Your Ultimate Road Trip Guide: Essentials for Adventure On and Off the Road

Your Ultimate Road Trip Guide: Essentials for Adventure On and Off the Road

Are you gearing up for an unforgettable road trip adventure, or are you a local looking for a weekend packed with excitement? Whether you’re leaving the area or exploring the best of what the Pacific Northwest has to offer, the Waterfront Market has you covered with everything you need for an epic journey. From road trip essentials to must-visit local attractions, let’s dive into the ultimate guide for your next escapade!

Road Trip Essentials:

  • Kids Road Games – Eco Repurpose: Keep the little ones entertained and engaged with eco-friendly road games that promote creativity and sustainability. Repurpose household items like cardboard boxes, paper rolls, and old magazines to create DIY games like scavenger hunts, travel bingo, and story cubes.
  • Snacks: Fuel your adventures with delicious snacks from Pico Rico, Pike Nuts, Fardell Farms & Emish Meat, and don’t forget to pack some tasty treats for your furry friend with Shugies doggy snacks.
  • Travel Mugs: Sip on your favorite beverages on the go with travel mugs from Tea Madame, perfect for keeping your drinks hot or cold throughout your journey.
  • Travel Toiletries: Stay fresh and clean with travel toiletries from Love Lura, featuring eco-friendly and sustainable products that are gentle on both your skin and the environment.
  • Reading Material: Dive into a good book during your downtime with a selection from El Rincon, offering a diverse range of reading material to suit every taste.

If We Are the Destination:

  • A Weekend Filled with Activities: Experience the best of our destination area with a weekend packed full of exciting activities for the whole family.
  • Accommodation: Enjoy a comfortable stay at the Silvercloud Hotel, where you can relax and recharge after a day of adventure.
  • Movies at Cinemark: Catch the latest blockbusters or enjoy a classic film at Cinemark, the perfect way to unwind and escape into the world of cinema.
  • Point Defiance Zoo: Get up close and personal with fascinating wildlife at Point Defiance Zoo, where you can explore exhibits featuring animals from around the globe.
  • Kenmore Air: Take to the skies and experience breathtaking aerial views of our destination area with Kenmore Air, offering scenic flights and tours.
  • Skimboards: Hit the beach and ride the waves with skimboards, providing endless fun for water enthusiasts of all ages.
  • Food: Indulge your taste buds with a culinary adventure at Taco Street, Zaya, Wild Sugar, and Boba Tea, where you can sample a variety of delicious dishes and beverages.

No matter where your road trip takes you, the Waterfront Market is your one-stop destination for all your travel needs. From eco-friendly essentials to exciting local attractions, we’re here to help you make the most of your adventure, one stop at a time. Safe travels!

What is TEA?

What is tea? Great information on Tea from Tea Madame in Tacoma Washington
What is tea? Great information on Tea from Tea Madame in Tacoma Washington

What is TEA? This is one of the most frequent questions we receive, as well as one of the most confusing, with each person having a different definition of what TEA is to THEM.

Technically speaking, TEA is a specific plant, Camellia Sinensis, as well as the beverage derived from it.

However, the US tends to refer to anything steeped in water as TEA.

Examples include:

  • Peppermint Tea
  • Bath Tea
  • Compost Tea

Now, none of these items are even actual TEA. Two of which, you don`t even drink.

Compost Tea is composted matter that you steep like tea to create a natural fertilizer.

It is incredibly beneficial for gardens, but not exactly something you’d like to have a tall mug of. NOT TEA.

Peppermint Tea is not TEA either. It is simply dried Peppermint leaves, soaked in hot water to make a caffeine-free beverage. It’s packed with health benefits, sure, but is NOT TEA.

Bath Tea is a trendy new description of soaking in the tub with calming herbs floating around and infusing your bathwater. Good for relaxation and your skin, sure, but still NOT TEA.

REAL TEA is again, Camellia Sinensis. All types of TEA are specifically processed, based on who, what, when and where, into the five main types of TEA.

White TEA is the original type of TEA based on Process.

Plucked by hand, and then dried naturally, nothing is done to it to start or stop oxidation (the browning of the leaf).

The taste tends to be light in body with soft notes of straw, chestnut, and Honeysuckle. Airy, Light, it’s typically not for the coffee guzzling, Rich, Deep, and Dark Tea loving person. Always try it, you might be surprised.

Green Tea is processed to ensure the leaves do not oxidize.

Green Tea is plucked by hand, withered in the sun, then rolled. Immediately after the rolling, the leaf MUST be heated in some from to prevent the browning of the leaf. Steaming and Pan firing are the two main forms of heat used. Delaying the heating after rolling would allow oxidation to occur, thus making it no longer Green Tea.

Oolong Tea is a semi oxidized leaf. Alternating rolling, heating, basket rolling result in a medium bodied, Not Green, and Not Black tea experience. Oolong boasts a unique range of flavors and strengths and is an incredibly versatile type of tea.

 Jade or Light Oolongs can look just like Green Tea, with Amber Oolongs looking more like Black tea. This type can vary more than any other tea, ranging in percentage of oxidation, rather than Green Tea, which is unoxidized, or Black Tea, which is completely oxidized.

Black Tea is fully oxidized leaf, allowed to turn brown by not heating the leaves after the rolling process.

Black tea was considered the darkest, most bold type of TEA, but then we met Pu-erh Tea.

Pu-erh to me, is the most important and agreeably the most mysterious type of tea in history.

Pu-erh Tea is Fermented and Aged Green Tea. This process calms and soften harsh tannins in tea, resulting in a smooth, rich, dark, and earthy beverage that many coffee drinkers find delicious.

Rooibos is called Red Tea, but in fact the term is more accurately Red Bush. A caffeine-free alternative to Tea, this leaf is delicious and rich, with no detectable tannins, and a great option if caffeine or bitterness are an issue.

Enjoy your day with a cup of tea that makes you happy.

LaDonna Olmstead
Owner – Tea Madame

Nds Boutique – Bringing Fashion Back to Ruston

Nds Boutique - Tacoma Women's Fashion Clothing
Nds Boutique - Tacoma Women's Fashion Clothing

“Hi, My name is Natalie Shust, I’am the owner at Nds Boutique. I am a wife to the greatest guy in the world that supported all my dreams, mother of three beautiful children, and most important a believer of our amazing almighty God. 

I’ve always had a passion for fashion, and it’s something that’s deep in my heart for as long as I remember. For years I’ve been dreaming of having my own boutique. In 2018 I took the first step toward making that dream a reality and launched Nds Boutique online. For 4 years we’ve been only an online store. On our fifth year anniversary I had an opportunity to open up the boutique at Waterfront Market at Ruston. Our grand opening was on October 28th 2022 and it was definitely a dream come true. The market has a lot of beautiful unique vendors where you can shop around, eat some delicious food and drink a delicious cup of coffee at Zaya Coffee shop. It’s a perfect area to relax/walk around whether you’re alone or with your friends. 

Nds Boutique is your one-stop-shop for stylish women’s clothing! Our fashion boutique at Waterfront Market at Ruston and online offers a carefully curated selection of trendy dresses, tops, bottoms, and accessories at affordable prices. Whether you’re looking for boho-chic styles, casual outfits, or something more formal, our collection has something for everyone. We offer high-quality pieces that are both unique and stylish, so you can stand out from the crowd. At Nds Boutique, we believe that fashion should be fun, and our mission is to empower women to feel confident and stylish every day. So why wait? Start browsing our collection today in store or online and discover the perfect outfit for your next event or everyday wear.”

Pacific Northwest Gifts and Engraving

West Coast Laser Design - Pacific Northwest branded gifts and engraving

West Coast Laser Design is a family-owned and operated business located in Ruston, Washington. This mother and daughter duo has a passion for creating unique and high-quality laser engraving products, and their retail location at the Waterfront Market at Ruston is the perfect place to find unique Pacific Northwest gifts.

As a full-service Tacoma Washington laser engraving company, West Coast Laser Design offers a wide range of services and products. From custom engravings on drinkware and kitchenware to personalized gift items and home decor, their selection is extensive and always evolving. They take great pride in their work and strive to provide the best possible quality for each and every product they create.

One of the things that sets West Coast Laser Design apart is their focus on local and Pacific Northwest-themed gifts. Whether you’re looking for a special keepsake to remind you of your time in the area or a unique gift for someone who loves the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find it at West Coast Laser Design. Their selection includes items like engraved cutting boards and coasters featuring local landmarks, as well as beautiful wooden boxes and ornaments adorned with intricate laser-engraved designs.

In addition to their retail location, West Coast Laser Design also offers their laser engraving services for custom orders. Whether you have your own item that you’d like to have engraved or you want to work with their team to create a one-of-a-kind piece, they are happy to help. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff is always available to assist with your design ideas and ensure that you get the perfect product for your needs.

If you’re in the Ruston waterfront area, be sure to visit West Coast Laser Design at the Waterfront Market at Ruston. Their beautiful and unique Pacific Northwest gifts make the perfect addition to any collection, and their exceptional laser engraving services are sure to impress. Stop by today and see what West Coast Laser Design has to offer!

Eco Repurpose Boutique: Shop Responsibly

Eco Repurpose Boutique - Eco friendly and ethical shopping in Ruston Washington
Eco Repurpose Boutique - Eco friendly and ethical shopping in Ruston Washington
Eco Repurpose Boutique is a small family-owned minority Tacoma business that has evolved over time with what they consider important to us as parents and grandparents. To leave this planet in a better condition for all of our families. One of  Norma’s (the owners) favorite quotes is:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Maya Angelou
Eco Repurpose Boutique’s mission is to find products that are eco-friendly, cruelty free, made by people that are treated with respect and paid a livable wage.

There are several benefits to buying products that are cruelty-free, made by people who are treated with respect and paid a livable wage. Some of these benefits include:

  • Supporting companies that have ethical and humane practices, which can help promote a more compassionate and just society.
  • Helping to ensure that the workers who produce the products are treated fairly and have access to good working conditions and fair wages.
  • Contribute to the global economy in a positive way, by supporting companies that engage in ethical business practices.
  • Buying cruelty-free products is also better for the environment, as many companies that engage in animal testing also use harmful chemicals in their products.
  • Supporting companies that engage in ethical practices can also help to encourage other companies to adopt similar practices, leading to positive change in the global marketplace.

Overall, buying products that are cruelty-free, made by people who are treated with respect and paid a livable wage can have a positive impact on both individuals and society as a whole.

Norma Irish owner of Tacoma small business Eco Repurpose Boutique


Has been a small business owner for over 15 years combined. A U.S Army veteran, board member for the Iron Cross Foundation a 501c3 non-profit charity that granted scholarships to aspiring male gymnasts, a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) with Pierce County Juvenile Court, a licensed foster parent in Washington State. Fun Fact Norma is a certified balloon artist!

Norma been married to her best friend and husband Joshua Irish for more than 25 years, mother of seven and grandmother of two.

Shop Local on Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday - Shop Local - Tacoma Washington

If supporting local small business is important to you this Cyber Monday, you can check out some of our local vendors who have online stores. These are the same great products you can find right here at the Waterfront Market at Ruston without having to leave the house! 

Buy shopping local, you are directly impacting local families and businesses here in Tacoma. Shopping online lowers the cost of selling products and directly impacts the bottom line of these great small businesses. Please consider shopping local this Cyber Monday.


Sunflower Soul Apothecary formerly known as Sage Onyx Soapery- products

Sunflower Soul Apothecary

20% off everything when buying online this Cyber Monday! Our mission is to provide complementary alternative products that are sustainable, natural, and holistic for the healing body, mind, and spirit. We offer a variety of health and wellness products that are designed to support your well-being. Our goal is to provide you with quality products and services that will help you live a healthier and more fulfilling life. SHOP ONLINE

Eco Repurpose Boutique - Ruston Washington

Eco Repurpose Boutiue

Our mission is to find products that are eco-friendly, cruelty free, made by people that are treated with respect and paid a livable wage. SHOP ONLINE

West Coast Laser Design - Tacoma Washington

West Coast Laser Design

Mother and daughter team that designs, engraves and brands local products and gifts. Offering custom engraving for small to large businesses, West Coast Laser design is your one-stop shop for local Northwest branded gifts. SHOP ONLINE

Dewdrops Perch - Tacoma Washington

Dewdrop's Perch

Dewdrop's Perch started out as a hobby, and as a way to raise some money for my husband, Raul, and I's wedding in 2017. We started with local farmers markets & local shows/events. We offer clothing & apparel, vinyl car decals, & much more. Made in a home, for a home. SHOP ONLINE

Deck the Halls for a Cause

Deck the Halls for a Cause fundraiser at Waterfront Market at Ruston

This holiday season the Waterfront Market at Ruston is teaming up with Gian Events on Deck the Halls for a Cause. Giving back to the local Tacoma Community is important for everyone here at the market. So, this for each donation, a ornament will be hung on the Waterfront Market Christmas tree. Donations will be made to Virginia Mason’s St. Joseph Hospital, supporting the study, treatment, diagnosis and prevention of cancer. Make a donation this holiday season to help decorate our tree. To make a donation to St. Joseph Hospital, visit or stop by the Waterfront Market.

Deck the Halls for a Cause - 2022 - Ruston - Tacoma Fundraiser

Honoring Our Veterans 2022

Veteran's Day display at the Waterfront Market at Ruston

This week Waterfront Market at Ruston vendors are honoring our veterans with an up close and personal Veteran’s Day display. We have a number of veterans who you see daily here at the market including Norma, Lilly, John and Evan, and we thank you so much for your service. Veteran’s Day falls on November 11th this year and the display will be viewable form Nov 7th – Nov 13th.

On Friday the 11th from 1pm-2pm, an official color guard from McChord Airforce Base will make an appearance to view the display and honor our vets.

The local market vendors who have provided personal memorabilia for the display are John and Sheri form Shugies, Lilly Sunflower Soul Apothecary, Norma from Eco Repurpose Boutique, Greg from Fardell Farm’s, Elonka and Yolli from Taco Street and Ashleigh from Purple Peacock . Come down and visit this wonderful display commemorating our veterans. We encourage everyone that can to come down and check out this great memorial to our fallen and please come show up for the color guard ceremony on Friday November 11th.

Things to do in Tacoma

What to do in Tacoma Washington - Tacoma Skyline
What to do in Tacoma Washington - Tacoma Skyline

When visiting our fair city of Tacoma you want to be sure to check out everything Tacoma has to offer. We have compiled a list of all the hot spots in and around the Tacoma area. We also have listed our favorite places to stay in Tacoma.

What to do in Tacoma

Having friends or family in from out of town? Of course you will want to bring them to the Waterfront Market at Ruston first, but what about after? What else is there to do in Tacoma? Well, here is a great local approved list. Let us know if you have some other Tacoma hot spots near the market we need to add!

Events at Waterfront Market at Ruston

Waterfront Market at Ruston

Of course, the Waterfront Market at Ruston is the first on our list. Locals and visitors love coming to the market to see what the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Tours of Tacoma with Gritty City Tours

Pretty Gritty Tours

If you have someone in from out of town, or if you just want to get to know our city a bit more take a tour of Tacoma and the surrounding areas with Pretty Gritty Tours.

Chihuly Bridge of Glass

Within driving distance from our market, the Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a great place to find some of the worlds finest glass art projects. Bridge of Glass.

Point Defiance Park - Tacoma Washington

Point Defiance Park

Tacoma's Point Defiance park is a short 10 minute walk from the Waterfront Market at Ruston. This huge park has lots of seashore as well as forest to explore. Check out Point Defiance Park here.

Lemay America's Car Museum - Tacoma Washington

LeMay - America's Car Museum

A short drive away, this stunning 165,000-sq.-ft. facility has been recognized as one of MSN’s 10 Best Automotive Museums worldwide, USA Today’s 10 Best Museums in Seattle and KING5’s Best Museum in Western Washington. Learn more about the car museum here.

Washington State History Museum - Tacoma Washington

Washington State History Museum

Located on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma, the museum’s brick façade and vaulted arches create a distinctive landmark in keeping with neighboring Union Station... Check out the Washington State History Museum's website.

Museum of Glass - Tacoma Washington

Museum of Glass

Museum of Glass, in the heart of downtown Tacoma, offers live glassblowing demonstrations, dynamic exhibitions, and make your own glass experiences. Learn more about Tacoma's Museum of Art here.

Metro Parks Tacoma - Ruston's park department

Metro Parks

Metro Parks Tacoma creates and supports our great parks here in Tacoma. We have SO many beautiful places to meet and explore, the hardest part is figuring out which park to visit first! Check out some great parks today.

Tacoma Art Museum - Tacoma Washington

Tacoma Art Museum

The Tacoma Art Museum is a great place to spend the day. Lot's of great local art. Here is some more information on the TAM. Pretty Gritty Tours.

Foss Waterway Seaport -Tacoma Washington

Foss Waterway Seaport

Just a short drive from our Market you can explore our region’s extraordinary maritime heritage! Learn how the people, boats, and industries that built the heart of Tacoma have shaped our future and changed the way we view the treasures of Puget Sound. Check out our maritime history

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium - Tacoma WA

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

A great place to bring the kids, the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is the only combined zoo and aquarium in the Pacific Northwest, located in Tacoma, Washington. Start your zoorific adventure here!

Wright Park

Wright Park is ideal for a leisurely stroll or taking your kids to the playground or sprayground. This 27 acre arboretum is home to a rich collection of more than 600 trees. Start your zoorific adventure here!

Visit Vashon Island from Tacoma

Visit Vashon Island - Ferry Ride

Within walking distance, the Point Defiance ferry can take you to Vashon Island. Explore the island called The Heart of the Puget Sound. Explore Vashon Island here.

Dune Park Tacoma Washington

Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park

With space enough to accommodate public gatherings, Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park is 11 acres of newly landscaped park property on the breakwater peninsula surrounding the Tacoma Yacht Club boat basin. It is a unique location with an unparalleled perspective on both the bay and the sky above. Visit the Dune Peninsula.

Where to Stay in Tacoma

Silver Cloud Hotel and Spa - Point Ruston

Silver Cloud Hotel Tacoma at Point Ruston Waterfront

Located just below the Waterfront Market at Ruston, The Silver Cloud Hotel and Spa is a luxury hotel and spa located along the shoreline in North Tacoma in Ruston Washington. Their destination offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Puget Sound waterfront along with the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. Within walking distance to beautiful parks, delicious food, and unique Pacific Northwest shopping experiences.
Book your next Tacoma luxury experience here.

Other Tacoma Tourism Resources

Father’s Day Shopping Saturday

Father's Day Raffle 2022 at Waterfront Market at Ruston
Father's Day Raffle 2022 at Waterfront Market at Ruston

This Saturday, while shopping for dad (Father’s Day is Sunday!) every time you make a purchase at Waterfront Market at Ruston, you can enter to win a Dad Gift Basket! Lot’s of great products that any dad would enjoy. Great gifts from Owens Meats, Black Fleet Brewing, Eco Repurpose Boutique, Shugies, Purple Peacock, Tea Madame, West Coast Laser Design, Love Laura and Natures Needles! 

Raffle results will be on Saturday at 6pm, just in time for Father’s Day! 

Shop for dad this weekend while supporting local Tacoma businesses and artists! See you at the market!

Father's Day Raffle 2022 at Waterfront Market at Ruston