I’m joining Courtney from Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar from Mar on the Run, and Cynthia from You Signed up for What?! for their fabulous Friday Five Link-Up.Today’s subject is “Favorite Five,” an open subject. I’ve decided to shine the spotlight on my city, Tacoma, because it’s my home and it doesn’t get nearly the love and (positive) attention it deserves.
So, My Favorite 5 Places in Tacoma, in no particular order, are:
1. The Grand Cinema
“The Grand,” as many people call it, is an independent, non-profit movie theater located in downtown Tacoma. I love the Grand because it shows domestic and foreign films ranging from the blockbuster (“Gravity”) to the semi-obscure (Richard Linklater’s “Waking Life”). I’m a member, so I enjoy a discounted ticket price and free popcorn every time I visit. The popcorn here is a big deal because the Grand’s enthusiastic team of volunteers pops it fresh and uses real butter on it. I have been known to order a medium size and eat it all by myself. Ahem.
The Grand is one of my escapes. I have always enjoyed going to the movies, even as a little kid (I even sat through the long-as-hell “Gandhi” when I was a third grader), and as an adult have come to love going to the theater by myself. Sometimes it’s awkward (as when I watched “Shame” solo at the Grand, and if you’ve seen “Shame,” you’ll know why), but usually it’s very relaxing and cathartic.
All of these reasons explain why the Grand is one of my favorite places in town.
2. Pt. Defiance Park
Pt. Defiance Park is a behemoth: 765 acres on a verdant peninsula jutting out over the Puget Sound, it includes a zoo, aquarium, public beach, rose garden, Japanese garden, and miles of paved and trail running. Because I’m a klutz, I avoid the trails. My favorite place to run in Pt. Defiance is along Five Mile Drive, a hilly loop that runs along the perimeter of the park and boasts spectacular views. Pt. Defiance is probably the epicenter of Tacoma running.
3. Tacoma Public Library
Not only am I a film-buff, I’ve been known to enjoy a book or two. Although I do buy books (at times prolifically), and I’m a member of a book club (the wonderful Powell’s Indiespensable), I’m also a frequent user of our public library system. I have many fond childhood memories of visiting libraries and bookmobiles (remember those?) and spent many an afternoon in middle school doing my homework at my local branch’s study tables. I have tried to foster that same appreciation and fondness for libraries in my kids, but they don’t get it yet. I hope they do. I visit the library at least once every other week and consider our library system to be one of the gems in our city.
4. Hilltop Kitchen
And now for something completely different: a bar! Well, not just a bar, but a bar that serves food. Okay, and not just food, but really good, elevated bar food. Things like duck tacos and scallops sitting in gazpacho foam. Oh, and the drinks! My favorites at Hilltop Kitchen are my old standby, the Old Fashioned (served on big ice), Surfbort (kind of like a Dark & Stormy, but with a singed cinnamon stick and some other differences), and the newer It’s a Totally Happening Life (the perfect holiday beverage).
I try to visit HK at least once or twice a month, usually sneaking there for a quick after-work drink with friends. It’s definitely one of my haunts.
5. Proctor District
Proctor District is my favorite neighborhood in Tacoma. It’s probably the most walkable neighborhood, with two grocery stores, a Starbucks (with the world’s best baristas—seriously), Fleet Feet (which carries Oiselle, holla!), and a Saturday Farmers’ Market. Proctor also has all manner of independent retail, including my go-to-gift-store, Compass Rose, one of my favorite boutiques, Sonja – Clothes to Live in, and Sugar, a jewel box of a candy store.
In addition to shopping, Proctor is home to a public library branch, two great public schools, the annual Proctor Treats Halloween extravaganza, and the Tacoma City Turkey Trot. I travel through Proctor practically daily and cannot imagine Tacoma without it.
What are your favorite places in your city or town?