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Urban Spelunker: Lakewood Towne Center

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Urban Spelunker: Lakewood Towne Center

Once upon a time, Lakewood had a traditional mall with department stores galore surrounded by strip malls to boot. Perhaps it was the collapse of the economy, but one day it was no more, save for the strip malls in the surrounding area. Now, however, the Lakewood Towne Center, which

Urban Spelunker: Tacoma Mall

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Urban Spelunker: Tacoma Mall

While we usually explore locally-owned gems among South Sound business districts, there is one place that one must explore whether they love it or hate it and that is the mall. For this week's spelunking adventure, we play mall rat and knock out some holiday shopping in one fell swoop.

Urban Spelunker: Dock Street Tacoma

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Urban Spelunker: Dock Street Tacoma

Lining the water's edge slightly offset from the heart of downtown is Dock Street. This area is the epitome of a hidden gem. There's not an excess of the usual traffic congestion you anticipate downtown, and there are a variety of culinary eats and lovely sights to see. It's a

Urban Spelunker: Port of Tacoma

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Urban Spelunker: Port of Tacoma

The behemoth cranes that grace our skyline are found in the Port of Tacoma. This area is largely comprised of gritty industrial warehouse sites with Mack trucks whizzing by. Naturally, in the heart of it all is the port itself. Cargo containers and large cranes mark the presence of one

Urban Spelunker: West Olympia

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Urban Spelunker: West Olympia

While downtown Olympia plays home to a walkable collection of boutique-like shopping experiences and a plethora of locally owned dining options, West Olympia is better known for its big box stores and as a destination for mall rats and college kids due to its close proximity to The Evergreen State

Urban Spelunker: Three Bridges District

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Urban Spelunker: Three Bridges District

The Three Bridges District is aptly named thanks to several small bridges that link North Tacoma streets over the Puget Gulch Creek surrounding North 21st and Oakes streets. This quaint district could almost be considered an expansion of the Proctor District due to its close proximity, but it maintains a

Urban Spelunker: Northeast Tacoma

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Urban Spelunker: Northeast Tacoma

If you follow the winding roads through Tacoma's industrial district, eventually you'll discover Northeast Tacoma - perhaps the most removed of neighborhoods when it comes to Tacoma's districts. Bordering Federal Way, Fife Heights and Tacoma's downtown, Northeast Tacoma is a fabulous residential area and a stone's throw and short commute

Urban Spelunker: Tacoma Triangle District

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Urban Spelunker: Tacoma Triangle District

Delicately nestled among Stadium District and Antique Row in Tacoma is the Triangle District. This district only spans a few blocks, beginning at Sixth and Tacoma Avenue and ending at Ninth and Broadway. And though small in size, it is teeming with Tacoma culture highlighting more public art per city

Urban Spelunker: Milton

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Urban Spelunker: Milton

Milton borders fellow sleepy towns Edgewood and Fife just south of Federal Way. This trio of towns boasts lovely residential areas and a great school district within close proximity to "city living" since it's sandwiched between Tacoma and Seattle. To be quite frank, there isn't a whole lot to do

Urban Spelunker: Ruston/Point Defiance Park

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Urban Spelunker: Ruston/Point Defiance Park

Point Defiance PARK and Ruston are perfect examples and just a few of the reasons that Tacoma is so rad. Sweeping waterfront views and fabulous patio dining options paired with kayak, parasailing and picnic areas define the town of Ruston, making it a prime destination for a casual stroll, lunch

Urban Spelunker: Stadium District

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Urban Spelunker: Stadium District

Stadium District is a bustling business district just a tiptoe away from the heart of downtown Tacoma and its waterfront areas, and is aptly named for the majestic Stadium High School that it surrounds. If you haven't laid eyes on the castle-like architecture of this high school or glimpsed some

Urban Spelunker: Fircrest

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Urban Spelunker: Fircrest

The town of Fircrest boasts a scenic, park-like tranquility and quaint charm. If you were to drive among its tidy residential streets, you would never guess that it maintains such a close proximity to University Place, Tacoma and Lakewood. Even traveling through the heart of its "downtown," you're met with

Urban Spelunker: DuPont

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Urban Spelunker: DuPont

Just South of Lakewood, one will find DuPont, not so much a business district as a thriving town surrounded by scenic landscape and conveniently located near freeway access for a quick commute. Among central downtown, you'll find the basic luxuries of any good town, a fair amount of dining options

Urban Spelunker: Lakewood

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Urban Spelunker: Lakewood

Joint Base Lewis-McChord calls Lakewood home, so it is very likely one of the areas you've already had the opportunity to explore. It's a diverse community that beholds a variety of pocketed neighborhoods including residential communities, historical buildings, lakes, parks and a slew of strip malls. I could have just

Urban Spelunker: Fife

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Urban Spelunker: Fife

Fife is a pit stop of a town north of Tacoma and just south of Federal Way. I say pit stop because Fife is quite literally a truck stop destination with several 24-hour dining destinations and loads of diesel fuel available at the pumps. Once upon a time, sweeping farm

Urban Spelunker: Bonney Lake

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Urban Spelunker: Bonney Lake

Bonney Lake is a compelling combination of a blissful retreat-like environment and thriving business community. When driving through, you can spy heavily wooded serenity, take in the view and still find modern societal necessities like an Applebee's, Target and Wal-Mart surrounded by idyllic residential communities. And though many of the

Urban Spelunker: Hilltop Tacoma

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Urban Spelunker: Hilltop Tacoma

On the crest that leads to downtown Tacoma, there is an appropriately named little neck of the woods known as Hilltop. Sometimes referred to as Hilltopia, Hilltop has had a lot of history behind it. And though it may have a little grime under its historic nails, Hilltop also has

Urban Spelunker: Westgate Tacoma

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Urban Spelunker: Westgate Tacoma

Sometimes while spelunking, I venture into idyllic pockets of community that are bursting with locally owned brick and mortar establishments that aim to fill your needs with unique flair and personality. Other times, I run across a business district whose facade of fast-food chains and large corporate-run joints may have

Urban Spelunker: Old Town Tacoma

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Urban Spelunker: Old Town Tacoma

Old Town is a cozy little business district that can be easily bypassed by those not in the know as they zip down Schuster to admire Ruston's waterfront attractions. Those that take the time to travel just one block up from Ruston to North 30th are in for a delightful

Urban Spelunker: Downtown Olympia

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Urban Spelunker: Downtown Olympia

When entering downtown Olympia, you will likely first be taken by the majestic state capitol, surrounding historical architecture and park scenery. As you venture further, you'll discover an eclectic mix of shopping and dining options in what is perhaps one of the most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods around. Downtown Olympia is swirling

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