in partnership
This expansive barcade located just down the way from downtown is a video game mecca. (Photo: Chona Kasinger / Seattle Refined)

Next time you're in Tacoma, head to these quirky spots

On a good day, Tacoma is just a 40 minute drive down from Seattle. A straight shot on I-5, there's no denying Tacoma holds a completely different vibe than its sister city Seattle. Downtown, you'll find the rapidly expanding University of Washington Tacoma satellite campus, Tacoma Art Museum, Chihuly Museum and more. However, look a little closer, and you'll begin to get a real taste of Tacoma's unique flavor. Behold, the five wonderfully weird wonders of Tacoma.

Bob's Java Jive
Bob's Java Jive has been around since 1927, making it a whopping 90 years old. This weatherbeaten teapot shaped establishment is on the national register of historic places, and for good reason - these walls have seen quite a bit of action over the decades. Full of character and relics from yesteryear, Bob's Java Jive is the perfect local spot to enjoy an ice cold beer and watch the locals try their hand at a bit of karaoke. Trust us - this uber divey bar has vibes for days.

The Fabulous World of Wacky and Tacky
Delightfully wacky and gloriously tacky, this shop is packed to the brim with all kinds of oddities. This inspired toy store is the perfect spot to find a unique gift for that special someone in your life. Located in the south end of Tacoma, you can celebrate Halloween year round at this fun shop. The Fabulous World of Wacky and Tacky is surrounded by restaurants and bars, so you can slide on in for a bit of local flair when you're done perusing this strange new world.

This expansive barcade located just down the way from downtown is a video game mecca. The bar here offers a great selection of unique cans and bottles of beer. With a selection of games that runs the gamut of Tapper and Burger Time to Pacman and basically every kind of pinball you can think of, Dorky's is a wonderfully laid back spot to nerd out for the evening. The best part? When you've gotten your fill of gaming, you can trot up to block for a slice of Puget Sound Pizza (affectionately called PSP by many) - some of the finest pizza you'll find around.

B&I Public Marketplace
Though this place's heyday is long gone, there are all kinds of things to feast your eyes on when you set foot through their double doors. The historic B&I was opened in 1946, originally as a hardware store that morphed into lots of different things over the years - an ertstwhile home of Ivan the gorilla, a place to get an autograph from your favorite celebrity and giant marketplace that drew families en masse. Today, it's a mecca for anyone who loves to thrift. The selection of stores here is nothing if not eclectic and definitely worth a stop in - and be sure to check out the mom and pop food stands and arcade full of throwback games when you do.

Sanford and Sons Antiques
It's easy to get lost in Sanford and Sons labyrinth of stuff. Block out the afternoon, grab a coffee and take in the sights. With over 30 dealers spread out over three floors jam packed with antiques, Sanford and Sons is the spot to hit whether you're looking for a new piece of vintage furniture for the living room or new piece of jewelry to tie your favorite outfit together.