Reason number 1 really could be the weather. Although we're heating up along with the rest of the world, most homes here don't come with air conditioning. And that's not because Tacoma is populated by masochists. It's just that most of the time its cool enough with some windows open, and maybe a fan on hot days. There are a few nights of the year when we're too hot. But overall, fresh mornings, warm days, and cool evenings create a summer of comfort many people can only imagine. It's usually nice enough to take a walk without scorching, gets warm enough to go for a swim, or wear your favorite sundress, with trees enough to shade your picnic. But, I didn't really plan for number 1 to be the weather. However, I wrote about it first, and it's lovely. So, instinct wins over plan.
Why we love Tacoma summers REASON #1: The Weather (see above)
Why we love Tacoma summers REASON #2: Beaches for Everyone!
You don't have to be rich, belong to a club, own waterfront, have a friend who owns waterfront, take a vacation, or pay any money at all to spend time at the beach if you live in Tacoma. Here's what you need to do: get on the bus, your bike, your feet, or into the car and go to the public beach of your choice.
For a long rocky beach with Narrows Bridge Views, and the train tracks for company head to Titlow on the West Side.
For seal and people watching on a long mixed rock and sand beach with views of Vashon Island and Mt. Rainier, head into Pt. Defiance Park and follow the signs to Owen Beach. This is where you'll probably find the most people in swimsuits in the city on a sunny day (aside from pool parks!). Image from @metroparkstacoma - photo credit @soundregion
For a series of mini beaches along a paved pathway with lots of restaurants close by, you'll want to meander Ruston Way where you'll find a sandy beach at Jack Hyde Park, as well as a nice little stretch of beach at Dickman Mill Park.
Go to the beach! Get salty. Bring a reusable water bottle. Pack a snack and pack out your trash.
By the way, if you like to get cooled down, or like to send your kiddos out in their suits, but don't feel like a beach day, Tacoma has some delightful spraygrounds. Visit this helpful list provided by MetroParks to find a sprayground near you. Image from @metroparkstacoma
Why we love Tacoma summers REASON #3: Local Events
From weekly free outdoor concerts, to weekly markets, and special annual events like the Hilltop Street Fair, there's always a way to get out, find yourself in a mix of people, spend only as much as you want to, and get an experience. Want to know all about those weekly markets? Find the locations, days, and details in our Tacoma Summer Markets post. Looking for local events this summer? We don't have a list for August yet, but take a look at It's July in Tacoma - 15 Community Events You'll Love.
Why we love Tacoma summers REASON #4: Outdoor Dining - Find Those Patios!
Because of our significant rainy season (late fall, winter, spring, early summer...) we don't have as many patios here as you might find in cities with drier climates, but when the sunny days are here, the patio chairs come out, the umbrellas open, and the tables fill up. Here's a list of cafes, restaurants, and bars where you can find some open air seating.
En Rama - Downtown
Honey - Downtown
Top of Tacoma - McKinley
Rosewood Cafe - Proctor
Asado - 6th Ave (a few cocktail tables outside with a roll up door that opens up the interior too)
State Street Beer - 6th Ave
Hanks Bar & Pizza - Stadium/North Slope
Rhein Haus - Stadium
Shake, Shake, Shake - Stadium
Stack 571 Burger & Whiskey Bar - Point Ruston
Wildfin American Grill - Point Ruston
Boathouse 19 - West Side Waterfront
Narrows Brewing - West Side Waterfront (no food served, but you can bring your own!)
The Ram, CI Shenanigans, Duke's Chowder House, Katie Downs Tavern & Eatery, Harbor Lights (just a couple of tables, but they're there) - Ruston Way Waterfront
Anthony's - Point Defiance
Why we love Tacoma summers REASON #5: State Parks - Go Explore
Take a look at this map of State Parks in the Seattle/Tacoma region. In Tacoma we live on the shores of the Salish Sea, so waterfront parks with beaches and trails abound. Camp, picnic, take a trail, take a kayak, take the day.
Tip: Buy a Discover Pass for the year. It's only $30 annually (otherwise $10 per day). These are required for vehicle access to our Washington State Parks.
Here's our short list of some beloved parks in our area:
Dash Point - 20 minutes, 12 miles, Federal Way
Saltwater - 24 minutes, 18 miles, Des Moines
Kopachuck - 30 minutes, 18 miles, Gig Harbor
Penrose Point - 45 minutes, 32 miles, Key Peninsula (site of our rehearsal dinner picnic back in the day!)
Joemma Beach - 45 minutes, 34 miles, Key Peninsula
Dosewallips - 1.5 hours, 85 miles, Brinnon
Fort Worden - 1.5 hours, 80 miles
There are far more than 5 reasons we love living here in Tacoma. We're close to family, close to our roots, we love our friends, and we're generally pretty settled folks. We could go on about our home, and you probably could too. The truth is, we're grateful to have a safe place to be, and we don't take that for granted. Everything on our list of 5 is just the cherry on top.