Tacoma parks are located all around the city and range in size from small patches of land to very large green spaces with lots of things to do within their bounds. Most parks are managed by Metro Parks Tacoma. All parks open a half hour before sunrise and close a half hour after sunset. Below is by no means a complete list of parks (which you can find on the Metro Parks site), but is a list of the biggest, best, and most unique parks in Tacoma.
Along with many green spaces, Metro Parks also manages places such as Northwest Trek and the Point Defiance Zoo. Many of the parks contain some of Tacoma’s best hikes.
Charlotte’s Blueberry Park
7402 East D Street
One of Tacoma’s most unique parks, the Blueberry Park is just what it sounds like—a park full of blueberries. There are hundreds of blueberry bushes here and visitors are allowed to pick as many blueberries as they would like to. Blueberries are typically ready to pick between June and October.
Brown’s Point Lighthouse Park
201 Tulalip Street NE
Located in Northeast Tacoma, Brown’s Point is special because it has a lighthouse right on its grounds. On any day, visitors can go up to the lighthouse and look around, but tours are also available. You can even stay in the lighthouse for a week and be its caretaker if you want to get to know this structure better. Also in the park are picnic and BBQ facilities and a beach that is a great place to walk and explore.
Point Defiance Park
5400 N Pearl Street
Point Defiance Park is Tacoma’s largest and most well-known park by far. This expansive space is located on a peninsula in the north of Tacoma. The park has miles of hiking trails, including a paved drive and trail called Five Mile Drive, but more than that, this is the location of some of Tacoma’s top attractions. Point Defiance Zoo, Fort Nisqually, a Rhododendron Garden, and Owen Beach are all found here. Point Defiance is also the location of some larger events, including the Taste of Tacoma in June.
2820 Pioneer Way E
Currently, 250 acres of undeveloped wooded wilderness await along the Swan Creek canyon in East Tacoma. This is one of Tacoma’s best hikes by far, but relatively few people make the trek through the entire park. Entrances to this park are located just off of 56th and Portland Avenue as well as along Pioneer Way E. There are some facilities located near the Pioneer Way entrance, but once you get onto the trails in the woods, there is only nature to greet you.
Stewart Heights Park
402 E 56th Street
One of the best parks in East Tacoma has grown over the years to include not just a park and playground, but also a skate park and an 8,500-square-foot pool with lap lanes, play areas, and a water slide. Facilities also include a bathhouse, community meeting space, and a Subway in the pool complex. For sheer number of facilities, this park can’t be beat.
The Waterfront along Ruston Way is more than a park—it is a two-mile-long walkway along the Puget Sound with fantastic views of the mountain, Northeast Tacoma, Vashon Island, and the port. Along the way, there are several parks, including Dickman Mill Park, Hamilton Park, and Jack Hyde Park. None of the parks here are large, but provide places to sit and relax. During some of the festivals that take place here, including July’s Freedom Fair, these parks light up with events and live entertainment.
8425 6th Avenue
Another one of Tacoma’s waterfront parks, Titlow Beach is quieter than the more popular Waterfront and Owen Beach, but this is what makes it so appealing. There is a full park just off the water here with a duck pond, playground equipment, BBQ facilities, and a lodge that can be rented for events. Behind the park are a network of woodland trails. Along the water, there is a small walkway and a long stretch of beach that is accessible when the tide is out.
6500 S Sheridan Avenue
Wapato Park surrounds Wapato Lake and is the best park located in South Tacoma. It has a good amount of walking trails around the lake, BBQ facilities, playground equipment, and often ducks to feed in the lake. The park is beautifully landscaped and is a treasure trove of natural surrounds.
501 South I Street
Wright Park is one of Tacoma’s most historic places. Its W.W. Seymour Botanical Garden dates back to 1907 and the park itself is even older. There are sculptures located throughout the park, including the prominent white sculptures at the Division Street entrance, which date to the late 1800s. Within the park’s bounds is a duck pond, sports courts, a playground, the botanical garden, and lots of space to kick back with a picnic. Part of this part also even has free Wi-Fi.