WHERE: Point Defiance Park (Point Defiance Park, 5400 N Pearl St.; 253.305.1088; metroparkstacoma.org), a Tacoma gem about an hour’s drive from downtown Seattle.
WHY: It’s almost spring, which means the cherry trees are blooming in the Japanese Garden, the promenade along Owen Beach beckons, and the polar bears, lemurs and walrus at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (9:30 a.m.–4 p.m., prices vary; pdza.org) are waiting.
MAKE A NIGHT OF IT: The park’s Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, a perpetual demonstration of 19th-century settlement life, will host “Trapped: Escape Fort Nisqually” (ages 21 and older; $25, times vary, March 23–25), a game event during which players are transported back in time and given one hour to collect clues and escape without getting caught.
TREAT YOURSELF: Pop over to the recently developed waterfront community of Point Ruston for a taste of Sicilian baked goods or gelato at Dolce Si (Tacoma, 5005 Main St.; 253.292.0172; pointruston.com/retail/dolce-si), or visit the second location of Seattle’s Jewel Box Café (Tacoma, 5107 Grand Loop; 253.752.4863; jewelboxcafe.net) and choose from savory and sweet crêpes, espresso beverages, bubble tea and deli fare. Afterward, stroll along Commencement Bay on the Waterwalk while enjoying stunning views of Mount Rainier, downtown Tacoma and Puget Sound.