With many of us heading home for the holidays, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to ‘travel’ to Tacoma with Liz, the blogger behind The Brave Life. Ride along while she shows us her favorite haunts in this charming city.
Greetings from sunny Tacoma! Just kidding, it’s not sunny. Well, not this time of year, at least. If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, you’re probably familiar with the stereotype of nonstop cloudy, rainy weather, and that’s actually pretty close to the truth, during the winters at least. I moved to Tacoma from Anchorage, Alaska in 2011 after RVing around the country. Last year we moved back to Anchorage so we could have our first child up there and be close to my family, but we ended up really missing our community here in Tacoma and when my parents decided to make the big move to Portland, where my brothers live, it made sense to make the big exodus back to the Northwest.
Tacoma is an eclectic city about 45 min south of Seattle. With its roots firmly planted in the blue collar world, Tacoma has a grittier feel than its more popular sibling to the north. While I do like Seattle, and it’s nice to have such a large city nearby for access to music, art, and events, Tacoma has a down-to-earth feel that is raw, genuine, and decidedly unpretentious. People here are creative and hard working, and it’s a wonderful community to be a part of as a designer and photographer. One of the best things about living in a city like Tacoma is becoming friends with local creative business owners and getting to support them. Here are just a few of my most favorite local spots, which shouldn’t be missed if you’re ever in the Tacoma area!
For Coffee + Bites:
Bluebeard Coffee – Amazing coffee roasters, delicious coffee, and the best spot in town to sit down and work for an hour or five. Since they opened, Bluebeard has been my favorite coffee shop in town and I even gave out bags of their coffee beans as favors at my wedding!
Corina Bakery – If you’re looking for some sweet pastries to go with your coffee, Corina is a perfect spot to hit up. My favorites: their almond or chocolate croissants. And if you’re into movies, make sure to head next door to hit up the Grand Theater. They show lots of really interesting independent films and are the masterminds behind the Tacoma Film Festival!
Red Elm – This new coffee shop is one of my newer haunts, not only because they recently opened, but because of how kid-friendly they are. They’ve got a little play area in the back, which is a god-send for me. I like to take my son, Jack, and let him play while I have a moment of free time to myself. Also, they serve Belgian waffles. ‘Nuff said.
Stocklist Goods – Cute gifts, fun books, and all sorts of adorable and irresistible goodies. I want like 100 things every time I go in here. And bonus: it’s right next door to Bleach and UXC, two of my favorite clothing shops (in case you needed to spend more money). Bleach offers more skate-culture inspired clothing, and UXC has great vintage clothing and a small selection of vintage home goods!
Scorpio Rising – I don’t know why it took me so long to find Scorpio Rising, it’s the closest vintage shop to my house! They have an incredible vintage collection, and not just for the ladies, they have a great men’s section too. Their vintage is sectioned off by era, too, so if you’re into a specific time period of vintage clothing, they make it easy to peruse.
En Rama – This cozy, intimate bar is by far one of the Northwest’s best cocktail lounges. If you want an incredible cocktail, do not miss this one. They’ve also got a curated wine selection and if you’re hungry, their house-made pasta is delicious. Did I say don’t miss this one? Don’t miss this one.
State Street Beer Co. – Another new favorite, State Street just opened this year and they happen to be right next door to another favorite on this list: Bluebeard! Bonus for me: they are kid friendly. One of my least favorite things about being a new mom is not getting to go out for drinks with my lady friends (apparently taking a baby to a bar is both frowned upon and illegal, who knew), but State Street is 21+ at the bar only, so I can bring my little dude and sit at a table! If you’re not into beer (though they do have a great tap list, and small 8 oz pours if you’re not into a full pint!), they also have wine and some bubs. Oh! And flatbreads if you need a snack. Cheers!
Liz is an interior designer and photographer in the Pacific Northwest. Her blog, The Brave Life, features decor and home renovations, peeks into her personal life, and inspiration for creative living. When she’s not shooting weddings or renovating a home, you can find her drinking coffee and wrangling her Corgi, Dusty, and her son, Jack, or thrifting and vintage shopping with her husband, Dan.
Photo Credits: En Rama photos and outfit shots – Amelia Vaughn Photography; All others – Liz