Top 20 Washington State Trips

Tacoma Glass Museum

Tacoma Glass Museum

Tacoma Glass Museum showcases the best glassworks from around the world.

The Tacoma Glass Museum is 40-minutes south of Seattle in the Museum Row District near Tacoma's waterfront.  It's walkable to other museums like the Washington State History Museum, and Tacoma Art Museum.

It's one of Tacoma's most popular attractions, with a distinctive silver cone visible from miles away.  

There's a lot to see at the exciting Tacoma Glass Museum, including glass blowing demonstrations from some of the most talented glass artists in the world, fresh pieces from rotating exhibitions, and a permanent collection.  

Step outside the Tacoma Glass Museum to explore the 500-foot Bridge of Glass spanning Interstate 705, featuring creations by world famous glass artist Dale Chihuly.  Make your way down the sweeping staircase around the silver cone, then explore the glass Water Forest at plaza level, on the Thea Foss Waterway. 

The hip Anthem Coffee and Tea is next door to the Tacoma Glass Museum, with coffee, beer and wine, and pizza, and there are a number of restaurants further down Pacific Avenue from the Tacoma Glass Museum, like Indochine, Harmon Brewery, El Gaucho Tacoma, and the Melting Pot Tacoma. 

The Tacoma Glass Museum is at 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA 98402, and there's paid parking on site.  Check hours & tickets.

10 best things to see at the Tacoma Glass Museum

1. See the iconic 90-foot silver cone at the Tacoma Glass Museum.

The silver cone at the Tacoma Glass Museum is one of Tacoma's most famous landmarks, and houses a theater where visitors can watch talented glass blowers hard at work inside the 90-foot cone, at the Hot Shop. 

2. Step inside the Hot Shop to see glass artists at work.

The Hot Shop is a living, breathing museum where the creative process is constantly evolving.  The Tacoma Glass Museum hosts regular exhibitions from visiting artists, and is a gathering place for this tight-knit community.  The Pacific Northwest has the highest concentration of glass studios in the U.S. and many glass blowers are encouraged to complete a period of residency at the Tacoma Museum of Glass.

The temperature can get up to 2,400 fahrenheit for glass blowing!

3. Check out the glass creations depicting maps of the world.

4. Stroll along the stunning Chihuly Bridge of Glass.

There are also some interesting attractions outside the Tacoma Museum of Glass. The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is an 500-foot pedestrian bridge over the busy Interstate 705, transformed into a dazzling display of glass art.  Glass walls and a ceiling encase the pedestrian walkway, showcasing glass art created by Dale Chihuly.  The bridge was designed by Texan architect, Arthur Andersson.

5. Peer up at the Seaform Pavilion.

Look up at the Seaform Pavilion, containing 2,364 glass sculptures inside a glass ceiling from Chihuly's Seaform and Persian Series.

The Seaform Pavilion simulates the experience of traveling through an underwater garden.

The pedestrian overpass ends on Pacific Avenue, where you can walk to other museums, like the Tacoma Art Museum,  Washington State History Museum and free Tacoma Children's Museum.

6. Admire the 40-foot aquamarine and turquoise crystal towers.

The dramatic, 40-foot crystal towers change with the light, from an ice-blue to aquamarine and turquoise.  They are evocative of pristine, blue-hued crystals from glacial ice.

7. See all 109 glass works inside the Venetian Wall.

The 80-foot long Venetian Wall has 109 glass creations artfully encased inside a glass wall, from Chihuly's Venetians, Ikebana, and Putti series.

8. Walk closer to the waterfront to see an intricate Water Forest.

If you venture closer to the waterfront on the main plaza, there's an elaborate Water Forest fashioned from acrylic and bronze, designed by Ben Tre.

The external landscape of the Tacoma Glass Museum provides interesting perspectives from every vantage point.  The striking angle of a roof or sweeping staircase has been deliberately designed to engage and challenge the senses. 

9. Get your kids to design their own glass art at the Kids Education Studio.

One of the highlights for kids is the Kids Education Studio at the Tacoma Glass Museum.

Kids are provided with crayons and asked to draw something that can be brought to life as a piece of glass art.  One piece is selected each month and proudly displayed at the Museum.  The fantastic, colorful drawings of monsters and creatures from childrens' imaginations are the perfect subject for Glass Art.  No design is too complicated in the hands of a skilled Glass Blower.

If you've got kids, the free Tacoma Children's Museum is a 10 minute walk from the Museum of Glass, and well worth a visit.

10. Finish up your visit at Tacoma Glass Museum by picking up some fun gifts at the Museum Store.

 

Best restaurants near the Tacoma Glass Museum.

The hip Anthem Coffee and Tea is next door to the Tacoma Glass Museum, with coffee, beer and wine, and pizza.

There are a number of restaurants much further down Pacific Avenue from the Tacoma Glass Museum.  These include Indochine, Harmon Brewery, El Gaucho Tacoma, and the Melting Pot Tacoma.  You can also go to the fourth floor of the new McMenamins Pub at the Elks Temple, to enjoy fabulous views of Puget Sound (565 Broadway).

Drive out to the trendy, new development at breathtaking Point Ruston, with soaring views of Mt Rainier.  There's a playground and splashpad for kids, and waterfront dining.   Check out Stack 571 Burger and Whiskey Bar, Wildfin American Grill, and the Jewel Box Cafe.

Other cool things to do in Tacoma.

The Tacoma Art MuseumWashington State History Museum and Tacoma Children's Museum are all within walking distance of the Museum of Glass.  The Childrens Museum is excellent for kids and is FREE!  It has ships and forts with secret nooks to climb, an art room, a water play area, and blocks, magnaforms and air tubes to play with.   

Car enthusiasts can drive to the LeMay Car Museum near the Tacoma Dome with 300+ cars on display in a modern space.  Finally, drive out to Tacoma's gem of a park, Point Defiance.  It has a zoo, playground, hiking trails with glorious views, beach, and a rose garden.  ​

Know before you go

  • Tacoma Glass Museum address:  1801 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA 98402.  
  • Tickets & hours:  check here. 
  • Parking:  Paid parking on-site.

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