It’s a new year and time for a new you…or at least some new things to do. If you haven’t noticed, Tacoma and surrounding cities are filled with all kinds of good stuff. And chances are, you haven’t checked it all out yet. If you’re looking for something to do in the coming year, this list is for you.
It’s pretty easy to find yourself going to the same spots over and over. They’re convenient. You know what you like. But Tacoma’s food scene is always adding new spots and nearly all of them are worth a try. Dolce Si at Point Ruston opened in 2016 and is one of the yummiest bakeries in town with Sicilian treats, plus it has authentic gelato that’s absolutely delicious. Ammar’s Mediterranean Grill by the Tacoma Dome is another newish spot in town that serves up an eclectic mix of Mediterranean food as well as Thai, Italian and other dishes, all headed up by long-time restauranteurs Ammar and Sorada Mannaa.
Check out Swan Creek Park
Swan Creek Park is by no means a new park. It’s been around a long time on Tacoma’s East Side, but in recent years, it’s seen a lot of improvement, including the addition of Pierce County’s only mountain bike trails, a community garden and improved hiking trails throughout the park.
Explore Crystal Mountain
Crystal Mountain is just a short drive from Tacoma, but has a lot to offer. During winter months, get your ski on at Crystal Mountain’s ski area. During warmer months, Crystal Mountain opens up a variety of pursuits, including a gondola that will take you the 2,000 feet to the summit where you can dine at the Summit House Restaurant, visit a gift shop or hike your way back down (you can, of course, ride the gondola back down too). You’ll also find hiking trails, disc golf, horseback rides and even yoga.
Try a New Beer…or a New Watering Hole
Peaks and Pints opened in later 2016 in the Proctor District. Owned and operated by Ron Swarner and Justin and Robby Peterson, Peaks and Pints does food and beer right. Expect about 25 beers on tap at any one time, as well as wine, cider and other beer alternatives. And don’t expect your usual pub food, but instead tasty, unique and fresh foodie fare.
Compete in a Cribbage Tournament
Whether you’ve played cribbage before or you’ve never heard of the game, the fact is that Tacoma has a monthly cribbage tournament. Why not try something new?
Go for a Float
You’ve probably heard of float tanks, but why not try one in 2017. Uncharted Waters offers a unique way to float, with a tranquil atmosphere from the moment you step inside. You can even add in a massage session or turn on optional LED “stars” inside your float cabin.
Take an Art Class
Wine and paint nights are trendy, but aren’t the only way to crazy with your creativity. Turns out, Tacoma has all kinds of art classes offered all year round. Learn to make jewelry, learn some pottery techniques or try your hand at blowing glass. Of course, you can enjoy a wine and paint night or two, too!
Pierce County has many towns and cities that make great day destinations that don’t require much of a drive. Steilacoom is one of these. It’s small and quaint and right on the water. You might just feel like you’ve stepped back in time, especially if you visit for one of the city’s events, such as the July 4th celebration or the annual apple squeeze in the fall.
Catch a Show at Tacoma Musical Playhouse
From the Pantages to Tacoma Little Theater, T-Town has no shortage of theaters, large and small. Tacoma Musical Playhouse is the perfect place to catch a show all through the year, for couples, families and even young children as TMP has one of the best children’s theaters in the area (they also have winter, spring and summer camps if you have a drama kid). The best part of TMP is that—as the name implies—they’re all musicals, all the time.
Go Wine Tasting Right in Town
Tacoma gets a lot of buzz for its beer scene, but it’s just as great of a wine destination with plenty of tasting rooms and even urban wineries right on 6th Avenue. While we don’t have an official wine trail, a SouthSoundTalk writer put together a wine trail for all to try.
Run a Marathon
Still looking to set a resolution for the year? The Crown of the Sound running series goes throughout 2017, starting with the St. Paddy’s Day Half Marathon, and moving through the Tacoma City Half Marathon/Marathon, Tacoma Narrows and Santa Runs Tacoma. Complete at least three of the four races and you’ll get a special Crown of the Sound medal.
Check out Foss Waterway Seaport’s New Look
Foss Waterway Seaport is a little off the beaten museum path, but not too far (just a little farther down Dock Street from the Museum of Glass). In 2016, the Seaport finished up a series of major renovations (including adding heat so it’s a year-round destination now), making 2017 the perfect year to check this place out or visit again.
Saddle Up for a Trail Ride
This spring or summer, if you get the hankering to get outdoors and do something different, look to Chantilly Farms in Graham. Go on a trail ride with the farm’s team of horses, or simply set up a time to stop by and learn a bit about making cheese, gardening or say hi to the farm animals.
Relax at Point Ruston
Point Ruston opened to the public in 2016 and only continues to expand. If you’re looking for newly opened restaurants to try throughout 2017, this is a great spot to look as a new restaurant has been opening every few months. Plus, you can mix in a pastry at Dolce Si, a movie, a walk along the water or (once the weather gets warmer) take a ride on Wheel Fun Rentals.
Get a Doughnut
Tacoma has all kinds of doughnut shops, but in 2017, a regional favorite is coming to town—Top Pot Doughnuts will open locations in the Proctor District at 2724 N Proctor Street and in University Place at 3555 Market Place. Top Pot’s doughnuts are known for being traditional in style, yet super fresh, fluffy and delicious.
Tour a Gallery or Two
Like beer and museums, Tacoma is also known for its artsy side. You can explore the arts on the large scale at Tacoma Art Museum or Museum of Glass, but if you really want to keep it local and get to know artists from the area, galleries are where it’s at. Tour one, tour several of them, or even wait until October and go on the artist studio tour where you can see artists at work in their own studios.
Stay at Thornewood Castle
Sure, Thornewood Castle has been there for more than 100 years, and goes back even farther to that as it was ported over from England, how many people have actually stayed there? Staying in the castle offers a B&B experience in grand style. Stay in rooms where presidents have stayed. Stroll traditional English gardens by the lake. If you’re looking for a staycation that’s a superb treat, this could be the answer to make your 2017 something special.