Saturday, August 28, 2010
Girls' Day Out in Tacoma
As a military spouse, I have the advantage this summer of getting into a number of museums for free with my military ID, including the Museum of Glass and the Tacoma Art Museum. So my friend Erin tagged along with me today and we had a great time.
To make things easy, I parked at the Tacoma Dome Station, which is free. From there, you can take the Tacoma Link Light Rail (also free) to Union Station - a ride of approximately 5 minutes (which puts you just a stone's throw from the Museum of Glass).
But we didn't hop on the rail immediately. Historic Freighthouse Square is right across the street from the Tacoma Dome Station. It's filled with shops and restaurants. So we poked around in there, got coffee (made for us by a very chatty and hilarious barista), visited an art gallery, and then hopped on the rail.
Five minutes later, we were at Union Station, and making our way toward the Museum of Glass (MOG). We headed to the hot shop first, where artist Ed Archie Noisecat was working with his crew. We hung out in there for awhile and watched before exploring the galleries. The highlight for me was the "Kids Design Glass" exhibit, where the MOG hot shop team created glass sculptures based on drawings that were submitted by kids from ages 5-12. They were adorable, weird, remarkable, and hilarious (I'm jealous of the imagination of children).
After browsing the museum shop, we decided it was time for lunch. Sitting out on the patio at Woody's on the Water sounded like a good option (it's right next door to the MOG and you have a stunning view of the reflecting pool, MOG, and the Thea Foss Waterway). We had a nice lunch. I ordered a crab melt with coleslaw. Tasty.
Once we finished lunch, we leisurely made our way to the Tacoma Art Museum, stopping to check out anything that was of interest on the way. Overall, I liked the Tacoma Art Museum quite a bit. They have a pretty small collection and it only took us about half an hour to get through the exhibitions that were open (they are currently preparing for another one), but they have a nice Impressionism collection. I liked their Dale Chihuly collection and the current landscape exhibit. The highlight for me was Leroy. I love Leroy.
And judging by the fact that Leroy's image appeared on half the stuff in the gift shop, I would say that I'm not the only one who loves Leroy.
After the art museum, we just walked around and explored shops. We went into Hello, Cupcake because well...HELLO! CUPCAKES! I had a raspberry lemonade cupcake - lemon cupcake with raspberry buttercream frosting. Delicious. I'm honestly not much of a cake person, but the frosting was fluffy, light and not too sweet.
After a stop at the UW-Tacoma bookstore (where I got Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential for the bargain price of $4 + tax), we headed back toward the Tacoma Dome Station.
I had one stop to make before leaving...the Tacoma Book Center, right across the street from the Tacoma Dome. This unassuming building hides the fact that an enormous book mecca lies within. You are spoiled for choice here. You could easily spend an entire day in this store and probably wouldn't cover all of it. I sold some books and stayed near the door because I was trying to resist temptation. After all, I have enough books here at home already that I haven't even had the chance to read yet.
Today was a fun day. Erin and I had a great time and the more I see of Tacoma, the more I like it. It's sad how many tourists overlook this city because it didn't always have the best reputation. But if you get the chance, visit. You won't be sorry.
And I have the photos to prove it.
- Tacoma Dome Station (better than on-street parking, I promise)
- Tacoma Link Light Rail map and schedule
- Freighthouse Square
- Museum of Glass
- Woody's on the Water
- Tacoma Art Museum
- Hello, Cupcake
- Tacoma Book Center