In 1873, the Northern Pacific Railway declared its western terminus would be Tacoma, not Seattle, its confident neighbor 32 miles north. Flush with optimism, the town adopted the nickname “The City of Destiny.” Today, that sentiment rings truer than ever, as Tacoma barrels full-steam ahead, fueled by a modern light rail, world-class museums, and a renovated downtown.
Start with a chia seed banana pudding from Viva, a breakfast crowd-pleaser in the Proctor District. Next up, head to the Museum of Glass, a world-class, 13,000-square-foot exhibition space where visitors can drop by the “hot shop” to watch glassblowers in action. Then get wild at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, home to the new Red Wolf Conservation Center. The zoo’s breeding program boosted that species’s population from just 14 in the 1970s to 250 today, some of which have reentered the wild.
End the day with a stroll along Ruston Way, a two-mile paved path that skirts Commencement Bay and offers sweeping views of Vashon Island, the Olympic Mountains, and Tacoma’s modern skyline glinting in the setting sun’s rays.