Tacoma Downtown, Museums & Waterfront

Explore downtown Tacoma and the Thea Foss Waterway and discover the locations of museums including Washington State History Museum, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Glass. Other downtown locations of interest to find encompass the University of Washington Tacoma Campus, Greater Tacoma Convention Center, Theater District, Old City Hall, and Wright Park with an arboretum. There plenty of hills and stairs that are great for training.

On the Trail

Downtown Tacoma

A downtown walking tour can also include a number of interesting buildings such as the old Union Station, University of Washington Tacoma Campus, the Theater District (Pantages, Theater on the Square and Rialto theaters), Old City Hall and the Elks Temple. Accessed across the Chihuly Bridge of Glass from Pacific Avenue the Thea Foss Waterway can also be explored on foot including Albers Mill and the Working Waterfront Museum. There is a walking trail, Thea Foss Waterway Esplanade, that leads south to link up via Dock Street with Freighthouse Square, the Tacoma Dome, Tacoma Dome Station and Le May Car Museum.

Hills & Stairs Training

  • North 30th Street Hill: From the Tacoma Program Center a variety of loops can be created in the residential area to train on the steep hills. A loop can be created between North Carr and North Alder of 1 mile and 250 feet of steady incline. 
  • Spanish Steps: Located adjacent to the Elks Building, the Spanish Steps have an exceptional view of Commencement Bay over two landings and a total of 64 steps between Commerce Street and Broadway.
  • Stadium Stairs: Located in Stadium Bowl, this collection of concrete bleacher stairs features single and double steps arranged in a semi-circular pattern. Weaving up one staircase and down another is a total of 814 steps climbed and 512 feet of elevation gain for one lap around the stadium. 
  • 7 Seas Back Entrance Stairs:  Climb 78 steps to the 7 Seas Brewery back entrance from Prairie Line Trail.
  • Murray Morgan Bridge Stairs: Get views of the Thea Foss Waterway and Dock Street as you climb 131 stairs on the Murray Morgan Bridge. At the top you're deposited on 11th Street in the heart of downtown Tacoma.
  • UWT Grand Staircase: Enjoy University of Washington, Tacoma campus views as you ascend 85 steps from Pacific Avenue to Jefferson Avenue.
  • Museum of Glass Stairs: Walk up the spiral staircase on the side of the Museum of Glass on a total of 97 stairs with the Thea Foss Waterway nearby.
  • East 34th Street Stairs: This East Tacoma staircase comes in at 162 stairs and takes off from Portland Avenue. 
  • Wilson Way Bridge Chutes & Ladders: Connecting Point Defiance trails with the Frank Herbert Trail to Dune Peninsula the Wilson Way Bridge Chutes & Ladders offers a unique way to do stair-climbing 80 steps at a time. 

Museum of Glass

The Museum of Glass provides a dynamic learning environment to appreciate the medium of glass through creative experiences, collections and exhibitions.

LeMay Musesum

LeMay, America’s Car Museum, spotlights America’s love affair with the automobile. It features a nine-acre campus , 165,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, and a 350-car gallery. In Tacoma and in the shadow of Mount Rainier, LeMay is one of the world’s largest auto museums, showing cars notable for their speed, technology, and design, as well as their importance to car culture.

Wright Park

Located between Tacoma’s historic Stadium District and downtown, Wright Park has the charm and feel of an east coast metropolitan park with easy dirt trails passing by statues and ponds. Connect several of the easy soft surface trails together to make various loops through the park. The park has over 600 trees and 20 of them have been recognized for being the largest of their species called champion trees. Take the Champion Tree Tour, add on a visit to the W.W. Seymour Conservatory, or for a longer trip, hike through town on sidewalks to historic Stadium High School, originally built in 1898 as a hotel.


  • Exploring downtown on foot involves walking along sidewalks and making street crossings. There are also sections of waterfront and park trails that can be included.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • 300 ft
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Tacoma City Map
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Tacoma Downtown
  • Thea Foss Waterway
  • Washington State History Museum
  • Museum of Glass
  • Tacoma Art Museum
  • Le May Museum
  • Children’s Museum of Tacoma
  • Wright Park
  • W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory
  • North 30th Street Hill, Tacoma
  • Spanish Steps, Tacoma
  • Stadium Stairs, Tacoma
  • 7 Seas Back Entrance Stairs, Tacoma
  • Murray Morgan Bridge Stairs, Tacoma
  • UWT Grand Staircase, Tacoma
  • Museum of Glass Stairs, Tacoma
  • East 34th Street Stairs, Tacoma
  • Wilson Way Bridge Chutes & Ladders, Tacoma

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