The Chinese Reconciliation Park is part of Tacoma’s Metro Parks system, and is a unique spot perched right on the Puget Sound that’s ideal for quiet reflection, private events or a picnic. Rather than an open green space, this park is on a patch of rolling hills. While the park has a small footprint, it has a variety of terrain, from graveled gardens to rocky beachfront. It's hands down one of the most beautiful places to sit and simply enjoy the surrounding scenery in Tacoma.
In the spring, cherry blossoms add an extra pop of color. Any time of year, the water and traditional Chinese structures and sculptures create a uniquely beautiful place.
The Chinese Reconciliation Park has a unique name for a reason. The park is part public park and part apology for the tragic expulsion of Tacoma's Chinese residents in the late 1800s. The spaces of the park are beautiful, but also educational if you pause to read one of the plaques explaining what happened and why the Chinese population was so important to the city, despite how they were treated.
Chinese History in Tacoma
An important facet of the park is its history—the park is located on the site of a Chinese settlement that was burned to the ground during the expulsion of Chinese immigrants on November 3, 1885, when citizens and city leaders forced Chinese immigrants out of Tacoma after bad economic conditions and anti-Chinese sentiment combined to create one of the darkest moments in the city’s history.
According to a plaque at the park, there were 200 Chinese people forced out of town and 500 who left the city in the days before the expulsion in fear of what was coming.
Monuments dot the park and help tell the story of what happened in the past and also seek to create harmony in the present. The park’s name reflects that the park is not only a place of peace now, but an effort to right the wrongs of the past.
Taking a stroll through the park to read the plaques will deepen anyone's understanding of the significance of the park, but also of Tacoma's history overall.
Why You Should Visit
While the history of the park is heavy, the park is usually quiet and serene and makes a great reflection spot on the far southern end of the Tacoma Waterfront, not far from Jake Hyde Park. There are several seating areas to enjoy expansive views of the Puget Sound. Along the shore is a small beach area with logs to sit on and stare out at the water (and maybe spot a seal or two).
If you’ve got a small event that you’d like to hold outdoors, the park is a great spot. The picturesque park is the perfect spot for prom, engagement, wedding or other special occasion photos with a bridge, attractive foliage and the Fuzhou Ting - a cool pavilion at the center of the park donated by Tacoma’s sister city, Fuzhou, China. The Fuzhou Ting measures 30 x 40-feet and was donated to the city of Tacoma by its sister city Fuzhou, China. The pavilion has benches inside the structure where you can sit and enjoy the view, but as a rental facility, it provides space for up to 100 people between the actual pavilion and the space around the edge of the pavilion.
The Fuzhou Ting is available for rent from June 1 through September 30.
The Chinese Reconciliation Park has also served as the base for the Tacoma Moon Festival in recent years. During the Moon Festival, lighted lanterns are set afloat into the sky—quite a sight over the Puget Sound. And it's not a bad place to look for glass orbs, medallions and other hidden treasures during Monkeyshines, which usually happens in late January or February.
Bonus, from the park, you can continue along the walking path that starts at the park onto the Ruston Way walking path, which goes for about two miles along the Puget Sound. Than then connects to Point Ruston's walking paths, which takes you another few miles and will eventually connect to Point Defiance.
The four-acre park is situated at the south end (closest to downtown Tacoma) of the Tacoma Waterfront at 1741 N Schuster Parkway, Tacoma.
There's a small parking lot near the park, but it's also not a far walk from the parking lot just down the hill from The Spar at McCarver and Ruston Way.