The gift of art, music, adventure and quality time in Tacoma and Pierce County

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 11:00 AM by Matt Wakefield

When it comes to giving gifts, most people would rather unwrap a memory than a new gadget for the holidays.
 
That’s why gift-giving trends are moving toward experiences instead of stuff. Sure, they don’t always come in a cool box that they get to tear open during the holidays, but the smiles are just as wide when the family learns they’ll be heading off to a new adventure, or your sweetie finds out he or she has a custom-built outing ahead of them.
 
We’ve come up with some giftable experiences in Tacoma and Pierce County that’ll bring smiles when they’re opened, and again when they’re redeemed.
 

For the family

A New Year Celebration to Remember
For instant gratification, look no further than New Year’s Eve! Give your family the gift of live music, theater, food and antiquing with tickets to First Night Tacoma. Since there’s almost guaranteed to be a chill in the air, a stop by the Bostwick Café (set in the middle of the First Night festivities) for a cup of hot chocolate is a must. Go one step further and make it a New Year’s Eve to remember with an overnight at a hotel in downtown Tacoma.
 
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Museums for Everybody!
Tacoma’s Museum District is packed with six museums that cover maritime, history, art and automobiles. A Tacoma Museum Pass lets you and your family explore them all, and you’ll also have access to the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, to make sure nobody is left out of the enjoyment. No art getaway would be complete without a stay at the Hotel Murano, whose art collection would be at home in any museum gallery.
 
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For the foodie

A Tour of World-Famous Pies
Sumner, in the shadow of Mount Rainier, is the Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World. Copper Creek Restaurant, just outside the gates to Mount Rainier National Park in Ashford, has world-famous blackberry pie. Combine the two into the most decadent trip imaginable. Just to be safe, you should probably make it an overnight adventure at the mountain by booking a room at the Copper Creek Inn that’s co-located with the restaurant, or one of the other inns and cabins at Mount Rainier.
 
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For your sweetie

Waterfront Romance
Start your date at Heritage Distilling, the most decorated distillery in the United States, taking a tour and enjoying a tasting. Don’t miss their signature Brown Sugar Bourbon (BSB). Grab a bottle to go, and head to Gig Harbor’s waterfront, where you’ll enjoy the romance of the Pacific Northwest’s only Venetian gondola. At the Gig Harbor Gondola your personal gondolier will row you around Gig Harbor, sing in Italian and provide snacks to go along with whatever bottle you brought from Heritage.
 
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For the art and music lover

A Weekend of Glass
In the art world, knowledge and appreciation go hand in hand. Combine the two by pairing a one-hour glassblowing session with ticket to the Museum of Glass and Tacoma Art Museum – two museums with world-class glass-art collections separated by the Chihuly Bridge of Glass. And any art-themed getaway wouldn't be complete without a stay at a hotel in downtown Tacoma. 
 
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A Date at the Dome
One of the region’s top destination for entertainment, the Tacoma Dome is where the big acts play when they come to the Pacific Northwest. Combine a concert experience (from the Dome’s full calendar) with an outstanding dinner at the Harmon Restaurant or The Swiss (both along Tacoma Link Light Rail line) and overnight stay at the Best Western Tacoma Dome (just steps from the Dome itself). You’ll have music, food and accommodations without needing a car. You’ve just given the gift of an epic, no-hassle music weekend.
 
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For the adventurer

Adventure with Altitude
Get the adrenaline flowing with a spring or summertime adventure high up in the trees at Northwest Trek’s Zip Wild challenge course (opens in spring), followed by a day of hiking at Mount Rainier. Choose from one of the ziplines or ropes courses of various levels of difficulty at Northwest Trek, each of which will put your agility and mental toughness to the test. You’re sure to leave with an appetite, so stop by Wildberry Restaurant for Sherpa-Himalayan food from Tibet and Nepal on the way to Paradise at Mount Rainier for a free ranger-guided hike among the wildflowers. Then stay overnight at the Paradise Inn (summers only), or the National Park Inn.
 
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For the golfer

Championship Stay and Play
Piece County is the home to championship golf, and while the golf experience here starts with Chambers Bay – home of the 2015 U.S. Open Championship – it doesn’t end there. The Home Course in DuPont is packed with views of the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound and is the perfect place to finish off a weekend of golf. Stay overnight in nearby DuPont, so that most of your driving will be from the tee box.
 
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Author: Matt Wakefield

Matt is Travel Tacoma + Pierce County's communications manager. He's a Pacific Northwest native and outdoor enthusiast. He's also a minimalist, so we'll stop here.

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