Old Town Dock
Features You'll Find:Hover over an icon for more details
- Art & Artifacts
- Parking Stalls
- Trail / Hard
- Boat Moorage
- Puget Sound
Open ½ hour before sunrise
Close ½ hour after sunset
2200 Ruston Way
Tacoma, WA 98402
Visitors to this restored historic dock can now enjoy breathtaking views from the new benches, improved lighting, and those arriving by water now have access to two slips that can moor vessels up to 40-feet and 60-feet and low, free-board floats extending off the main dock to accommodate kayakers. The salmon population down below will appreciate the dock grating which increases light penetration beneath and around the dock by 30 percent.
- Float gate opens at 7:30am; locked at 10pm
- Overnight moorage is prohibited. The boat slips are for short term (not transient) moorage - there is no electricity available on any of them.
- Fishing from the dock is prohibited. Neighboring Les Davis Pier and Point Defiance Pier were both designed to serve as our public fishing piers. The citizen committee which worked with the City on the redevelopment of Old Town Dock advised that there is a natural conflict both with barbs and human flesh between casting and hand powered boats, and also with fishing line and motors, and that this dock’s use should be operated to support water to shore access, as well as scenic vistas for those walking Ruston Way.
- Diving from the dock is prohibited. Ruston Way features a sea wall and dive steps located west of Les Davis Pier designed to provide safe conditions for water exploration away from the hazards of lures and boat motors.
Droplets is an illustrated scavenger hunt—a challenge to discover the history, importance and beauty of this location. Each of the 24 vignettes is like a window, providing a glimpse of the sheer number of true stories that have unfolded on or near this site over the years. Old Town Dock has been host and witness to a wide variety of industries, events, neighborhood dynamics, natural history, celebrations, tragedies and everyday narratives—all on one small patch of land. These stories are as commonplace as raindrops, yet as precious as the water that sustains and defines our city.
To view each Droplet, visitors must embark on an active, playful search around Old Town Dock. As to the location of each piece—well, you’ll have to discover that for yourself. Some medallions are hidden in plain sight, while others are a puzzle to solve. How many Droplets can you find? The Droplets were designed by Tacoma artist Chandler O'Leary.
2013 Restoration work - Reopened on May 15, 2013 (after being closed July 2008 due to safety concerns), this project replaced 60 of the dock's rotting piles (three new steel pilings were added), pavilion and deck and added handrails, benches, lighting and short-term moorage floats (two slips that can moor vessels up to 40-feet and 60-feet and new low, free-board floats extending off the main dock can accommodate kayakers). Costs ($2.3 million) were split between City of Tacoma (general operation bonds) and Metro Park Tacoma (2005 Parks Improvement Bond Measure).
2014 Phase II - Restroom - New public restrooms, drinking fountain, sidewalk and crosswalk improvements, rain garden, native plant landscaping, irrigation and public art. Just outside the restroom, a plaza area gives kayakers and others a space to hose off their human-powered water craft. Costs were split between City of Tacoma and Metro Parks Tacoma (2005 Parks Improvement Bond Measure). MPT is responsible for maintaining it.
Old Town Dock was first built in 1873 and served the shipping industry until trade operations moved to the Tideflats. After that it quickly transitioned into a popular public space. It was closed in 2008 after an engineering study found it to be too weak for pedestrians. After five years and $2.3 million in renovations, it reopened May 15, 2013.