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Urban Spelunker: Tacoma Dome District

Shops, sweets and crystals at the north end of downtown

Brown and Haley - home to the Roca family and the Mountain Bar - celebrated its centenary last year.

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The Tacoma Dome may well be the most recognizable landmark in the city of Tacoma. In addition to being a behemoth dome, the venue plays host to dozens of national acts each year. At first glance, the urban landscape surrounding the Tacoma Dome exudes the roughness that confirms Tacoma's unofficial title of Grit City. A closer look, however, exposes some of the most compelling business districts in the area.

Here are a few of my favorite Tacoma Dome District attractions.


The large green hub taking up three full city blocks that is Freighthouse Square could nearly be deemed a business district all on its own. Inside you'll find galleries, clothing hotspots, gift shops and loads of other retail space, not to mention a food court that is very much like an international district, boasting flavors - from authentic Asian to Mexican and beyond - from all over the world. If you're looking to skip town after your shopping excursion, hop on the Sounder train, jump on the Tacoma Link or even cross the street to catch a Greyhound Bus.

[2501 E. D St.; open Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.]


The delicious chocolate-covered rolled toffee treat that is Almond Roca and brought to you by Brown and Haley is a culinary celebrity in Tacoma. Since 1923, this aluminum-wrapped sweet treat has been making a name for itself and remains wildly popular to this day. You can find both the Brown and Haley headquarters and outlet store in the dome district. If you're hankering for a sweet treat straight from the source, this is a must visit.

[110 E. 26th St.; open Mondays to Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.]


Upon entering the Crystal Voyage, one thing is certain: it's simply a feel good space. Many will dismiss the store as a "hippie" or "new age" hot spot, but this retail space has loads to offer. It has a delightful stock of crystals, incense and aromatherapy candles and oils, as well as a lovely assortment of calendars, gift cards and more. Perhaps most impressive is its book collection. From alternative medicine and self help to astrology, children's stories and even recently released popular titles, it's quite the visit for a book worm. The store also hosts many courses throughout the month like meditation, yogalates and astrology.

[2601 E. D St.; open Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.]

More Dome District attractions to visit:

  • Wine and Dine: El Gaucho's, The Melting Pot, Alfred's Cafe, Johnny's Dock
  • Chug-a-luggers: Wingman Brewing Brewers and The New Frontier Lounge
  • Lovers of Hot Wheels and History: LeMay - America's Car Museum, Pink Elephant Car Wash (to keep said wheels squeaky clean)
  • Fit Fanatics: Climb Tacoma and Ohana Gym
  • Green Thumbs: Urban Garden Company
  • Pyromaniacs: Tacoma Glass Blowing Studio

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