If you live in or near Tacoma, sooner or later you are going to need to head toward a shopping center. Whether you're in the market for clothes from a chain store or want something locally made or feel the need to explore some antique stores, shopping in Tacoma is easy and you've got plenty of options. While Tacoma Mall is the biggest shopping center around, the South Sound has other malls within easy driving distance of Tacoma, as well as shopping centers, local stores and some nontraditional places to get your shop on.
Tacoma Mall is the biggest shopping destination in town. The mall itself has several department stores, including Nordstrom, Macy’s, JCPenney and Forever 21, and a full range of smaller stores. A food court provides options for casual meals and there are some mid-range sit-down restaurants including a conveyor belt sushi place near Nordstrom, Blazing Onion and BJ's Brewhouse. The entire area around the mall has even more stores (Petco, World Market and Half Price Books, for example) and more restaurants.
Location: 4502 S Steele Street, Tacoma, WA
South Hill Mall is in Puyallup, about seven miles from most parts of Tacoma. This mall feels more dated than Tacoma Mall, but usually is much quieter if you prefer to avoid the masses of teenagers that hit Tacoma Mall on a regular basis. Puyallup’s mall is anchored by Target, JCPenney, Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods. All around this mall are restaurant options, and nearby Meridian Avenue has stores and restaurants along its entire stretch from the mall area up to the housing developments in the Silver Creek area around 176th Street. Inside the mall is a movie theater and a food court.
Location: 3500 South Meridian, Puyallup, WA
The Outlet Collection is refurbished and much more stylish than its predecessor. This large outlet mall has one very convenient aspect to it — the mall is in the shape of a circle. No matter where you park, one lap around the mall will return you to your starting point. There is also added an additional pass-through the center of the mall so you can loop back sooner than a full lap. The Outlet Collection is anchored by Nordstrom Rack, Bed Bath and Beyond, Burlington Coat Factory and there is a Wal-Mart across the street. You will find an array of outlets and stores, everything from Tommy Hilfiger to Gap to Old Navy.
Location: 1101 Outlet Collection Way, Suite 1268, Auburn, WA 98001
Where many moons ago there used to be a Lakewood Mall, there is now the Lakewood Towne Center. Unlike the local malls, this shopping center has outdoor walkways and is a collection of big box stores (Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Barnes & Noble and more), smaller stores, restaurants (Old Country Buffet, The Ram and others), grocery stores and some municipal buildings. Because it is largely outdoors, dressing appropriately or bringing an umbrella is a good idea in the fall and winter. In the spring, the parking lot isn't a bad place to view cherry blossom trees!
Location: 5731 Main Street SW, Lakewood, WA
About 30 minutes south of Tacoma is the Capital Mall in Olympia. This mall is about on par with South Hill in size—a bit smaller than malls to the north, but still a good range of stores if you need to buy clothes or get your Christmas shopping done all in one place. Retailers include H&M, Best Buy and Dick's Sporting Goods. Olympia Mall has a food court and a theater within it, as well as a few sit-down options.
Location: 625 Black Lake Boulevard, Olympia, WA
The Commons at Federal Way includes an enclosed mall along with commercial sprawl surrounding it, and is 15 to 20 minutes north of Tacoma. The mall includes Century Theaters, Macy’s and Target. The mall itself isn't large, but the entire area around The Commons is filled with a great selection of restaurants and shops.
Location: 1928 S Commons, Federal Way, WA
Freighthouse Square is one of the less traditional shopping centers in Tacoma. It is located near the Tacoma Dome and downtown Tacoma and retains the charm of yesteryear without the commercial appeal of a traditional mall, but it also lacks tons of shopping options. But that isn’t what a visit to Freighthouse is all about. This is a great place to go for lunch as its food court is filled with local eateries that run the culinary gamut. Then wander and look in the shops and art gallery for a while.
Location: 2501 E D Street, Tacoma, WA
Tacoma and surrounding cities are home to a number of antique stores, including a collection of about 20 of them in downtown Tacoma called Antique Row. Antique Row is near Tacoma's Theater District at 9th and Broadway and has a little bit of everything, from vintage toy stores to antique furniture to memorabilia and beyond. Parking downtown is free on Sunday so that can be a great time to check these stores out. Catch the Link to Union Station and you can also find a number of indie shops in downtown Tacoma that provide a more unique shopping experience than a mall will.