A trip to Tacoma might be the perfect Seattle Staycation for local families

Tacoma with kids in an electric car
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How lucky are we in the Pacific Northwest to have so many fabulous places to visit within decent driveable distances?  My family recently visited Tacoma as guests of Tacoma Tourism and we were curious to learn about Tacoma as a family travel destination as well how it would be as a destination for electric car travelers.

Tesla Road Trip to Tacoma Hotel Murano

It’s pretty amazing how a few nights away even in a city only about a 40 minutes drive from Seattle can make you feel like you’ve had a vacation.

Hotel Murano with kids

The hotel

We stayed at the Hotel Murano, a gorgeous glassy, light-filled, beautifully decorated hotel in the heart of downtown Tacoma.  There were many walkable restaurants nearby (when I mentioned I was in Tacoma, my Instagram community chimed in with some fabulous food recommendations!  I had some great help from Nicolespix and Tabithablack) and the link light rail nearby is free and connects so many different parts of the city.  I wish we tried it out but I wanted to make sure I saw everything on ‘my must-list’ so we were a bit tight for time.  And when traveling with kids a car does help keep everyone contained.

Hotel Murano in Tacoma with kids

I loved that the Hotel Murano had three charging stations which is quite plentiful for a hotel.  We never had to wait for a plug and it was neat to see a few other electric cars arrive during our visit.

view from room in Hotel Murano

Our room was so high up that we had a spectacular view of the city.

Hotel Murano with kids in Tacoma

We usually stay in suites with our family but there was ample room in our Patron double room for my husband and two 7-year old boys and I really appreciated the chaise in front of the window-it was so comfortable and I was able to get a little work done while the kids slept. Booking a “Patron” level room is a good idea with families because there are snacks and drinks in a fancy private lounge throughout the day and breakfast is included too.  (Apparently the Hotel Murano has some deals this summer that might be appealing to families too!)  This hotel with different artists featured on each floor, definitely set the tone for our trip and made us feel like Tacoma was an artsy, beautiful city.

Where we went

For many of the places we visited, we might have been able to take the free link light rail or walk and we probably would have had we not had kids in tow and a zillion places we wanted to see.  I think the highlight of our trip was the Le May Car Musuem which was a 5-10 minute drive away and perfect for a family of boys. My guys loved the slot cars and an area where we could race cars we built.  And we loved seeing all the cars, especially an old electric one.

Le May Car Museum has a fun kids' area

I liked that the Almond Roca Factory was practically right next door to the car museum.

Almond Roca Factory in Tacoma

I didn’t realize ALL the Almond Roca in the world comes from this factory in Tacoma and if this place ever starts giving tours, I may have to move to this city.

Stingray Touch Pool at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma

We visited the Point Defiance Zoo which is always one of our favorite places to visit and saw the new baby snow leopard cubs.  These babies sleep for 18 hours a day so if you see them, it’s definitely a treat.  The stingray area is one of my kid’s favorite touch pools and the nearby shark exhibit is enthralling. And I absolutely love the puffin exhibit at this zoo and could watch those little birds swim forever.

Puffin at the Point Defiance Zoo

Tacoma Art Museum with kids

We also toured the Tacoma Art Museum and learned that Dale Chihuly, our famous local glass artist, was actually born in Tacoma. We visited the nearby Museum of Glass and spent a long time watching the Hot Shop where glass blowers were making a giant bowl. I was also amazed by the Dale Chihuly collection on display on the nearby bridge and I can’t believe that this beautiful outdoor exhibition is completely free.

Free in Tacoma Chihuly Glass Bricge

Thea's Park in Tacoma

We also loved that there were so many parks in this city.  We skipped rocks in the water at Thea’s Park one evening and drove through the 5 mile drive in Point Defiance Park and saw raccoons and deer.  We checked out Wright Park on our way to see Stadium High School where the “10 things I hate about you movie” was filmed.  And the weather was too unpredictable to check out the water parks and fountains this time but I know we’ll have to come back on sunny days because these spray parks look amazing too!

There are lots of farmer’s markets in the area in the summer and though we just missed one, we found a really cool toy store nearby.  Teaching toys and books self-proclaims that it is the best in the galaxy and my kids loved that they found a book they’re reading called “Wild Robot” there and I loved that I got a discount with the Chinook Book.

Where we ate

This is probably the question I get asked most:

Well, we started out at Paesan Kitchen and Bar because I found it in my Chinook book and I love that this book has pretty good recommendations and coupons in Seattle and Tacoma.

Shake Shake Shake in Tacoma

We also ate at Shake Shake Shake which I’ve seen so often in my Instagram feeds and wanted to visit it SO badly.  Why we don’t have a Shake Shake Shake in Seattle just blows my mind.  And if you come to Tacoma you must go-they have delicious shakes and we really enjoyed that they have vegetarian and non-beef burger options.  I noticed they are opening up another place called Fish Fish Fish nearby that will probably open this summer too.

Bluebeard Coffee in Tacoma

We had ice creams at Ice Cream Social and great coffees from Bluebeard and Metronome and scrumptious pastries and lattes at Corina Bakery.

And we had a fabulous meal at the Swiss Pub because I read at the Tacoma art museum that Dale Chihuly ate here often and donated a bunch of neat glass art to this pub and I wanted to see it.  The food here was excellent and our server loved Pokemon and could speak my kids language.  (I have no idea what is going on in Pokemon.)

I wish we could have eaten at so many other places that we drove by and that people suggested-I really wanted to try Lift Bridge Coffee but it wasn’t open on weekends and Marrow Kitchen and Bar didn’t seem like a place I’d like to go with kids but I’d like to go.  There are tons of new places that have seem to have opened up in Tacoma in the last little while and Tacoma has this vibe that it’s on the verge of something big and the water views, old factories and historical buildings make it such a fabulous photographic destination.  But our bellies can only stretch so far and we only had 48 hours to explore.  Thankfully we are only a 40 minute drive away most days which is close enough and far away enough that a weekend here makes for a fantastic family vacation.

(PS. As I mentioned before we were guests of Tourism Tacoma and were provided with accomodation and tickets to attractions for review purposes.)

(PPS. If you are looking for Electric Charging Stations we used Plug Share to find them but didn’t need to use any because the hotel had a Tesla charger.  We noticed that the Museum of Glass had a charger that cost 3 dollars per session in addition to parking.)



10 thoughts on “A trip to Tacoma might be the perfect Seattle Staycation for local families

  1. This looks amazing!!! I had no idea these fun spots were located in Tacoma! Thanks for the tips (as always)!

  2. We only live about 20 minutes from there.

    There’s a great lumpia shop in Tacoma that we highly recommend! It’s open weekdays from 11-2 only but so worth it.

  3. What a fun visit you had! We only live 20 minutes away so have been exploring Tacoma more & more, finding all sorts of gems to check out. The bridge to the glass museum is one of my favorite places & there is a cool area on the other side of the glass museum with some glass sculptures in reflecting pools next to the marinas & with a beautiful view of the 21st St Bridge

  4. Did your kids enjoy touching the sting rays? My kids were too scared to touch them, but they were pretty curious about them. And we had fun watching the leopard cubs too!

    1. My guys love the sting rays. I think it’s one of my kids’ spirit animals so I almost have to stop them from swimming with them. What a great zoo!

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