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Stadium District

Shopping in the shadow of history

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In its inception, Stadium High School was to have been a luxury hotel. Instead it became a high school whose history goes back 100 years. The turrets and architectural features of the building can be appreciated, sure, but it’s more the soul of the building that creates the neighborhood and makes it breathe.

The neighborhood itself is a thriving mix of housing, dining, recreation, worship, and shopping. And it boasts narrow streets to amble along and parks to frolic in when you’re not checking items off your shopping list.

Because of the Stadium District’s central location, nearby shopping on 21st Street provides even more to see — and buy.

Small items for everyone from young to old can be found directly in the shadow of Stadium High School at Rankos Pharmacy (101 Tacoma Ave. N., 253.383.2411), itself a little haven of history.  Rankos was founded in 1929 and is currently run by the son and daughter-in-law of the original owners.  A range of indulgent bath and body items, a surprisingly extensive chocolate collection, and trinkets ranging from Marilyn Monroe collectibles to plastic dolls make ideal gifts for the more difficult to shop for. For young gift recipients vintage-inspired toys with a fresh new look await.

And an extra special holiday treat hides inside Rankos: A United States Postal Service substation can be found at the back of the store to meet those holiday mailing needs you’re sure to have.

More indulgent body items and goodies for the very young and those who are expecting can be found at My Petit Pea (7 Tacoma Ave. N. Suite B, 253.238.9246). At My Petit Pea, quality children’s clothing and some maternity items mingle with toys and games for ages ranging from the teeny to the pre-teen.  But if it’s the expectant mother you’re shopping for, there’s a shop with more goodies for her not too far away.  Annett B (2712 N. 21st St. #B, 253.761.0984) carries a range of clothing and accessories for the woman carrying a baby in addition to items for the non-expectant, including brands such as Free People and Lucky Brand.  If gifting needs run toward women’s clothing, then right across the street from Annette B you’ll find Sonja Clothing for Women (2701 N. 21st St., 253.272.1565) with a range of popular, comfortable items and decadent pajamas as well as the perennial favorite “Gritty Tacoman” shirts.

Tiki Lounge (17 N. Tacoma Ave., 253.593.5300), nestled in the Stadium district, offers up Cali-style hipster flare with clothing, lingerie, accessories and cosmetics that demand whistles and attention.

More subtle in its intent but equally effective in the goal of attention getting, Calla Lily (7 Tacoma Ave. N. Suite A, Tacoma, 253.627.5520) provides a wide variety of décor items for the home, professional design services, and specific expertise in special events planning, making it a great place to make your home lovable and livable for the holidays.

Dwell, a 21st Street shop where items for the home are plentiful, contains a wide variety of items perfect for gifting, but may tempt shoppers into keeping. Either way, home enhancement, décor, and design are emphasized here, too.

If these shopping ideas seem to be geared toward female gift recipients, then there’s balance to be found at the masculine-named King’s Books (218 St. Helens Ave., 253.272.8801). Here rare and out of print books can be found alongside new and used books. Shoppers with less cash in hand can even trade in books they’ve loved and receive cash or credit toward book shopping.  If you don’t see a book you — or the person you’re shopping for — want, the friendly staff can special order it and have it in the shop within days.

Pop culture guys might like a taste of Elvis, “Star Trek,” or some other random piece of culture from Tricky’s Pop Culture Emporium (817 Division Ave., 253.272.5288), whose tagline reads “we put the ‘cult’ in culture.” And guys who are into the fermented side of culture are sure to like something from Tacoma Wine Merchants’ wide collection of Washington and foreign wines.

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