Explore the Best of Tacoma: 16 Museums You Can’t Miss

Tacoma, Washington is home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, with a variety of museums that cater to all interests and ages. From contemporary art to maritime history, Tacoma’s museums offer a diverse range of exhibits and educational opportunities for visitors.

Whether you’re a local looking to explore your city’s rich history or a tourist seeking to immerse yourself in Tacoma’s artistic offerings, the city’s museums are sure to captivate and inspire.

Join us on a journey through the museums of Tacoma as we uncover the stories and treasures that await within their walls.

1. Tacoma Art Museum


The Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, WA, USA is a vibrant cultural institution that showcases a diverse range of art forms. One of the highlights of the museum’s collection is the exquisite glass works by renowned artist Dale Chihuly.

Visitors can marvel at the intricate designs and vibrant colors of Chihuly’s creations, which are displayed throughout the museum. In addition to Chihuly’s glass works the Tacoma Art Museum also features a stunning collection of European Impressionist art.

Visitors can admire paintings by masters such as Monet, Degas, and Renoir, and gain insight into the development of this influential art movement.

For those interested in Japanese art, the museum offers a captivating selection of prints that showcase the beauty and craftsmanship of traditional Japanese.

Rating: 9.2

Phone: +1 253-272-4258

Address: 1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402, United States

Website: tacomaartmuseum.org

2. Washington State History Museum


The Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, WA, USA is a fascinating museum that delves into the rich history of Washington state.

Through high-tech exhibits, visitors can explore various aspects of the state’s past. One of the highlights of the museum is a big model railroad that showcases the growth and development of the state’s transportation system.

This interactive exhibit allows visitors to see how trains played a crucial role in connecting different parts of Washington state.

In addition to the model railroad, the museum also features exhibits on the indigenous peoples of the region, early settlers, and significant events that have shaped Washington state.


From interactive displays to historical artifacts, there is something for everyone to enjoy and learn from at this museum.

Rating: 9.2

Phone: +1 253-272-3500

Address: 1911 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402, United States

Website: washingtonhistory.org

3. Children’s Museum of Tacoma


The Children’s Museum of Tacoma in Washington is a fun and educational place for kids to explore. With five different playscapes, children can engage in hands-on activities that are both entertaining and educational.

Each playscape is designed to stimulate different aspects of a child’s development, from cognitive skills to motor skills. Kids can learn through play as they interact with various exhibits and activities.

The museum’s goal is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for children to learn and grow. The interactive nature of the playscapes encourages kids to use their imagination and creativity while having fun.


Parents can rest assured that their children are not only having a good time but also learning valuable skills that will benefit them in the future.

Rating: 9.2

Phone: +1 253-627-6031

Address: 1501 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402, United States

Website: greentrike.org

4. Museum of Glass


The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, USA offers a unique experience for visitors with its diverse indoor and outdoor glass-art exhibits.

Upon entering the museum, guests are greeted by a stunning collection of glass artwork that showcases the skill and creativity of artists from around the world.

From delicate blown glass sculptures to intricate stained glass pieces, there is something for everyone to admire. One of the highlights of the Museum of Glass is the cone-shaped studio where visitors can watch working artists create beautiful glass pieces right before their eyes.


This interactive experience allows guests to see the artistic process up close and gain a deeper appreciation for the art form. In addition to the indoor exhibits, the Museum of Glass also features outdoor installations that are equally impressive.

Rating: 9

Phone: +1 253-284-4750

Address: 1801 Dock St, Tacoma, WA 98402, United States

Website: museumofglass.org

5. LeMay – America’s Car Museum


LeMay – America’s Car Museum is a popular attraction in Tacoma, WA, USA. This museum is located on an 8-acre campus and spans 4 stories.

It is a must-visit for car enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Visitors to this museum can explore a wide range of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and motorcycles. The exhibits at LeMay – America’s Car Museum showcase both historic and tech aspects of these vehicles.

It offers a unique opportunity to learn about the evolution of transportation and how it has shaped our world. The museum’s collection includes a diverse array of vehicles, from classic cars to modern innovations.


Each exhibit is carefully curated to provide a comprehensive look at the history of automotive engineering and design.

Rating: 9.4

Phone: +1 253-779-8490

Address: 2702 E D St, Tacoma, WA 98421, United States

Website: americascarmuseum.org

6. Job Carr Cabin Museum


The Job Carr Cabin Museum in Tacoma, WA is a unique museum that showcases the history of the city through exhibits housed in a to-scale replica of an 1865 frontier home.

Visitors can step back in time and experience what life was like in Tacoma during its early days. The museum offers a glimpse into the past with displays of artifacts, photographs, and interactive exhibits that tell the story of the city’s development.

From the first settlers to the growth of industry, visitors can learn about the rich history of Tacoma.


One of the highlights of the museum is the opportunity to explore the replica cabin, which is furnished with period-appropriate items to give visitors a sense of what daily life was like for early residents.

Rating: 9.4

Phone: +1 253-627-5405

Address: 2350 N 30th St, Tacoma, WA 98403, United States

Website: jobcarrmuseum.org

7. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum


Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Tacoma, WA, USA is a unique attraction that offers visitors a glimpse into the past. The museum is a re-creation of the first Puget Sound European settlement, complete with a fort and costumed interpreters.

Visitors to Fort Nisqually Living History Museum can step back in time and experience what life was like for early European settlers in the area.


The fort itself is a faithful recreation of the original structure, giving visitors a sense of what it was like to live and work in the settlement. One of the highlights of the museum is the presence of costumed interpreters who bring the history of Fort Nisqually to life.

Rating: 9.2

Phone: +1 253-404-3970

Address: 5519 Five Mile Dr, Tacoma, WA 98407, United States

Website: metroparkstacoma.org

8. LeMay Collections at Marymount


The LeMay Collections at Marymount is a must-visit museum in Tacoma, WA, USA.

Situated on the historic Marymount campus, this museum offers a unique and fascinating look into the world of vintage automobiles and Americana.

Visitors to the LeMay Collections at Marymount will be treated to a diverse array of classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles from the early 20th century to the present day.

The museum’s collection includes rare and one-of-a-kind vehicles that are sure to capture the imagination of car enthusiasts and history buffs alike.


In addition to the impressive collection of vehicles, the LeMay Collections at Marymount also features exhibits on the history of transportation, showcasing how automobiles have shaped the world we live in today.

Rating: 9.6

Phone: +1 253-272-2336

Address: 325 152nd St E, Tacoma, WA 98445, United States

Website: lemaymarymount.org

9. Tacoma Telephone Pioneer Museum


The Tacoma Telephone Pioneer Museum is a hidden gem in the city of Tacoma, WA.

This museum showcases the history of telecommunications in the region, providing visitors with a unique glimpse into the evolution of communication technology.

As you step inside the museum, you are immediately transported back in time to the days when telephones were a luxury and not a necessity.

The exhibits are carefully curated to highlight the progression of telephone technology, from the early switchboards to the first rotary dial phones. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Tacoma Telephone Pioneer Museum is its collection of vintage telephones.


These beautifully preserved artifacts offer a tangible connection to the past, allowing visitors to see and touch the devices that were once the lifeline of communication.

Rating: 9.4

Phone: +1 253-627-2996

Address: 757 Fawcett Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402, United States

Website: scn.org

10. Buffalo Soldiers Museum


The Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Tacoma, WA, USA is a historical treasure trove dedicated to the African American soldiers who served in the United States Army.

The museum showcases artifacts, documents, and exhibits that highlight the contributions and struggles of these brave soldiers throughout American history.

Visitors to the Buffalo Soldiers Museum can learn about the rich heritage and legacy of these soldiers, who faced discrimination and adversity while serving their country with honor and courage.

The museum offers a unique opportunity to delve into the stories of these unsung heroes and gain a deeper understanding of their impact on American history.


From uniforms and weapons to personal letters and photographs, the Buffalo Soldiers Museum provides a comprehensive look at the experiences and achievements of these remarkable soldiers.

Rating: 9.4

Phone: +1 253-272-4257

Address: 1940 S Wilkeson St, Tacoma, WA 98405, United States

Website: buffalosoldierstacoma.org

11. GlumDrop


Unfortunately, there is not much information available about the place called GlumDrop in Tacoma, WA, USA.

It seems to be a mysterious and unknown location that may not be well-documented or widely recognized. Visitors to Tacoma may be intrigued by the mention of GlumDrop, wondering what kind of place it is and what attractions or activities it may offer.

However, without any specific details or descriptions available, it is difficult to determine what visitors can expect to find there.

It is possible that GlumDrop is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered, with unique exhibits or experiences that set it apart from more well-known museums in the area.


Alternatively, it could be a lesser-known or lesser-visited location that has not garnered much attention.

Rating: 9.6

Address: 5435 S Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA 98409, United States

Website: glumdrop.com

12. McChord AFB Museum


The McChord AFB Museum in Tacoma, WA offers a unique glimpse into the history of the United States Air Force.

Visitors can explore a variety of exhibits showcasing the evolution of military aircraft and the brave men and women who have served in the Air Force.

One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of vintage aircraft on display, including fighter jets, bombers, and transport planes.

These aircraft provide a fascinating look at the technological advancements that have shaped the Air Force over the years. In addition to the aircraft exhibits, the museum also features displays on the history of McChord Air Force Base and its important role in military operations.


Visitors can learn about the base’s origins, its involvement in various conflicts, and the daily life of service members.

Rating: 9.6

Phone: +1 253-982-2485

Address: McChord AFB, WA 98439, United States

Website: mcchordairmuseum.org

13. Harbor History Museum


The Harbor History Museum in Tacoma, WA is a cultural gem that showcases the rich local heritage and maritime history of the region.

Visitors can explore a variety of exhibits that offer insight into the area’s past and the people who have shaped its identity. One of the highlights of the museum is its dedication to preserving the maritime history of Tacoma.

From exhibits on the city’s early days as a bustling port to displays on the importance of shipping and trade in the region, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of how the maritime industry has influenced the development of Tacoma over the years.

In addition to its maritime exhibits, the Harbor History Museum also features a historical one-room schoolhouse.


This unique display allows visitors to step back in time and experience what education was like.

Rating: 9.4

Phone: +1 253-858-6722

Address: 4121 Harborview Dr, Gig Harbor, WA 98332, United States

Website: harborhistorymuseum.org

14. Fife Historical Society


The Fife Historical Society is a small but fascinating museum located in Tacoma, WA. Despite its size, it is filled with a wealth of information about the history of Fife and the surrounding area.

Visitors can learn about the early settlers, the development of the town, and the important events that have shaped its past. One of the highlights of the museum is its collection of artifacts from the early days of Fife.

From tools and household items to clothing and photographs, these pieces provide a glimpse into what life was like for the first residents of the area.


The museum also features exhibits on local industries, such as logging and agriculture, showcasing the importance of these trades in shaping the community. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Fife Historical Society.

Rating: 9.6

Phone: +1 253-896-4710

Address: 2820 54th Ave E, Fife, WA 98424, United States

Website: fifehistorymuseum.org

15. Tacoma Historical Society


The Tacoma Historical Society is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts in Tacoma, WA. This historical society showcases rotating exhibitions that delve into the rich history of Tacoma.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the stories and artifacts that highlight the city’s past, from its early days to its growth and development over the years.

The exhibitions are carefully curated to provide a comprehensive look at Tacoma’s history. In addition to the fascinating exhibitions, the Tacoma Historical Society also boasts a museum store.


Here, visitors can browse and purchase unique souvenirs, books, and gifts related to Tacoma’s history. It’s the perfect place to find a special memento of your visit.

Rating: 9.4

Phone: +1 253-472-3738

Address: 406 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma, WA 98402, United States

Website: tacomahistory.org

16. Puget Sound Museum of Natural History


The Puget Sound Museum of Natural History in Tacoma, WA is a fascinating destination for those interested in the natural world. The museum offers a wide range of exhibits and displays that showcase the diverse and rich history of the region.

Visitors can learn about the geology, flora, and fauna of the area, as well as the cultural history of the indigenous peoples who have called the Puget Sound home for thousands of years.

One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of fossils and artifacts from the region’s prehistoric past.


Visitors can see dinosaur bones, ancient tools, and other relics that offer a glimpse into the lives of the creatures and peoples who inhabited the area long before it became the bustling city of Tacoma that it is today.

Rating: 9.6

Phone: +1 253-879-3356

Address: 1517-1565 N Union Ave, Tacoma, WA 98416, United States

Website: pugetsound.edu


Museums in Tacoma, WA offer a diverse range of cultural, historical, and artistic experiences for visitors of all ages and interests.

From the unique glass art at the Museum of Glass to the intriguing exhibits at the Washington State History Museum, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

These museums provide a window into the rich history and cultural heritage of the Tacoma area, making them invaluable resources for both locals and tourists alike.

Whether you are a history buff, art enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun day out, the museums in Tacoma are definitely worth a visit.

Photo of author

Tony Spadafora

Since 1983, I've been making DC and Philadelphia unforgettable for families and business visitors. Whether it's a family reunion or a corporate breakout seeking something unique, I tailor experiences to your personal perspective. From historical landmarks to hidden gems, I ensure your visit is extraordinary. Trust a professional tour guide with decades of expertise to transform your trip into a memorable adventure. LinkedIn

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