Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Is Tacoma really a bad place to use as base for exploring Washington?

Is Tacoma really a bad place to use as base for exploring Washington?

Mar 5th, 2010, 09:30 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 40
Is Tacoma really a bad place to use as base for exploring Washington?

For planning purposes on our trip and the things we will be doing, Tacomo looked like a nice central point to use as a base for our trip. We were looking at the Silver Cloud Inn.

Then I start to read things about Tacoma and some folks make it sound like Detroit West!! Sorry Detroit... But boy, folks make it sound like a not very nice city.

Now, we won't be spending much time there (maybe just the glass museum), so I'm thinking it still should be ok for a base, but thought I'd ask.

Also, any thoughts on the Silver Cloud?
SeeingtheSights is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 09:49 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 7,090
Tacoma has some really nice areas and the Silver Cloud is in one of them, along the waterfront. (Thought there may be more than one Silver Cloud in Tacoma - it is a chain) I believe, in fact, that it sticks out in the water. The only negative I have heard about it is that there is a working railroad track nearby, so the sound can be a problem. You might ask them about this and take earplugs, just in case. Point Defiance Pk in Tacoma is wonderful, as is the St Historical Society Musuem, the Tacoma Art Museum and Glass Museum. The three museums are within walking distance of each other and there are nice restaurants and shops nearby.

So, I don't think Tacoma is a bad location. It's closer to Mt. Rainier. Many stay in Seattle because it is also a good location as there being a lot to do there.

What are you planning on doing?
Orcas is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 10:04 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,832
Tacoma is OK, the downtown has had major facelifts and some of the waterfront areas are nice. But if you plan to spend much time in Seattle, you will have to find a place to park there, and that's costly.

Are you flying in? I would stay in Seattle without a car, then rent one for whatever you plan to see in the rest of the state.
azzure is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 02:56 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 7,090
azure, Most hotels charge for pking in Seattle and the cost is greater, so it might make up for any pking charges....I think Tacoma would be less expensive. I like Tacoma a lot. My sister lived on the north end for years. Tacoma has beautiful areas. I wouldn't liken it to Detroit. It is so much smaller than Detroit and isn't living in the wreckage of a lost auto industry. It has a lot of poorer people - sort of a working class town, but it has a lot of urban amentities, a couple of universities, a port and waterfront, beautiful views of Mt Rainier and the Olympics. It's got a lot going for it.
Orcas is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 03:09 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,832
Hi Orcas - yes, I know that Seattle hotels charge a lot for parking; that's why I recommended that the OP go to Seattle WITHOUT a car.

And I agree that Tacoma is a lot nicer than Detroit! But I just don't think it gives the visitor a very good overview of what the PNW is like. Too many construction cranes, shopping malls, auto dealerships etc., and a few areas that I wouldn't like to hang around in at night...of course, Seattle has some of those as well.
azzure is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 03:24 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 40
Orcas, assure, we aren't planning to do too much in Seattle this time, so Tacoma seemed like it was a better choice. Using google maps, the drives around the peninsula, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, they were all shorter. We may drive up to Seattle for one day, but that will be it. And the parking at Seattle hotels are crazy, so one parking for one day to look around is much cheaper.

Good to know that Tacoma isn't what a lot of folks (on TA anyway) say it is.

Orcas, so around the glass museum and the others, it's a nice walk with shops and restaurants all withing walking distance? Would be good to park the car once, then stroll about, rather than having to drive from the museum area to the shops/restaurants.

Thanks.
SeeingtheSights is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 04:45 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 7,090
You definitely only need to park once for all the downtown museums and shops/restaurants. Everything is close enough. The Tacoma Art Museum is a bit of a walk, but it is very good, so is well-worth the walk. I actually prefer it to the glass museum. The State History Museum is also excellent. The displays are interesting and you get a good feel for the history and geography of Washington.

Restaurants nearby. The Swiss is a famous pub in an old bldg up the hill. Anyone from the area can point you to it. Also, Fujiyas is an excellent Japanese restaurant, part way up the hill. There are a few good restaurants right on the main drag that you will see across from the museums (It will all be obvious when you are there.) I'll ask my niece. She has worked at the Swiss for a number of years and knows all the good places to eat. They also have music at the Swiss a lot of nights. Dale Chihully donated the glass above the bar (or loaned it, not sure).

The waterfront area, where you will be staying, if that is the right Silver Cloud, is really pretty and you will enjoy walking along the walkway. There are also restaurants, and just up from it is an area called Old Town. It's very cute. There are lovely houses up the hill to the right and left from Old Town and beautiful yards.

"The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" was filmed in an old house in Tacoma on the North End. It's a great scary flick if you haven't seen it. The homes are gorgious there (near Annie Wright School - great walks, and walking distance from the waterfront).

Also, filmed in Tacoma, that movie "Ten Things I Hate About You" at Stadium HS, where Chihuly went to school. It has awesome views of the sound and is between the North End and downtown. You'll likely drive by the old high school at some point and be suitably impressed.
Orcas is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 05:49 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 40
Orcas, thanks for the very helpful info. Yes, I checked and that is the Silver Cloud, right on the water. On google, I do see the walkway paralleling it. So I guess those are safe areas to walk around?

I didn't see any restaurants though, except for the Northern Fish Co. next to the Silver Cloud. I did see a couple in the Old Town area. Were those the one's you were refering to?

Good to hear that the museum area and shops/restaurants are all within walking distance. We'll probably only have maybe 2-3 hours on our last day there to look around, so that area sounds perfect for that time frame.

Please let me know if you think of anything else, but I'm feeling much more comfortable about staying in Tacoma.
SeeingtheSights is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 06:07 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 7,090
The waterfront is very safe to walk in, as is the downtown. You will find many people out walking dogs, with children, etc.

The restaurants I was referring to are not in Old Town, though Old Town has restaurants. The ones I was talking about are in downtown, near the museum area (near the UW campus in Tacoma).

My niece actually lives in Old Town and works in downtown. I'll see if she can give me some recommendations to pass along.
Orcas is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 06:51 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,468
""Is Tacoma really a bad place to use as base...?""


That depends on what sort of a war you're in:


Army Base
Air Force Base

There are even a few turf wars whose combatants have bases in Tacoma.

So sure, go for it!
NorthwestMale is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 06:53 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,468
... and not lost on anybody is what "Make" the "Tacoma" truck model is
NorthwestMale is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 07:36 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,966
Silver Cloud is a well-respected local chain of motels.

"Is Tacoma a bad base for exploring Washington?" It depends on what in Washington you want to explore.

That's like asking if Oakland is a good place for exploring California or if Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, is a good place for exploring New York City.

The following are some of the places usually considered good bases for exploring Washington: Seattle, Lake Crescent Lodge and Quinault Lodge (for the Olympic Peninsula), Friday Harbor (for the San Juan Islands), Winthrop (for the North Cascades), and Paradise (for Mt. Rainier).

But I have relatives who moved to Tacoma from Kansas in 1945, and they love the place.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 10:01 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 7,090
Here is what my niece wrote to me when I asked her re restaurants, from her little mobile device:

Asado on 6th ave

Seeing as how she's lived in Tacoma all her life, I'd say that's a good recommendaiton. Can't tell you more about it, though, as that was her entire message.
Orcas is offline  
Mar 7th, 2010, 06:58 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,315
Yes I think it is fine for a base for what you want to see and do (since it's stuff to the south of Seattle mostly anyways). Sure there are rough parts of the city, but there's very nice ones too. Tacoma today is not the Tacoma of 20 years ago.
suze is offline  
Mar 8th, 2010, 10:57 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 40
Orcas, thank you for the recommendation of the restaurant. Tell your niece thanks as well!

I also checked google again and do see some restaurants along the waterfront west of Silver Cloud. Ram, Shenanigans, Katiebrew. It does look nice.
SeeingtheSights is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:26 PM.