Sports in Tacoma

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New York-native John Cassese's motto is, "If you can walk, you can dance." The celebrity dance instructor and choreographer's own quick-stepping career began at the tender age of 10, jumpstarting a passion that would eventually take him careening across the stages of off-Broadway productions, nightclubs, dance competitions, and the occasional monster-truck rally. It wasn't until he relocated to Los Angeles that an agent dubbed him "The Dance Doctor," and soon after, he found his fleet-footed prowess and teaching abilities in high demand amongst production studios such as Sony, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox.

Between choreographing a Charleston dance sequence on AMC's Mad Men and singing at the 50th birthday parties of Billy Crystal and Wolfgang Puck, John leads a team of instructors as they teach celebs and everyday Tinseltowners the finer points of styles ranging from ballet to hip-hop. Despite all the fanfare, his biggest praise comes from his work with soon-to-be-married couples, who seek his advice on everything from basic steps and song selection, to the length of the post-cake-cutting conga line.

2608 6th Ave.
Tacoma,
Washington
US

The nine-hole course at Highlands Golf tests the mettle of mid- to short-range irons with nine par 3s and a bounty of scenarios that demand short-game finesse. Whereas most courses place value on long drives and superhuman muscles like Arnold Palmer's, Highlands Golf makes players rely on dexterity with shorter irons and putting prowess. Tee shots range from just 100 yards to 200 yards on the par 3s, with eight bunkers and three water hazards ready to confound overconfident swings. Rounds typically take less than 75 minutes to complete, providing an unintimidating layout for new players to practice, space for veterans to show off their short-game theatrics, and enough soft landing spots for speed golfers to test the aerodynamics of argyle tracksuits. 

Course at a Glance:

  • Nine-hole, par-27 course
  • Nine par 3s
  • No hole longer than 200 yards
  • Rounds often completed in less than 75 minutes
1400 N Highlands Pkwy
Tacoma,
WA
US

Instructors and real-life couple Paul and Pollie are the dynamic duo behind Mousai Studios, forging both their business and romantic partnership around Paul’s lifelong love of dance. The couple specializes in several types of ballroom dancing—which Paul considers his niche—and they impart their toe-tapping skills to the public through private and group classes that focus on social, rather than competitive, dancing.

The studio, which encloses floor-to-ceiling windows and lush potted plants, also hosts weekly belly dancing, burlesque, and guitar classes taught by passionate instructors. The inviting space doubles as an art gallery, featuring works by local artists and professionally trained Etch A Sketches and contains a boutique consignment shop that features vintage and gently used fashions for the whole family.

759 St Helens Ave
Tacoma,
WA
US

In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.

A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.

102 S 24th St
Tacoma,
WA
US

You and your golf pal will receive a wealth of feedback from Tacoma Firs' PGA- and LPGA-certified instructors over the course of each of your hour-long lessons. They tailor instruction to individual needs, so novices can learn the fundamentals of the game, and expert ball-swatters will season their swing, perfect golf posture, and hone alignment. The staff's careful instruction, observation, and friendly demeanor make it easy to make balls to soar more gracefully than an ultralight made of dreams.

4504 S Tyler St
Tacoma,
WA
US

A 27-hole facility overseen by the Metro Parks Department of Tacoma, Meadow Park Golf Course offers club-toters both an 18-hole Championship Course and a 9-hole Williams course. Big hitters can be rewarded handsomely on the Championship Course, where a preponderance of straightaway holes places a premium on distance. Several of these, particularly holes No. 2, 12, and 15, are drivable if golfers make a good swing or quickly down a can of spinach before playing.

The Williams Nine, meanwhile, is ideally suited to beginning golfers. Its collection of three par 4s and six par 3s?none longer than 277 yards from the back tees?won't intimidate players who are just getting the hang of the swing or scared stiff about breaking golf etiquette. The course's ease helps them build confidence in preparation for a jump to the full-length loop.

7108 Lakewood Dr W
Tacoma,
WA
US