Tacoma, Washington

The Flipside Of Sea-Tac



Sunny Days: 141
57100 Affordability
85100 Schools
53100 Diversity
54100 Safety

I guess that, as a girl from Washington state, I am attracted to a little scruff and men who are able to roll out of bed, throw on a baseball cap, and call it a day. -Mikaela Hoover

The Best Thing About Tacoma?

Puget Sound

Puget Sound without the cost and the hassle. The Puget Sound area has the nicest summers in the country. Mild winters and warm, but not-humid, summers when it stays light until after 10PM make this the place people wish they were in the summertime.

Here's a transplant on what it's like in Tacoma:
I moved to Tacoma in 2018 and bought a house in the South End neighborhood. I love Tacoma, but I am not into "night life" so I cannot speak to that. I could not afford to buy a home in North Tacoma, and the right house didn't appear in Central or Lincoln areas. I have a strong preference for houses built after 1950, and mine is an ideal "Mid Century Modest" ranch house built in 1957.

I love my neighborhood which is right by Wapato Lake Park. It's not that walkable, maybe a half hour walk over to grocery shopping. But a really pleasant residential area, and the park is super nice. There's a dog park there as well, divided into big and little dog areas. One additional benefit of the park is it blocks quite a bit of the noise coming off I-5.

For more reviews of what living in Tacoma is like from locals check out: The Buzz

The Worst Thing About Tacoma?d


Traffic on I-5 from Seattle in any direction is among the nation’s most challenging. Expect 90 minutes at least if you are going in and out of Seattle during peak times. The only real commonality with Seattle is the geography and the weather. This issue may be moot for persistent wfh’ers but if we all end up back in the office then beware.

Here's the point of view of a local on the commute and the city:
Tacoma is traditionally a blue collar worker city; most of the neighborhoods are a bit more run down. I like to joke that Tacoma is stuck in the 90s. Getting to Seattle from Tacoma is an average of an hour commute each way, but its getting easier as they finish up construction along the i5 corridor.

I do actually prefer Tacoma over Seattle. Its more low key laid back. The same neighborhoods are getting "nicer" as it gentrifies, but that's mostly people like me coming in and renovating homes. Many of the shops need renovating, it seems most people will travel up to Federal Way instead.

Lifestyle of Tacoma

In the North End. The North and West End and Ruston have long been considered the “good” neighborhoods. They are considered safer and real estate prices reflect that perception. There are older homes located in the North End of Tacoma with historic architecture styles. Housing gets less expensive (and less nice) as you move south. Northeast Tacoma has a lot of spacious homes and is a good place for families with quite a few schools in the area. Many of these homes are located in housing developments, and are fairly new. West End is similar and it’s near a small zoo and aquarium.

Tacoma has been changing and areas that were once no-go are becoming safer and more sought after (Hillside and Hilltop have great views) but in the meantime, people like University Place (West Tacoma) Investors are looking at anywhere the light rail will be going, so south end properties and neighborhoods around the Tacoma Mall (previously considered unsafe) are gentrifying. The lack of affordable housing for young professionals and service workers in Seattle has caused a big influx into Tacoma so that will change the dynamic in downtown Tacoma where workers can hop on the bus or train and head to work in Seattle.

Eatonville is a good value. Small town, nice schools, great community.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

Pacific Northwest on kind of a Budget

It’s the Pacific Northwest with a cost of living that’s much lower than Seattle.

Neighborhoods in Tacoma

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Young Professionals

Young Professionals have a lot of options for areas to live in Tacoma. Downtown is ground zero due to the density of housing options: townhomes, lofts, condos and apartments are plentiful. Sitting astride all these residential buildings are plenty of restaurants, bars and coffee shops. Another nice perk to Tacoma’s Downtown neighborhood are Wright Park and Fireman’s Park. Both offering green space for a run and views of the city. Central is a decent alternative to Downtown, just five minutes away, but it also has its own interesting restaurant options, entertainment, and nightlife in the next door 6th avenue business district. This neighborhood also houses plenty of the areas tech business and tons of healthcare companies for walkable work-life options.

  • Downtown
  • Central

North End


North End is an interesting option for singles and couples who are ready to not live Downtown or in a dense business and commercial district. This neighborhood has amazing waterfront views of Commencement Bay, tons of park and green spaces for play, and cool bungalows and Craftsmen homes for living options. You’re also near the University of Puget Sound so the area has enough bars and restaurants to keep you happy when you’re in the mood for a night out.

  • North End



Tacoma is so LGBTQ+ friendly that in 2012 it was voted the “Gayest City in America”. Although there isn’t a singular LGBTQ+ neighborhood here, Hilltop is a strong neighborhood choice for those looking for a friendly, diverse neighborhood with a cool cultural scene. Great ethnic food, funky bars, plenty of cafes, and live music and arts venues make it ideal for anyone looking for a vibrant supportive neighborhood. https://www.autostraddle.com/queer-girl-city-guide-tacoma-washington-151404/

  • Hilltop
  • 6th Avenue
  • Stadium District

Stadium District


North Tacoma is home to some of the city's oldest and most family-friendly neighborhoods. Stadium District is a really interesting place to start. Called that because of the castle-like Stadium high School that sits perched over the city. The District has beautiful Victorian, Tudor and Colonial homes, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood also has the incredible Wright Park, 27 acres of play space for grownups and the kiddos. Top all of that off with some of the funkiest boutique shops, ice cream and shake stores, cool bookstores, comic shops, and eclectic dining choices.

  • Stadium District
  • Ruston
  • Old Town
  • Proctor District