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The Proctor District: Take another look

Cactus Southwest Kitchen in Tacoma’s wonderful Proctor District. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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Centralized at the intersection of North 26th Street and Proctor is one of the first established neighborhood business districts in Tacoma. It is one of 15 in the city, and it is where there are a cluster of businesses in a walkable neighborhood. The Proctor Business District has been the heart of Tacoma's North End for more than 100 years, and is known for its cute shops, great restaurants and vintage entertainment. If you haven't been to Proctor in a while you need to visit to check out all that is new.

Vintage entertainment in Proctor includes the Chalet Bowl, a local family-owned business. It began operating in 1941 and is the longest continually operating bowling alley in Washington state. Reggie, one of the owners, grew up bowling at Chalet Bowl, worked there, and in 1984 purchased it with his wife Nancy. John Hamrick's Blue Mouse Theatre opened in 1923 and showed silent movies. It fell into disrepair and was purchased by a group of preservationists in 1993. Known as the Blue Mouse Associates they restored the theatre to its original glory with the original Craftsman-style timbering, stucco, marble terrazzo and lovely globe light sconces. It is one of oldest continuously operating movie theaters in the country. According to Travel Tacoma, the neon mice on the marquee are some of Dale Chihuly's first works in neon.

Proctor is known for its cute shops. Check out the Pacific Northwest Store. It has been a Proctor favorite since 1978. At this family-owned giftshop you will find specialty food and gifts from across the Pacific Northwest. Other area shops include Blue which is Goodwill's upscale boutique, Envy carries boho women's fashion, and Compass Rose an eclectic gift shop.

There is such a variety of restaurants in the Proctor District. Peaks and Pints is a craft beer taproom and bottle shop with crazy, good sandwiches. The beer and cider selection is amazing. Knapp's is an historic restaurant dating back to 1938. It's an old school American Eatery with an old-fashioned cocktail lounge. The Waffle Stop is a newer Proctor restaurant and really steps up the humble waffle to a gourmet treat. They offer both sweet and savory options. Cactus is a Southwest kitchen and bar, and their cocktails are handcrafted works of art.

The Proctor Farmers' Market has a long season from March 26 through Dec. 17. North 27th St. is closed to traffic during the market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. This market has a cult following and is a farmer and food-focused market not an artisan/craft market. With a mission to support local farmers, the market brings fresh, locally grown produce and farm products to the public. There is a real since of community with this market.

One of the anchor stores in Proctor is the Metropolitan Market. This upscale grocery store sells premium ingredients for a meal cooked at home or you can purchase a variety of prepared food. A must purchase is "The Cookie" which are prepared fresh daily and placed on a heated store to serve warm. It is an ooey, gooey, chocolate chunk cookie that is large enough to share.

Head down to Proctor and explore this historic Tacoma neighborhood.

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