Editor’s note: Please remember to recreate responsibly by wearing masks, socially distancing and following group size guidelines as recommended by local and state authorities. Stay healthy, have fun!
Hot summer days call for seaside activities. Families will find plenty at Point Ruston, especially if you’re looking for a waterfront walk that boasts gorgeous views and offers plenty of space to picnic and play, alongside paved paths that were made for strollers and bikes and family eateries. It’s Tacoma’s coolest waterfront, resort-inspired village that is now also home to a brand-new 40-acre park. Scroll down to learn more!
1. Marvel at the View
There’s no denying Point Ruston has one of the best views in town, spanning Commencement Bay from the Olympics to Mt. Rainier, peeking up over downtown Tacoma. You can take it all in, unobstructed, along the Point Ruston walkway, a paved path that runs for miles in either direction without interruption. It’s the perfect spot to bike, jog, walk, scoot, blade or board. Pack your wheels or walking shoes or rent a sweet ride from Wheel Fun, located by the waterfront, and take in the view!
2. Get Connected
You'll definitely want to check out the recently-opened Dune Peninsula and the Wilson Way Bridge. This new 40-acre park connects Point Ruston to Point Defiance Park, so you can now ride, walk, jog or roll for miles between the two points. Beyond taking in the views from the bridge, you can also picnic here, play on the beach and ride the slides. That’s right! There are six consecutive slides that take riders from the bridge down to the parking lot in no time flat. Ride them again and again to keep the little ones entertained on your outing.
3. Cool Off at the Splash Pad
Editor's note: The Children's Spray Park on the Grand Plaza is closed due to Covid restrictions.
There’s no better way to cool down on a hot summer day than splashing in the water feature at Point Ruston. Designed to mimic salmon swimming upstream, this mechanized fountain features leaping water that begs kids to chase it as it moves from point A to point Z. Add in plenty of seating for parents and a breathtaking view, and you’ve got a relaxing spot to soak up the sun while the kiddos get soaked. Psst! Stay 'til it’s dark to check out the water feature with laser lights. It’s an otherworldly experience your kids will love!
4. Play on the Playground
It makes sense that the Point Ruston play structure is shaped like a ferry, since visitors can watch the Washington state ferries make frequent crossing from Point Defiance to Vashon Island from this vantage point. There’s plenty of places to climb, slide and swing for kids ages two and up. Plan to take a break here during your day.
5. Enjoy a Summer Concert
Editor's note: The Summer Concert Series is canceled for 2020.
Starting in July, you can add live music to your Point Ruston experience. On Saturdays from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., free all-ages shows take place right on the water. The steps down to the mural double as amphitheater seating, but if you want to be extra comfy, bring a stadium chair to use. Then, plan on a full lineup of rock, hip-hop, blues and country this summer.
6. Shop the Farmers Market
Get all things fresh at the Point Ruston Farmers Market on Sundays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Peruse the vendor tents to find the best in fresh, local goods served up from now through September. See the full events calendar here.
7. Cast a Line
Pack your fishing license and your pole, so you can try to catch tonight’s dinner to top off your day at Point Ruston. Les Davis Pier is just a short walk down from the Grand Plaza, and you’ll find plenty of spots to drop a line along the pier. Psst! With an artificial reef down below, your chances of making a catch are pretty good.
8. Grab a Bite to Eat
Because you know at some point someone in your crew will get hungry, you can find plenty to eat at Point Ruston. We’re fans of Farrelli’s Pizza, and not just because of the view. It’s a spot where kids can not only DIY their own pizza at the table, but pass time in the small arcade in the back of the restaurant. WildFin is another seaside option with upscale fare that works best with older kiddos. If casual and outdoor is more your vibe, check out What a Catch Fish Bar for newspaper-wrapped fish and chips that are easy to eat while the kids play in the splash pad. And you can't go wrong at Kobrew which offers a fantastic Korean dining adventure or sushi from Mio Sushi. Since Point Ruston offers a little something for everyone, you can stay and play all day!
9. Indulge in a Sweet Treat
Cool off on a hot day with Ice Cream Social, Tacoma’s locally sourced, small batch ice cream haven. They’ve got flavors that will keep you guessing, and vegan and dairy free options that will fool even the most trained taste buds. Fair warning: on a hot summer day, expect a line out the door no matter what the hour!
10. Catch a Flick
Editor's note: The Century Point Ruston and XD Theater is currently closed due to Covid safety measures.
It’s always good to have an indoor option on a hot summer day because rain happens, and so does air conditioning. At Point Ruston, you’re in luck. The Century Point Ruston and XD Theater plays all the hits, and it’s right around the corner from the waterfront. Your kids will love the luxe reclining seats and you can enjoy a glass or wine or beer while you’re there. A great way to beat the heat!
Good to Know: Parking at Point Ruston is essentially free; as long as you eat, shop or otherwise make a purchase, merchants will validate for two hours. If you take in a movie too, the Cinema will validate for up to five hours. Simply enter your license plate number at a Point Ruston business and you’re set. Get all the parking details here.