Monday, January 18, 2010
The Other PNW City
As the new year dawned cold and grey, we met up with our Seattle pals in the museum district of Tacoma. Tacoma alost never makes the Top Ten lists in the glossy magazines, it never sees the boom times that rocket its neighbor and send home values and salaries soaring. It's not America's Greenest City or the setting for romantic comedies.
But, quietly, slowly, steadily, Tacoma has grown up into a true urban jewel. It's not flashy and brilliant in the ways that Seattle is, but its homes are still affordable, its parks are breathtaking and well used, its shoreline is easily accessed by its residents, and its downtown is quirky, a little sleepy, and increasingly filled with museums and other public spaces that are simply world class.
Who can fail to adore a pedestrian bridge filled with Dale Chihuly glass? What's not to love about an entire swath of bricked downtown redeveloped by the University of Washington into an integrated urban campus? And our plan to drop in at the history museum to see the annual model train show turned into an entire awe-filled afternoon, learning about Washington's past and present.
Mostly I just feel incredibly lucky to live on a small farm in a rural paradise so close to not just one, but two, vibrant and lively Puget Sound cities. But more and more, when I feel the need for a little civilization and faces I don't see every day, I head south instead of east and enjoy the mellow urbanness of the Other PNW city.