South Tacoma Walking Tour

On April 28th, Pretty Gritty tours and the UW Livable Cities student group partnered to lead a walking tour in the South Tacoma neighborhood. We had a wonderful turnout, with dozens of Tacoma residents coming to learn more about the area and share their personal stories along the way.

During the tour, we walked along South Tacoma Way, hearing about multiple historic buildings present to this day. One of the larger buildings we passed was the Realart Theater. One of the older movie theaters in the region, some trivia we learned was that it featured a “cry room”, which was a windowed room for parents to take their crying children so other audience members were not disturbed and the parents could still watch the movie.



(Image courtesy of Pretty Gritty Tours:


Another landmark we passed was the original building that housed Steve’s Gay 90’s. Open from 1941-1977, the restaurant was a cabaret-themed, with dancers and live music. In the 50’s, the owner added an authentic Tacoma trolley as a part of the decor.


(Image courtesy of Pretty Gritty Tours:


(Image courtesy of Cardboard America:

To conclude the tour, we invited community members to a meet-and-eat, where residents shared their stories and suggestions for buildings and landmarks of significance. The event was a wonderful way to engage with the community and help bring the rich history of South Tacoma to life.


Special thanks to Pretty Gritty Tours for facilitating the event and to everyone who came to the tour!

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