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Originally published Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 7:02 PM

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Car-free getaway | Bus it to Tacoma's Museum Row

Explore Tacoma's Museum Row by taking Sound Transit's express bus from Seattle for a car-free getaway.

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Is $4 gasoline blowing a hole in your budget? Then ditch that gas burner and go green. Here's a summer getaway that gets you there with no time behind the wheel.

The objective: A day exploring Tacoma's Museum Row.

The place: Downtown Tacoma, along Pacific Avenue from 21st to 17th streets. Historic buildings line this wide thoroughfare near the University of Washington's Tacoma branch. Peek inside the restored Union Station, now the federal courthouse, at a grand chandelier designed by Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly, or rent a kayak at the Dock Street Marina (www.dockstreetmarina.com) for a paddle on the Thea Foss Waterway.

What makes it special: A trio of museums within a short walk of each other: the Washington State History Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum (with a Norman Rockwell exhibit through May 30), and the Museum of Glass. Chihuly is a Tacoma native, so his work is on view in several places, including the art museum and along the glass museum's Chihuly Bridge of Glass. Details at downtowntacoma.com. Visit all three on Wednesdays for a one-price admission of $22 for adults, $18 for students and children.

What makes it tasty: The 15-barrel Harmon Brewing Co. microbrewery, 1938 Pacific Ave., with a pub-food menu (www.harmonbrewingco.com). A seat by the fireplace at the cozy Cutter's Point, next door at 1936 Pacific Ave., makes a good rainy-day coffee stop.

Getting there with no car: Take the 594 Sound Transit express bus from downtown Seattle to Pacific Avenue. The trip takes about one hour and 10 minutes each way. The fare is $3 for adults, $2.50 for youth. Schedules at www.soundtransit.org.

— Carol Pucci

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