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Urban Spelunker: Federal Way

Retail therapy between Tacoma and Seattle

Wild Waves and Enchanted Village in Federal Way, WA. Photos by Jackie Fender

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Introducing the southern regions of the "South" Sound to King County is Federal Way. What can be said about Federal Way? It's a cornucopia that overfloweths with apartment complexes and housing developments, strip malls and corporate retail and dining establishments. Centered between Tacoma and Seattle, Federal Way is the epitome of a high-traffic sector and serves as an excellent pit stop for those looking for some retail therapy or a bite to eat at their favorite chain restaurant. Here are just a few things you can find in the area:

[Thrill Seekers and Splish Splashing]
Summer lovin' folks of all ages come in herds to Wild Waves and Enchanted Village. From the months of May to December, it serves up a one-two punch for the price of one with 70 acres of fun featuring pool-party themed festivities and waterslides on one side and carnival-style rides on the other. Single day and year long passes are available. Open May through December, 36201 Enchanted Pkwy. S., 253.661.8000

[Frenzied Sports Fans]
If you're looking for a solid sports bar that is locally owned, look no further than R Jay's Scoreboard Pub. Tucked away just blocks from busy mall traffic, R Jay's is a prime spot for brew sipping, greasy bite nibbling goodness with a view of a television from every seat in the house. The place is larger than it looks from the outside and even has a koosh pool lounge in the rear of the house for the hustlers. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 1200 S. 324th St., 253.839.4791

[Hey Big Spender]
Though there is a vast collection of strip malls throughout Federal Way, The Commons at Federal Way, featuring more than 90 retail and dining options in one space, is the heart of shopping extravaganzas in the area. Though it's called the "Commons," what it really means to say is "mall."  You'll find Macys, Sears and the like, PLUS the Commons is equipped with a movie theater and arcade. Fun for the whole family. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, 1928 South Commons, 253.275.3303

[Little Italy]
Vince's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria is a Northwest-based "chain" that boasts authentic Italian fare. If you're hankering for spaghetti, spumoni or a pizza pie, pop in and ante up to one of its red and white checkered table tops. Heads up: Its reputation service-wise recommends great patience when visiting. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, 32411 Pacific Hwy. S., 253.839.1496

[Tree Huggers]
Perhaps my favorite Federal Way find is the Weyerhaeuser Rhododendron and Bonsai Gardens. I'm a proud Northwesterner and had never heard of the place! Tucked away among the winding Weyerhaeuser roads, it sits waiting for green thumbs and tree huggers to come take a gander. This outdoor garden display features lovely walking trails and boasts one of the largest collections of rhododendrons and Bonsais in the nation. The Bonsai portion of the park is free to view, but if you want to eye the rhodies, there is a fee: $8 for adults, seniors are $5 and children 12 and under are free. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2525 S. 336th St., 253.838.4646

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