For the past several years, Pierce County tourism records have been on a continual upswing, but this information isn’t all that surprising to those who live here. There are so many things to see, do, taste and experience in the region that you can’t possibly experience it all, even for those of us that call this place home. If it’s been a while since you played tourist in your area, or if your next vacation is still a few months away, it’s okay. You can have a vacation experience without leaving Pierce County, and customize it to your own interests with these amazing options below.
Where to Play
Our region is home to beautiful green spaces as well as exceptional recreation areas. There are a plethora of parks, trails and outdoor areas just beckoning you to take an adventure, even if only for a few hours.
In University Place, there’s Chambers Creek Regional Park, and while most will recall this as the site of the 2015 U.S. Open, this park also offers sweeping views of the Sound as well as plenty of areas to play. The park has an off-leash dog area, paved trails, a playground area, and two meadows perfect for a picnic, tossing a frisbee, or relaxing with a book.
There are also ample recreation opportunities at Spanaway Lake Park, which offers two swimming beaches and a boat launch.
Fort Steilacoom Park is a 340-acre park in Lakewood that has a trail system, playground area, as well as baseball, soccer and softball fields.
If you’re looking for a place to hike or cycle, walk or bike the paved trails at Puyallup River Walk Trail, or the Scott Pierson Trail, a multi-use trail that runs from Tacoma across the Narrows Bridge into Gig Harbor.
Where to Learn
This area is rich in history, as well as a thriving arts culture. No matter what part of Pierce County you’re in, you don’t have to go far to find a place where you can learn more about history or admire art. Tacoma is home to numerous museums, including the Tacoma Art Museum, Washington State History Museum, Foss Waterway Seaport, LeMay – America’s Car Museum, Museum of Glass, Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum and the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.
Where to be Entertained
The entertainment scene in Pierce County is thriving, and there’s no shortage of things to do in the region, from cultural spots to sports venues. Take in anything from a live play or music show at the Rialto, Pantages, Tacoma Little Theater or Lakewood Playhouse. You can also catch an independent or foreign film at the Grand Cinema in Tacoma. If you’re in need of a laugh or two, be sure to check out Tacoma Comedy Club.
Or if sports are more your thing, then head to Cheney Stadium and watch the Rainiers play a game of America’s favorite past-time or check out the Tacoma Defiance USL soccer team.
If you enjoy animal watching more than a night at the theater or a game, get an up close and personal view of a variety of animals at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville. The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, offers interactive entertainment for the young, as well as the young at heart.
Where to Eat and Drink
You can’t get much more Northwest than seafood, and a couple places to get a great bite are Northern Fish Company or Duke’s Chowder House, both of which are located along Ruston Way in Tacoma. You can’t go wrong with pizza and Farelli’s Pizza fires their pies in a woodfired oven and has multiple locations throughout Pierce County. A good burger can be the ultimate vacation food, and Tacoma has Frisco Freeze and Shake, Shake, Shake in the North End or Jubilee in Lincoln District.
In eastern Pierce County, there’s a couple retro style eateries that serve up great burgers, fries and milkshakes, like Wally’s Drive-In located in Buckley and Main Street Dairy Freeze in Sumner. Wash down that food with a beer from Harmon Brewing in Tacoma, or hit up En Rama in Tacoma’s Court House Square for a fresh, tasty cocktail.
Where to Stay
Just because you live here doesn’t mean you can’t have a night away from home. If you want a getaway that also embraces an urban atmosphere, there’s Hotel Murano in downtown Tacoma, which offers a luxurious experience, thanks to the gym, spa and salon on-site. Also in Tacoma, McMenamin’s Elks Temple is a restored historic building that provides guests a unique stay, with a live music venue, several bars and a restaurant, there’s plenty to do and see at the Temple. For those seeking a more whimsical experience, check out Thornewood Castle in Lakewood. Spend a night – or two – in this fairytale setting, a 500-year-old Tudor Gothic abode with lush grounds and located on American Lake.