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Tacoma  / Pierce County

From the lofty summit of Mount Rainier to the sea level shores of Puget Sound, Pierce County enjoys one of the most enviable geographic locations in the West.  Tacoma, with its outstanding deep water harbor as well a major air, rail and highway links, is Washington's third largest city and with its surrounding communities ranks as a powerhouse of Northwest businesses and industry and is a leading venue for meetings and conventions.  At the same time, Pierce County's communities' proximity to mountains, salt water and hundreds of square miles of forest makes it the Northwest's premier destination for outdoor recreation.

Tacoma is Washington's second largest city a modern metropolis that gives the appearance of a homogeneous urban center; it's really a city of neighborhoods, called districts.  Each of the districts has a distinctly different character often a result of the ethnic or economic group that first settled there.  Take the time to explore Tacoma and you'll find clear differences in architecture, in restaurants, in shopping and sightseeing as you travel from one district to another.  If you're shopping for antiques for example, you should first consider the Antique Row on Broadway right next to the Theater District.  If your goal is waterfront dining, start with the restaurants along Ruston Way near Old Town.  For historical sightseeing, the Stadium District has plenty to offer.

The Dome District

This is your introduction to Tacoma as you exit Interstate 5 heading for downtown.  Centerpiece is the Tacoma Dome, world's largest wood dome structure, decorated in a blue-and-white pattern representing the Northwest's mountains, forest and water. The dome seats 21,000 and is where major sporting events, consumer and trade shows, concerts and conventions are held.

Just down the street, Freight house Square features a collection of shops and eateries housed in a historic railroad freight depot.  There are over 70 merchants and an International Food Depot with entertainment events throughout the year.  Nearby, Brown and Haley are still producing Almond Roca and other candies that have made them a household name to candy lovers everywhere.

As you move downtown on Pacific Avenue, you'll pass the site of the Washington State History Museum, the University of Washington's Tacoma branch campus and Union Station.  Pause long enough to visit old station and marvel at its glass art exhibit and elegant glass chandelier, crafted by the Northwest's most famous glass artist, Dale Chihuly.

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