Stadium High School Tour @ Stadium High School

It's basically a castle 🏰

Published September 25, 2023

An aerial drone view of Stadium High School Tacoma Washington covered in snow

Published April 2023 | Updated September 2023

IMHO, the most iconic high school rom com of the ’90s was 10 Things I Hate About Younot because of Heath Ledger’s very public rendition of “I Love You Baby” or because it was a relatable adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. It was its castle-like set: Tacoma’s Stadium High School and its postcard-worthy view of Commencement Bay. 

Thanks to the film, Stadium is widely known to be one of America’s most beautiful high schools. The French chateau-style building was originally constructed in 1891 to be a luxury hotel for the Northern Pacific Railroad, but the project was abandoned during the financial crisis of 1893. The Tacoma School District purchased the building in 1904. 


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Tacoma’s Pretty Gritty Tours puts on a tour of Stadium High, and its co-founder, former travel journalist Chris Staundinger, seems to know his audience: “The world is divided into two (kinds of) people: people who went to Stadium, and people who wish that they had.” I guess you can put me squarely in the latter camp. 

Book a spot on one of Pretty Gritty’s small, after-hours tours of Stadium High. For $35, spend an hour and a half exploring the school’s halls and unique spaces: the swimming pool, underground tunnels, and a four-story attic that’s the site of a really sweet school tradition. Original props from the movie still live in the teacher’s lounge. Pay the extra $6 to live out your Ghost Hunters dreams (or nightmares): rent an EMF detector and explore the haunted boiler room. 

For most up-to-date tour information, check their website.

📸: Clinton Ward

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Meghna leads with her curiosity when writing about travel, food, and beverages. She previously wrote about cookbooks at Kitchen Arts & Letters, and has managed events & communications at Book Larder, Peddler Brewing Company, and Cascade Bicycle Club. She is newly pescatarian and a Seattle native. Follow along at @wanderingthali.

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