A quintessential Saturday in Tacoma

It’s easy to get bogged down in the suburban life.

Go to work. Come home to your quiet cul-de-sac. Go to the store. Play with your kid. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

But sometimes it is nice to remember that we live in an urban setting. The Grit City has lots to offer – if you make time to go explore it.

 

So we did just that recently on a chilly Saturday afternoon.

Old City Hall in downtown Tacoma is one of my favorite buildings. So stately.
Old City Hall in downtown Tacoma is one of my favorite buildings. So stately.

King’s Books, which is an awesome used bookstore we found in the Stadium District of Tacoma (they buy books for credit! I’ve been looking for a good used bookstore since I left Nampa, Idaho, in 2006), was hosting a local artists crafts fair. Being that we were on the lookout for Christmas gifts, and knowing that it was set to be a sunny, albeit cold, day, we decided to hit the fair up.

So off Veronica, Tori, Catarina and I went.

In the historic district in downtown Tacoma a lot of the really old buildings are painted bright colors, which is fun.
In the historic district in downtown Tacoma a lot of the really old buildings are painted bright colors, which is fun.

King’s Books was packed with tables of vendors, who were hawking their goods. Lots of interesting prints, jewelry, clothing items, handbags, and I think I even saw some sort of mushrooms made out of fabric – we didn’t buy any of those. In fact, we didn’t buy anything because while we like to shop local, it was a bit out of our range for gifts. Now, if we would’ve gone in July when we were buying stuff for ourselves? Yeah, I’d have those really cool Tacoma prints.

Despite the lack of success at the fair, we decided to continue our day of urban fun. We took Tori to Corina’s Bakery, which is an awesome cake/bakery/coffee house a few blocks from King’s. I discovered it a number of years ago when I bought a vegan German chocolate cake from them for Veronica’s birthday when I was in Tacoma for state track and field. If you are looking for a fun place to have coffee and read a book, definitely hit up Corina’s.

The views on a sunny day of Mt. Rainier from Fireman's Park in downtown Tacoma are amazing.
The views on a sunny day of Mt. Rainier from Fireman’s Park in downtown Tacoma are amazing.

Catarina unfortunately did not want to be in Corina’s, throwing a monster tantrum and laying on the floor. That was fun. So we got out of there quickly.

Instead of giving in, though, we decided to head downtown.

One of the many beautiful murals that adorn buildings in Tacoma.
One of the many beautiful murals that adorn buildings in Tacoma.

We stuck Cat in her stroller so there would by no more floor/street laying, and rolled down Opera Alley – which I’ve seen, but never walked down. It’s only about a half block long, but I love it. It has colorful buildings, wall murals, and cool coffee shops. I’d like to come back and just spend some time sitting in the B Sharp Coffee House, drinking some java and reading a good book.

Opera Alley is a very short block in downtown Tacoma, littered with colorful buildings, wall murals, and lots of shops.
Opera Alley is a very short block in downtown Tacoma, littered with colorful buildings, wall murals, and lots of shops.

From there we meandered past the theater district to the Learning Sprouts toy store on Pacific Avenue. This place was crazy. Two floors full of any toy you can imagine. And the workers were wearing elf costumes – a bit creepy, but festive nonetheless. We also discovered that Cat apparently would like a doll for Christmas (grandparents reading this, take note).

The historic Pantages Theater in downtown Tacoma.
The historic Pantages Theater in downtown Tacoma.

After miraculously getting Cat to leave the toy store without a meltdown, we hit Fireman’s Park for some stellar views of Mt. Rainier on a cloudless November day. We then walked up the Spanish Steps, grabbed two pizzas to go from Puget Sound Pizza (best pies in town!) and headed out.

So, if you find yourself in Tacoma and are looking for something to do, I suggest hitting a good bookstore, coffee shop, toy store, park and pizza place.

Not too bad of a Saturday.

And a nice break from the suburbia of University Place.

– Craig Craker

 

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