Thousands of hand-blown ornaments and floats glint from the shelves of Tacoma Glassblowing Studio, which earned recognition as the No. 1 attraction in Tacoma by TripAdvisor, and western Washington’s Best Art Gallery by CityVoter. Shoppers browse a polychromatic panoply of 3- to 4-inch glass spheres blown onsite ($15–$25), which can adorn mantelpieces, float in ponds, or serve as attractive lane dividers in the kiddie pool. A husband-and-wife duo runs the studio, and deploys a dedicated six-person staff to help inflate the translucent orbs and assist customers with bauble selection.
The Museum of Glass is the only museum west of the Mississippi to exclusively showcase one of art's most delicate media: glass. The museum provides a dynamic learning environment to appreciate the medium of glass through creative experiences, collections, and exhibitions. Stop by the Hot Shop, housed in the museum's 90-foot-tall stainless-steel dome, to watch professional artists as they blow and shape molten glass into artistic sculptures or thought bubbles. Be sure to examine the museum's outdoor installations, including Martin Blank's Fluent Steps, the colorful Chihluly Bridge of Glass, and the Water Forest, a series of towering acrylic tubes filled with rising and falling water.
Originally used by Japanese fishermen to keep their nets from sinking, glass floats would frequently escape their netting and be found by treasure seekers on the beach. Two such treasure seekers were Bellaballs' co-founders, glass artist Diane Hansen and designer Lesli Jacobs-McHugh, who quickly became fascinated by the strikingly gorgeous glass orbs and began making their own as decorative items. Today, each bellaball is a hand-blown glass orb individually made by local artisans. Available in 77 rich colors, Classic bellas ($40) all come stamped with a fig leaf gilded in sterling silver. Signature bellas ($40), meanwhile, can be customized with nine stamp designs—including a baby pram, a lucky horseshoe, and a pineapple—to commemorate occasions such as a birth, a new job, or successfully swallowing an entire pineapple.
Serenity Spa and Natural Health Clinic's eco-friendly sanctuary wraps well-worn bodies in relaxing energy with an array of holistic healing treatments. The 60- to 90-minute acupuncture treatment strives to release tension and stress wedged, like squatting trolls, along the body's factory lines of energy. Designed to create a spacious tunnel for the chi (energy) to flow, fine needles are delicately inserted into critical pressure points along the physique, potentially helping to relieve allergies or treat autoimmune diseases and pulmonary disorders. Further bolstering relaxation, the 15- to 20-minute aromatherapy foot and head massage works to invigorate the senses with scented oils, soothing strokes, and an absence of heavy-metal music.
Amocat brews up a bevy of coffees and teas to accompany a menu brimming with breakfast fare, grilled paninis, and salads. Steps regain their heel-clicking pep with espresso drinks ($2.25–$5.05) brewed from custom roasted Valhalla coffee and Mad Hat teas ($1.50 a cup) available in a flavorful roster that includes Creamsicle, Red Flower Earl Grey, and Egyptian chamomile. Rouse yawning mandibles from their dreams of showing up unprepared for pop quizzes with a scrumptious breakfast sandwich ($3.50) or wrap hands around a grilled Mambo panini ($4.99) showcasing chicken breast that stirs tongue buds into a twitterpated tizzy with the help of artichoke hearts, smoked gouda, and pesto mayonnaise. Amocat Cafe's décor boasts an ever-changing display of artwork from up-and-coming artists and the eatery's occasional live music feeds ravenous cochleae like q-tips fashioned from spun sugar.