Top 5 non mall places to shop

More options that are unique and local

By Kristin Kendle on April 3, 2017

The default shopping destination in the Tacoma area is usually the Tacoma Mall, which is a fine choice, especially on rainy days since the mall is fully enclosed. However, non-mall shopping destinations offer an alternative - something more local and often more unique. Whether you're shopping for jewelry, clothing, food, novelties or other items, you've got many more options than the mall.

Proctor District

The Proctor District in north Tacoma is relatively small, but it has an impressive lineup of stores within just a few blocks. If you seek clothing, stop at Blue Boutique - a Goodwill store that sells some of the best items that come through its distribution centers. Other clothing stores include Jasminka, Envy, or Sonja's Clothing, all specializing in women's clothes, or check out Megs & Mo Upscale Retail. Proctor has several stores that are great for gift shopping, including Connections Fine Jewelry, Compass Rose, with its eclectic selection of artsy and locally made items, or the Pacific Northwest Shop, for gifts that are all local, all the time. If you want a break from shopping, Proctor is also a great restaurant spot with several sit-down choices.

Antique Row/Downtown Tacoma

Downtown Tacoma can be a fun shopping destination, especially if you want to weave in some antiquing or museums. Parking can be a pain downtown, as many spots cost and have time limits, but that's easily solved by parking at the Tacoma Dome Station and riding the light rail first to Union Station and then to the end of the line. Near Union Station, explore shops like UrbanXchange and Tinkertopia, where you'll find used but unique clothing and creatively-sourced art supplies. Ride the light rail to the end of the line, and you'll be near Antique Row, where you'll find several antique stores all in a row along Broadway between 9th and 7th.

Stadium District

The Stadium District has just enough shopping to keep things interesting, but it really shines as an area of town that's great to stroll as well since it's next to Wright Park. Shops include one of Tacoma's finest bookstores -- King's Books - as well as Collector's Nook, Pure Clothing, Tricky's Pop Culture Emporium, and TOA Thrift Shop. Ranko's Pharmacy is at the heart of Stadium and serves as both a historic touchstone (it's been here for 85 years) as well as a great gift shop.

Downtown Puyallup

Downtown Puyallup is quaint and cute and very walkable. Visit on a Saturday and not only enjoy the shops, but also the Puyallup Farmers Market that runs out of Pioneer Park, which is right in the center of downtown. On any day, downtown Puyallup has several blocks of antique stores, local businesses, gift shops, and specialty shops like Dog Days Natural Pet Market, Johnson Jewelers, and Something Blue Boutique (a bridal boutique). Don't be afraid to poke your head into quiet store fronts and say hello.

Downtown Gig Harbor/Uptown

Just across the bridge from Tacoma, Gig Harbor has not one, but two nifty shopping areas. The Gig Harbor Waterfront (or downtown Gig Harbor) is very possibly the most picturesque shopping spot in the South Sound with its views of the water and marinas. Within just a few blocks, you'll find antique shops, a pet store, a book store, clothing shops and galleries, gift shops and more. You'll also find Heritage Distilling Co. and 7 Seas Brewing Company if you want to pair a little something extra with your shopping, and there are several waterfront restaurants, too, including local favorite Tides Tavern. If you want something a little more modern, Uptown Gig Harbor is just a couple miles away and features chain stores and indie shops alike, a theater and several restaurants.