A Bit of Urban Exploration

Point Defiance Park & Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park

Urban Exploration - Pacific North Wanderers.jpg

Here in the Pacific Northwest we have a lot of gray days. Winter isn’t particularly severe in the lower elevations, it’s just gray. Gray and damp. On the rare occasion that the sun makes an appearance, we find it important to maximize our outdoor time. While yes, we absolutely love our outward bound trips, sometimes we need to stick closer to home to enjoy that bright thing in the sky. This weekend was a prime example. Instead of driving an hour or two or four to go hiking in the mountains we chose to explore a couple areas of Tacoma.

Everything has beauty, not everyone sees it.
— Confucius


Point Defiance Park


Pagoda and reflection in Japanese Garden.


Point Defiance Park is an escape to nature within an urban landscape. Trails, wildlife, forest, oceanfront, history and culture are all parts of what make this area unique. This park encompasses some 760 acres. Originally designated as a military site of operations, it was approved by President Cleveland to become a park in 1888.


This park is home to gardens, a living museum, as well as a zoo and aquarium. The majority of the area is free to visitors, with the exception of the zoo and aquarium. It is a beautiful expanse of green space that sees some 3.1 million visitors each year.


We meandered muddy trails, took in views of the waterfront, were spectators to the raucousness surrounding a “polar bear plunge” event, spied fresh buds and several harbingers of spring, giggled at the pond full of ducks that sounded like squeak toys, visited the Japanese garden and thoroughly enjoyed much of what this area offers.



Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park


Chinese Pavilion


Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park stands as a symbol of inclusivity and reconciliation. A remembrance and restoration of relationships from a sullied past, when in 1885 the Chinese population of Tacoma was expelled from the city. This serves to acknowledge the diversity that makes this area the great place it is today.


This beautiful, serene space is a garden with statuary, sculptures, structures, pathways and benches. Thoughtfully placed along the shore of Commencement Bay, it offers amazing views. It is meant to be a place of healing and harmony, per the website description.


The day we visited was clear and lovely, there were only a scant few people enjoying the space. The vivid red of the Chinese Pavilion stood boldly against the blues of the water and clear skies. It was an excellent place to take a break and appreciate the historic value this place represents.



Final Thoughts


Us with the Chinese Reconciliation Park as background


So, even days when “the mountains are calling”, but you can’t answer, you can still get outside! Parks, fields, harbors, rooftop patios, even a walk through the neighborhood, sometimes you just have to be outdoors. Be inspired to explore, you might find some nearby surprises!


Hey, we appreciate your readership! If you're in the market for new gear and would be willing to make your purchase through our Amazon link, we might get a small commission out of it. No additional cost to you and maybe a little something for us!
Thank you for your support!



Follow along on our wanderings around the Pacific Northwest.
The only thing better would be being there yourself!
Subscribe to Our Newsletter