For decades, the city of Tacoma was the minor league home of MLB teams from across the country. It hosted affiliates of the San Francisco Giants, the Chicago Cubs, and even the New York Yankees for one season. In 1995, the Seattle Mariners took over Tacoma's team and instantly inherited the long-time organizational name, the Rainiers. The alliance has seen much success over the years, including a Pacific Coast League championship in 2010, a title the club had to win on the road while Cheney Stadium was groggy from anesthesia as it endured drastic renovations.
Those renovations earned the facility a "2011 Renovation of the Year" award from Ballpark Digest. Once dubbed the "100-Day Wonder" thanks to its hasty construction before the 1960 season, Cheney Stadium features an iconic 75-foot wooden exterior façade. Inside, the stadium now boasts such modern amenities as luxury suites, a restaurant, and a grass berm along right field. Despite all the updates, though, the stadium has preserved its epic 29-foot tall batter's eye in centerfield, which sits a distant 425 feet—or, the equivalent of 5,437 sunflower seeds—from home plate.
Metronome Coffee's founders built their business around the idea of fresh coffee, tasty foods, and good music to sooth both cravings and consciences. They acquire their coffee through direct trade with farmers, each cup benefiting the people who did the hard work of growing it. They stock their pastry case with treats from local Corina Bakery and serve up hot pancakes made from scratch. They even squeeze their orange juice fresh. And they pair their food and drink with the tunes of local artists, helping customers discover new music.
Built in 1925, the Temple Theatre first served as a vaudeville venue, later becoming a host for road shows, burlesque, and movies. However, the theatre closed in 1965, and would be subjected to disrepair, vandalism, and skeleton xylophone recitals for more than 15 years. A 1981 restoration project returned the theatre to its former glory. Today, seated under the gilded chandelier and wooden trim, theatergoers lose themselves in the thoughtful dramas enacted upon the stage.
Set in Rosebud, a 19th-century mining town, Boom Town takes audiences 145 years back in time on a whimsical Old West adventure. World-class circus performers, including many drawn from the ranks of Cirque du Soleil, use mining equipment and other colorful props to execute a variety of stunts and maneuvers worthy of double, triple, and quadruple takes. The acrobatic action takes place within the fittingly historical walls of the venerable Pantages Theater, a former vaudeville venue and movie house. Before or after the show, head down the street to Pacific Grill, where chef/owner Gordon Naccarato oversees a menu rich in nautical delicacies such as weathervane scallops ($30) and turf-based tastes including grilled lamb T-bone chops ($32).
At Circus Gatti, exotic animals, hilarious showmen, and thrilling daredevils delight families in an outrageous three-ring spectacle. During the two-hour show, elephants Tika and Patti stomp to Bollywood choreography, and the Liberty Ponies knock their synchronized hooves under the deft direction of Miss Genevieve, who conducts with a baton made of sugar cubes. The Great Oscar soars through the heavens with nothing but an oversize rope and bones infused with helium, with The Queen Bee delivering further aerial thrills while fluttering beside her hive in an atmospheric ballet. Pipin and Poppy elicit laughs with their comedy routine, and Miss Elizabeth induces awe with a contortion and balancing act in which she fires an arrow with her legs and feet while hanging upside down. After the show, those who opted for the meet and greet will brush elbows with the circus stars, snapping photos and asking questions regarding their skill, bravery, and how to construct a Q-tip big enough to clean an elephant's ear.
Away from the rink, the players who make up Dockyard Derby Dames could be seen as teachers, accountants, nurses, journalists, and moms. But once they strap on a pair of skates, these women become warriors of the track—impassioned athletes with a thirst for victory who wear bruises like badges of honor. The league was founded in 2005 by a small group of skaters, and has since grown to include four teams. Today, it even boasts a travel team that treks across the country to face other squads and make sure the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans both have enough water in them. Dedicated as they are to the sport, though, the ladies of Dockyard Derby Dames are equally committed to giving back to the community by sponsoring charities and participating in community outreach events.