scene

History buffs and artistically inclined tourists will marvel at Tacoma's cultural scene. Tacoma has been Washington's tourism headliner, thanks to wonderful museums since the early 1980s. Here are fabulous museums tourists can visit in Tacoma.

Related: Take These 9 Amazing Day Trips From Seattle

Museum Of Glass

Museum of Glass is Tacoma's cultural landmark, famous for its striking architecture and unique conical design. As the name suggests, the destination is dedicated to glass sculptures available as permanent and rotating exhibits. Chihuly Bridge, a spectacular bridge leading to the museum, is the most photographed landmark in the city

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 AM
  • Ticket Price: $17 per adult

Tacoma Art Museum

Visitors looking to make the best out of an afternoon in Tacoma can explore this beautiful museum featuring polished glass art, Japanese prints, and jewelry from the greater western region. Tacoma Art Museum is every art lover's paradise.

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 AM
  • Ticket Price: $14 per adult

LeMay America's Car Museum

Boasting the world's largest private car collection, the museum is an excellent spot for intriguing automobile memorabilia. LeMay America's Car Museum has preserved the country's rarest cars, some dating back to 1920.

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 AM
  • Ticket Price: $18 per adult

Affordable Cost of Living

Compared to Seattle, the cost of living in Tacoma is significantly lower than in Seattle. Whether a short weekend visit or a permanent relocation, Tacoma offers affordable options in real estate, transport, shopping, and healthcare.

The service industry costs are an excellent way of showing how Tacoma is cheaper than Seattle. Visitors can spend less on public transport that serves over 30 routes, some of which lead to Seattle. Other popular stops include The National History Museum, Children's Museum of Tacoma, and Downtown Tacoma properties. Visitors can also choose to tour Tacoma by train, thanks to Sounder trains which roll through South Tacoma, Sumner, Auburn, and Seattle, just to mention a few. The train also offers transport services to special weekend events like The Seahawks games held in Lumen Field.

Fine dining is yet another advantage when it comes to living in Tacoma. The average cost of food in affordable restaurants and eateries ranges from $15, which is 11% lower than Seattle prices. Guests may even feel like the meals are criminally underpriced with the top-notch quality in some restaurants. Sports and leisure activities are also worth mentioning, with fitness clubs, movie theaters, and parks charging lower fees than in Seattle.

Where To Stay In Tacoma

Tacoma's hotels are mostly situated in Downtown Tacoma, a prime location near attractions like restaurants, parks, museums, and botanical gardens. Best hotels to stay in Tacoma include:

  • Hotel Murano. The luxury hotel is minutes away from Tacoma Mall and the Port of Tacoma. Hotel Murano features mesmerizing glass art that catches guests' attention from the word go. Rooms are cozy and include large windows for enhanced views of Tacoma's landscape.
  • Comfort Inn & Suites Downtown Tacoma. Guests can enjoy a quiet night at this outstanding property with thoughtful design. The hotel features a bar, restaurant, indoor pool, and queen-size beds with high-thread-count linen.

Tourists can also opt to stay at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tacoma Downtown, Courtyard Tacoma Downtown, and Days Inn by Wyndham Auburn.

Tacoma has almost everything a tourist could ask for. The city's lovely climate and proximity to Seattle make it a perfect option for a holiday vacation. In addition, Tacoma's captivating museums are a must-visit as they offer an experience that lingers in every traveler's mind.


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