Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vintage Shopping: Tacoma, Washington

I have returned from a week enjoying the great Pacific North/West.
One thing that I love to do when traveling is vintage shopping--and I don't mean in Seattle where prices are equal to New York's vintage shops.

Instead I cruise the wonderful vintage stores in TACOMA. This sleepy Victorian and Bungalow era city is loaded with more antique and vintage shopping than one can see in a day. I have sorted it all out here, and give you my top three. The drive is easy--these are freeway close, in districts with other things to see and do (for your fellow travelers who may not drool over vintage the way you do).

TACOMA VINTAGE SHOPPING

VANITY FASHION BOUTIQUE
This vintage shop is adorable! Pink décor with vintage furnishings makes this feel like your very hip best friend’s cool bedroom. When we were there, the shop was buzzing with happy shoppers (and it was only a Tuesday afternoon!)
The selection tends towards 1950’s and later. There is a ‘wall of shoes’ down their rear hallway that you won’t want to miss. Styles are arranged by type and color, so you can cruise what you are looking for and avoid that overwhelming mish-mash of stuff like some other vintage shops. We found both true vintage and recent retro styles on the racks.

Prices: amazingly low, I’m guessing this is 30% to 50% less than big city prices.
www.melsvanity.etsy.com
3903 6th Ave (6th at Proctor)
Off the 16 freeway at Union (n. to 6th, left to Proctor)
Or at 6th (rt. To Proctor)
Parking in back
253 761 7801
Hours: 12-6, Tuesday-Sunday

Also nearby:
University of Puget Sound campus
Point Defiance Park, Zoo and Aquarium
Vashon Island Ferry
Tacoma Narrows Bridge (and Gig Harbor)

On BROADWAY:

GLENNA’S CLOTHING

Glenna’s is one of the best west coast vintage shops. It would be difficult to find a finer collection in any other west coast city (or NYC for that matter).
The overall tone is sophisticated and luxurious. Fashions are hung by color and type. But what makes this shop a stand-out is the quality of the pieces and the diversity of styles. It’s as good as any museum (I covet the Lilli Ann suit now on display!). In addition, this shop also showcases vintage accessories, especially handbags, hats and jewelry.

Prices: moderate and fair for the quality of the pieces. Don’t expect bargain hunting here.
783 Broadway, 98402-3709
Freeway: take 5 into Tacoma, then #705 into downtown district (Pacific)
Take Pacific north (right) up to S. 9th street, turn left 2 blocks to Broadway.
253-627-8501
Located at Broadway and S. 9th St.

THE WARDROBE
New to the Broadway antiques district is this sweet vintage fashion shop. Located hidden away in the back of a cool antiques store (check out the mid-century mod!). The shop owner, Nanette, has created a fanciful environment with painted walls, hanging chandeliers and lots of vintage furnishings. Her vintage stock spans from the 50’s to current retro styles. It all works together well, making this shop a real find, and a fun place to shop.

Prices: very low to moderate
742 Broadway (behind Best Antiques)
253-617-3509

NOTE: These two shops sit in a small antiques district located along Broadway in downtown Tacoma. Plan to cruise the other shops between S. 7th street and S. 9th street. Then recover at the Tully’s café located in an amazing flat iron building on the corner.

CAFÉ: Tulleys at Broadway and 9th
VINTAGE DIST: on Broadway between S. 9th St and S. 7th St.
STREET PARKING: approach district from S. 7th St. to approach street parking.

Also nearby: The downtown area of Tacoma is minutes from the #5 freeway
Children’s Museum of Tacoma
Museum of Glass
Washington State History Museum

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