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A little bit of everything for the best gastronomical experience in Tacoma, Washington. Down-to-earth pubs, friendly saloons & casual dining, with special happy hour twice a day. Tacos, burgers, steaks, seafood & Mexican food galore on the streets of Tacoma. Of course, the big name restaurants have their fans too. But many visitors, young and old, come here for the Best Places to eat and drink in Tacoma. That's why the city has been named one of the best cities to live in by the U.S. News and World Report.
Down-to-earth pubs & restaurants, like The Stand, are a great place to go on a rainy, snowy, or overcast day. The atmosphere is casual and the music is great. There's live entertainment every night, including local favorites, jazz nights, blues, gospel, reggae, and a few surprises. The bar room remains lively with entertaining live music and a range of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pasta, or even dessert. It's also a place to enjoy a cold beverage.
If you are into the best cuisine in the Pacific Northwest, you'll love Tacos Azteca. This restaurant is located on an unlikely stretch of Olympic Boulevard just off of downtown Tacoma. Across the street are a beautiful courtyard and street cafe that feature some of the best fresh seafood in town. There are also very good and inexpensive seafood and frozen fish selections.
Of course, a visit to Tacoma's downtown art district is not complete without stopping by at the Third Avenue Art Walk. This walking tour showcases local art and talent while traversing the street. Art walkers can wander through a field of handmade glass beads and see local artwork, shop until they drop, and mingle with artists and buyers at the art market. You'll find coffee shops, galleries, and clothing boutiques. You'll even find small stores selling gift wrapping paper and candles, if you are looking for a unique gift.
While on your way to the coffee shops, stop in at The Coffee Bean and discuss your favorite spots with the employees. They will help you plan a night trip with a local expert who lives just down the street from you. If you are up for a late-night treat, head to the Sandbox located inside the Olympic Boulevard business district. Here you will get one of the best espresso shots you have ever tasted, along with complimentary coffee and an assortment of pastries. The only problem is that you may be forced to pay for it, but if you are ever unsure, don't hesitate to walk all the way home.
When you are in the mood to check out some live music, head over to Freight Brothers and Winooski for a night of great music and beer. The opening band is named The Bearcats and they play every Sunday. There is also The Ramblers, a bluegrass-driven folk group that has been playing shows all across the area. The Bearcats have even opened for acts as diverse as The Rolling Stones and The Who. And for those who enjoy a good burger and a beer, there is still no other place in town better than The Stand, which is known for its huge selection of both.
Tacoma's rich culinary offerings are just as varied as its music and dancing. There is a place in the city just for seafood lovers as well as those looking for a decent meal. Stop into La Habana, which is noted for its delicious South American specialties, or check out Grampa's, which serves up a variety of dishes from just about every continent around the world. The standouts include the aforementioned clam chowder and conch chowder (coming in a few different versions), as well as vegetarian versions of such classics as crab cakes and duck eggs. The food at these restaurants is consistently excellent, and the prices are very reasonable.
Of course, you will not want to miss the nightlife in the city, which is where El Pollo, located in the South Park district, really scores. Offering a fantastic view of the bay, El Pollo is one of the best places in the city to see live music. There are also a few small bars and clubs scattered throughout the area, some of which offer free food and drinks during their events. As for the food, there are a number of Latin-inspired delis, which offer a variety of sandwiches, salads, and other items fresh from the farm. And for the truly adventurous, El Pollo has a self-described gourmet wine cellar, which might be your best bet for picking up a bottle of interesting wines from all over the world.