In June 2018, my husband and I made a big decision to leave California and move to Washington.
If you have never moved to a state where you don’t know anybody or where anything is, let me just tell you, it is very scary, especially if you are an introvert who enjoys staying at home with a book rather than going out to meet people.
Google maps quickly became my best friend when it came to things like finding a way to get to the library or grocery store.
Fast forward about a year -
I managed to meet some awesome people and I don’t have to use google maps to get to basic places anymore.
...but we did move, again.
I had found myself driving to a different city for almost everything I did.
If I wanted to go to a networking group, it was in Seattle or Tacoma.
If I wanted to visit a friend, it was in Tacoma.
If I wanted to buy the best tacos I had found in Washington so far? You guessed it, Tacoma.
Etc. etc. etc.
When our lease was up in May, we decided to move again, this time, to Tacoma, Washington and I had to figure out a whole new city! Luckily this time, it wasn’t completely new.
I still didn’t know how to get anywhere using the back streets without google maps though, so I came up with a photo project that would not only help me to explore my new city but also meet some new people!
I photographed local people that I met in a Facebook group at some of Tacoma’s most Instagrammable spots.
I wanted to find the places around the city that were worthy of being shared on Instagram.
Tacoma is pretty awesome though, so this is by far not a comprehensive list and I still have a lot of exploring left to do!
This park is probably my favorite place in all of Tacoma. With 760 acres, there is so much to do! You could hike one of the many trails, relax at the beach, or even visit the zoo and aquarium!
5605 Owen Beach Rd, Tacoma, WA 98407
This beach quickly became my favorite place to watch the sunset! Somehow, every visit seems different. On clear days, Mount Rainer pops out from around the corner so you can see all her majesty from the beach and I’ve even heard of orcas swimming up near the shore!
If you are looking for somewhere to take photos with a little bit of wooded nature and waterfront, Owen Beach is the place for you!
In the photo - Laura Malcolm from Give InKind
5400 N Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 98407
When you first enter Point Defiance, there is a garden on the left, where you can stop and smell the roses, literally! This garden is filled with beautiful colors from flowers that bloom several times a year. If you want the most color from your visit, make sure you go during the summer months, when the weather is bright and warm!
This location would be perfect for anyone who wants a feminine, springtime vibe or if you are just really into flowers!
In the photo - Joelle - Blush and Lilac
Downtown is full of old, interesting buildings that make you want to explore and find out all about the city’s history.
Within the streets of Tacoma’s downtown district, you will find restaurants, coffee shops, antique stores, theaters, and so much art! This area truly embraces the culture of the city.
Market Street Murals
1122 Market St, Tacoma, WA 98402
Through the Tacoma Murals Project, multiple artists created temporary works of art that transformed public spaces and enhanced the neighborhood and community identity. Now, you will find murals all over the city!
Market Street holds many of these murals, all within a couple of blocks of each other! My favorite is on the side of Happy Belly, a vegetarian restaurant and juice bar. The bright yellow and pink balloon lettering makes me smile every time I see it!
If you are looking for a cool, urban background option, I definitely recommend heading down to Market Street!
In the photo: Nina Harris - HJ Rustic
709 Court C/Opera Alley Tacoma, WA 98402
This alley is tiny, but it is packed with local shops and restaurants that are on a mission to bring life to an area that once was home to Tacoma’s first opera house. Opera Alley is one of the most color spots in Tacoma and it makes for some pretty magical photos.
If you are looking for bright solid color and murals for the backgrounds of your photos, you will definitely want to go here! With each building being a different color, there is definitely plenty to choose from.
In the Photo - Emily
If street art isn’t enough culture for you or just isn’t your thing, head on over to the museum district! The Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, Washington History Museum, Foss Waterway Seaport Museum, America’s Car Museum, and Children’s Museum of Tacoma are all a short walk away from each other.
Bridge of Glass
1801 Dock St, Tacoma, WA 98402
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a 500-foot-long pedestrian bridge that connects the Museum of Glass and downtown. It holds three of Dale Chihuly’s glass installations, perfectly placed to capture and filter sunlight through the colored glass. It is definitely something that locals and tourists must check out at least once!
The modern architecture paired with striking glass art provides some really fun photo opportunities!
In the photo - Meredith
Murray Morgan Bridge
11th Street or Dock Street
The Murray Morgan Bridge is a steel vertical-lift bridge that spans over Thea Foss Waterway. It’s the perfect reminder that Tacoma is an industrial, blue-collar city at heart. Jessica’s grandfather actually worked on the bridge for many years!
WARNING: This bridge may look cool and despite it being less trafficked, it is still fully operational. If you must take a photo on this bridge, please be fully aware of your surroundings.
If you are looking for the grittiness of Tacoma for your photos, there are many ways to incorporate this bridge without standing in the center. For example, on a clear day, Mount Rainer can be found perfectly framed by this bridge from Fireman’s Park and it always looks awesome!
In the photo - Jessica
The Stadium District is a neighborhood of the north end, and it’s named after Stadium HIgh School. If you have ever seen 10 Things I Hate About You, you know the building that I’m talking about!
501 S I St, Tacoma, WA 98405
Washington is great at having little pockets of nature come out of nowhere. This 27-acre arboretum can be found smack in the middle of the city! It is perfect for a leisurely walk or taking kids to the playground.
If you are looking for a fun place for family photos, this park pretty much has it all. It is also perfect for anyone who wants to be surrounded by nature in the city!
In the photo - Karyn
W.W. Seymour Conservatory
316 S G St, Tacoma, WA 98405
This greenhouse is located at Wright Park and is full of beautiful plants that you have probably never seen anywhere else! Stepping into the conservatory is a bit like stepping into a tropical jungle.
If you are going for a tropical/natural vibe, this is the place for you! Pro tip: Go in the morning or on a cloudy day for the best light!
In the Photo - Sarah
Craft breweries, large and small, are popping up in and around the city’s historic brewery district along Pacific Avenue. This district also has many properties that hold historic significance or design interest.
2416 S C St, Tacoma, WA 98402
TREE is a store that sells beautiful eco-friendly and sustainable furniture and home decor. It is located inside the Nisqually Power Sub-Station, which was one of the first in the country to introduce water-powered energy back in the 1910s. Today, the curator of TREE, Nicole Wakley is bringing that vibrant history back to life by modernizing the space and making every corner look like it belongs in a magazine!
If you love natural furniture, you have to see this place! All of the pieces are so cool and the photos will turn out gorgeous!
In the Photo - Kate
Need more than a selfie?
With cameras being on every cell phone these days, taking photos at these places is easier than ever, but sometimes professional photos are the way to go!
If you are in need of high quality photographs and want to try out one of the places above, schedule a free phone consultation with me!
I offer high quality brand photography for business owners and I also have options for families!
P.S. Want to see more photos like this? Follow me on Instagram!