Following in the Footsteps of Greatness

There's a lot of star power in the Pacific Northwest and people come from all over the world to get a little closer to iconic moments and figures that have inspired their lives. Ever since the city was selected to be the terminus for the Northern Branch of the transcontinental railroad in 1873, it has drawn talent from across the globe. 
We’ve hosted celebrities from Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling to contemporary stars like Justin Bieber or Kpop legends Twice in our top-notch venue the Tacoma Dome. The iconic coming of age film 10 Things I Hate About You was filmed on location here and Nirvana found their sound in a local barn. 
Pierce County has given the world some of its most beloved celebrities and now is your chance to stop in where they were and get a little taste of that star life for yourself. Try this star-studded itinerary for yourself and follow in the footsteps of greatness.

DAY 1 – Celebrity City

Fuel up at Art House Cafe or Lander Coffee, just down the street from Bing Crosby's home. In fact while here you might want to prep your Tacoma road-trip playlist. You can go hyper local with smooth crooners like Bing Crosby (born and raised here in Tacoma) or bring it up to speed with Neko Case or Enumclaw. Grunge legend Kurt Cobain was here in Tacoma with bassist Krist Novaselic where they recorded the demo that would be used for their breakout album Nevermind in 1991. The barn they used as a studio has since been lost to the ages but one of the first venues the band ever played in as Nirvana still exists today. It used to be called Legends and is on the corner of 13th and Fawcett. The interior is a parking garage today, but the facade remains and is a great piece of walk-by music history.
Bing Crosby House
Bing Crosby's childhood home. In Tacoma.
Set your heading for fame and navigate by the stardom as you make your way downtown towards Union Station. This 1911 train depot was designed by the same architecture team that created Grand Central Terminal in New York City. It's on the site where world famous millionaire George Francis Train left and returned for his around the world trip. George Train was the man who inspired Jules Vernes “Around the World in 80 Day” and he set out to break his original record by circumnavigating the world from the city he considered the transportation hub of the West Coast, Tacoma. George made the journey in 67 days, 12 hours, and 1 min. You too can use this spot to embark on countless adventures.
Glass Art at Union Station
Union Station in downtown Tacoma has become a defacto art gallery, in addition to a federal courthouse. If you find yourself in Union Station, we hope you're there for the art.
Stroll across the Chihuly Bridge of Glass on your way to the Glass Museum. The Bridge of Glass serves both as a conduit between the city and the waterway but also as dazzling monument to the works of Tacoma local, Dale Chihuly. This magnificent bridge highlights the parts of Tacoma that have most inspired Dale Chihuly, including local sea-glass, Tacoma stained glass, and the neon lights that made this city famous. The Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass, and Union Station all showcase our local celebrity Dale Chihuly's unparalleled work.
Bridge of Glass with photographer
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass has 2,941,388 pieces of original Dale Chihuly glass art, if you can believe it. And if you can't believe it, it has 2,364 pieces.
Once you work up an appetite you can go pick up lunch at Dirty Oscar’s Annex where American superstar Guy Fieri has made a few stops to highlight the locale on his hit show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. 6th Ave is studded with more great restaurants than sequins on an Elton John jumper. Along the way you can catch the marquee at legendary haunt Jazz Bones. This hotspot is a converted ice-cream parlor and soda fountain from the turn of the century that now hosts musical acts from Sir Mix-a-lot to Akwafina.
Photo: @carleyjayphotography on Instagram
6th Avenue: vintage stores, boutique coffee roasters and cafes, and optometrist offices.
Transitioning from Fieri to Fiero, you'll need to take the exit for America's Car Museum. This absolute treasure trove of iconic cars features beauties like Dale “The Intimidator” Earnhardt's race-car and the exhibit on the NASCAR story. It's a great nod to the fact that Tacoma was, from 1912 to 1922, known affectionately as the Indianapolis of the West. The Tacoma Speedway was a truly famous (and dangerous) racetrack that extended from what is now Steilacoom Boulevard to along Gravelly Lake Drive, over to 112th Street and down Lakeview Avenue back to Steilacoom Boulevard. Racing legends were born on the Tacoma Speedway and we can see some of the classic automobile heritage here in Tacoma today. Today you can learn a bit more about Tacoma’s racing history at the Lakewood History Museum and see the racing legends that made this city a national stop. 
Tacoma Speedway
Tacoma Speedway, circa a long time ago.
While you are there you can pop across the way to see the Tacoma Dome, where David Bowie was the first act to grace the stage, or head on down to the original Almond Roca Factory. Chocolatier's Brown and Haley only ever used the one factory to produce Almond Roca for the world but they had other tastes too. During the 1963 World's Fair Elvis used a ticket booth as his green room while filming “It Happened At the World's Fair.” Haley was such a big Elvis fan that he bought the ticket booth and had it shipped down from Seattle to Tacoma where it serves to this day as the main retail location for Almond Roca in Tacoma. Sadly, Elvis has left the building but you can still find the best deals on a hunk, a hunk of Almond Roca inside.
Almond Roca factory store
The Brown and Haley factory outlet. Yes, it's a factory outlet that's actually next to a factory. 
Want to see Stadium High School? The location where Heath Ledger had his first American acting gig in 10 Things I Hate About You. Well book a local tour with Pretty Gritty Tours and get the inside scoop on movie lore or even tour the building.
Stadium High School in Tacoma, Washington
"I love you, baby."
Since greatness is the order of the day, why not have dinner at the top? Top of Tacoma is one of our favorite spots to avoid the paparazzi and get a craft beer with your meal.
If you want to enjoy live music with your brew then look no farther than the legendary Bob's Java Jive. Our coffee pot shaped dive bar was a roadside attraction for decades and served diligently as a speakeasy for several years. It was also featured in the 1990 cult classic I Love You to Death with Kevin Kline and Keanu Reeves. Keanu was such a standup guy and a regular at Bob's that the owners offered to sell it to him but rescinded the offer when he mentioned that he would want to move the coffee pot karaoke bar to Maui.
Bob's Java Jive in Tacoma, Washington
Having been inside this giant coffee pot can be yet another thing you have in common with Keanu Reeves.
If you want to close the night out with some laughs then you are in the right spot. Tacoma is a proving ground for national comics. They come here to test material before taking it on the road. One great location to catch early jokes from wildly famous comics is Nate Jackson's Comedy Club. Nate is something of a TikTok celebrity himself and his comedy club has top tier talent in Tacoma all the time. There’s a multitude of comedy clubs to choose from and Tacoma Comedy Club is up there with the best. 
After so many brushes with greatness, you’ll be ready to retire to your downtown Tacoma hotel. 

DAY 2 – Star Studded Sea

Wake with the sun and get coffee at Bluebeard Coffee Roasters. This artisan coffee shop has what you need to start your day like a rockstar, or you can try Art House Cafe a bit further down. Once you're fueled up head out on the road.
Make the journey out to Chambers Bay Gold Course. This golf course is built on the remnants of the Lone Star gravel quarry which provided gravel for the vast majority of buildings in Seattle and Tacoma. It's not the only thing rock solid about it though. This is the very same course that hosted Tiger Woods and hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open Championships.
University Place Chambers Bay Trail
This was once the most scenic gravel quarry in the world.
From there it is a quick trip down the street to Steilacoom and the site where the 1983 classic WarGames with Matthew Broderick was partially filmed. You can still see the ferry to Goose Island. It's actually a Pierce County Ferry to the non-fictional Anderson Island.
Lunch at the Bair Bistro is pretty much a must in town. It is a retrofitted hardware store/post office/trolly stop from the late 1800s that now serves the most famous brunch in the region. Steilacoom is Washington's first incorporated community and the first US presence in Washington Territory.
Bair's Drug and Hardware in Steilacoom, Washington
Tiny towns built on scenic waterfronts don't get cuter than Steilacoom. It's like the municipal equivalent of a newborn riding a puppy.
Meander (in a car - this is quite the journey) along the seaside streets until you arrive at Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park. This park gets its name from Frank Herbert, the author of Dune, who was born and raised here in Tacoma. So much of the political intrigue and ecological warnings that his hit sci-fi novel are based on are ideas that he developed here in town watching as the newly minted EPA fought against large corporations to help defend the natural wonder of this area. A natural wonder you can explore by walking through Point Defiance Park, a 750+ acre old growth forest park with some trees pushing 500 years old.
Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park
Walk without rhythm, it won't attract the worm.
Drop into the Foss Waterway Seaport as you continue along the waterline and see a collection of handmade boats from some of the PNW's most important figures. This is the last remaining section of what was once the longest grain warehouse in the world. It's also the dock where in December of 1929 the USS Lexington came to Tacoma and used her onboard generators to power the city during a particularly tough drought.
Foss Waterway Seaport interior on Dock Street in Tacoma, Washington
Exposed beams, fore and aft. 
You can get dinner at any of the truly wonderful seafood restaurants that we have along the shore or grab a drink at the Spar, the oldest continuously operating bar in Tacoma. For dessert you have to head to Ice Cream Social out at Point Ruston. One of our sweetest stops, this local haunt makes all their waffle cones by hand and the ice-cream is made fresh in town. The region has a delicious relationship with ice-cream. Irv Robbins, co-founder of Baskin-Robbins, was raised here in Tacoma and worked for his dad's ice-cream shop downtown. This is where he said he came up with the idea for mint chocolate chip ice-cream.
Today has been a rush and it’s time to take it down a notch. Why not retire to the quiet community of Sumner to prepare for the next day. Any of these lovely hotels would be a perfect fit

Day 3 - Mountains of Talent

It was this region's close proximity to Mount Rainier that made it famous. In 1899, Mount Rainier and the surrounding area were established as a national park and the areas around the Port of Tacoma were established as the entry point for both those coming from all over the US but also globally. With the train depot and the international port right downtown people would come to stay and then embark to the tallest peak in Washington State. It's very much the same today.
The breakfast in Sumner is famous in its own right. Both the Buttered Biscuit and Eternal Soul Bowl are celebrity status in the region and give you the strength you need to get out and explore the area.
In downtown Sumner you can see the town that raised Clara Antoinette McCarty Wilt, this young woman was, in 1876, the first person to graduate from the University of Washington. She went on to become the first woman superintendent of the Pierce County School District.
The Buttered Biscuit chicken
An image you can hear: the fried chicken at The Buttered Biscuit.
Just down the road in Puyallup you can visit Eliza Meeker's mansion. Eliza was the woman who helped her husband Ezra Meeker become the most famous hops farmer in the United States. Hops production in Washington has always been king. Today Washington grows 75% of the nation's hops, but before 1900, Puyallup Valley and the Meekers had the trade in hand. If you want to tour the mansion that housed this iconic family you still can. Then walk down the road and explore the charming main street.
Meeker Mansion in Puyallup Washington
The Hop King of the Puyallup Valley knew how to live. Meeker Mansion in Puyallup.
Grab lunch at the Powerhouse Restaurant and Brewery, a former power station converted into a rad restaurant and brewery. If you're lucky enough to be there when a train passes outside it will trigger a snazzy display of electrical arcs on the wall where all the old power equipment is displayed on the brick interior.
Powerhouse Sandwich
Fun fiction: Powerhouse refers to both the building, which is a former power station, and their status as a culinary powerhouse.
Load up and make your way out to the biggest star in the region, Mount Rainier. Spend the day exploring before you turn back to the lavish comfort of a hotel fit for a movie star. 
Puyallup has a multitude of hotels to choose from and is the perfect spot to relax like a celebrity.