The Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Itinerary Suggested Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
The Tacoma Narrows was originally built in the summer of 1940 and wouldn’t end up surviving through the year. The bridge was not built adequately to survive the strong winds that came through this Puget Sound channel. The original Tacoma Narrows would “gallop” on windy days and finally on November 7th 1940 collapsed in to the sound. The only life that was lost was that of a cocker spaniel who sealed his fate after biting his rescuer.
Morning: Start your “Galloping Gertie” day by heading down to the Harbor History Museum where you will find pieces of the original Narrows Bridge. Walk the halls of the museum and read the history of the beautiful maritime city of Gig Harbor. Don't miss the museum's "round rock" collection. The result of a local competition that started in the 1950s.
Afternoon: When finished at the museum stroll along Gig Harbor’s waterfront where you will find plenty of shops to step in to. When hunger hits settle in to a table at Tide’s Tavern. Enjoy the views of the harbor as you munch on a King Salmon Burger and sip your favorite brew.
Next, drive across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge but don’t stress about taking in the views while driving because you have the opportunity to walk across. Once on the Tacoma side of the bridge, park at War Memorial Park and take the Scott Pierson Trail which will lead you to the bridge. Take your time to walk across the massive structure and just imagine how it used to “gallop” but don’t fear as it is now nicknamed “Sturdy Gertie”.
Because of the ruins of the bridge that still rest between Tacoma and Gig Harbor, the area is a top spot for scuba diving. You can spot divers year round at this diving hub. Scuba divers aren’t the only things attracted to the ruins, it is said that giant octopus like to hang around the remains of old Galloping Gertie. While it is a fact that there are large octopus, enteroctapus dofleini otherwise known as the giant Pacific octopus, that lurk here there’s also a legend of an enormous octopus that lives here. Tacoma natives have stories of seeing 15-foot tentacles reach up out of the water and because of this the octopus has become somewhat of a local icon.
When finished with your walk, hop back in to the car and make your way to Point Defiance Park. In Point Defiance Park you fill find the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The Pacific Seas Aquarium in addition to stunning hammerhead sharks and giant sea turtles, offers a peek under the bridge, with a recreation of the sea life that live in the bridge ruins. Catch a glimps of the octopus, though not quite giant, who lives there.
After enjoying the zoo and aquarium, explore Point Defiance Park. Follow the signs for the 5-mile scenic drive. If you’d like to take a detour head down to Owen Beach for a bit to see the gorgeous waterfront. Once on the scenic drive stop at the viewpoints to take in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Towards the end of the 5-miles the viewpoints overlook the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and are great photo opportunities.
Evening: Take your time in Point Defiance Park but make sure to leave with at least 20 minutes to sunset. Go to Boathouse 19 next where you can either walk on to the dock or grab a table outside to enjoy the sunset. Boathouse 19 not only has views of the sunset and waterfront, it also boasts one of the best views of the Tacoma Narrows. Enjoy some fish and chips while the sun goes down and make sure to stick around for desserts which will make for a perfect ending to the day.
The Washington State History Museum, also houses a piece of the Gertie, as well as multiple artifacts and stories of Washington state history.