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Urban Spelunker: Garfield Street

Growth is coming to this little business district

Northern Pacific Coffee Company

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Leading to the Pacific Lutheran University campus from the east is Garfield Street. This little business district is quite the conundrum: swarming with youthful academic types due to its proximity to the university, it plays home to a variety of establishments that cater to the hip clientele while at the same time aging, derelict storefronts are peppered throughout. There is, however, hope for the growth of this little district according to posters that are plastered along the empty storefront windows advertising an upcoming project called the Garfield Station. This project is anticipated to begin in full force this year, adding a structure that will house 104 apartments plus office, retail and commercial space that ideally will boost visitation without causing competition to current businesses that call Garfield Street home.

Here are just a few finds currently residing along Garfield Street that are worth a visit:

[Hipsters and Homers Alike]

Art-lined walls, well-worn seats and heavily etched wooden tables just beg for academic types to enjoy a cup of coffee while cramming for finals. Or maybe even your average joe to take a seat and sip on a craft brew. That's Northern Pacific Coffee Company. Its house-made baked treats accompany a stellar selection of espresso, craft beers and wine, which lure in patrons from all walks of life. Open mic on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. plays to local talent, and its rotating art gallery is made for the creative types.

401 Garfield St. S., Tacoma. Open Mondays - Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 253.537.833

[Books for Your Nooks]

Garfield Book Company is not simply a book store. Throughout the two stories of store, you will find a vast selection of reads and other cool finds like kitchen decor, garden gadgets, kids' toys, Lute gear (PLU's mascot), school supplies, gifts and more. Furthermore, it is conveniently connected to artisan eatery 208 Garfield and gift shop Scandinavian Shop. It's nearly a one-stop-shopping destination, simply lacking the groceries.

208 Garfield St. S., Tacoma. Open Mondays - Fridays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m., 253.535.7665

[Planes, Trains and Automobiles]

Hobby Town is pure heaven for lovers of models. The selection of model airplanes, both those that take to the sky and those that are simply lovely for looks, is staggering. Not to mention the variety of other models and building tools it has on hand - it's a toy store for big kids!

402 Garfield St. S., Tacoma, 253.531.8111

[Thrift Seekers]

Gossip Thrift Store, home to hip hand-me-downs, features loads of cool threads, which is nice for those who don't want to scour through the not-so-hip to find cool finds. Aside from a decent selection of clothing in this small space, you can also spy a collection of books, accessories and purses and some nifty finds for the home.

405 Garfield St. S., Tacoma. Open Tuesdays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 253.537.0302

[Shabby Chic Shopping]

The Scandinavian Shop, connected to Garfield Book Company, is a delightful little nook if you're looking for clever and cute gifts. The little space is overflowing with spring and summer flair from artsy gift items to cute women's clothing; including Dansko footwear.

Also Worth Exploring:

Foodie Finds: 208 Garfield, Marzanos, Farrellis, Reynas Mexican Cocktails, Pita Pit

Hardcore Hair: Hair Mechanic Junkies

Funky Finds: Island Gift Shop

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