Tacoma’s New Point Ruston

Point Ruston is a 97-acre property split between Tacoma and Ruston located on the former Asarco site. Millions of dollars were spent cleaning it up to make it ready for redevelopment. Construction began in 2006, and it has evolved into a mixed-use, walkable community.

It also serves as the “missing link” between the Ruston Way waterfront and Point Defiance Park, bridging the two with paths lined with benches, and art installations.

The neighborhood has playgrounds, cafes, restaurants, colorful art murals, and wonderful walkways along the water. It has that summertime feeling of visiting a charming beach town.

Many people are drawn to Point Ruston’s scenic “waterwalk” trail along Commencement Bay. Its smooth surfaces and the view of Mount Rainier and the Olympics make this a perfect place for jogging, biking, rollerblading, or taking a stroll. The pathways are decorated with artwork, including a giant octopus mural.

Green, orange, and white, the Point Ruston ferry big toy and swings create hours of fun for tots. It’s located near Point Ruston’s Grand Plaza, where there is also a sprayground. A perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon, the sprayground utilizes fountains and geysers for a fun way to keep kids cool — and adults, too! The sprayground is free and open daily during summer from noon until 10 p.m., with a cool light show after dark.

The dining experience would not be complete without the deliciousness of Dolce Si Italian Bakery and Café. Just one of the many options Point Ruston has to offer, Dulce Si is family-owned, serving up pastries, fresh-made gelato, and Italian meals from family recipes. Other Point Ruston restaurants include WildFin American Grill, Two Town Pub and Café, and Jewel Box Café.

The Point Ruston residential and commercial development sits on property that once housed the Asarco copper smelter plant for about a century. An exhibit in The Copperline Apartments highlights the history of the site and the cleanup project. The names “Copperline” and “Stack Hill” actually come from the history of the area. Free and open to the public, the exhibit showcases smelter artifacts; newspaper clippings; and photographs that show hot furnaces, workers, and what the plant looked like.

Future Plans
Point Ruston continues to grow, with more restaurants, shops and events slated for the area. Plans include an amphitheater in the Grand Plaza to house outdoor concerts in the summertime and transform into an ice skating rink in the winter.


is a staff writer at South Sound magazine.
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