We were cruising along I-705 through downtown Tacoma WA, heading toward Ruston Way, when two colossal sculptures came into view. At first glance, they looked like a pair of blue sugar swizzle sticks standing on end. We quickly pulled off the freeway at the next exit and wound our way back around to figure out what the heck they were.
As it turns out, the Crystal Towers by renowned artist Dale Chihuly are part of an incredible local landmark known as the Bridge of Glass. The 500-foot-long pedestrian bridge crosses over I-705 and Dock Street, linking Tacoma’s historic downtown district to the Thea Foss waterfront.
The Crystal Towers rise 40 feet above the bridge deck Each sculpture is made of 63 large crystals that, up close, look amazingly like blocks of glacial ice. Pretty in the sunshine, but at night, the “ice” is illuminated from below and the towers become beacons of light in the midst of the city. Check out this striking late night photo found on the World 66 website.
Stopping to investigate the towers came with an added bonus. Chihuly’s Venetian Wall and Sea Foam Pavilion are also located on the Bridge of Glass. What did we find as we wandered through both exhibits? Scores of rainbow-hued glass sculptures of every size, shape, and color imaginable. A feast for the eyes!
For just a taste of what we saw, please watch this short slideshow provided by the Museum of Glass.
Chihuly’s Crystal Towers are located in downtown Tacoma, WA. From I-5, take Exit 133 to I-705. Merge right and take the Schuster Parkway Exit. Follow signs to Schuster Parkway (remain in the left lane). Turn right at the first light onto South 4th Street, which becomes Dock Street. Access to the pedestrian bridge can be found just outside the Museum of Glass.
We found metered parking all along Dock Street. But there’s also a parking garage operated by the City of Tacoma that’s located underneath the museum. Entrance to the garage is on the north side of the building next to the loading dock.