The Best of the South Sound 2014


Museum of Glass

You voted and the results are in. The Best of the South Sound is a reader-generated goldmine of local finds. From the best hike to the best builder, South Sound readers told us where they like to eat, play, stay and more and Moss Adams helped us tally the votes. Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you readers for selecting the best!

Arts & Entertainment

Museum of Glass
1801 Dock St., Tacoma
Permanent collections, rotating exhibitions and the “hot shop” live glassmaking studio are just a few of the attractions that make the Museum of Glass a must-see South Sound destination. Located in downtown Tacoma, the museum’s aesthetically intriguing architecture is a local icon, serving as an alluring sneak-preview of the wonder that dwells behind its walls.

751 W. Fairgrounds Road, Shelton
The waters of Washington boast some of the world’s tastiest shellfish and Shelton is an oasis when it comes to sourcing some of the region’s best oysters. Home of the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championships, OysterFest is Washington state’s official seafood festival.

Gig Harbor’s Rokkerbox plays classics, surf, ’80s rock and more. But, beyond its prevalence among the local music scene, Rokkerbox impacts the community by donating time and talent to fundraising events region-wide.

Proctor Art Gallery
3811 N. 26th St., Tacoma
Watercolor, oil, mixed media and other mediums from locally based artists are all featured in abundance at Proctor Art Gallery. The gallery beckons art enthusiasts to visit and take in the sights of up-and-coming local talent.

Emerald Queen Casino
Fife and I-5 in Tacoma
Whether you want to test your luck or experience an evening of live entertainment, the Emerald Queen Casino in Fife and Tacoma is a local favorite for games, music, food and more. Check the events calendar for a full list of upcoming happenings, or stop by anytime for fun on the fly.


Carolyn Osborne

Carolyn Osborne
Primarily self-taught, Carolyn Osborne is a Fircrest artist working in mediums ranging from watercolor to fused glass and more. Gleaning inspiration from her Pacific Northwest surroundings, Osborne’s oeuvre is extensive and diverse. Check out her artwork, handmade jewelry and more on her website.

Live Theater
Pantages Theater
901 Broadway, Tacoma
Washington locals travel near and far to catch shows at Tacoma’s popular Pantages Theater. Check out the website for upcoming entertainment from a variety of performers.

Movie Theater
AMC Loews Lakewood Towne Center 12
5721 Main St. S.W., Lakewood
When the latest blockbusters are released from Hollywood, AMC Loews Lakewood Towne Center 12 is the South Sound’s favorite destination for catching a flick on the big screen. It’s a first-class theater where guests can purchase tickets ahead of time online and reserve their fully reclining seats before they even step foot in the parking lot.

Businesses & Services

Medium Business + Office Space
Griot’s Garage
3333 S. 38th St., Tacoma
From its humble beginnings in 1988, Griot’s Garage has grown into a local favorite for all things auto. Visit Griot’s renowned flagship store on 38th Street in Tacoma and find out why this local business won the hearts of our readers. And its office space, in a word, is awesome!

Small Business
Messina Bulzomi Christensen Law Firm
5316 Orchard St. W., Tacoma
Founding member John L. Messina Esq. earned the title of best attorney, so it’s no surprise that his law firm and associates at Messina Bulzomi Christensen take the cake as best Small Business in the South Sound, too. Combined, the group has more than 100 years’ law experience. They specialize in personal injury cases and serve clients throughout the state in high-profile cases as well as smaller ones.

Car Dealership
Various locations
When you’ve been in business as long as Titus-Will, you know what it takes to make your customers happy. Serving the South Sound for more than 75 years, Titus-Will is a trusted choice for purchasing new and gently used vehicles.

Financial Advisor
Ali A. Criss, CFP, of Financial Insights
3110 Ruston Way, Tacoma
Specializing in financial planning for retirement, investment options for employers, monthly cash-flow analysis and more, Ali Criss is more than Financial Insights’ point of contact for long-term care insurance and fixed cash flows in retirement; she is a local leader in for financial planning.

Fournier Insurance Solutions
Various locations
Fournier Insurance Solutions has made its focus to be the premier insurance agency in the South Sound. It offers services to individuals and businesses and specializes in industry insurance plans.

Bank + Large Business
Heritage Bank
Various locations
When you work hard for your money, you want to know it’s in good hands. Providing premier financial solutions since 1927, Heritage Bank is a respected source for wealth management services and personal and business banking solutions. With a long-standing history of excellence in the South Sound, it’s no wonder Heritage Bank also snagged the title of favorite large business. From Heritage Bank’s commitment to the community and respect for its staff, it’s easy to see why Heritage Bank is a South Sound superstar.

Real Estate Agent/Realtor
Jeff Williams & Mark Pinto of South Sound Property Group
2209 N. Pearl St. #200, Tacoma
The South Sound is a beautiful place to live, which is why Jeff Williams and Mark Pinto of South Sound Property Group, top producers for Windermere Real Estate, make it their top priority to help individuals find their ideal home. They specialize in the Tacoma, Lakewood, University Place and Gig Harbor areas. Last year their listings were on the market for an average of 28 days.

Blitz & Co. Florist
909 Pacific Ave., Tacoma
Family owned and operated, Blitz & Co. Florist makes celebrating any occasion simple and beautiful by providing customers with elegant arrangements fit for any affair.


John L. Messina Esq.

John L. Messina Esq.
5316 Orchard St. W., Tacoma
Specializing in personal injury cases, John L. Messina Esq. is a Tacoma native committed to helping his neighbors win their toughest cases. As a founding member of Messina Bulzomi Christensen, Messina has won hundreds of cases and is favored by readers for his dedication in his field.

Auto Repair
Import Auto Center
6602 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma
When your Honda, Acura or other Japanese import vehicle needs some love, Import Auto Center is the South Sound’s go-to dealership quality services, repairs and diagnoses. Backed by a team of skilled professionals, Import Auto Center’s website is brimming with satisfied client testimonials. And, as if outstanding service weren’t enough, Import Auto Center even offers a free oil change to first-time customers.

Auto Body Shop
Collision Specialists
6015 S. Adams St., Tacoma
With more than a decade of experience serving the South Sound community, Collision Specialists is comprised of a skilled team of professionals ready to tackle everything from simple glass replacements to major collision repairs. Collision Specialists goes above-and-beyond, working with insurance companies to ensure clients receive everything they deserve.

Credit Union
Various locations
Dedicated to building strong communities, BECU offers more than 840,000 members individual and business memberships designed with bright financial futures in mind. This member-owned, nonprofit financial cooperative operates on the premise of “people helping people,” and always has the community at heart.

Fashion & Retail

Antique Shop
Sanford & Son Antiques
743 Broadway, Tacoma
Uniquely beautiful and oddly bizarre artifacts are in abundance at Tacoma’s popular Sanford & Son Antiques. Get lost in this massive antique mall as you navigate from shop to shop, discovering curiosities and treasures along the way.



Baby Shop
926 Main St. #104, Sumner
A boutique with babies and their doting parents in mind, Sumner’s SugarBabies Clothing Boutique boasts trendy clothing, accessories, nursery decor and more. Fun, fresh and fashionable is what you’ll find at this popular South Sound baby boutique.

4779 Point Fosdick Dr. N.W., Gig Harbor
The perfect pair of premium denim, a chic new cuff and everything you need to feel your finest can be found at Gig Harbor’s popular Bloom. This upscale boutique is always featuring new arrivals, so you’ll always be on top of the trends.

Bridal Shop
The Wedding Bell
2609 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
South Sound brides-to-be turn to The Wedding Bell when looking for the perfect “big day” gown. Backed by a knowledgeable staff and boasting breathtaking dresses for any style, The Wedding Bell is the South Sound’s favorite bridal shop.

Kantor Diamond Company
4218 S. Steele St. #100, Tacoma
Say it with a sparkle. Whether you want to pop the question or surprise someone special just because, Kantor Diamond Company has a sparkle for any occasion.

Kids Store
Teaching Toys
Tacoma’s Proctor District and Gig Harbor’s Uptown
Unique toys and games infused with elements of education, creativity and wonder line the walls at Teaching Toys. With two South Sound locations, in Tacoma and Gig Harbor, Teaching Toys is the choice of families in search of something special.

Thrift Store
Goodwill Blue
Tacoma, Olympia and Sumner
A handpicked selection of designer duds sets Goodwill Blue apart from other thrift stores. Rather than making you comb through countless racks in hopes of finding a gem, Goodwill Blue does the work for you, making browsing easy and fun. Expect to find Coach purses, Prada shoes and other top designer brands.

Jessica Alexander

Jessica Alexander

Local Designer
Jessica Alexander
University Place
If you’re in the market for unique, handmade jewelry, University Place-based designer Jessica Alexander is your source for elegant accessories. Check out her website to view all of her unique offerings, including Nutti Yogini — a fashion-forward collection of yoga-minded apparel.

Food & Drink

Bakery + Sweets
Corina Bakery
602 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma
The display case at Tacoma’s popular Corina Bakery is loaded with sweets to satisfy any sugar craving. Offering vegan and gluten-free treats, Corina Bakery is able to sate South Sound cravings — dietary restrictions or not.

Bar + Lunch
Tides Tavern
2925 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor
Gourmet bar grub, sudsy pints and a breathtaking view of the Puget Sound culminate to make Gig Harbor’s Tides Tavern a popular bar and lunch destination. The menu is loaded with tasty burgers and sandwiches, and there’s a wide selection of beers on tap.

Hilltop Kitchen
913 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma
Tacoma’s craft cocktail lounge is also the South Sound’s favorite for uniquely made concoctions. An assortment of cocktails, a seasonally inspired food menu and a chicly urban atmosphere make Hilltop Kitchen an insta-favorite.

Tanglewood Grill
3222 56th St. N.W., Gig Harbor
Flavorful and messy barbecue makes Tanglewood Grill a go-to. Plus it serves have Southern corn muffins, mac and cheese and more delights to go with that beer can chicken, Carolina pork, brisket or whatever sticky smoky item you order.

Shakabrah Java
2618 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
Hungry University of Puget Sound students love to visit Shakabrah Java for Saturday morning breakfast. Fresh baked goodies, a variety of omelets and “magic potatoes” are just a few of the things you’ll find on the menu at this popular Sixth Avenue café.

Wine Shop
Tacoma Wine Merchants
21 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma
Who said bigger is better? At Tacoma Wine Merchants the selection consists of a small, curated collection of quality wines that never fails to disappoint. Owner Bill Bonnie explains that while there may not be 15 varietals of pinot gris on the shelf, the three or four that he does carry are absolutely divine.

21 Cellars
2621 N. 21st St., Tacoma
A boutique-style winery based in Tacoma’s North End, 21 Cellars proudly produces a small selection of craft wines marked by “creativity and longevity.”


7 Seas Brewing

7 Seas Brewing
3006 Judson St. #110, Gig Harbor
Located in Gig Harbor, this popular brewery is the South Sound’s favorite for IPAs, nautical themed brews, seasonal suds and more.

Eddie Williams of JW Restaurant
4107 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor
Gig Harbor’s JW Restaurant has been renowned for its palatable menu of creative comfort cuisine created by chef Eddie Williams. This experienced chef has worked in the restaurant industry his entire life and loves every minute of it. His passion shows through his amazing food.

Jade Palace
3810 Bridgeport Way W., University Place
Traditional Chinese cuisine is what you’ll find on the menu at University Place’s Jade Palace. Along with all your favorite Chinese dishes, Jade Palace also serves up a selection of traditional Cantonese and Sichuan dishes.

Drive In
Frisko Freeze
1201 Division Ave., Tacoma
An iconic Tacoma landmark, Frisko Freeze is the South Sound’s favorite destination for greasy burgers, malted shakes, fries and more. You can chow down curbside, or take your order to go. Don’t forget to order onion rings.

Silk Thai Café
3401 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
A romantically lighted and quaint café, Silk Thai boasts traditional Thai food in a beautiful setting. Order off the regular menu, or indulge in one of the seasonal specialties and enjoy as your taste buds are transported to a world away.

Adriatic Grill
4201 S. Steele St., Tacoma
With a full menu of classic Italian cuisine, Adriatic Grill is an elevated dining experience that doesn’t disappoint. Pizzas are wood-fired, salads are incredibly fresh and pasta is always perfectly al dente. Don’t pass on the meatballs.


Cakeitecture Bakery

Cakeitecture Bakery
“Home of Olympia’s first cake pop,” Cakeitecture Bakery blends visual design with sumptuous confections to create aesthetically impressive and delicious cakes. This by-appointment-only confectionary is ready to help celebrate your next occasion.

MSM Deli
2220 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
With a name like “Magical Sandwich Makers,” it’s no wonder that Tacoma’s popular MSM Deli won the people’s choice award for best sandwich once again. Whether you chow down on a Mike’s Deluxe or opt for one of the other magical creations, the menu doesn’t disappoint.

Happy Hour
Pacific Grill
1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma
Seven days a week you can pop into renowned Pacific Grill and enjoy half-priced food items and reduced-priced cocktails, beer and wine.

Blazing Onion Burger Company
Tacoma Mall and Uptown Gig Harbor
Big burgers loaded with all the fixins’ served alongside baskets of fries (or rings) make Blazing Onion Burger Company the South Sound’s favorite burger stop. With South Sound locations in Gig Harbor and Tacoma, you don’t have to travel far to sink your teeth into a great burger. You can also find Blazing Onion Burger Company in other cities throughout the region.

Coffee Shop
Cutters Point Coffee
Various locations
Cutters Point opened its original location in Gig Harbor more than 10 years ago. Wanting to provide customers with fresh-roasted coffee in an inviting atmosphere, Cutters Point has since grown to include numerous South Sound locations, along with the title of best coffee shop from our readers.

Kid Friendly
Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza
Various locations
With several South Sound locations, Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza makes dining out with the family fun and easy. Kid’s entrées are $5.99, and there are always balloons and dough to play with — just ask your server.

Heritage Distilling Company
3207 57th St. Ct. N.W., Gig Harbor
More than just a craft distillery, Heritage Distilling Company provides a hands-on opportunity for people to still and bottle their own craft spirits. You can grab a bottle of one of HDC’s signature spirits, or still your own at this Gig Harbor-based distillery.

Moctezuma’s Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar
Tacoma and Gig Harbor
Mexican cuisine in an inviting atmosphere and a friendly staff all contribute to the dining experience at Moctezuma’s Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar. With locations in Tacoma and Gig Harbor, Moctezuma’s is the South Sound’s favorite destination for enjoying the traditional flavors of the south.

Bar Bistro

Bar Bistro

New Restaurant
Bar Bistro
1718 99th St. E., Tacoma
An upscale dining experience in a chic and modern setting, Bar Bistro dishes up New American cuisine and craftily concocted cocktails.

AmeRAWcan Bistro
745 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and head to AmeRAWcan Bistro, where everything on the menu is flavorful, fresh and, of course, raw. Vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike will enjoy devouring the health-minded cuisine offered at this unique Tacoma restaurant.

Stanley & Seafort’s Steak, Chop & Fish House
115 E. 34th St., Tacoma
Guests of Stanley & Seafort’s love gazing upon the City of Destiny as they indulge in a variety of menu favorites from this popular South Sound restaurant.

The Cloverleaf
6430 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
With a longstanding history in the South Sound, The Cloverleaf is renowned throughout the region for its mouth-watering pies. You can dine in or order out, select from one of Cloverleaf’s signature creations or build your own custom masterpiece.

Trapper’s Sushi
Various locations
Creatively named sushi rolls, traditional nigiri and Pacific Northwest-inspired sushi are all on the menu at Trapper’s. For bigger appetites, grab a seat in the bar and enjoy all you can eat.

2810 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
The steak selection on Asado’s Argentinean-inspired menu is enough to make anyone’s mouth water. Complement your meal with an Argentinean wine — Asado has the largest selection in the Northwest.

Top of Tacoma
3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma
Echoing Tacoma’s “grit-city” vibe, Top of Tacoma is a local favorite for food and drink. Not your typical pub grub, “The Top” offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan items alongside an extensive sandwich list, fresh-baked flatbreads and other unlikely bar menu cuisine, like caprese platters. The nachos are served on a cookie sheet.

Restaurant + Service
The Lobster Shop
4015 Ruston Way, Tacoma
Whether you come in for lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch or happy hour, The Lobster Shop is always busy sating the appetites of its customers with fresh, locally inspired cuisine. Located on Tacoma’s Commencement Bay and staffed with a knowledgeable and friendly staff, The Lobster Shop is revered not only for its food, but also for its outstanding service. And that view!

Health & Beauty

Cosmetic Surgeon
Dr. Khash Dehghan of Artistic Plastic Surgery Center
3515 S. 15th St. #101, Tacoma
Offering a range of services to lift, enhance, repair and more, Dr. Khash Dehghan of Artistic Plastic Surgery Center is a favorite for his ability to improve the quality of life for South Sounders through his extensive expertise in cosmetic and reconstructive surgical procedures.

Dr. Jason Stockton of Tacoma Family Chiropractic
1033 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma
For more than 15 years, Dr. Jason Stockton has been committed to providing his clients with ongoing chiropractic health and wellness services. This is Stockton’s sixth year running as the South Sound’s favorite.


Dr. Ladie Arana-Domondon

Dr. Ladie Arana-Domondon
118th Seventh Ave. S.W., Puyallup
Your health should be in good hands, which is why the South Sound turns to Dr. Ladie Arana-Domondon when it comes to medical needs. With more than 30 years of experience, this Puyallup-based doctor is an experienced source for healthcare in the South Sound.

Cosmetic Dentistry + Dentist
Dr. Karla Bloomquist of SoundBridge Center for Dental Arts
2727 Hollycroft St. W. #280, Gig Harbor
Individualized expert care is what you’ll receive from Dr. Karla Bloomquist at her modern and comfortable, spa-like Gig Harbor office. Dedicated to providing each of her clients with outstanding care, Bloomquist stays busy brightening the South Sound — one smile at a time.

Dr. Douglas J. Knight of Douglas J. Knight Orthodontics
1950 S. Cedar St., Tacoma
Dedicated to providing his patients with healthy and beautiful smiles, Dr. Douglas J. Knight is a Pacific Northwest native committed to providing the South Sound with premier orthodontic services.

Tacoma General
315 Martin Luther King Jr. Way,
The largest hospital in Tacoma is also the best, according to our South Sound readers. MultiCare Health System’s Tacoma General Hospital is centrally located in Tacoma and boasts a staff of trained professionals, cutting-edge technology and more.

Dr. Andrew Iverson of Trilium Health
5609 S. Lawrence St., Tacoma
South Sounders visit Dr. Andrew Iverson at Trilium Health when they are looking for healing and other alternatives for their healthcare needs. An experienced professional in his field, Dr. Iverson provides his patients with individualized naturopathic care and alternatives to traditional medicine.


Olympus Spa

Olympus Spa
8615 S. Tacoma Way, Lakewood
Relaxation and rejuvenation are as simple as walking through the doors at Olympus Spa. Hydrotherapy pools and saunas, along with the spa’s earth energy rooms ,provide women with everything they need to relax. Or, indulge in the spa’s many other pamper-centric services. There’s also a location in Lynnwood.

La Bella Nail Spa
7 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma
When you want to pamper yourself, do it right with La Bella Nail Spa. Providing all your favorite mani and pedi treatments as well as other spa services, La Bella Nail Spa continues to satisfy the South Sound with outstanding services.

Eye Care
Keith F. Dahlhauser, M.D., Cascade Eye & Skin Centers, P.C.
Various locations
Because Keith F. Dahlhauser, M.D., knows how important your vision is to you, he takes extra care to ensure that his patients receive the best care possible. Having performed more than 8,000 ocular surgery procedures, he is a trusted source when it comes to your vision.

Gym + Personal Trainer
Innovative Fitness/Jesse Ewell
Various locations
No two bodies are alike, which is why Jesse Ewell and his staff at Innovative Fitness provide clients with unique, individualized fitness programs designed to prevent injury and yield optimum physical results.

Pediatrician (Three-Way Tie)
Dr. Julian Ayer and Dr. Mason Oltman of Pediatrics Northwest
Various locations
Dr. Julian Ayer and Dr. Mason Oltman of Pediatrics Northwest know how important your child’s health is, which is why their individualized patient care approach is always marked by compassion.

Dr. Bruce Davies of University Place Pediatric Clinic
1033 Regents Blvd., Fircrest
Since 1992, Dr. Bruce Davies has been a trusted provider for premium pediatric care at University Place Pediatric Clinic. Offering outstanding pediatric care and providing families with support, Dr. Davies has earned South Sound families’ respect and trust.

Source Yoga

Source Yoga

Yoga Studio
Source Yoga
North Tacoma and University Place
South Sounders looking to stretch and find their balance head to Source Yoga’s two area locations. Students, seniors and military receive a 10 percent discount. Source Yoga offersa classes, private instruction, workshops and even yoga for kids! Namaste.

Webster Foreman LMP of Tacoma Family Chiropractic
1033 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma
When the daily wear-and-tear of life catches up with you, schedule a massage appointment with Webster Foreman of Tacoma Family Chiropractic, and let his soothing hands alleviate all your aches and pains.

London’s Salon
1515 Dock St., Tacoma
Helping clients feel good about the way they look is London’s Salon’s main priority. Whether you need a cut, color, style or the works, this Dock Street salon is a South Sound favorite for looking and feeling fabulous.

Physical Therapist
Ross Anderson of Anchor Physical Therapy
1407 E. 72nd St., Tacoma
Providing orthopedic physical therapy services to a wide range of patients, Ross Anderson is, once again, the South Sound’s favorite physical therapist.

Dr. Karen Nelson
Franciscan Women’s Health Associates at St. Joseph Medical Center, 1608 S. J St., First Floor, Tacoma
Dr. Karen Nelson has been a leader in women’s healthcare in the Puget Sound since 1995. This repeat Best of South Sound winner has delivered thousands of babies, is an accomplished gynecologist and has been recognized for her expertise in minimally invasive medical procedures.

Home & Garden

Olympic Landscape and Irrigation Co.
5620 112th St. E., Puyallup
There’s no reason your backyard shouldn’t be your own personal oasis. Olympic Landscape and Irrigation Co. is the South Sound’s source for creating beautiful, landscaped yards and irrigation systems.

Garden Shop/Nursery
Watson’s Greenhouse & Nursery
6211 Pioneer Way E., Puyallup
Find your inner botanist or exercise your green thumb at Watson’s Greenhouse & Nursery. Located in Puyallup, Watson’s has everything you need to create the garden of your dreams.

Appliance Store
Albert Lee Appliance
Various locations
including Tacoma
Albert Lee Appliance is still family-owned and operated and serving the community it loves 75 years after opening. The South Sound loves you too, Albert Lee Appliance. With several locations throughout the region, Albert Lee emplyes staff that is knowledgeable and offers premium brands at affordable prices and customer service that continues even after the sell.

Furniture Store
Seldens Designer Home Furnishings
1802 62nd Ave. E., Tacoma
Since 1940, Seldens Furniture has been providing the South Sound with the largest selection of home furnishings in the Pacific Northwest. Now Seldens makes furnishing your home even easier with an online catalog. Seldens offers a huge selection and they will help you pick the perfect pieces for your home.

Signature Design and Cabinetry, LLC

Harrison Homes, LLC

Interior Designer
Scott Neste of Minor Details
2603 N. Proctor, Tacoma
Since 2001, Scott Neste has been busy transforming residential and commercial spaces throughout the South Sound, creating contemporized interiors reflective of a wide range of genres. You can check out his work at Metronome Coffee, Corina Bakery and GreenHouse Restaurant, just to name a few.

Harrison Homes, LLC
5720 144th St. N.W.,
Gig Harbor
Emphasizing the importance of “local” to maintain personal relationships with clients, Harrison Homes is South Sounders’ choicewhen it comes to turning a house into a home.

Kitchen & Bath Designer
Signature Design and Cabinetry, LLC
911 Pacific Ave, Tacoma
Your bathroom and kitchen
are just as, if not more than, important as the rest of your home. Signature Design and Cabinetry takes special care to create professional, custom bath and kitchen designs to make your home feel whole and fabulous.

SE Construction, LLC
409 Fifth St. N.W., Puyallup
Whether you want to update your kitchen or remodel your entire house, SE Construction’s skilled staff is ready to transform your space into something you’ve always dreamed of.

Jennifer Weddermann of Weddermann Architecture + Metal
2603 N. Proctor St., Tacoma
Whether you seek residential or commercial design, Jennifer Weddermann, AIA, LEED AP, is at the ready to help turn your vision into reality. Her portfolio features modern designs for the home and business, all of which are uniquely representative of her clients. She’s also a metal artist.


Birthday Place
Hands On Children’s Museum
414 Jefferson St. N.E., Olympia
Throw a party your child will never forget at Olympia’s Hands On Children’s Museum. With several available party packages, food services and more, celebrating your child’s special day is made easy and memorable at this Olympia museum.

New Adventures Child Care Center
1310 S. Fourth St., Tacoma
Parents swear by MultiCare’s New Adventures Child Care Center when it comes to providing quality care for their kids. Located at Tacoma General, New Adventures provides care for children ages four weeks to 4 years.


Steve & Kate’s Camp at Charles Wright Academy

Summer Camp
Steve & Kate’s Camp at Charles Wright Academy
7723 Chambers Creek Road W., Tacoma
For more than 30 years, Steve & Kate’s Camp has provided children with an opportunity to learn, create and express themselves in a multitude of ways while enjoying a summer off from school.

Public High School
Curtis High School
8425 40th St. W.,
University Place
Curtis High School is a celebrated educational institution in University Place that is also admired region-wide. Providing students with the tools they need to succeed, Curtis is loved by parents and students. Go Vikings!

Public Middle School
Mason Middle School
3901 N. 28th St., Tacoma
Located in Tacoma’s Proctor neighborhood, Mason Middle School has our readers raving. It’s a leader in academic excellence in the South Sound.

Public Elementary School
Lowell Elementary School
810 Mr. Dahl Drive, Tacoma
Offering special programs for autistic children and highly capable students, Tacoma’s oldest school has withstood the test of time. Our readers crowned Lowell Elementary School their favorite public elementary school.

Private High School
Bellarmine Preparatory School
2300 S. Washington, Tacoma
South Sound parents wanting to place their children in a college preparatory program designed to help them soar, enroll their teens at Bellarmine Preparatory School. Bellarmine prepares its students for the next phase of their lives by providing quality education designed to “harmonize the intellectual, the spiritual, the emotional and the physical.”

Private Middle School
Charles Wright Academy
7723 Chambers Creek Road W., Tacoma
As children enter their middle school years, parents turn to Charles Wright Academy as a trusted source in easing the transition from elementary to high school education. Exceptional teachers, staff and outstanding programs are just a few of the reasons parents trust in Charles Wright.

Preschool + Private Elementary
First Presbyterian Church School
20 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma
For preschool-aged tykes and elementary youngsters, First Presbyterian takes the cake in private, early childhood education.


Miss Vera Clowers at Celebration Friends Preschool

Miss Vera Clowers at Celebration Friends Preschool
2500 Shaw Road E., Puyallup
For some South Sound children, Miss Vera Clowers’ classroom is their first introduction to school. Through kindness and devotion, Miss Clowers has successfully created an environment that prepares children for social, physical and academic success.


Tacoma’s Best Grooming
3411 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
“If your pet isn’t becoming to you, you should be coming to us,” and Tacoma-area pet owners do. With repeat “Best Of” wins, Tacoma’s Best Grooming is a South Sound favorite for getting the filth off of your four-legged friend.

Chambers Creek Veterinary Hospital
7210 Bridgeport Way W., Lakewood
South Sound pet owners are serious when it comes to quality care for their furry friends, and Chambers Creek Veterinary Hospital provides experienced service they trust and respect.

Doggy Daycare
Unleashed Dog Daycare & Wellness Center
5624 S. Durango St., Tacoma
When South Sound residents need a babysitter for Fido, they call Unleashed Dog Daycare & Wellness Center. The Tacoma-area doggy daycare offers supervised indoor and outdoor play areas for your pooch to frolic and roam. Onsite services include doggy massages, hydrotherapy pools and other pamper-ific treatments for your pup.

Travel & Recreation

Bed & Breakfast
Hedman House, A Bed & Breakfast
502 Ninth St. S.W., Puyallup
Built in 1907, Hedman House Bed & Breakfast is a quaint, cozy and comfortable getaway located in Puyallup. Conveniently situated near popular Puyallup destinations such as the Washington State Fair, Hedman House is a favorite stop for travelers passing through, and for locals looking for a staycation. And breakfast is delicious.

Northwest Travel Destination + Wedding Venue
Alderbrook Resort & Spa
7101 E. State Highway 106, Union
Resting along the shores of the Hood Canal and surrounded by views of the Olympic Mountains, Alderbrook Resort & Spa is a nearby luxury escape. Not only is this close-to-home getaway a favorite travel destination among South Sound residents, but it’s also where many choose to spend their wedding day. Washington wedding packages make planning your big day a snap, so you have more time to enjoy your engagement without any of the stresses. And, after the big day is over, you can always return to celebrate your anniversary at the place where it all began.

Golf Course
Chambers Bay
6320 Grandview Dr. W., University Place
A favorite among locals and the setting for the 2015 U.S. Open Championships, Chambers Bay is a gem of a links course located in our own backyard.

Kid Friendly
Great Wolf Lodge
20500 Old Highway 99 S.W., Grand Mound
Make a splash at this nearby retreat that’s fun for the whole family. Indoor water slides, tidal pools, an arcade, restaurants and more make Great Wolf Lodge a one-stop getaway for a weekend of fun no matter the season.


Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier
Whether you go for a day-hike or summit the peak, Washington’s iconic Mount Rainier is full of trails, camping and other outdoor recreation for all tastes and skill levels. Don’t forget your Discover Pass!

Point Defiance
5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma
Old-growth forest, beaches, a rose garden, boathouse, zoo and aquarium and much more all can be found on the 702 acres that make up Point Defiance Park. The largest park in Pierce County, Point Defiance is visited by more than 3 million people annually.

Travel Blog
Hip Travel Mama
Anne Taylor Hartzell isn’t just a travel mama, she’s the South Sound’s very own Hip Travel Mama. On her blog, Hartzell provides everything from travel tips and destination ideas to ways to save and more. Hartzell has appeared on the “Today” show and others.

Hotel Murano
1320 Broadway, Tacoma
Lavish amenities, views of the city and sumptuous in-house dining make Hotel Murano an easy pick as the South Sound’s favorite hotel. You can explore the downtown Tacoma, or enjoy gazing out upon it from your room. And it has a modern design and art to admire.

Your Favorite Local

Circle of Friends in Action (COFIA)
When a group of people comes together to help those in need, anything is possible. Circle of Friends in Action transforms the lives of the children at St. Jude’s Primary School in Uganda by providing education and inspiring local children in the South Sound to help by serving those less fortunate.



The third largest city in the state of Washington, Tacoma is the South Sound’s favorite city yet again. Dubbed the City of Destiny, Tacoma has an eclectic past and vibrant present that come together to form a community that is culturally diverse, artistically fueled and budding with business.

Sonics Guy
If you live in the South Sound, you’ve definitely seen him. Kris Brannon is always decked out in green and gold and rooting for the return of the Seattle Sonics. He’s the Sonics Guy, and he’s our readers’ favorite local celeb.

Photos courtesy Rob Bixby under a creative commons attribution license; Sarah McTernen; Oona Copperhill; Prissy Piggies PhotographY; nutti yogini; 7 Seas Brewing; Carie Tindill; Kris Munz; Jerome Tso; Olympus Spa; Oona Copperhill Photography; Brian Dalbalcon; KateSusskind;  Jill Westwood; Rachel Sarai under a creative commons attribution; Dane Gregory Meyer.

See past Best of the South Sound winners.


is a staff writer at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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