Looking for things to do in Tacoma?! We’ve found a ton of free events, museums, and activities that you can enjoy in this area. As Tacoma locals, this is one of our very favorite posts to write. Maybe we’ll even see you on one of our adventures!
Sunny weather? Enjoy free zoo days or another outdoor adventure!
There are so many awesome outdoor things to do in Tacoma! From beaches to parks to spraygrounds to the zoo, Tacoma is full of endless adventure.
Get wet at the sprayground or the beach!
Tacoma has some of the state’s coolest spraygrounds! Tacoma features 10 free spraygrounds throughout the city. They can be found at Franklin Park, Jefferson Park, Kandle Park, Norpoint Park, SERA Campus (near STAR Center), South Park, Titlow Park, Verlo Playfield, Wapato Hills Park and Wright Park.
Point Defiance Zoo offers free zoo days!
Did you know that Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (PDZA) offers free zoo days for Tacoma residents? These special free zoo days are offered as a ‘thank you’ to the community for approving a $35 million bond back in 1999. That bond has helped Point Defiance Zoo create awesome new exhibits, including the Asian Forest Sanctuary, the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, the animal hospital and the Kids’ Zone!
On these specific days, all you need is proof of a Tacoma address for admission! If your photo ID has a physical Tacoma address (not a PO Box), that’s good enough. If not, you’ll need to bring some other form of documentation, such as a utility bill, that matches the name on your photo ID. Every adult (18+) must provide proof of a Tacoma address. No proof is required for anyone age 17 and younger.
To see the special free zoo days for Tacoma residents, click here. On all other days, you’ll still enjoy a discount for being a Pierce County Resident! The discounted pricing can be found here.
You may be eligible for a free Discover pass!
If you are disabled, a foster family or meet other criteria, you may be eligible for a free Discover Pass! With this pass, you can visit Dash Point State Park and many other parks and sites throughout the state. If you don’t qualify for a discount, you can purchase the pass for about $30 per year.
I love Dash Point State Park! Picnicking here is one of my absolute favorite things to do in Tacoma. I especially love to sit in this spot where the waves overlap.
Raining again? Check out one of these awesome indoor adventures!
Looking for free indoor things to do in Tacoma? Here are some of our favorites.
Children’s Museum of Tacoma
This exciting children’s museum offers a generous pay-as-you-will admission program. This program allows families to pay whatever they can afford to enter the museum – even if you can’t afford much (or anything) at all. For hours and more information about this wonderful policy, please click here.
Museum of Glass
Browse the museum’s extensive collections, traveling exhibitions and educational programs. Their live glass-making demonstrations are some of the coolest things you can do in Tacoma! For more information about the museum, please visit this link.
The museum is free on the third Thursday of each month between 5pm and 8pm. It’s also free on Sundays for college students with valid college ID. If you’d rather visit free during other times, you can check out a free Museum of Glass pass from your local Pierce County library!
Slater Museum of Natural History
See over 80,000 specimens from around the world. You can see a polar bear up close, touch a common owl or hold an “original” cascade frog – absolutely free!
The museum is free on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 11am and 2pm, during the winter season only. That means this discount is only valid between September and May.
Tacoma Art Museum
Visit the recently-expanded museum, which includes a large art studio and a Western Art wing.
The museum is free on the third Thursday of each month between 5pm and 8pm. If you’d rather not go on the third Thursday, you can check out a free Tacoma Art Museum pass from your local Pierce County library!
Washington State History Museum
My kids love this place! Staring at the enormous model railroad is one of my son’s very favorite things to do in Tacoma. He would live there if they’d let him.
There are also many interactive and fascinating exhibits. If you’re bringing children, make sure you stop by the guest services desk for a scavenger hunt. Kids who complete it get a free prize!
The museum is free on the third Thursday of each month between 2pm and 8pm. If you’d rather visit free during other times, you can check out a free Washington State History Museum pass from your local Pierce County library!
Got an EBT card? You can visit Foss Waterway Seaport!
If you receive food stamps or Medicaid in Washington State, you can save even more money on admission to some of Washington’s greatest destinations. Check out our full list of Washington EBT discounts here!
Looking for events and other free things to do in Tacoma today?
If you’re looking for an upcoming event, there’s no better resource online than Sounds Fun Mom! From their best playground lists to their weekend roundups, Sounds Fun Mom always knows the best family-friendly events, activities and other things to do in Tacoma.
Willing to wander a little?
Sure, you started looking for things to do in Tacoma… but if you’re willing to wander a little farther, here’s a list of awesome free museums throughout Washington State!