One end of the "Sea-Tac" (Seattle-Tacoma) megalopolis, industrial Tacoma, Washington, 30 mi/50 km south of Seattle, rates a visit to see the Washington State History Museum. Wander the restored downtown, especially Union Station, before going to the Museum of Glass—you can't miss the gigantic silver cone jutting over the waterfront. Cross over the 500-ft-/155-m-long glass bridge designed by Dale Chihuly. Afterward, visit the dramatic Tacoma Art Museum in its sleek stainless-steel sheath.

For some nice-weather walks, go to Point Defiance Park, which juts into Puget Sound, and the neighboring zoo and aquarium.

Visitors to Tacoma may notice a familiar sight. The original Narrows Bridge, which was built in 1940, has been featured on many television programs and in many publications. This bridge is often shown twisting and turning like a corkscrew in a 40-mph/64-kph wind. Only four months after its completion, the bridge bucked so violently that it ripped apart. Portions fell into the water. A replacement bridge was finished in 1950, and another span was added in 2007 to alleviate the severe traffic overflow.

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