Washington State is the 18th largest state in terms of physical area and 13th largest in terms of population. It is the 25th most densely populated state, with an estimated population of 7.4 million. Washington State is situated in the Pacific Northwest region of America and covers an area of 71,362 square miles. The state was named after the first President of the United States, George Washington. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


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Washington has borders with Idaho, Oregon, and Canada, and is statistically one of the richest and most socially progressive states of America, well known for its lumber and manufacturing industries. The state capital of Washington is Olympia, but the largest city in the state is Seattle, with the Greater Seattle region being the biggest metropolitan area in Washington. Here are some additional details and overviews of the largest cities in Washington.

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Situated in King County, of which it is the county seat, Seattle is by far the largest city in the state of Washington. This city is located in the central western part of the state and covers an area of 142.5 square miles. The estimated population of Seattle is 730,000. This city was incorporated in 1869 and was named after a Native American chief of the same name. Seattle is a major seaport city and one of the key cultural, commercial, and touristic locations for Washington State.

The city of Seattle has several high rise buildings, including the iconic Space Needle, and is located just 100 miles away from the United States-Canada border. Seattle is one of the fastest-growing major cities in America and is known for its celebrated musical and nightlife scene, being the birthplace of several major musical artists and bands like Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix.

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Located on the Spokane River in Spokane County, Spokane is the second largest city in Washington State and covers an area of 60.02 square miles. This city is situated in the eastern part of Washington, near the state border. It has an estimated population of 217,000. The city of Spokane was named after the Native American people of the same name, with 'Spokane' translating to 'Children of the sun' in English.

The city is known as 'Lilac City' due to a certain type of flower that grows nearby. Spokane is also known as the birthplace of Father's Day, which is now celebrated all around the United States. Some of the key landmarks in and around Spokane include Spokane Falls, Riverfront Park, and the Monroe Street Bridge.

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Located in Pierce County, of which it is the county seat, Tacoma is the third largest city in Washington. Situated on the Puget Sound in the central western part of the state, Tacoma covers an area of 62.34 square miles. The estimated population of Tacoma is 208,000, with over 3.7 million living in the surrounding metropolitan area.

This city was founded in 1875 and is consistently regarded as one of the best places to live in Washington State. Major renovations have occurred in Tacoma in recent years, especially in the downtown neighborhoods, and the city is only 30 miles outside of Seattle, so has close connections with Washington's biggest city.

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Located in Clark County, of which it is the county seat, Vancouver is the fourth largest city in the state of Washington. This city is situated in the southwestern corner of the state on the Washington-Oregon border and covers an area of 49.86 square miles. The estimated population of Vancouver is 176,000.

Due to Vancouver's location near Oregon, it is actually classified as a suburb of Portland, Oregon's biggest city. This means that Vancouver is part of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area, which crosses over the border and is actually the 23rd largest metro area in the United States. The city was founded in 1825 and was originally constructed as a military fort.

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Located in King County in the central western part of the state, Bellevue is the fifth biggest city in all of Washington State. This city covers an area of 36.47 square miles and has an estimated population of 144,000, with over 3.7 million people living in the surrounding Seattle metropolitan area.

Bellevue is located close to Seattle, on the opposite side of Lake Washington, and is considered a satellite city, with many of its residents commuting into Seattle for work each day. The city was settled back in 1869 and got its name from a French word meaning 'Beautiful view'.

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5 of the Largest Cities in Washington State

  • Overview, Photo: tom_kli/stock.adobe.com
  • Seattle, Photo: Felix Mizioznikov/stock.adobe.com
  • Spokane, Photo: Rick/stock.adobe.com
  • Tacoma, Photo: David Gn/stock.adobe.com
  • Vancouver, Photo: Nicholas Steven/stock.adobe.com
  • Bellevue, Photo: Melastmohican/stock.adobe.com
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of Brad - Fotolia.com

Attraction Spotlight: Tacoma Art Museum

Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) was established by a group of volunteers called the Tacoma Art Association, in 1935. The museum attracts over 225,000 traditional tourists that come from the region and nationwide. The museum has 4500 works and has developed five exhibitions over a period of 80 years that have become a national model in mid-sized and regional museums. The museum caters for a broad range of communities of the Northwest by bringing them together through the use of exhibitions, art collection, and learning programs for all ages.

The museum is a public institution that has gained national recognition by been named by the Budget Travels as “10 Awesome Celebrity-Narrated Audio Tours,” for a Clint Eastwood narration as well as ranking top 10 as “Great Places to See Art in Smaller Cities.” The Tacoma Art Museum has grown strong roots in the communities, anchors museum district, and the Tacoma’s downtown university. The current location opened on May 3rd, 2003, from a former location of a bank building built in 1920.

The $22 million Tacoma Art Museum, Antoine Predock-designed building provided enough space and allowed the museum to exhibit more of the permanent exhibitions. Also, the $15.5 million 16,000 square feet building was planned by Olson Kundig Architects. The museum offers learning activities and creative programming tailored to all ages inclusive of free community events.

European Art contains 300 works of all Medias. The artists are Eastern and Western European countries citizens.

Lindberg Collection was donated to the Tacoma Art Museum in 1983 Mr. and Mrs. W. Hilding Lindberg and consisted of more than 40 drawings and paintings. The collection originates mostly from German and French artists. It entails works by Eugene Louis Boudin, Henri Fantin-Latour, Edgar Hilaire Degas, Camille Pissarro, Adolf Schreyer, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Karl Spitzweg.

The Benaroya Collection was donated recently through an announcement by Tacoma Art Museum on January 14th, 2016. This collection was put together by late Mr. and Mrs. Jack Benaroya over their union of 70 years on her 93rd birthday. It has 225 works comprising of paintings, International and Northwestern studio art glass and sculptures by famous artists. The donation totaled close to $14 million.

Art Studio is a space designated for people to learn and make art and located next to Tacoma Art Museum store lobby. The studio supplies tools, art supplies, work tables and inspirations. The workshop is free so no need to pay admission and opens to visitors of all ages and experience. Learn and make arts.

Haub Family Collection was a generous donation to the museum and showcases western American art. It was the first museum collection from the Pacific Northwestern region. It has estimated 300 works, traversing 200 years.

Gates Library is a project funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The library houses more than 6, 000 art books, videos, plenty of art periodicals and teacher resources. The assets are used by the educators to allow incorporation of arts with lessons plans. It characterizes of comfortable seating directing Pacific Avenue, video station, internet-connected workstations, large study table, and a kid’s book corner located in Betty Gene and John Walker Reading Alcove. It’s opened to the public for free.

TAM Store is open to the public to shop for exquisite art pieces available in the museum’s store. Select from books, cards, kids toys, home décor, baskets, blankets, hand-crafted jewelry amidst others. Available also is the latest collection directory Art of the American West: The Haub Family Collection.

Japanese Woodblock Prints mostly are from a kiyo-e, meaning, “Pictures of the floating world” genre created between 17th and late 19th Century. It characterizes of the theater, motifs of landscapes and city life.

Constance Lyon Collection comprises of over 200 patterns with dates ranging from 17th to early 20th century.

Al and Besty Buck Collection highlights prints recording military movements from the Meiji Period (1868–1912) and Japan images of late 19th century. Al and Betsy Buck donated 52 Japanese woodblock prints in 2006 dating early 19th to early 20th.

Dale Chihuly’s Glass Artwork displays the largest retroactive collection of glass in the museum.

Studio Art Jewelry holds essential collections by Northwest artists traversing from post-World War ll period to present. It consists of works by Nancy Worden, Lori Talcott, Ron Ho, Mary Lee Hu, and Ken Cory among others. It also showcases works of national artists as well as international. Through many individuals’ contributions and Rotasa Foundation; Ramona Solberg Fund is devoted to collecting permanent jewelry collection with the most recent by Nancy Worden Frozen Dreams.

Photography Collection has approximately 350 works from 1905 to date and records various photographic procedures from original chloride prints and photogravures to current digital technologies. It includes works by several Northwest photographers like Anne Noggle, Ella McBride, Mary Randlett and Christian Staub among others. It has bespoke work by Matika Wilbur and Bill Jacobson as well.

The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today planned by Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C. It welcomes artists throughout the country to submit their most exquisite pieces of art. 2016 has selected modern works of 43 artists for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. The exhibition features sculptures, drawings, paintings, photographs and various media works. The event will take place on February 4th to May 14th, 2017.

Coast to Cascades display works by C.C. McKim’s who is an impressionist painter from Portland, Oregon. The exhibit will showcase his images that capture Oregon’s landscapes, review of his career and discover his effect into the Northwest art division. The event is ongoing until March 26, 2017.

30 Americans will feature a leading group of influential uprising African American artists who have contributed to the contemporary art section in the states and worldwide.

Artists Drawn to the West exhibition observes creative trends, styles; and actions that inclined the insights and imagery of the West American. The exhibit will showcase works of Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt among other sculptors and painters who linked the Western art to greater movements in the European and American art.

Teacher Resource Events dedicated to celebrating teachers by gathering resources, networking and exploring galleries. It invites all educators for a socializing event in the museum. The teachers are allowed to discover various ways in which they can incorporate arts with other subjects. They also learn about the programs and resources in the Puget Sound area provided by prominent organizations.

K-12 Educator Workshop is an upcoming event brought by the Tacoma’s Museum District. It focuses on bringing fresh creative ways to incorporate Engineering, Technology, Science, Art and Mathematics into classes with a target on environmental sustainability.

TAM’s Annual Used Book Sale is intended to fund the museum’s educational programming. It allows book donations as well to support the fund. The books sold are usually gently used and covers a range of creative subjects.

Teen Night gives a chance to the teens to rule over the Tacoma Art Museum with music, gallery games, photo booth, arts, performances and more activities. The event is organized by the TAM’s Teen Art Council and encouraged by 30 Americans.

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Education Opportunities

Tour Programs is an interactive school that acts as an addition to the classroom. The students learn about on view discussion ideas, work of art, voice opinions, the relation between art and their lives; and discover the current happenings of art today. It stretches knowledge to both students and teachers gain expertise in different academic disciplines.

PreK-12 School Tours set for PreK-12 students. Handbooks and extra curriculum materials are available for free online. School tours are booked three weeks in advance. The program accentuates problem solving, critical thinking and language abilities.

Professional Development provides openings to teachers to realize how object-based education develops 21st Century skills, intensifies cultural proficiency and satisfies Common Core State Standards. You learn techniques which you later train into your students to assist them to interpret art.

Curriculum Center has guides that help teachers during their preparations for school tours. However, the guides are available for independent use during the visit. The curriculum guides are available for download on the website.

Snap a Selfie gives you a chance to take selfies with the museums fascinating images of artwork collections and share them with friends.

Frame It Up educates on framing through making own mini-exhibitions. There is a lot of difference in a picture once framed as it adds sophistication. During this fun activity, you play the “Curator” while training framing and organizing images on the magnetic wall.

Trace a Face using the Tacoma Art Museum switch glass tool to study about portrait drawing. The activity is an excellent way to have fun with a friend or partner since it requires two people facing each other with a switch glass in the middle. Flip the switch so that you see through the glass and draw your partner.

TAM Café offers a warm atmosphere where you relax and delight in Northwestern ingredients that make delicious dishes. The café has free Wi-Fi and charging outlets along the walls. This way, you can charge your devices while enjoying the ambiance.

Back to: Best Places to Visit in Washington State, Things to Do in Tacoma

1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, Washington, 98402, Phone: 253-272-4258

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Attraction Spotlight: Children's Museum of Tacoma

The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is an educational space where children can play, explore, discover and learn. The Museum’s philosophy is that play is the right of every child and features five creative playscapes designed to spark imagination, encourage curiosity, engage the intellect, and celebrate the power of play. Created to cater for children of all ages, playscapes include Woods, Water, Voyager, Invention, and Becka’s Studio and focus on the fields of cognitive and critical thinking skills, creativity, social and emotional skills, fine and gross motor development, and early literacy learning. The Children’s Museum of Tacoma also offers a variety of daily and weekly activities ranging from STEAM workshops and Story Times to Exceptional Families Parent Workshops, Museum Fun Days. There are also several educational programs available to adults, families, and educators, including Preschool Powered by Play, The Muse Childcare Center, Play to Learn Outreach Program, the Gingerbread Jamboree, Summer and Winter Camps, and the Right to Play Gala.


The Children's Museum of Tacoma was established in 1985 to provide a space where children could learn, explore, and discover life skills through play. Built in downtown Tacoma by a group of educators, community leaders, and parents, the Museum has been serving families in the area for over 20 years with a variety of rotating multiple-theme exhibits, hands-on displays, fun activities and educational programs for children of all ages.


The Children’s Museum of Tacoma features five playscapes, namely Woods, Water, Voyager, Invention, and Becka’s Studio designed to engage children up to the age of eight years.

Woods reflects an outdoor space that evokes physical play, exploration, risk, and assessment in a comfortable, and cozy environment with elevated platforms and open spaces. Children can play with light in a dark area, build forts, shuttle supplies via pulleys, or settle into cozy nooks to read and discover. A particular toddlers area encourages early sensory exploration and gross motor play.

Water allows children to explore this liquid element with a sculptured rock waterfall, flowing offshoots, levers, cranks and floating objects to experiment with. Volumes of water can be changed, patterns of falling watched observed, floating objects navigated down streams and the flow of water changed, as well as playing with various states of liquid.

Created and built from fantastical childhood memories, Voyager beckons children to climb aboard and let their imaginations run wild. Kids can load cargo, pilot the vessel, jump into the head, and tinker with various wheels, gauges, and communication devices as they create endless pretend play scenarios. This playscape also features a tower that children can climb to communicate with the vessel, dig a sensory pit in its base.

Becka's Studio focuses on creative art making and expressions and experimental tinkering through artistic and scientific activities with unusual materials.Becka's Studio is a space in which budding artists can express their creativity in their unique ways, from independently focused artwork to messy projects.

Educational Programs / Activities

The Museum offers Tuesday Play Days exclusively for families with children who have special needs every Tuesday morning from 10:00 - 11:30 am. Daily and weekly activities at the Museum include STEAM activities where children of all ages and abilities can explore the fields of art, engineering, mathematics, science and technology through guided activities, Story Time between 1:00 and 2:00 pm every day, and a variety of art activities between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. Other activities at the Museum include Parent’s Night Out, Museum Fun Days, Exceptional Families Parent Workshops, Foster Family Caregiving Training, PBS Playdate, Sotabots Robotics, Wee Ones Weekly, and Art Sparks.

The Museum also offers several educational programs, including Preschool Powered by Play, The Muse Childcare Center, Play to Learn Outreach Program, the Gingerbread Jamboree, Summer and Winter Camps, the Right to Play Gala, and a variety of members-only programs.

Visitor Information

The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is located at 1501 Pacific Avenue in Tacoma and is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission to the Museum is on a ‘Pay As You Will’ basis and donations are welcomed.

1501 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, Washington 98402, Phone: 253-627-6031

More Things to Do in Tacoma

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