Arts & Events

Array of unique opportunities for an affordable day in Tacoma


If you think taking a two-hour bus ride to Seattle is the only way to have a decent weekend, think again.
Beyond campus borders and the surrounding neighborhood is a town filled with quirky stores, charming restaurants and a huge array of antique shops.
Students of Puget Sound have enough to worry about with papers to write, dining dollars to watch and families to miss. Trying to have a great weekend on a college budget should be the least of their problems.
Students can rent ORCA cards for free in the ASUPS office, upstairs in Wheelock Student Center. This convenient privilege makes your bus rides free and easy but be sure to get them early before they run out!
Bus stops one and 11 take you through 6th Street to Commerce, where you’ll find a multitude of different foods and cafes to try.
Once you reach Commerce Street, you are free to roam the artsy city’s downtown area and enjoy all your newfound options.
Browse Antique Row on 9th & Broadway for vintage additions to your closet and other fancy trinkets to give your room a home like aspect to it.
Also, if you are feeling somewhat adventurous, visit the “What? Shoppe” for pop culture, unconventional art and unusual memorabilia.
Take a trip down Pacific Avenue and visit the Tacoma Art Museum for a taste of contemporary art. Go any time between 5 and 8 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month for free admission for Tacoma’s Art Walk event.
Before you take a bus back home, make sure to make a stop by the hard-to-miss Mad Hat Tea Shop on Commerce Street.
Take some time to unwind there and have a cup of any one of their freshly brewed teas.
Look at or purchase the art in the background, enjoy the mellow ambiance in the air or say hello to the owner and Puget Sound Rugby coach Tobin Ropes and thank him for the $2 tea price for University of Puget Sound students. Don’t worry about finding it, the red wall and Dodo make it almost impossible to miss.
A local worker at the Mad Hat Tea Shop, Adam Martin, feels that “Tacoma is not well represented and to get the real experience you have to really know the town,” adding that the people here are very “well grounded.”
Travel to the Hill Top neighborhood, for a local favorite called Quickie Too, a vegan Jamaican cafe with delicious burgers, BBQ and Mac and Yease.
If downtown is not your cup of tea, take a trip to the beautiful Point Defiance Park, with long bike trails and a breathtaking view of the Sound.
Tacoma is beautiful, quaint and definitely a great place to spend a weekend if you know where to go!
Hungry for more secret Tacoma hot spots? Be sure to check out for an outsider’s guide to the city, recommended by Martin.