Arts & Entertainment

5 best retro scenes in Tacoma

It’s official: the ’80s and ’90s are back. These iconic decades have re­cently been revived through fashion, film, music and other facets of pop culture. But why stop with scrunchies and fanny packs? To truly immerse yourself in the best of these decades, be sure to check out these totally tu­bular spots around Tacoma.


You don’t need to go far from cam­pus for a throwback — just down the road from UW Tacoma is Dorky’s Arcade. To really get yourself in the ’80s, go play some of the games that shaped world history. Dorky’s fea­tures over 111 arcade games, includ­ing Donkey Kong, Mario Kart, Pac­man and Tetris, so you’re bound to find one you’ll love. Dorky’s isn’t just any regular arcade, either. It has a full bar and also doubles as a unique venue where you can rent the trendy arcade for a party of any kind — even a wedding!

Location: 754 Pacific Ave., Tacoma
Open: Tuesday–Sunday
Cost: $0.25-$0.50 per game



If the ’80s railroad theme of this small, family-owned restaurant doesn’t fill you with nostalgia, then the home-style cooking and big portions will. Old Milwaukee Cafe’s cushy red leath­er booths and ’80s artwork will send you back in time as you feast on tra­ditional American breakfast foods such as eggs and bacon, pancakes with sausage, and a variety of omelets. Their staff service is friendly, and your meal won’t break the bank at $10 per entree. We highly recommend the strawber­ry French toast!

Location: 3102 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
Open: Tuesday–Friday 6 a.m.–2 p.m.
Cost: ~$10 per entree



Tower Lanes is a triple-threat for a night of ’90s fun. It has bowling, an arcade and mini golf. Don’t worry about it being your first time: All three options are beginner friendly. Tower Lanes even has its own restau­rant and bar, so you can drop by to order some pizza and beer if you find yourself wanting something tasty. If bowling turns out to be really up your alley, consider making it a hobby and join one of Tower Lanes’ many bowl­ing leagues.

Bonus: Tower Lanes is open 24/7, so the fun never has to end.

Location: 6323 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
Open: 24/7
Cost: Mini Golf $8/round; bowling ~$4/round; ~$9 per entree



Once you get over the initial wob­bliness, rollerblading is actually a whole lot of fun. Grab some friends and head over to Rollin’ 253 to have a great time on a budget. Every Wednesday, Rollin’ 253 hosts a pub­lic skate 6–8 p.m., and it only costs $6 for both admission and skate rent­als. You’ll feel like you’re flying as you groove to timeless tunes like “Take On Me” by A-ha!

Location: 2101 Mildred St. W, Fircrest
Open: Tuesday–Wednesday, Friday–Sunday
Cost: ~$5, $3 additional for skate rental


This ’80s themed soda shop is com­plete with nostalgic bar stools, fresh made deli sandwiches and burgers, and a variety of sweet drinks — from ice cream sodas to milkshakes. For bigger sweet-tooths, Don’s is famous for their delicious, syrup-covered ice cream sundaes and banana splits. Be sure to get a picture with the butterfly mural outside after eating.

Location: 5102 N Winnifred St., Ruston
Open: Monday–Friday 7 a.m.–6 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday noon–6 p.m.
Cost: ~$6 per entree