Is Tacoma A Good Place To Live? A Perfect Place To Call Home?

When finding the perfect place to call home, Tacoma often comes up in conversations. But is Tacoma a good place to live?

Nestled in the Pacific Northwest’s evergreen beauty, Tacoma offers its residents a vibrant and thriving community. 

With its proximity to the stunning Mount Rainier and the bustling city of Seattle, Tacoma provides the best of both worlds. 

Tacoma has a lot going for it, from its rich cultural heritage and diverse neighborhoods to its flourishing job market and excellent schools. 

However, like any city, Tacoma does have its quirks and challenges. And only by looking at them can we confidently determine whether Tacoma is a place you can call home.

Here is a quick answer to the question before we go deeper into discussing the topic.

Is Tacoma a good place to live?

Well, the answer depends on a variety of factors and personal preferences. According to a study by bankrate.com, Tacoma has been recognized as one of the best places to live and relocate. 

This study considered several criteria: job market, well-being, migration diversity, and affordability. Tacoma ranks third in the list, surpassing cities such as California, Oakland, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Virginia. 

With a cost of living approximately 20% cheaper, Tacoma has become an attractive option for those who work in Seattle but wish to enjoy a more budget-friendly lifestyle.

Why Are People Moving To Tacoma?

  1. It is Affordable – The cost of living in Seattle is about 22% higher than in Tacoma. This becomes especially evident when looking at housing costs, which are 56% higher in Seattle than in Tacoma.  Therefore, if you are deciding between the two Pacific Northwest cities, remember that your money will stretch further in Tacoma.
  2. The economy is booming – The city’s diverse range of industries, including manufacturing, education, healthcare, and logistics, presents ample opportunities for individuals seeking rewarding careers. With its thriving economy, Tacoma is an attractive destination for job seekers looking for stability and growth. The city is home to several major employers, like MultiCare Health System, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and State Farm Insurance, which provide job security and avenues for professional advancement. 
  3. The scenery is exceptionally stunning – Tacoma offers stunning scenery, located on the Puget Sound and surrounded by mountains. Many parks and trails, such as Point Defiance Park and the Foss Waterway Esplanade, provide residents with the opportunity to go hiking, biking, and boating.
  4. The community is family-friendly – Families visiting Tacoma can enjoy various activities and events suitable for all ages. From picturesque parks and playgrounds to the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, there is no shortage of family-friendly attractions to explore. All the available options provide a mix of entertainment and educational opportunities for everyone in the family to enjoy.
  5. The weather is just right – Washington is known for plenty of rain, but Tacoma doesn’t get as much. Tacoma sees a yearly average of only 39 inches of rainfall. The temperature is mild in the summer, with an average of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter, temperatures remain mild, averaging 48 degrees. All in all, Tacoma enjoys great weather all year round.
  6. Tacoma has good schools – Tacoma is home to top-notch educational institutions such as the Tacoma Community College, University of Puget Sound, and Pacific Lutheran University. You will also find good public and private K-12 schools. Furthermore, the city has a well-stocked library system featuring multiple branches that provide a broad range of learning materials and activities.
  7. Excellent transportation – Living in Tacoma has plenty of public transportation alternatives. PierceTransit has approximately 31 various routes in the city. The Link Light Rail also provides access to downtown Tacoma with six different stops. Moreover, Tacoma also has the Sound Transit bus and the Seattle Sounder for people who require reliable transport for their jobs.
  8. Closeness to major cities – Tacoma’s location close to cities like Seattle and Portland offers its inhabitants the advantages of living in a smaller, cheaper city while still having the possibility to take advantage of the conveniences and possibilities of larger metropolises.

Potential Drawbacks For Living In Tacoma

  • Road congestion can often be a problem – Tacoma can face some intensive traffic problems, primarily during peak hours. The city’s infrastructure is not equipped to handle the number of cars on the roads, which can cause lengthy commutes and holdups. Furthermore, the large number of freight trucks and trains that pass through the city can add to the difficulty, particularly in the vicinity of industrial sites and railroad crossings.
  • Minimal options for nightlife activities exist – Even though Tacoma offers a plethora of arts and culture opportunities, its nightlife is not as active as those of nearby cities such as Seattle. This can be a problem for those who want to go out for a night in the town, as there are fewer bars and clubs in the city.
  • High crime rate – Tacoma has a bad rap for its crime rate, and safety is an issue for those who live here. It is estimated that crime is 171% higher than the average nationally, with violent crime being 117% higher than the U.S. average. Therefore, preparation is recommended if you are considering raising a family here. Fortunately, some areas of Tacoma are safer than the rest.
  • Not conducive to walking – Tacoma is not considered highly walkable, with a WalkScore of 54. However, neighborhoods like New Tacoma, Central, and the North End stand out for their better walkability.  In recent years, the municipality has been taking steps to become more walkable by introducing new sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes in different areas of the city.

A great example is the Prairie Line Trail, a multi-purpose pathway in the middle of downtown. 

  • Some parts don’t smell so nice – Tacoma, as a whole, doesn’t have a bad smell. Most of the time, it is quite pleasant. But there are occasions when there is a bad smell in some areas of the city due to the nearby paper mill. However, the good news is that the paper mill isn’t in the heart of the city; thus, the smell is only discernible when the wind is blowing in the direction of Tacoma.

Things To Do In Tacoma

Here are ten things you can do in Tacoma:

  1. Explore Point Defiance Park and visit the Tacoma Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
  2. Take a scenic stroll along Ruston Way Waterfront.
  3. Experience the vibrant atmosphere on 6th Ave by trying out local shops, bars, and restaurants.
  4. Marvel at stunning glass sculptures in the Museum of Glass.
  5. Hike and explore the beauty of Mount Rainier National Park.
  6. Visit cultural attractions like Foss Waterway Seaport, LeMay – America’s Car Museum, and Tacoma Art Museum.
  7. Immerse yourself in living history at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum.
  8. Learn about Washington’s history at the Washington State History Museum.
  9. Catch a show or event at the iconic Tacoma Dome.
  10. Indulge in delicious food and drinks at unique spots like Bob’s Java Jive and The Church Cantina.

What’s The Local Job Market Like In Tacoma?

Even though commuting to Seattle may be required for the higher paying roles, Tacoma has numerous job opportunities. 

The median household income is $52,000, while the minimum wage is around $12 per hour. 

Common job sectors include management, administrative, and retail. The best-paid positions in the Tacoma region are firefighting supervisors, Health Practitioners, and Computer and mathematics. 

The most specialized industries found in Tacoma are Entertainment, Public Admin, Arts, Recreation, and Transportation/Warehousing.

Useful Numbers In Tacoma

When you’re new to Tacoma, it’s wise to have a list of numbers readily available in case you need to contact someone for assistance. Here’s a list of some helpful phone numbers for the Tacoma area: 

  • City Hall can be reached at (253) 591-5000
  • The Emergency Management line is (253) 594-7980
  • The City Police non-emergency line is (253) 798-4721
    1. The Beacon Activity Center for Senior Services is (253) 591-5083.
    2. The non-emergency Fire Department line is (253) 591-5737
  • The Tacoma Recovery & Transfer Center (for garbage, recycling, and waste) is (253) 502-2100

Best Places To Live In Tacoma

When picking the best place to live in Tacoma, there are more than 20 neighborhoods to choose from. Here are a few that we suggest you take into consideration. 

Proctor is an attractive option, with its streets filled with classic houses, giving it a small-town feel. It’s close to the University of Puget, restaurants, and stores. 

The Lincoln District, named after the renowned Lincoln High School, is a multicultural area with locally owned cafes and restaurants. It’s also pleasantly lined with trees and old-style craftsman houses.

Conclusion

Is Tacoma a good place to live? After examining various factors, it can be stated that Tacoma is a good place to live. The city offers a diverse range of amenities and opportunities for its residents. 

The natural beauty of the surroundings, with stunning views of Mount Rainier and Puget Sound, adds to the appeal of living in Tacoma. 

Additionally, the city has a strong economy, with numerous job opportunities in industries such as healthcare and education. 

While there may be some areas for improvement, such as traffic congestion and affordability, overall, Tacoma offers a high quality of life and a welcoming community for its residents.

Francis Stein
Francis Stein
Francis Stein is a writer and traveler who has already traveled most of the states of America. He loves to explore new places and meet new people, and he hopes to continue traveling the world in search of adventure. Francis enjoys writing about his experiences as a way of sharing his love for exploration with others.

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